22.ElectoralCollege

22.ElectoralCollege - Presidential Selection The Electoral College 1 Intro Selection it matters not only for who sits in the White House but •

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Unformatted text preview: Presidential Selection: The Electoral College 1 Intro Selection ; it matters not only for who sits in the White House, but • what kinds of politicians can’t succeed • who the election is owed to • what the President must do to be reelected Theme : We want a presidential recruitment system to be (1) democratic and to be (2) competent. We keep changing the rules in order to achieve (1), but it is not clear that we know how to achieve that goal, and we aren’t at all good at (2) devis- ing a process that simply and effectively brings forward the most favored candidate. Every four years, with dreary regularity, people on the street and commen- tators will say that choice comes down to lesser of two evils, etc. no “good” candidate to vote for Implication is “they used to be better.” Largely this is illusion: The only way to be considered a “good” candidate is to win. Why? 1 2 The Electoral College: What is it and Why? Electors: Each state gets its number of House seats + 2. Thus NC with 13 House seats has 15 electoral college votes. What? Whichever candidate wins the most votes in each state wins all that state’s Electoral College votes. (Except Maine and Nebraska, which assign by congressional district.) Whichever candidate wins an absolute majority of Electoral College votes is elected president, (majority, not plurality). Electoral Vote Arithmetic House Seats 435 Senate Seats 100 DC 3 Total 538 Thus 270 is a majority (269 is a tie). George W. Bush received 271 in 2000. In lieu of a majority, the election is decided in the House, where each “state” casts one vote. And if the state is evenly split? Original Design: The Compromise 1. Between representing “states” and representing “people” 2. between elites and democratic mobs What the Founders Intended: In the original vision, someone would select “Electors”—presumed to be well known figures in the communities of prudent judgment. They would meet to discuss who should be President and elect him—and since only males could be President then, saying “him” is not an oversight. That was the procedure followed for George Washington. To the best of my knowledge, no citizen ever cast a vote for George—he was entirely selected 2 by the Electoral College. The founder’s idea was that prudent men would sit around a table and talk about who should be president—like the way the College of Cardinals selects a pope. How electors would be chosen was left up to the states. They could be appointed by governor, by the legislature, or whatever. Popular vote wasn’t ruled out as a possibility, but it definitely was not required. If a vote were held, the idea was to pick some notable figure who would use his independent judgment when the College met, • Not be pledged to vote for particular candidate, and • Not cast vote automatically....
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This note was uploaded on 11/27/2011 for the course POLI 100 taught by Professor Rabinowitz during the Fall '07 term at UNC.

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22.ElectoralCollege - Presidential Selection The Electoral College 1 Intro Selection it matters not only for who sits in the White House but •

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