[Debate] Can someone explain the electoral college to me?

Aetius wrote:
Jonman wrote:

Without the electoral college, states cease to be relevant. The unit of electoral success becomes voters, and which state they happen to live in becomes irrelevant.

They would only be irrelevant if there were no aggregate-scale cultural or political differences between geographical regions (roughly, states). Unfortunately, there are HUGE differences along a variety of major cultural faultlines, with one of the major faultlines being the urban/rural divide. And in a system where only numbers count, the people on the rural side of that line are going to be ignored.

There's an argument that if any group only constitutes 30% of the population, and can't convince anyone else to vote along with them by persuasion or compromise, they deserve to be ignored in a two party system.

Note the bolded part.

Aetius wrote:
Up to just-under-half of any given state's voters get their vote zeroed out under the electoral college.

In a Presidential election based on popular vote, up to just-under-half of all voters get their vote zeroed out. The electoral college gives a candidate a (very) slim chance to counteract that.

I'll take this moment to interject here and point out to everyone that in the last seven Presidential elections - since 1992 - only three times did a Presidential candidate actually win with over 50% of the vote, which means that in the majority of cases over half of all voters got their votes effectively zeroed out.

If you don't vote, you zeroed yourself out so don't blame the electoral college. If you voted for a third party candidate and didn't lift a finger during the campaign at least 6 months or more prior, then you zeroed yourself out and cannot blame the electoral college there either.

These conversations would have more weight and meaning if we had a contemporary percentage of the population voting in our elections. Roughly 80 million people did not vote. If just over 3/4 of them voted for a third party candidate, they could be president. If ~150,000 more of them voted for Hilary instead of Trump, then Hilary would have been president.

fangblackbone wrote:

These conversations would have more weight and meaning if we had a contemporary percentage of the population voting in our elections. Roughly 80 million people did not vote. If just over 3/4 of them voted for a third party candidate, they could be president. If ~150,000 more of them voted for Hilary instead of Trump, then Hilary could have been president.

To bring it on topic, that's not the case if those 150k all lived in California.

bnpederson wrote:
fangblackbone wrote:

These conversations would have more weight and meaning if we had a contemporary percentage of the population voting in our elections. Roughly 80 million people did not vote. If just over 3/4 of them voted for a third party candidate, they could be president. If ~150,000 more of them voted for Hilary instead of Trump, then Hilary could have been president.

To bring it on topic, that's not the case if those 150k all lived in California.

It is also why the Trumpist fantasy that millions of illegal votes were recorded as some organized plot in states like California make no sense as Clinton readily had those states in the bag.

Keldar wrote:

I'll take this moment to interject here and point out to everyone that in the last seven Presidential elections - since 1992 - only three times did a Presidential candidate actually win with over 50% of the vote, which means that in the majority of cases over half of all voters got their votes effectively zeroed out.

fangblackbone wrote:

If you don't vote, you zeroed yourself out so don't blame the electoral college. If you voted for a third party candidate and didn't lift a finger during the campaign at least 6 months or more prior, then you zeroed yourself out and cannot blame the electoral college there either.

Possibly true but irrelevant. Keldar is talking about people that did vote, and didn't get what they voted for. (Obviously that's going to happen when folks vote for one of two choices, but the oddity here is that more people won't get for what they voted than will.)