6 votes

Federalist 51 - The structure of the Government must furnish the proper checks and balances between the different departments

9 comments

  1. [4]
    blitz
    Link
    I'm posting this because Colorado is voting this election about whether to join a coalition of states that will send their electors to whoever wins the popular vote. It seems that many people are...

    I'm posting this because Colorado is voting this election about whether to join a coalition of states that will send their electors to whoever wins the popular vote. It seems that many people are annoyed with the electoral college and want to get rid of it.

    I don't know that it's the best solution, but I don't think getting rid of it is the right way to go. It seems that one of the important points of the electoral college is that each state has some power in determining the federal executive branch, and the federal executive branch has no (direct) power to influence the states and their electors. I fear that if the electoral college is abolished, the federal executive branch will gain a lot more power over the elections.

    There are other federalist papers that may be more appropriate to discussing the difference between the state and federal powers because this one only discusses checks and balances in the federal government explicitly, but I think the theories are applicable to checks and balances between state and federal as well.

    3 votes
    1. Durallet
      Link Parent
      How, exactly, does obligating the state electors to the popularly elected candidate give the federal executive branch more control over elections that are already administrated by county...

      How, exactly, does obligating the state electors to the popularly elected candidate give the federal executive branch more control over elections that are already administrated by county governments and certified by state governments?

      13 votes
    2. hungariantoast
      Link Parent
      You're talking about the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, for which Colorado is already a signatory, but yes, there is Colorado Proposition 113, a veto referendum. Personally, I think the...

      You're talking about the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, for which Colorado is already a signatory, but yes, there is Colorado Proposition 113, a veto referendum.

      Personally, I think the NPVIC is great and makes for a more fair election system. Republicans currently hate it because their modus operandi is stealing power through minority rule, enabled by the archaic systems of a flawed democracy, and their current candidate is getting dunked on in the polls.

      The reality though, is that the NPVIC would make for a much fairer electoral system than what the electoral college currently provides. There really isn't any reason not to adopt the NPVIC other than a desire to remain in power, or otherwise retain an advantageous position (such as being a "battleground" state).

      I strongly recommend checking out the website for the NPVIC as well as their YouTube playlist that makes for an easy way to learn about the NPVIC and why it would make for a better system.

      7 votes
    3. skybrian
      Link Parent
      I don't think it gets rid of the electoral college? The electors still vote. Granted, they are pledged to vote a certain way, but there are corner cases where it may be useful to have actual...

      I don't think it gets rid of the electoral college? The electors still vote.

      Granted, they are pledged to vote a certain way, but there are corner cases where it may be useful to have actual people involved who can do something sensible, like if the presidential candidate with the most votes dies. It's messy, but seems better than an algorithm?

      4 votes
  2. [5]
    blitz
    Link
    For those unfamiliar with the federalist papers:

    For those unfamiliar with the federalist papers:

    The Federalist Papers is a collection of 85 articles and essays written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay under the collective pseudonym "Publius" to promote the ratification of the United States Constitution. The collection was commonly known as The Federalist until the name The Federalist Papers emerged in the 20th century.

    2 votes
    1. [4]
      skybrian
      Link Parent
      Note that although very old and respected these days, the Federalist papers were essentially political, written as part of a newspaper campaign to convince people to ratify the Constitution. So,...

      Note that although very old and respected these days, the Federalist papers were essentially political, written as part of a newspaper campaign to convince people to ratify the Constitution. So, they emphasized the Constitution's good points and passed over any possible weaknesses. And it's not like James Madison (in this case) really knew how it would all turn out.

      6 votes
      1. petrichor
        Link Parent
        Certainly, and for a good contrast, the Anti-Federalist papers really ought to be read alongside the Federalist ones. The authors were absolutely correct in many regards - particularly the...

        Certainly, and for a good contrast, the Anti-Federalist papers really ought to be read alongside the Federalist ones. The authors were absolutely correct in many regards - particularly the expansion of federal powers under the Necessary and Proper Clause.

        4 votes
      2. [2]
        blitz
        Link Parent
        I agree! Though I think they're still very relevant as an explanation for why the constitution was written the way it was. I think the scenario we see in the US today is something they thought...

        I agree! Though I think they're still very relevant as an explanation for why the constitution was written the way it was. I think the scenario we see in the US today is something they thought about (factions) and they were very worried about them. As it turns out these factions have managed to break down a lot of the separations that the framers devised from the beginning.

        I'm not an expert in politics and I don't really have a strong opinion about the electoral college, but this was something that I hadn't heard discussed before, and to a lot of people the EC seems like a Chesterton's Fence: "why do we have this stupid thing? get rid of it!" Maybe I'm not talking to the right people, but any argument for removing a thing has to be framed in the context of why that thing was created in the first place.

        3 votes
        1. skybrian
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          It’s my understanding that the electoral college never worked how it was originally envisioned, though. At first, there were pretty fundamental bugs in how presidential elections were done. In...

          It’s my understanding that the electoral college never worked how it was originally envisioned, though. At first, there were pretty fundamental bugs in how presidential elections were done. In particular, the second-place candidate became Vice President. This was fixed in the Twelfth Amendment.

          The US Constitution was written by men who had little idea how party politics would work, since political parties hadn’t been invented yet. Their naive attempts to avoid splitting into factions failed utterly when they themselves ended up splitting into bitterly antagonistic political parties. The Federalist papers can be read as shedding some light on what they were thinking, but despite their intentions they often got things very wrong, and just because they said something would turn out a certain way doesn’t mean it actually worked.

          The way it works now is after it got patched up. It’s legacy code that sort of works but is very hard to change.

          4 votes