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Would a Third Party Throw the 2012 Presidential Election to the Repubs?

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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-06-10 02:30 PM
Original message
Would a Third Party Throw the 2012 Presidential Election to the Repubs?
Edited on Mon Dec-06-10 02:34 PM by Bill Bored
Does anyone know if a majority of the Electoral Votes must be obtained to win the Presidency? We've had third parties before (Ross Perot), but I don't think they won many electoral votes.

Suppose an electoral college majority is required -- not just a plurality -- and the third party gets enough electoral votes to make a majority impossible. The election would be decided by the US House, which is now Republican.

A few large states going to the third party is all it would take, unless a majority of the Electoral College is not required. But I believe it may be.

Comments?
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dtotire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-06-10 02:32 PM
Response to Original message
1. Yes
It would guarantee a Republican victory.
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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-06-10 02:38 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. Is this on anyone's radar? Has anyone figured out which states could be used to do it?
And do these states have verifiable voting systems, hand count rules, etc. for their elections?

I am against National Popular Vote because I believe elections can be rigged by rigging the popular vote in the many states with crappy voting systems and lots of voters (Texas is one).

But I had not considered this EC-majority requirement.

Are you certain that if a party gets more EC votes than the others, but less than 50%, they don't win?

If so, then this may be the plan.
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mvymvy Donating Member (46 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-07-10 10:45 AM
Response to Reply #4
16. The potential for political fraud and mischief
is not uniquely associated with either the current system or a national popular vote. In fact, the current system magnifies the incentive for fraud and mischief in closely divided battleground states because all of a state's electoral votes are awarded to the candidate who receives a bare plurality of the votes in each state.

Under the current system, the national outcome can be affected by mischief in one of the closely divided battleground states (e.g., by overzealously or selectively purging voter rolls or by placing insufficient or defective voting equipment into the other party's precincts). The accidental use of the butterfly ballot by a Democratic election official in one county in Florida cost Gore an estimated 6,000 votes ― far more than the 537 popular votes that Gore needed to carry Florida and win the White House. However, even an accident involving 6,000 votes would have been a mere footnote if a nationwide count were used (where Gore's margin was 537,179). In the 7,645 statewide elections during the 26-year period from 1980 to 2006, the average change in the 23 statewide recounts was a mere 274 votes.

Senator Birch Bayh (DIndiana) summed up the concerns about possible fraud in a nationwide popular election for President in a Senate speech by saying in 1979, "one of the things we can do to limit fraud is to limit the benefits to be gained by fraud. Under a direct popular vote system, one fraudulent vote wins one vote in the return. In the electoral college system, one fraudulent vote could mean 45 electoral votes, 28 electoral votes."

Hendrik Hertzberg wrote: "To steal the closest popular-vote election in American history, youd have to steal more than a hundred thousand votes . . .To steal the closest electoral-vote election in American history, youd have to steal around 500 votes, all in one state. . . .

For a national popular vote election to be as easy to switch as 2000, it would have to be two hundred times closer than the 1960 electionand, in popular-vote terms, forty times closer than 2000 itself.

Which, I ask you, is an easier mark for vote-stealers, the status quo or N.P.V.? Which offers thieves a better shot at success for a smaller effort?"
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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-07-10 11:16 PM
Response to Reply #16
20. It's easier to verify who wins individual states. We just don't do it!
Edited on Tue Dec-07-10 11:20 PM by Bill Bored
I guess you're an NPVer, but you may not understand how difficult it would be to verify the results of a national election. There are lots of obstacles and just because more votes would have to be switched to rig the NPV does NOT make it more difficult to do so.

Votes are counted by computers. Computers can be hacked, networked, and rigged to count millions of votes for the wrong candidate. The notion that this is any more difficult than switching tens of thousands of votes in FL or OH is outdated. A couple of vendors make all the voting systems in the nation and they are very poorly regulated.

If you want NPV, first you need a national audit of the Presidential election, unless you want to count it by hand or with lever voting machines (not computers).

My OP was more about the prospects for a third party to spoil the Electoral College by winning some electoral votes (states). I'm interested in whether NPV would be a way to stop that, but since NPV does not do away with the electoral college, I not sure why it would help.
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MineralMan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-06-10 02:35 PM
Response to Original message
2. Yes, it has to be a majority of electoral votes.
Still, we haven't seen much of a threat from those third parties. They don't usually get any electoral votes, and I don't see that as a major threat in the future. Let's say, for example, that a third party on the left fielded a candidate. How many states do you suppose that candidate would win, or even get a substantial minority of votes? I'd think exactly zero. Third parties don't do well in Presidential elections, although they can certainly be spoilers for the party they're taking votes from. Remember 2000? I certainly do.
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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-06-10 02:44 PM
Response to Reply #2
6. What about National Popular Vote (NPV)? Would that system require a majority? nt
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MineralMan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-06-10 02:45 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. We don't have that system, so I can't say. It doesn't seem
likely that we will have it in the future, either. We have the Electoral College. That's all that matters right now. Some other system will have some other rules. If it is ever set up, then we'll know.
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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-07-10 12:33 AM
Response to Reply #7
13. Well it's closer than you think. See here:
http://www.nationalpopularvote.com /

And I'm too lazy to see if it would require a majority or not.
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MineralMan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-07-10 08:08 AM
Response to Reply #13
14. Majority? Making NPV happen requires a Constitutional
amendment. That ain't happening.
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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-07-10 11:09 PM
Response to Reply #14
19. NPV does not require a Con. amendment, although that would be the better way to achieve it. nt
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mvymvy Donating Member (46 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-07-10 10:37 AM
Response to Reply #13
15. The National Popular Vote bill
The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

The bill preserves the Electoral College, while assuring that every vote is equal and that every voter will matter in every state in every presidential election.

Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections. Elections wouldn't be about winning states. Every vote, everywhere would be counted for and directly assist the candidate for whom it was cast. Candidates would need to care about voters across the nation, not just undecided voters in a handful of swing states.

Now 2/3rds of the states and voters are ignored -- 19 of the 22 smallest and medium-small states, and big states like California, Georgia, New York, and Texas. The current winner-take-all laws (i.e., awarding all of a states electoral votes to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in each state) used by 48 of the 50 states, and not mentioned, much less endorsed, in the Constitution, ensure that the candidates do not reach out to all of the states and their voters. Candidates have no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize, campaign, or care about the voter concerns in the dozens of states where they are safely ahead or hopelessly behind. Policies important to the citizens of flyover states are not as highly prioritized as policies important to battleground states when it comes to governing.

The bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes--that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538). When the bill comes into effect, all the electoral votes from those states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

The Electoral College that we have today was not designed, anticipated, or favored by the Founding Fathers but, instead, is the product of decades of evolutionary change precipitated by the emergence of political parties and enactment by 48 states of winner-take-all laws.

The bill uses the power given to each state by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution to change how they award their electoral votes for president. It does not abolish the Electoral College, which would need a constitutional amendment, and could be stopped by states with as little as 3% of the U.S. population. Historically, virtually all of the major changes in the method of electing the President, including ending the requirement that only men who owned substantial property could vote and 48 current state-by-state winner-take-all laws, have come about by state legislative action, without federal constitutional amendments.

The bill has been endorsed or voted for by 1,922 state legislators (in 50 states) who have sponsored and/or cast recorded votes in favor of the bill.

In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state's electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided). The recent Washington Post, Kaiser Family Foundation, and Harvard University poll shows 72% support for direct nationwide election of the President. Support for a national popular vote is strong in virtually every state, partisan, and demographic group surveyed in recent polls in closely divided battleground states: Colorado-- 68%, Iowa --75%, Michigan-- 73%, Missouri-- 70%, New Hampshire-- 69%, Nevada-- 72%, New Mexico-- 76%, North Carolina-- 74%, Ohio-- 70%, Pennsylvania -- 78%, Virginia -- 74%, and Wisconsin -- 71%; in smaller states (3 to 5 electoral votes): Alaska -- 70%, DC -- 76%, Delaware --75%, Maine -- 77%, Nebraska -- 74%, New Hampshire --69%, Nevada -- 72%, New Mexico -- 76%, Rhode Island -- 74%, and Vermont -- 75%; in Southern and border states: Arkansas --80%, Kentucky -- 80%, Mississippi --77%, Missouri -- 70%, North Carolina -- 74%, and Virginia -- 74%; and in other states polled: California -- 70%, Connecticut -- 74% , Massachusetts -- 73%, Minnesota -- 75%, New York -- 79%, Washington -- 77%, and West Virginia- 81%.

The National Popular Vote bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers, in 21 small, medium-small, medium, and large states, including one house in Arkansas (6), Connecticut (7), Delaware (3), The District of Columbia (3), Maine (4), Michigan (17), Nevada (5), New Mexico (5), New York (31), North Carolina (15), and Oregon (7), and both houses in California (55), Colorado (9), Hawaii (4), Illinois (21), New Jersey (15), Maryland (10), Massachusetts (12), Rhode Island (4), Vermont (3), and Washington (11). The bill has been enacted by the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Washington. These seven states possess 76 electoral votes -- 28% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.

See http://www.NationalPopularVote.com
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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-07-10 11:06 PM
Response to Reply #15
18. OK, so NPV does NOT require a majority of the NPV -- only "the most popular votes?"
But NPV requires states to give their electoral votes to whoever wins the popular vote. It does NOT do away with the electoral college which WOULD require a Constitutional amendment.

So suppose there's no electoral college majority because there's no popular vote majority? How would NPV "guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC)?"
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hlthe2b Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-06-10 03:06 PM
Response to Reply #6
10. You mean if we did away with the Electoral College?
(which, btw, would require a constitutional amendment, so not particularly likely)....?
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hlthe2b Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-06-10 02:36 PM
Response to Original message
3. Yup... it is so hard for a third party candidate to win in any state
which would be required (in most winner takes all states) to garner any electoral votes, that the system is really stacked against the process. I saw some stats somewhere that showed the number of elections where an incumbent President faced primary challenger and how in recent decades this has always thrown the election to the other side. I can't seem to find the link where I read that, but maybe someone else can more readily.
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Bill Bored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-06-10 02:45 PM
Response to Reply #3
8. Thanks and see post #6, nt
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yourout Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-06-10 02:39 PM
Response to Original message
5. Not if it is the Teaparty running as a third party.
Otherwise yes.
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notesdev Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-06-10 02:49 PM
Response to Original message
9. It won't take a third party
As long as Obama persists in pissing off the Democratic base while simultaneously making no friends among independents or others, a third party won't make a spit of difference.
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eilen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-06-10 03:07 PM
Response to Reply #9
11. True that.
What might be possible-- "Teabag" the Democratic party-- Do what the Tea Party did to the Republicans and push them left instead of right.
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notesdev Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-06-10 04:07 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. That's exactly what needs to be done
The party elites have shown they are indifferent at best to our interests and goals. A little bit of revolution is therefore in order.
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SteveM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-07-10 06:24 PM
Response to Original message
17. The U.S. doesn't need a 3rd party, it needs a 2nd party to...
counter the GOP. The Democratic Party does not want to fight the GOP; they are deathly afraid of the GOP and act like it. There is no substantive ideology (other than that framed by the GOP), a growing hostility toward anyone/thing to the "left" of Eisenhower, and an enduring desire to placate corporate power, both here and abroad.

If one wishes to start a "new movement" to counter the GOP, then wrest control of the Democratic Party away from those in charge now.
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