Originally Posted by Magick Man
I feel you. I'm in Tenn-a-frickin-see. They vote Republican, always Republican (except one time for Clinton), so mine doesn't amount to much on a national level either. Funny thing is, I vote Dem in locals, almost always, but vote 3rd party in nationals. Because the Dems around here are basically Libertarians; relaxed on social issues and conservative on economy. Anyway, I usually write in someone like Clint Eastwood. It's a protest sort of thing.
Andrew Jackson and H Ross Perrot - they alternate for all positions. Except local public servants (like transit authority). I did not watch the debate; I got the heck out of dodge.
Originally Posted by Achmedisdead
With the electoral college setup, our individual votes in the national elections are pretty meaningless, I think. I've considered writing in someone before but never actually done it.
I wonder how many people it would take, nationwide, writing in wildly funny candidates, to make the point that the electoral college is outdated and needs to be abolished? Maybe I'll vote for a fictional character, instead of going for the lesser of two evils like I usually do. Maybe a proven leader, like Captain America?
Mickey Mouse gets a considerable number of write-ins every year. And the Electoral College doesn't negate the popular vote, it makes the system more equitable. A direct-vote would be chaotic (ignoring that you'd have a nightmare on your hands to keep it honest) - it would make smaller states or sparsely populated regions completely worthless to the Federal level, and all the candidates would have to do is campaign a few large metroplexes and they could win the election. Seriously places like Wyoming and Montana would just cease to exist to the Federal level (combined they represent less people than even a portion of New York). Doing a mass-write in, or otherwise not producing a majority of Electoral votes, would not send the message you have in mind; and it's been done before.
The more rational and statistically relevant reform to the Electoral College, which would be state-level (not Federal) is to do proportional voting. It would allow third parties to gain more traction, and it would help counter the issue that created the 2000 Election results. Two states currently do this. Basically it would maintain the Electorate, but it would defeat the relevance of "Swing States" because the vote could split. So this BS wouldn't happen as frequently:
If you went pure-popular, that would get even worse. You'd just see visits to major population centers, and nowhere else. Because again, if I were running for President, and it was a pure popular vote, I want sheer numbers. Why do I even waste the time going somewhere like Wyoming, Vermont, the Dakotas, Alaska, Delaware, Montana, etc? (Combined those states have less people than NYC) With the Electoral College, that problem is at least *somewhat* managed, and if the thing were equalized (either go back to letting legislators pick the electors (because then you know, people might care about who their legislators are), or let the votes split) it would help flatten the distribution out.
It should also be noted that it's kind of antithetical to the vein of the Constitution to provide a direct popular vote for the Executive (because, you know, we already do that for Congress, and historically Electors were picked by legislatures, not a popular vote). But people in the US are ignorant and believe the President can do all sorts of magical and fantastic things, like create laws, amend the constitution, declare war, raise taxes, set the budget, create jobs, and generally act as some sort of Daddy Warbucks meets Jesus Christ hybrid that will appear to solve all of their problems (assuming they pick the right guy), and so on - so they feel that's the person they should worry about and elect based on that person's social policy views.