Strange new respect for the electoral college

I’ve never liked the Electoral College; I prefer a direct election of the president.  The person with the most votes wins, perhaps with a playoff if no one gets 40% the first time.  Lots of people disagree with me, especially Republicans.  Hmm, I wonder why the GOP likes the Electoral College?  And every 4 years in December we must waste 13 seconds of our life listening to some stupid radio commenter telling us that, “actually the President was officially elected today”.

But now I’m reconsidering.  It seems I never actually understood the purpose of the Electoral College:

One Texas GOP elector, Chris Suprun of Texas, a firefighter, told Politico in August that he finds Trump so unpalatable he’d consider voting for Clinton when he gets to Georgia’s capital on Dec. 19th.

Baoky Vu, a Decatur businessman, told the Atlanta-based news site in August that he couldn’t stomach voting for Trump either, and was quietly convinced by local GOP leaders to resign as an elector.

Clinton would need more than 20 GOP electors to go rogue and vote instead for her — a mighty tall order.

Even then, the new, Republican-controlled Congress meets Jan. 6 to approve the electoral college vote, and would certainly vote to void any roguery, handing the victory firmly back to Trump.

The Founding Fathers created the electoral college because they were “afraid of direct Democracy,” according to

In fact, Alexander Hamilton thought the electors would make sure “the office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications.”  (Emphasis added.)

Well why didn’t you say so!

PS.  The plural of anecdote is data.  In one comment section I had two very similar comments (here and here) from people who went into the voting booth contemplating a third party (in varying degrees), and in the end just couldn’t stand the idea of a President Hillary, and pulled the lever for Trump.  Yes, that’s just 2 out of maybe 100 commenters.  But consider that the difference between the pre-election poll consensus and the actual results is that third parties got a couple percent less and Trump got a couple percent more than polled.  That’s it.  That’s the entire difference.

I expected the opposite, that people would think of Trump with his finger on the nuclear trigger, and just not be able to do it.  Maybe that’s just too abstract a threat.  What does it mean for the risk of nuclear war to go from 0.1% to 0.2%?  Heck, I find people don’t even understand what Nate Silver meant when he said Trump had a 30% chance.

And I wasn’t quite wrong about everything.  Take a look at this prescient post from a month ago, for which I got roundly criticized.  What do my critics say now?  Still don’t see a trend?



44 Responses to “Strange new respect for the electoral college”

  1. Gravatar of Greg DeLassus Greg DeLassus
    11. November 2016 at 07:00

    Much as I might like the idea of the electoral college throwing the election to Clinton, this would be the societal equivalent of tossing a lit firecracker into a crowded ballroom. The person doing so would not necessarily *intend* the riot that would ensue, but would have acted, heedless of the statistically high likelihood of such a riot.

    The electoral college is a loaded weapon just waiting to go off some year. It would be much better for all concerned if we amended the constitution to do away with it. Unfortunately, the amendment process is too difficult to make that path feasible until the weapon actually *does* go off and hurt someone.

  2. Gravatar of Todd Ramsey Todd Ramsey
    11. November 2016 at 07:14

    As an EMHer, do you read the overnight market reaction to Trump’s election as the uncertainty reaction, and the two day leap as the market’s prediction of increasing corporate profits?

    If not, I am interested in your take. Thanks in advance.

  3. Gravatar of entirelyuseless entirelyuseless
    11. November 2016 at 07:38

    “Lots of people disagree with me, especially Republicans. Hmm, I wonder why the GOP likes the Electoral College?”

    The implication is that without the electoral college more Democrats would win elections.

    That’s wrong. Sure, if you change the system for electing the president, there might be a chance in who is elected, for the moment. But in the long run, if you have a system where people expect someone to be definitely elected from one of two parties and no others, each of those parties will win 50% of the elections.

    This is basically necessary. Suppose the system started preferring one party 65% of the time and the other only 35% of the time. As long as people are more or less identifying with these parties (e.g. calling themselves Democrats and Republicans), the average view among the “Democrats” will differ from the average among the “Republicans”, and both will differ from the average view of the people as a whole. The consequence is that the leaders of the 65% party will start adopting views closer to the average view of the people belonging to the party, instead of the overall average, which means the 65% will start going down. And likewise, the leaders of the 35% party will start adopting views closer to the average of the people as a whole, and the 35% will start going up.

    In other words, parties will always modify their views until they win 50% of elections.

    There is no “right side of history” in a two party system — each side will always win 50% of elections.

  4. Gravatar of Effem Effem
    11. November 2016 at 07:55

    However you feel about the Electoral College, you cannot infer very much from the popular vote in this election (or any election). If the popular vote was what mattered, candidates would campaign very differently…and the outcome could easily be very different. The campaign strategy is aligned with the goal (win the EC).

  5. Gravatar of Dan W. Dan W.
    11. November 2016 at 07:57


    What if the ego of Trump motivates him to govern in a restrained, conservative way because what matters to him most now is being judged as a successful president?

    It is understandable why people would worry about how Trump would govern. It is also completely possible for such worries to never materialize. Likewise, given Hillary’s track record, it was completely reasonable for voters to be worried about her ability to make decisions that would keep Americans safe. Remember, the choice Americans made this month was between two candidates each uniquely unqualified for the Presidency. Once that is understood the outcome is not as crazy as it seems.

  6. Gravatar of Steve Steve
    11. November 2016 at 08:03

    41% had a favorable opinion of Hillary only: 98% voted for her
    36% had a favorable opinion of Trump only: 98% voted for him
    18% had an unfavorable opinion of both: Trump won these 49% to 29% H

  7. Gravatar of Mike Rulle Mike Rulle
    11. November 2016 at 08:10

    Is this Scott writing?

    You may not like the electoral college, but I am amazed you do not understand its rationale. Its called Federalism. Remember, we had a constituional convention? States had to be convinced they would retain minority rights relative to other states by forming a Union. You are obviously being sarcastic, but if you think Hamilton meant undoing Trump (WHY NOT Hillary) you are lost in your political iq zone. Again, States were meant to have a strong amount of independent power. This was part of checks and balances. In 1836 the state of Virginia switched its entire electoral vote for the VP because he married an ex slave. The Senate intervened and reversed Virginia’s reversal. Better idea. Figure out a way to convince people to like your boy Johnson.

  8. Gravatar of Joe C Joe C
    11. November 2016 at 08:25

    The original intent of the electoral college has been severely corrupted. The original idea was that the people would indirectly vote for president via electors from their state that would have more knowledge about those with the qualifications needed to be a good president. Originally, electors were chosen then they voted for individuals for president. We now do this backwards as we vote for (mark our ballots for) the presidential nominees themselves. I recommend everyone read Federalist #68 along with the Notes on the Constitutional convention.

    “The choice of SEVERAL, to form an intermediate body of electors, will be much less apt to convulse the community with any extraordinary or violent movements” Fed #68

    We have seen how Trump has caused “violent movements” and “convulsed” the community. This is one of the reasons I do not support a popular vote for president. We just need to move back to the original intent of the electoral college. I know it’s not likely to happen, but a guy can hope can’t he?

  9. Gravatar of XVO XVO
    11. November 2016 at 08:28

    You didn’t already know about the electoral college and how it was corrupted within the first 2 US elections?

    We weren’t even supposed to be electing the president, but electing stand up people in our community that would then pick the president for us. Republicanism.

  10. Gravatar of Jeff Jeff
    11. November 2016 at 09:02


    Back to monetary policy. Noah Smith has posted yet another truly ridiculous article claiming that the Japanese central bank has run out of ammo and can’t do anything to raise the inflation rate. I put a comment over there pointing out that the Yen has appreciated about 15 percent against the strengthening Dollar since January, which hardly indicates easy money.

    My question is: how can people be this stupid?

  11. Gravatar of Joe C Joe C
    11. November 2016 at 09:27

    @ XVO

    You said in 2 sentences what i was trying to convey…nicely done.

  12. Gravatar of SeanV SeanV
    11. November 2016 at 09:31

    So, not a fan then?

    If you re-read your article you’ll see the line: “is she trying to lose this election?”
    From over here in the UK this Brexit voting brit sees this as an extraordinary case of someone “born-to-rule” being soundly crushed by Obama and then re-running against Trump – as if “it’s my presidency”. That’s the story here, how was she nominated – that baggage?! Oh, and never, EVER, refer to your own people as “deplorable”. And how come middle class white women didn’t support her – what’s that about?
    Anyway, I vastly prefer mad-as-hell Scott Sumner – bitching, sarcastic, and lashing out at everyone – so much more fun than the dry stuff about macro.
    Take a break Scott and come back to the UK – give a talk at the ASI again – I’m trying to persuade my daughter to do economics and I don’t want her to read any Simon Wren-Lewis.

  13. Gravatar of Capt. J Parker Capt. J Parker
    11. November 2016 at 09:42

    “Heck, I find people don’t even understand what Nate Silver meant when he said Trump had a 30% chance.”

    I’m one of those people. I feel so stupid. If someone has a concise explanation for the meaning of a probability forecast of a unique non repeatable event I wish they would be kind enough to enlighten me. I don’t think I’d have to google too hard to find an authoritative reference that says such a probability isn’t meaningful. I think what Silver is saying is that he ran his forecasting model 10,000 times or so, simulating the full range of uncertainty in his model parameters and 30% of the time it said Trump wins and 70% of the time it said Clinton wins. So what does that mean? I don’t care about how his model behaves. I care about the actual outcome of the actual election. Trump or Clinton? Who is it? Trump won the election. Can I even claim Silver’s probability forecast was wrong? His reputation is now diminished? If not then Silver is not making a scientific prediction because scientific predictions must be falsifiable.

  14. Gravatar of John Hall John Hall
    11. November 2016 at 09:55

    Obviously, that is the original purpose of the Electoral College.

    Consider another benefit of the Electoral College: fraud from one state does not spill-over to the national total. In a popular vote system, states where one party dominates could ring up huge fraudulent totals where the other party does not have strong enough support to police them well enough to stop it. In the Electoral College approach, fraud is most likely in the swing states where both parties will be on their toes to check for fraud (lawyers from other states went to Ohio, etc.). That’s good institutional design.

    Anyway, the Electoral College isn’t going anywhere. Small states are over-represented (a main criticism, along with the winner take all approach that probably needs a constitutional amendment to fix properly) and there will never be support for a constitutional amendment to change it.

  15. Gravatar of Saturos Saturos
    11. November 2016 at 10:26

    You know what’s even better than an electoral college? A Parliamentary system. Sadly it’s too late for you folks now.

    I hope Scott eventually realizes how wrong he is about direct democracy. Even the Swiss system (see above) would be better than what direct democracy has done to you now.

  16. Gravatar of Matthew Waters Matthew Waters
    11. November 2016 at 10:47

    I’ll be a third commenter with an opposite view. In the voting booth, the third party choices seemed tempting to me but in the end I had to vote for Hillary.

    I live in Georgia, so it’s not exactly a swing state but I knew it was within the realm of possibility that Georgia mattered. I wouldn’t have liked myself if I didn’t do what I could to stop Trump.

  17. Gravatar of anon/portly anon/portly
    11. November 2016 at 10:49

    “There is no ‘right side of history’ in a two party system — each side will always win 50% of elections.”

    Not to be too pedantic, but shouldn’t this be a “tendency” for each side to win 50% of the time? And then on top of this there’s a corollary to the “markets can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent” idea, that if one side chooses or happens to be more fanatical or less rational than the other side, the 50/50 thing can break down for as long this persists.

  18. Gravatar of Bill Ellis Bill Ellis
    11. November 2016 at 10:52

    “cept the founding fathers wanted the electoral collage to prevent populist mob rule… not enable it…

    if the electoral college was to do its intended job, it would overide the unfortunate undemocratic outcome… and give the election to the establishment candidate….(as is within their legal constitutional right to do) …Hillary Clinton…

  19. Gravatar of anon/portly anon/portly
    11. November 2016 at 10:55

    “Heck, I find people don’t even understand what Nate Silver meant when he said Trump had a 30% chance. … Take a look at this prescient post from a month ago, for which I got roundly criticized.”

    Huh? I’m not sure the author understands what Silver meant, because one thing it meant was that any sort of suggestion or prediction that Trump would win, or that a Trump win confirmed a trend, was *not* “prescient.”

  20. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    11. November 2016 at 11:33

    You know where this ends: Trump for Nobel Peace Prize.

  21. Gravatar of anon/portly anon/portly
    11. November 2016 at 11:39

    “If someone has a concise explanation for the meaning of a probability forecast of a unique non repeatable event I wish they would be kind enough to enlighten me.”

    I’m not enough of an expert, probably, to answer this, but maybe I’m good enough for a blog comment section, and if not, hopefully someone more knowledgeable will correct me.

    Anyway, when you conduct a poll, there are sampling errors and nonsampling errors. Sampling error is just the natural tendency of a sample not to reflect what is in the population, and of course you can minimize this by making the sample large enough. Typical polls have sampling errors in the 1-3% range. Aggregating polls, as Silver and others do, reduces this further….

    Then there are nonsampling errors. When you try to conduct a poll, what ideally you like to do is ask people *who are actually going to vote* who they are going to vote for, and have them respond by telling you the name of the person *who in the future election they actually are going to vote for.*

    That of course is not what happens. People can lie. People can tell the pollster they will be voting but then not vote. People can not yet know who they will vote, or whether they will vote. People will change their minds. People will get headaches. And so on and so on.

    At this point polling becomes a modeling exercise. When Silver said Trump had a 30 or 35% chance of winning, what he meant was that given the polls that were available, and the historical record of this kind of and level of polling as compared to actual election outcomes, Hillary’s lead of 2-3% in the average poll was very much *not* inconsistent with an eventual Trump victory, because first of all that lead of 2-3% should more properly be interpreted as a confidence interval of 0-5% (or something like this), and more specifically because with so many close swing states, a great portion of this confidence interval was “Trump win” and not “Hillary win.”

    After the election there is of course a tendency to think that the polls were wrong; they should have been assigning Trump a 100% chance of victory. This is silly. If the weatherman predicts a 35% chance of rain tomorrow, then it rains tomorrow, it doesn’t mean the weatherman made a bad prediction, it means the weatherman doesn’t have perfect information. In fact as we get closer and closer and to tomorrow the weatherman can make better and better predictions about tomorrow’s weather.

    Similarly pollsters can make better and better predictions about election “weather,” as the election nears, but even more so than with the actual weather there is a lot of randomness that is not captured by any model….

    Now I will venture into territory I probably shouldn’t, because maybe I’m wrong. I think that if anyone went around predicting Trump would win, and now they are patting themselves on the back, they are simply deluded. If the weatherman says there’s a 35% chance of rain tomorrow, and I see Bob down at the store and he says “it’s gonna rain tomorrow, I can feel it,” and then it rains tomorrow, should I congratulate Bob on his genius in predicting and/or understanding the weather?

    Uh, no, unless he makes similar predictions and establishes a track record of correct predictions.

    Now of course you could say the weather is deterministic, the universe is nothing but pool balls moving around the pool table according to strictly defined laws of nature. “Randomness” is merely an illusion. Similarly the outcome of the election was not random but pre-determined….

    I disagree, partly because I don’t think the universe is so well understood as yet – people like to comfort themselves with ideas like “there is a God” or “there is no God” or “we have the universe all figured out” but I say these ideas are laughable, the truth is the truth no matter what you happen to believe.

    But that’s not important, obviously, I’m an idiot like any other blog commenter chosen at random, But I think it’s a fun question, How random was the outcome of the election? I say very very random. Here’s an example: maybe if the Billy Bush tape never comes out, Trump loses. I mean who knows, maybe in the end it was something like that, that pushed him over the top. In such a close election, I think the outcome was very fragile, but this is just a surmise….

  22. Gravatar of anon/portly anon/portly
    11. November 2016 at 12:00

    “Trump for Nobel Peace Prize.”

    No, it’s gonna be a double, the Peace prize and the Literature prize too, after his old Howard Stern guest shots are turned into plays that catch on all over the world.

  23. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    11. November 2016 at 14:13

    Todd, I see it as a failed event study. They work best with a simple binary choice—will the fed cut rates or not? There’s so much uncertainty here that the markets don’t really know what to make of things, until we see his actual proposals. Hence an erratic response. I should add that the market actually didn’t increase all that much, nothing out of the ordinary over the next three days, so I think there is still lots of uncertainty in the markets.

    Entirely useless, Good comment, although of course my comment still holds for the current partisan split.

    Effem, Yes, that’s true, but I still think Hillary would have won. But that has nothing to do with my opposition, I’d feel the same way if Trump won. I opposed the EC when Bush beat Gore.

    Mike, Of course this is what Hamilton meant! Trump is a textbook example of the sort of con-man demagogue he was worried about, more so than any American who has ever run for president in the past 200 years. Hamilton would obviously favor having the EC reject Trump. If not Trump, then who the hell did Hamilton have in mind?

    Jeff, I saw that too.

    Sean, I am coming over soon.

    Saturos, Preaching to the converted. I do favor the parliamentary system over our system and have said so many times. And I’ve said that the Swiss system is my favorite system.

    Matthew, You said:

    “I live in Georgia, so it’s not exactly a swing state but I knew it was within the realm of possibility that Georgia mattered:

    If Georgia was close Hillary would have won by a landslide. Next time vote libertarian.

  24. Gravatar of AIG AIG
    11. November 2016 at 14:21

    The American electoral system is the worst in the world, except for all the others.

    Just stop it already. And with the mass hysteria around Trump. I didn’t like Trump at all, but I’m coming around after reading the reactions of his opponents and the actual policies he is considering and the people he is appointing to cabinet (I don’t agree with all or even most of the policies, but you can’t win them all).

    All the hysteria has so far been shown to be ridiculous. And yet some people want to double down on the mass hysteria.

    Did you people learn nothing from this election? Guess not.

  25. Gravatar of AIG AIG
    11. November 2016 at 14:24

    And if you’re looking for demagogues, look no further than Hillary pandering to BLM, or running a political campaign based primarily on identity politics and whose major call to action was her genital organs.

    I guess Hamilton didn’t have her in mind.

  26. Gravatar of bill bill
    11. November 2016 at 15:44


    Good point, but I’d add this. The equilibrium of party positions that it takes for that 50/50 to happen is slightly to the right of where it would be if we used a popular vote system instead of the electoral college. So even if the R’s don’t win more elections, the overall results moved to the right under the electoral college. The equilibrium moves because the smaller population states that benefit from the electoral college have been more R than the larger population states, on average.

    Twice in the last 16 years. Wow.

  27. Gravatar of bill bill
    11. November 2016 at 16:40

    Another effect of the Electoral College is that a state’s impact on the election isn’t hurt by policies that reduce voter participation within their borders.

  28. Gravatar of Steve Steve
    11. November 2016 at 16:44

    “whose major call to action was her genital organs.”

    And that she was a former First Lady running for President, something that is seen almost exclusively in Banana Republics. Or that she stayed married for power, not love.

  29. Gravatar of Wallflower Wallflower
    11. November 2016 at 17:49

    I’ve been reading your blog for a couple years now to understand economics better and I still could not contribute to that type of conversation but Scott you didn’t get it wrong. At least not in the beginning. One of your first posts on the election you said Trump would win – as if you were already resigned to that fact. I thought to myself – Why in the world does he assume Trump will win?

    Everyone had surprises. Republican posters on the Morningstar forums argued that immigrants would someday be able to sway an election against their favor and ironically immigrants from Cuba swayed this election in their favor.

  30. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    11. November 2016 at 18:07

    “Another effect of the Electoral College is that a state’s impact on the election isn’t hurt by policies that reduce voter participation within their borders.”


    “The people generally could only know & vote for some citizen whose merits had rendered him an object of general attention & esteem. There was one difficulty however of a serious nature attending an immediate choice by the people. The right of suffrage was much more diffusive in the Northern than the Southern States; and the latter could have no influence in the election on the score of Negroes. The substitution of electors obviated this difficulty and seemed on the whole to be liable to the fewest objections.”

  31. Gravatar of mbka mbka
    11. November 2016 at 19:41

    On the bright side, Trump probably wasn’t the Russian’s Manchurian candidate after all. Russian officials said right after the election they were in contact with some of the Trump team throughout the campaign. Which means, they are simply interested in discrediting Western democracy. First, by sowing doubt over Hillary and boosting Trump’s illiberal stance. Now, by sowing doubt over Trump by stirring up their own connections to him. Expect leaks and revelations on how Trump had more contacts with the Russians than suspected.

    All in all, very effective so far, just as pretty much every initiative the Russians have taken these past 4, 5 years.

  32. Gravatar of Ravi Smith Ravi Smith
    11. November 2016 at 23:34

    I’m an Australian American studying in Switzerland and am struck between the parallels between the US and Swiss political systems. The three main differences are that Switzerland has: 1) a collegiate presidency (elected almost by the same method as the electoral college 2) proportional representation and 3) has direct democracy at the federal level. Direct democracy seems to be less effective the more centralized it is, so I would reject adopting it at the federal level. The collegiate executive and PR act as strong checks against centralization. I hope that with Trump’s election, progressives rediscover the virtues of federalism (it reduces the damage of failure and enhances experimentation and imitative learning).

    The Australian parliamentary system produces much better political debate and swift action, but also leads to centralization.

  33. Gravatar of Jeff Jeff
    12. November 2016 at 05:37

    The founders definitely did not want direct democracy. They specifically designed a representative democracy, which is a different animal entirely. A representative is more than just a vessel for conveying the opinions of his constituents.

    The real break with the Founders design was not the repeal of slavery; they all knew that was coming eventually. Nor was the expansion of the franchise to women all that revolutionary. But the passage of the 17th Amendment in 1913 really did change the character of our government.

    When Senators were chosen by the individual state legislatures, they actually had to defend the interests of the state governments against the interests of the federal government. That was an important check upon the power of the federal government, and it was forever lost. It is hard to believe that the huge expansion of federal power that took place in the Roosevelt and Johnson administrations could have happened without the 17th Amendment.

  34. Gravatar of Ravi Smith Ravi Smith
    12. November 2016 at 05:46

    I am a grad student studying in Switzerland, and was surprised by how similar the system of government is. Their executive is elected by their congress (almost the same as the electoral college.)The three main differences are that Switzerland has 1) a collegiate executive 2) PR voting and 3) Direct democracy at the federal level. Together they help Switzerland remain decentralized. I hope that the Democrats rediscover the virtues of federalism in response to this election. One can only hope.

  35. Gravatar of Jeff Jeff
    12. November 2016 at 06:28


    The idea of having the President elected by the Congress was considered and rejected at the Constitutional Convention. The argument against it was that it would make the Executive too dependent on the Legislature, and the Founders were very concerned that the three branches of government be as independent of each other as possible, so that they could each serve as a check upon the power of the others.

  36. Gravatar of morgan s warstler morgan s warstler
    12. November 2016 at 06:41

    The EC is just another CODED rule to enforce / keep end agency at the states.

    To understand this let’s talk TECH.

    To build p2p software, you must write CODE that limits the strength of any one node. Similarly BitCoin is coded / structured game theory to keep any one party from gaining majority control.

    Is it FAIR? Does Scott think it is FAIR?!?!?!?

    Who cares? Scott doesn’t count. None of us do. All that matters is WHAT TECH WANTS.

    ENCODING SMALLNESS is anti-fragile. It ensures we need the SMALLEST AMOUNT OF CODE to achieve the greatest outcomes.

    Every time Scott, you attempt to justify not forcing smallness on the system… you SKIP the unmeasured negative externalities… you are unable to correctly see the downside risk.


    “What tech wants. Tech gets.” I mean this in the same way as, “the medium is the message”

    The first video stream servers operated much like a poker dealer who dished out cards to people…

    WHAT TECH WANTED was all cards in middle everyone grabs 5. This is progressive downloading.

    TECH WANTED IT bc the end devices got more powerful and the sever didn’t scale as fast… you could have 100x more connections to the server THE WAY TECH WANTED.

    p2p is WHAT TECH WANTS. It’s not a human decision. Blockchain is WHAT TECH WANTS.

    Tech is unstoppable, perhaps it’s easiest to see tech as how god controls humanity…

    TECH WANTS PEOPLE TO ACT AS END AGENTS. It just does. It’ like Pi.

    New tech inventions, consistently spiral out towards Libertarian theory, not bc humans want it, but bc TECH WANTS IT.

    Right now we see this crazy weird progressive socialism taking place in Silicon Valley… but the TECH ITSELF keeps popping up to make it easy for red state citizens with savings to force the tiny VC market living on their savings to FORCE THEM TO STOP TRYING TO MAKE SOCIETY LIBERAL. I just saw a thing to let end individuals DELUGE brands that they currently use anytime IN REAL TIME the brand takes a cultural stand the consumer does not like…. the idea of “social good” capitalism will crash itself, bc IT IS WHAT TECH WANTS.

    And again Scott, this won’t sink in with you… but Trump is what Tech Wants. The whole machine lined up against him… but the TECH in the hands NOT of Silicon Valley or Media companies… but in hands of end agents…

    Dude your blog and drudge blog are the same basic tech.

    TECH made sure that DRUDGE could win the election. It ensured END AGENCY.

    Drudge’s power and Uber and Uber4Welfare, and p2p and on, and on, and on…

    Make us more Libertarian…. and Scott, if you deviate from what tech wants, it should be a warning light you are doing Liberty theory badly.


    So the EC… it was there on purpose… to ensure that states with many types of people outweighed one huge states with only one type. It favored distributed UNFAIR TO SCOTT’S MORALITY power…

    But someday it will go away. WHEN IT IS WHAT TECH WANTS.

    Before there was computer code, there was legal code. And YES, I promise (bc we are building it), computer code will REPLACE completely our legal code.

    Read that again. Elected officials will begin VOTE on computer code. Imagine building Healthcare.GOV and then when it works.. VOTING to make the ACTUAL CODE the law.

    Want to change the website / law? code it up and then they vote again. This turns elected officials into CODERS who operate kind of like the guys who oversee LINUX, or every developer who uses GIT.

    This will happen bc it is what TECH WANTS. But moving to this system, the bureaucracy disappears… bc the SOLUTION id coded and tested and working and agreed on by all parties BEFORE it voted on… voting make the law go from beta to gold.

    So YES Scott, there will come a time when end agency at the state level actually reduces the power of end agents inside US and then the globe.

    We will reach a new kind of Virtualized Federalism bc the power of the state to be a CRONY will disappear at the executive brand, the ‘decision making” enforcement side will be replaced by code the legislative branch writes, rewrites and votes on all day… everyday.. just like FACEBOOK.

    Anyhoo, this sounds nuts Im sure… but I promise it is coming.


    Scott is wrong to want popular vote for POTUS, bc the TECH hasn’t yet been created to allow end agents to overwhelm the current Constitution and rewrite it… instead trust, it will go way exactly when it is not needed, bc the tech will arrive to get what it wants.

  37. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    12. November 2016 at 10:09

    Again, the problem with direct election is that you’d have to nationalize elections administration. You can improve the electoral college in various ways.

    Direct election is a problem in a country of this dimension. We might be better off with election by state legislatures and parliamentary government in certain contingencies.

  38. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    12. November 2016 at 10:10

    There is no ‘strange new respect’. There’s an antiquarian strain in starboard thought. The highbrow version is manifest in Ted Cruz. The lowbrow version is the combox clown who says things like ‘The Founders intended the government to be dysfunctional’.

  39. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    12. November 2016 at 10:26

    And that she was a former First Lady running for President, something that is seen almost exclusively in Banana Republics.

    Been seen in recent decades in Argentina (2x), Honduras, and Ceylon. Pretty unusual anywhere else. There’ve been a string of father-daughter successions on the Indian subcontinent. Honduras was one of the small corps of countries for which the term ‘banana republic’ was invented, but I’m not sure the attempt has been made more than once (and she lost). In Argentina, Juan Domingo Peron favored his wife as his running mate. Neither ever ran in their own right. Christina Kirchner isn’t the best example either because she and her husband had parallel political careers, him holding one office while she held another; it’s just that he held executive positions while she stuck to legislatures.

  40. Gravatar of Anon39 Anon39
    12. November 2016 at 16:15


    Don’t forget Ms. Park. Father daughter, as it were. Koreans are tired of corruption and thought Ms. Park could help clean it up since her parents were dead. We all know the rest of the story.

  41. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    13. November 2016 at 07:16

    AIG, You said:

    “I didn’t like Trump at all, but I’m coming around”

    I’ve said it from the beginning. Invasion of the body snatchers. Mind control. Pods.

    mbka, Interesting.

    Ravi, There are some similarities, but I much prefer the Swiss system.

  42. Gravatar of Michael Rulle Michael Rulle
    13. November 2016 at 08:13

    Hamilton was just pointing out their had to be some extreme situation where EC should overturn, but it was purely hypothetical, a “never say never” kind of idea. But, if I were to pick one politician in American history, if had ran and won, where Hamilton might have supported an EC reversal it would Be Jefferson Davis.It really is a little bit scary that an iyelligent cogent person like yourself would support an EC negation. The reason you do not see it as dangerous is you dont support the EC in the first place. Yet it is precisely the kind of election results we had this week which created the EC to begin with. NY and California are evidence of that point.

  43. Gravatar of Ravi Ravi
    13. November 2016 at 08:25


    Switzerland has a collegial executive (the federal council) instead of a single person. It is a cabinet elected by the House and Senate and is not responsible to them once elected. This helps preserve both the separation of powers (between branches) and the division of powers (between the feds and states). I think the US would be better off with more federalism, a much less powerful President, and the cabinet selected more by the Senate than by the President.

  44. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    13. November 2016 at 11:15

    Michael, For God’s sake, the post is satire!

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