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Tuesday, January 04, 2005

 

Week 2: Response to David (#2)

1) a·nal·o·gy
n. pl. a·nal·o·gies



    1. a) Similarity in some respects between things that are otherwise dissimilar.
      b) A comparison based on such similarity. See Synonyms at likeness.
    2. Biology. Correspondence in function or position between organs of dissimilar evolutionary origin or structure.
    3. A form of logical inference or an instance of it, based on the assumption that if two things are known to be alike in some respects, then they must be alike in other respects.
    4. Linguistics. The process by which words or morphemes are re-formed or created on the model of existing grammatical patterns in a language, often leading to greater regularity in paradigms, as evidenced by helped replacing holp and holpen as the past tense and past participle of help on the model of verbs such as yelp, yelped, yelped.
Analogies are also used by the higher intelligence brackets to explain concepts, beyond the reach of those being talked to, in terms more likely to be understood. I proposed an analogy (hence the word “like”, did you miss that fourth grade English class?) of the Presidential election being akin to a pizza party. A non-sequitur (an inference or conclusion that does not follow from the premises or evidence) would have been to suddenly say the sky is purple.

2) In 1960, John F. Kennedy won 303 Electoral College votes, as well as 34, 227, 096 (49.7%) of the popular vote.

Richard Nixon won 219 E.C. votes, and 34,107,646 (49.5%) of the popular vote.

The “other party”/third candidates won a whopping total of .8% of the popular vote. Less than 1%. (1)

Tell me again what the problem is here?

Oh, yes. Voter fraud. Again, something actually more damaging to the popular vote system than the Electoral College system. In this particular case, all the E.C. votes did was mimic the “popular” vote. The political scientists and historians who have studied the issue can’t even agree how many votes were really cast, and thus, cannot determine what the “real” result could was. (2) Fraudulent results will always be fraudulent results. Remind me what significance this has to the current debate?

3) My original argument has remained the same: The Electoral College is, was, and shall remain the most fair to the entire country because large population centers are inherently more likely to vote as blocks. That’s why up until the 1960s (when the parties changed to the primary system) the political machines were so effective. Because those in charge of the political machines could bring entire cities together to vote as more-or-less the same thing, whether by just extremely good propaganda, or other methods. A purely popular vote destroys the chances of those in rural areas to have their voices heard, if they’re the slightest bit not in tune with the big cities. Again, it was the political machine that Daley controlled in the largest population center of Illinois which caused the problems with the 1960 election. Now, stretch your brain, and contemplate what a similar thing would do, if a purely popular voting system occurred. Wouldn’t it be terribly easy to distort – country wide – the results of the election?

Let me let you in on a little secret:

I live in Texas, which will, no matter which system, popular vote or Electoral College, the voting system ever is using, will remain a large demographic area, and isn’t really affected either way by the issue. In 2000, I voted for Bush all right … I voted for him to stay Governor. I consider myself to be an independent with democratic leanings on most issues. But I’m also a rural girl, a farm girl, have been for over half my life, although I started out as a city kid. And I know, first hand, how the stuff that affects Houston Metro normally screws us over, because it’s what everyone in the city wants, whether or not it is logical.

This argument is not a hypothetical one, for me. It is daily life, the stuff I deal with day in and day out. I learned quickly to not trust what the larger demographics want, because it often means the smaller demographics are about to get shafted. And, on a national scale, for the only two elected offices which are national offices, the only way to ensure that the President and Vice President represent the largest spread of people and the interests of those people possible is to ensure that the packing behavior large cities encourage doesn’t run roughshod over the interests of the little guys too.

Quite frankly, the only way anyone can support a purely popular vote for the only two national offices, is because they have not understood the purpose, nor spirit, behind the Electoral College.

4) You have yet to show any documentation or relevant links to support your arguments. I have looked at statistics, crunched numbers, and done fact checking. Links to your personal blog do not count, and until you bother to read the BlogSpectrum rules regarding citing sources for facts and manage to find some hard numbers, I am not going to bother to attempt to continue this debate, no matter how much you snivel.

5) Oh yes. And John Kerry is an acquired taste. But I for one cringe at the idea of eating a fish whole, and can’t help but think your analogy of him being something gross and icky is entirely accurate. Thank you for pointing that out! :) (*Note: My distaste for Kerry is purely for personal reasons, and involves the family members of mine who were in Vietnam. One of who now lives in France, because the French treated him better than Kerry-and-Co.) Fungi beat whole fish hands down. Waiter! Extra mushrooms on that pizza!

Comments:
Sidial,

I think your attempt in this post at witty condescension is bad for this debate. My interpretation of your intent with some of these comments may be wrong, but I sensed this in a number of them, leading me to believe this was your general intention. For example:

-The fact that you posted the definition of an analogy, when it was your analogy I said didn’t make sense, not the concept of an analogy
-“I proposed an analogy (hence the word “like”, did you miss that fourth grade English class?) of the Presidential election being akin to a pizza party.”
-“Analogies are also used by the higher intelligence brackets to explain concepts, beyond the reach of those being talked to, in terms more likely to be understood.”
-“Remind me what significance this has to the current debate?” and “Tell me again what the problem is here?”
-“Now, stretch your brain, and contemplate what a similar thing would do, if a purely popular voting system occurred.”
-“Quite frankly, the only way anyone can support a purely popular vote for the only two national offices, is because they have not understood the purpose, nor spirit, behind the Electoral College.”
-“Links to your personal blog do not count, and until you bother to read the BlogSpectrum rules regarding citing sources for facts and manage to find some hard numbers, I am not going to bother to attempt to continue this debate, no matter how much you snivel.”

It’s true that I mocked your pizza party analogy because it doesn’t make sense (to me, at least). I said I was sorry; that may not have read like it was genuine, but it was. Please consider that after I did that, I didn’t bring it up again, and by and large my argument from that point was made with diplomatic language. Also, I agree with you now that my use of the term ‘non sequiter’ was not quite the term for what I meant. I apologize if my tone was too harsh, but I was frustrated because, as I said, you weren’t answering specific questions that I consider central to the debate, you didn’t seem to understand my Ohio example, and you seemed to be repeating what I said but suggesting it’s evidence for your argument. Let me know if you think something I wrote in that post crossed a line and justified your incendiary comments.

Still, there’s no need for you to: a) insult my intelligence by suggesting it’s in a lower bracket than yours, b) insult my intelligence by implying that I don’t know what an analogy is, or c) suggest that my side of this debate has been sniveling simply because I haven’t cited the facts I’ve stated. There is no place for ad hominem attacks in a debate of this nature.

While my argument is based mainly on widely-available facts (probably all of them are available at or can be derived from Dave Leip’s Atlas: http://uselectionatlas.org/), I do apologize for not citing these things. I have designed and written about psychophysical research, so I do understand the importance of citations and am more than capable of it… I’m just out of the habit and hadn’t considered it. I’ll do that in the future, and if you wish to point out anything I have stated as fact that you are not sure is a fact, I would be happy to cite it for you. Just let me know.

Now, as for the debate, I believe it is worth continuing. I think we are getting into two very provocative and less considered areas of this debate, which are a) the role of personal and partisan bias in favoring a voting system, and b) the critical roles the Senate may play if the EC is abolished. I look forward to continuing this debate, on the condition that we can restore an environment of mutual respect.

Best,
David
 
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