What If the Electoral College is Tied?


The United States, picks its president with
the Electoral College, 538 votes distributed by population (mostly) to the 50 States and
DC. To become president you need to win a majority of those votes. But, 538 is an even
number, so what happens when the race for president is tied? Don’t worry, there’s an 18th century solution
to the problem: if the Electoral College is tied, the House of Representatives breaks
that tie. As the name implies, the House is filled with
representatives from each of the states. The more people in a state, the more Representatives
it has and their are 435 in total — thankfully an odd number and guaranteed tie breaker…
except there’s a catch: each representative doesn’t get one vote, it’s each *State* that
gets one vote. So, Florida’s 27 representatives have to decided amongst themselves who to
support before casting Florida’s one vote to help break the tie. Meanwhile, thinly-populated Alaska’s sole
representative, has only to consult himself before casting Alaska’s vote. This is an incredibly disproportionate system
because just ten states, California, Texas, New York, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania,
Ohio, Michigan, Georgia, and North Carolina contain more than half the population of the
United States but get only 20% of the votes if the race for president is tied and the
other 40 states with less than half the population get 80% of the votes. While an exact tie is unlikely, this system
is also used if they’re more than two candidates for president and none of them gets a majority
in the Electoral College. Which is exactly what happened when four candidates
ran for president in 1824. Andrew Jackson got the most votes from Americans and the
most votes in the Electoral College, but not a majority, so the race was turned over to
the House of Representatives voting as states who picked John Quiny Adams instead. In a modern America with more states a three-way
race can have horrifically disproportionate results: consider a third-party candidate
who the loves the small states and who the small states love in return. He gets the fewest Electoral College votes,
but enough to ensure that neither of the two more popular candidates get a majority so
now the House decides the winner — and those 26 smallest states representing just 17% of
the population can pick their man as president even though 83% of Americans didn’t vote for
him. It’s unlikely, but it really shouldn’t even
be possible. Anyway, all this talk of presidents has left
the Vice President unmentioned: a reasonable person might assume, just comes along with
the President, but no. When there’s a tie the *Senate* independently
picks the Vice President so the United States, could end up with a President from one party
and with a Vice President from the another, which might make for some very uncomfortable
meetings. But even this crazy system for resolving a
tie isn’t guaranteed to work because are 100 members of the senate and in the House of
Representatives they’re forced to vote as 50 states and many of those states have10
or 8 representatives making the whole system tie-tackular with all of those even numbers. So if the House can’t pick the president but
the Senate has picked the Vice President then the Vice President becomes acting president
until the House can make up its mind. But if neither the House can pick the president
nor the Senate can decide the Vice President then the speaker of the House becomes president
until either branch of congress picks *someone*. So this systems is how the United States would
resolve a tied race for president, though it might be faster (and more fair) to just
flip a coin. Of course you could just get rid of the electoral
college, and thus this whole crazy system, and instead have a national vote, perhaps
even with something fancy like preferential voting, maybe that’s just a crazy idea.

100 thoughts on “What If the Electoral College is Tied?

  • September 20, 2019 at 2:27 pm
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    I recently added stuff up and realised just how easily this could have happened in 2016 had a couple of states voted differently…

    See, Trump won with 304 electoral votes and Clinton won 227. Both were supposed to win 306 and 232 respectively but didn’t because of faithless electors.
    The three states that seemed to give Trump the election were Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan, which he won by very close margins. Those 3 states have 10, 20 and 16 electoral votes respectively combining up to 46 electoral votes.

    If Trump won Wisconsin but lost Pennsylvania and Michigan, he would have lost 36 electoral votes. 304 minus 36 is 268. Had Clinton won those 2 states, her count would have been 263. But….remember that she had 5 faithless electors. Had those electors voted for her instead of someone else, she also would have ended up with 268 votes. Assuming Trump would still have his 2 faithless electors, that means they would both have had 268 electoral votes, 2 votes off from a majority. All it would have taken for a tie to occur was Trump losing two states and Clinton not having faithless electors. Very interesting scenario.

    If any of my understanding of this happens to be wrong, feel free to let me know. And sorry if anyone else has already figured this out, sadly I can’t read all the comments to see if they have.
    And if you think I’m a massive nerd, feel free to tell me that too. XD.

    Reply
  • September 22, 2019 at 7:09 pm
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    In other words, REPEAL THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE.

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  • September 23, 2019 at 10:10 am
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    Remember when George Washington said don’t split into parties?

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  • September 23, 2019 at 2:58 pm
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    Anyone else notice the creeper at 3:02

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  • September 23, 2019 at 5:43 pm
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    https://youtu.be/nxDKnmKaWiM

    Reply
  • September 25, 2019 at 5:57 am
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    That's why the U.S. is a republic, it partly removes the tyranny of the majority. Don't understand the tyranny of the majority? Take a look at Scotland in the UK.

    Reply
  • September 26, 2019 at 3:41 am
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    When he shows a picture of the House of Representatives,you could see a guy in a creeper mask

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  • September 26, 2019 at 10:20 pm
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    In the 2016 elections, Hilary Clinton got the most votes from americans and the most votes in the Electoral Colege, but not a majority, so the race was turned over to the House of Representatives voting as states who picked Donald Trump instead.

    Reply
  • September 27, 2019 at 7:41 pm
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    >national popular vote
    Rome?! Lol hwats that?

    Reply
  • September 27, 2019 at 9:20 pm
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    There is a reason for the electoral college. This also creates complucations. New York and California would be the states to choose the president every time. For lesser populated states like Ohio they wouldn't have any input in governance even though they are just as American but have other issues that need to be represented. In the long run states will fight to secede.

    Reply
  • September 29, 2019 at 12:18 pm
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    You really seem to have this idea that minority rule is a bad thing. Majority rule almost always results in worse lives for its citizens, and it's the reason we aren't a democracy.

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  • September 29, 2019 at 9:58 pm
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    I think Grey is Canadian?

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  • September 30, 2019 at 7:52 pm
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    2:39 Creeper

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  • October 1, 2019 at 2:50 am
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    I don't give a shit. When we vote for President, the votes may be counted to see who won what states, but that's it. The goddamned Electoral College choose who we voted for. Is this right?

    Reply
  • October 1, 2019 at 6:37 am
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    Honestly this is a good representation of why the electoral college is kind of bs

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  • October 1, 2019 at 6:53 am
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    Grey, you must REALLY despise the electoral college

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  • October 1, 2019 at 6:56 am
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    I think a popular vote is a bad idea, because a system of voting that is more predictable is in turn easier to manipulate large swaths of people. Even though the electoral college can be sketchy at times, the unpredictability of it allows for some pretty secure voting

    Reply
  • October 1, 2019 at 12:23 pm
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    So…Nancy Pelosi 2020?

    Reply
  • October 1, 2019 at 10:57 pm
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    Flips a coin the coin choses a
    The président is b because it's not actually the result that matters

    Reply
  • October 3, 2019 at 5:14 pm
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    To be fair, the even numbers aren't a problem if a third party is able to gain any of them
    Oh wait

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  • October 4, 2019 at 2:01 am
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    HOW DID YOU PREDICT MY COIN JOKE.

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  • October 7, 2019 at 6:41 am
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    Electoral college protect minorities interest.

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  • October 8, 2019 at 12:18 pm
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    If there's a tie in either chamber doesn't the VP or SoTH just break the tie?

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  • October 10, 2019 at 9:34 am
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    if the country were to go by popular vote then that would leave a bunch of states un represented in elections. Meaning Illinois, New York, California and a few others not all 50 would forever decide who is to be president. That would make the president candidates focus on those states only while ignoring all the others. So the question to everyone is… Do you want only a few states to decide who gets elected or the UNITED states to decide who gets elected?

    Reply
  • October 11, 2019 at 4:07 am
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    Well, considering the fact that your president isn't deciding about anything important, the whole process is not important either. This is why Americans aren't even checking the voter' IDs. It does not matter.

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  • October 11, 2019 at 10:56 pm
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    I have a better solution. Flip a coin. "One Nation, under God." Let God decide.

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  • October 15, 2019 at 11:25 am
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    The system is designed by sociopaths not to be fair to the voter , lol

    Reply
  • October 18, 2019 at 5:18 pm
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    Remember this if Trump gets elected for a second term

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  • October 21, 2019 at 6:40 pm
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    I pressed newest videos and the first of them was this one xD

    Reply
  • October 21, 2019 at 8:41 pm
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    You could always have a re-run.

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  • October 21, 2019 at 11:37 pm
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    Getting rid of the Electoral College would be a HUGE mistake.

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  • October 22, 2019 at 7:11 pm
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    NYC & LA: Rubs hands together Yessss, popular vote is the way to go!

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  • October 24, 2019 at 9:24 pm
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    National popular vote is just tyranny by majority and leaves the country open to easily coordinated voter fraud. Nice of you to show your political bias at the very end.

    Reply
  • October 25, 2019 at 8:18 am
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    The Prime Minister in Canada just won a election and he didn't win the popular vote but I don't hear anyone complaining about that especially from the left.

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  • October 25, 2019 at 8:19 am
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    Sorry but the electoral college prevents states like CA dominating presidential voting

    Reply
  • October 27, 2019 at 4:44 pm
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    Yep, crazy idea to make a few urban areas supreme over the vast majority of the territory of the USA. Which is EXACTLY why the Founders, who were a lot smarter than any idiot who thinks a direct national vote with all the PROVEN cases of fraud and illegal voting (especially in urban areas) with every election, is a good thing.

    Reply
  • October 27, 2019 at 10:37 pm
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    why isn't it just if the ec is tied then popular vote gets it

    Reply
  • October 27, 2019 at 11:56 pm
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    Just do a 1v1 fortnite match

    Reply
  • October 29, 2019 at 9:07 am
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    Creeper in top left corner at 2:39

    Reply
  • October 30, 2019 at 8:33 pm
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    This guy sounds like the dude who did "America the Story of Us"' but his son.

    Reply
  • October 31, 2019 at 12:33 am
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    The president is supposed to be elected by the states rather than the people, that's why there's an electoral college in the first place. It all has to do with dual federalism and the knowledge the founders had of tyranny of a majority, & the evils of direct democracy. Such evils are supposed to be defused by votes being filtered & poured into state representation in the vote.

    Reply
  • October 31, 2019 at 11:45 pm
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    The fact that 17% of the population can elect the president alone and the fact that presidents are getting elected in a two party system without the popular vote goes to show how broken the system is.

    Reply
  • November 1, 2019 at 5:27 am
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    Just when I thought that America's election system could not be more dysfunctional…

    Reply
  • November 1, 2019 at 9:35 pm
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    Rock Paper Scissors

    Reply
  • November 1, 2019 at 11:44 pm
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    This scenario is very real. All that would need to happen in 2020 would be for the Democratic nominee to flip Pennsylvania and Michigan back into their column, and also win back Maine's second congressional district that voted for Trump in 2016. Then it would be a dead tie at 269

    Reply
  • November 2, 2019 at 9:19 am
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    Could you imagine a Trump/Biden presidency?

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  • November 2, 2019 at 2:32 pm
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    Id like 2020 to be a Tie and then Democratically Controlled house would be outnumbered in single state Vote for Trump. Dems would lose their shit lolol

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  • November 2, 2019 at 10:50 pm
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    Do you get headaches while making the video?

    Reply
  • November 3, 2019 at 12:22 am
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    This is all peachy -but who are the actual people in electoral college ?what background? What criteria do they follow? Why is so secret? Anyone please help.

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  • November 3, 2019 at 1:36 pm
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    The ad hoc arguments to defend such a shitty system are hilarious. I imagine they know they're full of shit but need to keep this facade going because the EC gets their team in power.

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  • November 3, 2019 at 4:57 pm
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    Or a simple answer
    Trial by combat

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  • November 3, 2019 at 9:11 pm
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    That sounds like equality from a states standpoint

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  • November 4, 2019 at 8:01 pm
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    This is why we need direct democracy

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  • November 4, 2019 at 9:48 pm
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    y not just popular vote

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  • November 5, 2019 at 1:15 am
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    The population doesn't really matter though. Thus the electoral college and thus why each state gets one vote regardless of population. The election of the president is a state issue. The moment individual citizens start caring significantly about who their president is, is the moment the federal government has been given too much authority.

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  • November 5, 2019 at 4:38 pm
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    What if you just voted directly to elect a president?…

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  • November 5, 2019 at 8:06 pm
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    00:52 An Alaskan Bear seldom has to consult with anyone except himself🐻!

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  • November 6, 2019 at 2:12 am
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    Got it (head spinning)

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  • November 6, 2019 at 3:26 am
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    considering there is a city in California that has more people than almost all the states

    I think it is fair. besides, i think we need to break up California it has way to much power

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  • November 6, 2019 at 8:05 am
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    House of cards lol

    Reply
  • November 6, 2019 at 10:15 am
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    The US is f***ed

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  • November 6, 2019 at 3:59 pm
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    The system was designed for coalition building. This, in fact, was what happened when Adams Jr. was selected with the help of Henry Clay.

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  • November 6, 2019 at 4:17 pm
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    But then the popular vote has the same problem those 10 states run the country

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  • November 6, 2019 at 5:50 pm
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    Trump 2020

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  • November 6, 2019 at 6:59 pm
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    Abolishing the Electoral College is a crazy idea. Oh I will fear the day if it comes to that. The republics days would surely be numberd if we had a national popular vote.

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  • November 7, 2019 at 4:37 am
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    Silly. If it's even close, Republicans just claim victory and take the White House and no one fights back.

    Reply
  • November 7, 2019 at 4:40 am
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    I don't think a tie breaker system being disproportionate is a problem what's the odds of it happening again?

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  • November 7, 2019 at 6:03 am
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    Nobody:
    America: 538-50-100! Boom ties!

    Reply
  • November 7, 2019 at 6:19 am
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    Solution: campaign in less populated states like the electoral collage originally intended

    Reply
  • November 7, 2019 at 6:24 am
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    At the very end when he was talking about replacing electoral college with popular vote I looked to se if this was uploaded after the 2016 election.

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  • November 7, 2019 at 7:26 pm
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    That's the best system. Population sounds fair, but not if it mean 5 of the most populace cities in the country of the 5 states choose over 26 states. Last I checked, 26 is a bigger number than 5.

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  • November 7, 2019 at 9:15 pm
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    And if there is no Speaker of the House?

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  • November 8, 2019 at 12:40 am
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    Popular vote IS a crazy idea because that results in mob rule, which ONLY favors the majority

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  • November 8, 2019 at 1:12 am
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    Why don't we do what the Russians do. grabs revolver and bullet

    Reply
  • November 8, 2019 at 1:57 am
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    Answering before watching:
    States in the House vote en bloc

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  • November 8, 2019 at 3:11 am
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    Electoral college is dumb as shit. It’s so ironic

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  • November 8, 2019 at 2:18 pm
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    I mean… the smaller states need to be represented too right?
    Ain't that the point of a constitutional republic?

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  • November 8, 2019 at 2:20 pm
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    Okokok
    The democracy of athens tried your suggestion…
    It didn't really work, did it?

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  • November 9, 2019 at 12:36 am
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    So I know this video is seven years old and the likelihood of you even seen this comment is slim but you’re actually incorrect with the assertion you made two minutes and 15 seconds into the video only the top two candidates get thrown to the house, The house voting as states must pick between those two!

    Reply
  • November 9, 2019 at 2:17 am
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    Or we could, ya know. Use the popular vote.

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  • November 9, 2019 at 3:47 am
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    Imagine spending your entire life in the American eye. Deciding to run for president, spending years worth of stress on promoting yourself over a couple months. Winning all of it and being nominated for your area. Going one on one for the most powerful role on the planet. Getting 269/270 electoral votes, just one away from the presidency. Then you pick heads and the coin lands on tails.

    Reply
  • November 9, 2019 at 9:42 am
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    To bad the bear is technically in hibernation when the president gets elected in November

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  • November 9, 2019 at 2:24 pm
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    Solution: Let the popular vote decide.

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  • November 9, 2019 at 6:33 pm
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    Or just use the popular vote lol

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  • November 9, 2019 at 7:23 pm
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    I'm not going to watch this video. I just wanted to say that it goes to the House of Representatives. Sad how many people don't know how our government works. The only time this happened was with Jefferson and Burr.

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  • November 10, 2019 at 1:05 am
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    Impossible

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  • November 10, 2019 at 3:34 am
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    #popularvote #rankedchoicevoting

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  • November 10, 2019 at 4:20 am
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    That’s called separation of powers baby! State system = sexy

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  • November 10, 2019 at 4:54 pm
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    I'll bet that Obama doesn't know that DC has no vote.Most native born Indonesians wouldn't know that.

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  • November 10, 2019 at 8:35 pm
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    It was set up this way to ensure our entire country is represented! You apparently want the big cities to elect a democrat every time…. no thanks…

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  • November 11, 2019 at 5:28 am
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    How dare third-party candidates exist to bring diversity to thought.

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  • November 11, 2019 at 8:21 pm
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    Exactly…. it's not a democracy

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  • November 11, 2019 at 9:47 pm
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    Well you may think that popular vote should be the way but the founding fathers realized that popular vote democracies like Greece did not last long. And they do not protect the minorities. Hence, the reason they came up with the check and balances and electoral college. Thus we have the longest lasting democracy in history. If we change it, we will perish just like the Greeks.

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  • November 12, 2019 at 7:21 pm
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    The electoral college is in the constitution so the United states isn't a pure democracy. What's good for Californians(most populated state)isn't good for the rest of the country.

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  • November 12, 2019 at 11:31 pm
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    Why not the popular vote instead? duh!

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  • November 13, 2019 at 12:06 am
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    Ur smrt lol

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  • November 13, 2019 at 1:25 pm
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    This is my opinion: (To not be controversial, I will censor both parties and describe them as party A and party B
    The Republicans 🔴 (Donald Trump) win 25 states
    The Democrats🔵 (Bernie Sanders) win 25 states
    Party A wins 49.9% of the popular vote
    Party B wins 48.4% of the vote
    The minority parties win 2.7% of the vote
    Because they won the popular vote, party A is in power and the leader of party A is president

    Reply
  • November 13, 2019 at 8:23 pm
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    Yea nice try, the electoral college gives best representation of all states since we are a republic, not a full democracy. Even the founding fathers knew complete democracy was unjust

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  • November 18, 2019 at 4:32 pm
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    The probability of this happening isn't that unlikely, just a couple of toss up states going in the right direction. More states have a republican majority of congresspeople even though democrats control the house. So if there is a tie the republicans will win the presidency again.

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  • November 19, 2019 at 10:56 pm
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    The small states cannot be bullied by the large states. It's a very fair system. Majority vote would mean that big states determine presidents forever. Bad. Its not a crazy system, it worked for over 250 years.

    Reply

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