What Happens if Obama Wins Election, Loses Popular Vote?

There is a real possibility that we could see a repeat of the 2000 election next week, where one candidate wins the popular vote and the other wins the electoral college vote. Given the split between the national voter polls and the state-by-state polls, it would almost certainly be Romney winning the popular vote but Obama winning the election. How would the right respond to that? Steve Kornacki points out that the Bush campaign in 2000 was actually prepared for the opposite because the polls then showed the possibility that Bush would win the popular vote but lose the electoral college. He quotes a newspaper article from Nov. 1, 2000:

How? The core of the emerging Bush strategy assumes a popular uprising, stoked by the Bushies themselves, of course.

In league with the campaign – which is preparing talking points about the Electoral College’s essential unfairness – a massive talk-radio operation would be encouraged. “We’d have ads, too,” says a Bush aide, “and I think you can count on the media to fuel the thing big-time. Even papers that supported Gore might turn against him because the will of the people will have been thwarted.”

Local business leaders will be urged to lobby their customers, the clergy will be asked to speak up for the popular will and Team Bush will enlist as many Democrats as possible to scream as loud as they can. “You think ‘Democrats for Democracy’ would be a catchy term for them?” asks a Bush adviser.

Of course, they never bothered to make such arguments because the opposite happened. And it was the Democrats then arguing that the electoral college should be eliminated by constitutional amendment and the popular vote that should determine the outcome of the election. And if Romney wins the popular vote but loses the electoral vote, the two parties will switch sides and begin arguing the exact opposite of what they argued in 2000. The Republicans will roll out the strategy detailed above and the Democrats will be saying all the things the Republicans were saying 12 years ago.

I’ll go on the record here, before we know the outcome, that we should do away with the electoral college. Whatever decent arguments existed in its favor at the time of the Constitution no longer apply in the modern world of mass communication. And I don’t care which party it favors in any particular election.

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  • http://therealisticmccoy.com/ dsmccoy

    I agree.

    I’m not sure what our presidential election campaigns would look like with both candidates going for every vote, everywhere in the nation, but it could be a big improvement over the current focus on “battleground states”.

  • tubi

    I’d be happy to trade the Electoral College for an instant runoff system that might incubate third parties.

  • iknklast

    I agree with you on that, even though I live in one of the smaller states that’s given an abnormal amount of power by the electoral college. Actually, maybe that’s not even though; maybe it’s because. The idea of the state I live in having more than their fair say in politics is actually quite frightening. After all, it was our “Democratic” senator who introduced the anti-choice amendment to the health care bill.

  • http://therealisticmccoy.com/ dsmccoy

    It has the potential to lessen the polarization of the country if the candidates have to try to sell themselves in states which they currently write off as impossible to win.

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    No campaigning, no voting, no BS. Thunderdome. It’s time has come.

  • http://thebronzeblog.wordpress.com/ Bronze Dog

    I’m leaning toward getting rid of the electoral college, but I’m kind of ambivalent. On one hand, my vote will count regardless of living in Texas, but on the other, I’ve got a vague worry that it’d reinforce the two party system because people like me can’t safely protest vote. Or something like that.

    On the other hand, maybe third parties might get a bit more notice since they’d get a claim to a percentage of the popular vote instead of get brushed aside because they failed to get any electoral votes. Presumably if the percentage of third party voters went up, the two big parties would recognize that they’re losing people’s trust.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=597316935 ashleybell

    The best thing that would happen if we eliminated the electoral college would be that people would feel that their votes actually mattered. I bet the number of registered voters who actually make it to the polls would go way up. There has to be a huge amount of apathy for a blue voter living in a stae that always votes red, and vice versa. Also the polls would be run federally insted of by state

  • markholcombe

    I too think the electoral college should be eliminated. I also think we should convert to proportional representation in the House of Representatives. Seats in the House are determined by the percentage won of the popular vote.

    We should also add a law of “No uncontested ballots”; that is, if a seat does not have at least two candidates then the only candidate must demonstrate a true majority vote by beating a None of the Above candidate. My state consistently has uncontested ballots. The Democratic Party here doesn’t even bother running candidates against Spencer Bachus.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    I strongly doubt that eliminating the EC would “incubate third parties,” since parties would still need to get majorities to win elections.

    And who the hell needs to “incubate third parties” anyway? The LAST thing America needs is a system that incubates more clueless extremists who can’t work or play well with others.

  • http://www.gregory-gadow.net Gregory in Seattle

    I would be inclined to vote against eliminating the Electoral College: it promotes a balance of interests and forces candidates to better represent the nation as a whole.

    Right now, to carry a state, candidates must be able to appeal to both urban and rural people, both liberal and conservative. To get a majority of electoral votes, a candidate must appeal across diverse regions and be able to carry both large states and small.

    In a direct popular election, the people in smaller and more rural states will be irrelevant. Many of us here would be delighted to see GOP strongholds like South Dakota and Alaska no longer be threats, but that would also eliminate the influence of Democrat strongholds like the District of Columbia and Vermont. Rather than being chosen by a broad cross-section of American voters, the President would be selected by a few densely populated urban centers.

    As a liberal, the thought of giving large cities overwhelming control of the presidential election makes me giddy with delight. But I don’t think that would be in the best long-term interest of the country.

  • garnetstar

    I’m fine with eliminating the electoral college, but should the above scenario happen this time, what do the Republicans hope to accomplish? What did the Democrats hope to accomplish last time?

    Popular uprisings, speaking out, media campaigns, what do they think will happen? The Supreme Court will declare the Constitution unconstitutional? We’ll have a constitutional convention and abolish the college within the week?

    To take the opportunity to indulge in a lot of whining and cry-babying seems to be the only goal. Of course, that’s the parties’ standard MO anyway, why not, I suppose.

  • lancifer

    Modusoperandi,

    No campaigning, no voting, no BS. Thunderdome. It’s time has come.

    Master/Blaster 2016

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=597316935 ashleybell

    Ashley Miller made a good point here:

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/ashleymiller/2012/10/29/no-confidence-thoughts-on-election-2012/

    If you are a blue voter living in a deep red state, give your vote to a strong 3d party candidate with a clear agenda and priorities. The republicans were going to win anyway, so the losses will be to the democratic canditate. This would serve as information to the dems that they need to address in subsequent elections. IOW it’s a way to begin moving the democratic party to the left. I don’t think we can ever have anything but a two party system or necessarily should we desire one. First off, there’s the problem with plurality voting, second, and more important, there are far fewer right ways to do somthing than wrong ways. how could there be 4 or 5 equally valid ways to go about solving a problem. However, like I said above, strong 3d party candidate(s)serve as information to the 2 parties about what’s important to the voters

  • tubi

    I strongly doubt that eliminating the EC would “incubate third parties,” since parties would still need to get majorities to win elections.

    I wasn’t linking that to getting rid of the EC. I was linking it to also having an instant runoff system. People would be more inclined to vote for a third party candidate in that case. I agonoized about voting for Ralph Nader in 2000, and look what happened. I’d love to vote for Jill Stein this year, but can’t. I mean, I could, but can’t. If I could vote for her first and Obama second, I’d do it. She’d get more votes, Obama would probably still win, and he’d have to look at some of the positions she espouses.

    Yes, third party candidates can be loony, but the GOP is already catering to the extremists on their side. It would be nice to try to pull it back the other way. Are you really happy with the two top choices this year? I’m not.

  • jayarrrr

    The noise I have been hearing ever since the inauguration is along the lines of “If the Kenyan loses re-election, the blacks are gonna riot in the streets!”

    So why shouldn’t we expect Bubba and Cletus to be out there with their coondawgs and AR-15s if it goes the other way?

  • emc2

    My biggest problem with the electoral college is the ‘winner take all’ system. IIRC, Maine is the only state that divides electoral votes.

    I think a popular movement in a large state that is normally not ‘in play’, like California or Texas, to require a division of electoral votes could motivate other states to make changes in how they distribute electoral votes. A Constitutional amendment would not be required.

  • abb3w

    I can see some slight argument for keeping it around. Essentially, the states with lower population density tend to be agricultural. In so far as keeping the people who produce the food happy is fundamentally critical to society, there might be some reason for giving them a hair more voice in the outcome. I’m not convinced this is sufficient justification.

    As a more practical matter, I don’t think it’s that costly to our society, and getting rid of it would be more hassle than the ongoing cost. I can’t believe the required three-fourths of state legislatures would vote to ratify it; like the XXIst, it would have to be sent directly to state conventions, and even then would be dubious. I could see it getting a two-thirds vote in the House (say, a Republican majority house with a re-elected, and a chunk of Democrats going along with the gag), but two-thirds agreement in the Senate on anything more controversial than the name of a Post Office seems really unlikely any time soon.

  • dmcclean

    If we are doing away with the electoral college, we also need to do away with state-by-state election law. That could be difficult in light of the big gaps between states on a variety of issues. This is the biggest problem I have with the NPV compact, is that it would eliminate the electoral college without evening out the playing fields.

  • Trebuchet

    My biggest problem with the electoral college is the ‘winner take all’ system. IIRC, Maine is the only state that divides electoral votes.

    Nebraska, as well. I could actually support their system, which gives the winner of each congressional district one electoral vote, with two more going to the statewide winner. Of course, that would mean small states with only one rep would still be winner-take-all and would still have disproportionate influence.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    Popular uprisings, speaking out, media campaigns, what do they think will happen? The Supreme Court will declare the Constitution unconstitutional?

    That’s what the Republican majority in the Court did last time — imposed their own ruling when the Constitution says the House of Reps makes the call. And I’m sure they — or at least Scalia — woud be happy to do the same this time.

  • http://inmyunbelief.wordpress.com TCC

    emc2: Nebraska allocates electoral votes by congressional district as well. Obama got 1 electoral vote in 2008 from the 2nd District (the Omaha area) as a result.

  • Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze–

    Getting rid of the electoral college might be helpful in convincing people to get out and vote. There are plenty of people who feel their one vote doesn’t matter, so if the popular vote determined the presidency, I imagine more people would head to the polls.

  • http://www.gregory-gadow.net Gregory in Seattle

    @emc2 #16 – The winner-take-all system is state-by-state. There is no constitutional requirement that a state’s electors vote as a block; that can be changed just by having the state legislature pass a law and getting the governor to sign it.

    Interesting fact: there is no constitutional requirement that states have a referendum to select the slate of electors.

    Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector. Article II, Section 1, para. 2

    It would be perfectly valid for a legislature to pick the electors, or allow the governor to select them, or hold a lottery to randomly pick electors out of the pool of all eligible people.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    I could actually support their system, which gives the winner of each congressional district one electoral vote…

    The problem with that is, it will subject the Presidential election to gerrymandering by state politicians.

  • laurentweppe

    I’m leaning toward getting rid of the electoral college, but I’m kind of ambivalent. On one hand, my vote will count regardless of living in Texas, but on the other, I’ve got a vague worry that it’d reinforce the two party system because people like me can’t safely protest vote.

    How often will I have to say it: adopt the french system: two turns, if no one breaks the 50% threshold, a second turn is organized for the two candidates with the highest score. Sure, glitches can happen, and then you get a few demagogues who say that the current government is “illegitimate” because the winning party won “only” 30% of the vote during the first round (which is just too moronic to be intellectualy honest), but for the most part, it allows third parties to exist and for conservative politicians, it diminish the temptation to merge with the far-right such screwing the pooch.

    .

    But don’t get your vote too high:

    Presumably if the percentage of third party voters went up, the two big parties would recognize that they’re losing people’s trust.

    the main problem in Europe when it comes to third parties is that most of the third party votes go to demagogues. So instead of thinking “We’re loosing people trust“, many people in the dominant parties start to say (behind closed doors, most of the time) “The people is filled with idiots: the way they vote proves it

    ***

    I too think the electoral college should be eliminated. I also think we should convert to proportional representation in the House of Representatives. Seats in the House are determined by the percentage won of the popular vote.

    There’s actually quite a few problems with proportional representation votes: As I said, once third party votes start to matter, the one benefiting from it the most are the demagogues. We had this probllem in France with Regional councils: the left would win a plurality of the vote, but the center-right + far-right would win more seats together, leading many “moderate” conservatives to make deals with the far-right and becoming effectively fascists’ lackeys in order to have the majority.

    Another problem is when you elected people through a proportional list, you end up with a lot more slacker than with people elected in uninominal systems: if one party earns 50 seats, there’s a good chance than elected officials number 26 to 50 will barely do a thing, and their sloth will pretty much never lead to bad consequences. Also, once again, demagogues once elected don’t do much, in the European Parliament, far-left and far-right deputies rarely show up, pretty much never take part in any debate, and are absent from their commission: the cash-in their pay check, and since they are often certain to earn the 5% of the vote needed to be re-elected, they’re rarely punished for it.

  • http://therealisticmccoy.com/ dsmccoy

    … and don’t get me started on the whole two senators per state thing …

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    As a liberal, the thought of giving large cities overwhelming control of the presidential election makes me giddy with delight. But I don’t think that would be in the best long-term interest of the country.

    I DO think this would be good for America in the long term, since a) we’re becoming a more urbanized nation, and b) reactionary farming interests don’t do a country much good anyway.

    OTOH, this is the primary reason why a Republican push to eliminate the EC won’t gain that much traction.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/dispatches Ed Brayton

    Raging Bee wrote:

    That’s what the Republican majority in the Court did last time — imposed their own ruling when the Constitution says the House of Reps makes the call.

    No. The Supreme Court’s decision may have been wrong, but not because the House is given the authority to make that call. The House only gets involved if there is a tie in the electoral college, not when there is a dispute involving the results in a state. The courts are the proper venue for such disputes, even if they rule the wrong way.

  • cptdoom

    That’s what the Republican majority in the Court did last time — imposed their own ruling when the Constitution says the House of Reps makes the call. And I’m sure they — or at least Scalia — would be happy to do the same this time.

    That was my biggest problem with the 2000 decision – it completely ignored the Constitutional mechanism for dealing with an unclear Presidential election result – as was the case with both Florida and New Mexico (both vote counts were within the margin of error for the voting mechanism used, so there was no way to get a clear winner).

    Interestingly, assuming Obama wins the electoral college vote this time, it would be very unlikely that it would come down to one state like in 2000; it’s possible, but Obama has so many roads to a clear 270 and the only way Romney can win is to “run the table” of all toss-up states.

    I don’t know the breakdown in 2000, but the other interesting phenomenon in the 2012 race is that the “tied” polls tend to demonstrate a very strong regional divide – Obama is the clear favorite everywhere but the South, where Romney is kicking his heiny. Romney’s problem is that the South alone cannot pick a President. For that reason alone I would argue for keeping the Electoral College, but move to the kind of system Maine and Nebraska use, so both candidates have to fight for all 50 states (although I assume the GOP will still ignore DC, where I live, we’re like 90% Democrats).

    The most interesting scheme for shaking up the House of Representatives, though, is the scheme of doing away with Congressional Districts. Basically each state would get a number of Reps based on population, but the entire state would vote for all Reps, so you would have 1 – 55 offices to vote for (55 being the most right now, for CA).

  • Michael Heath

    Ed writes:

    I’ll go on the record here, before we know the outcome, that we should do away with the electoral college. Whatever decent arguments existed in its favor at the time of the Constitution no longer apply in the modern world of mass communication. And I don’t care which party it favors in any particular election.

    I agree. What convinced me was this argument (my review). I highly recommend this book beyond this one mere argument by Sanford Levinson; he does an outstanding job of reverse engineering the Constitution. That helps the reader develop their own independent positions on where it needs improvement.

  • slc1

    I’ll go everybody one better. How about junking the current system and going over to a parliamentary system like Great Britain, Germany, Spain, etc.?

  • eric

    If Romney wins the popular vote and Obama wins the electoral college vote, partisans on both sides will reverse the position they had in 2000, because loyalty matters more than methodological consistency. That’s part of what defines a partisan.

    If this comes to pass, many (though not all) of the dems who complained in about the electoral college 2000 will defend the current system in 2012. Many (though not all) of the republicans who defended the electoral system in 2000 will complain and say they are more in favor of a popular vote.

    Forget the question of ‘should we have an electoral college or not.’ I’ve got a different question for everyone: how short do you think the election cycle would have to be before partisans would actually see and admit their own hypocrisy? Would they notice their own tribalism if we had presidential elections every two years? Every year? Would we have to have one every month before they would see their own biases?

  • Jordan Genso

    Ed wrote:

    And if Romney wins the popular vote but loses the electoral vote, the two parties will switch sides and begin arguing the exact opposite of what they argued in 2000. The Republicans will roll out the strategy detailed above and the Democrats will be saying all the things the Republicans were saying 12 years ago.

    Please don’t fall for the false equivalency. Unless you have evidence that the Democratic Party would be opposed to eliminating the electoral college, don’t just say they would if the positions were reversed.

    I would guess that if the President wins the electoral college and loses the popular vote, and the Republicans then said they wanted to get rid of the electoral college, the Democrats would join them in that call (for future elections, not affecting the 2012 results). Granted, they (unfortunately) wouldn’t do so because it’s the right thing, but instead they would do so based on political calculation. I think the Democratic Party feels they’ll be much better off in future elections without the EC.

    The argument to suggest that the Democrats wouldn’t prefer (based on political calculation) to get rid of the EC is because of the new ability for the Republicans to spend much more money than they used to be able to. With the EC, the Republicans’ outside money groups are not able to have as great of an effect. With diminishing returns for television and radio ads (they eventually just become background noise), spending more money in the swing states doesn’t necessarily help the Tea Party Republicans. But if that money could be spread to other states, where an additional vote in Kansas is just as beneficial as a vote in Ohio, it may allow their money advantage to turn into a vote advantage.

    So maybe in a post-Citizens United era, the Democratic Party’s position on the EC could change. But without Citizens United, I see no reason why the Democratic Party would oppose getting rid of the EC if the Republicans were on board with it.

  • scienceavenger

    I’m all for getting rid of the EC, but it should be a much lower priority than campaign finance reform, campaign time limits, and eliminating all the rules that give the two major parties an effective monopoly on the political marketplace.

  • http://promethics.wordpress.com Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    how short do you think the election cycle would have to be before partisans would actually see and admit their own hypocrisy?

    They won’t. The kind of partisans who will switch positions like that won’t recognize their hypocrisy on any time scale.

  • briandavis

    garnetstar @11:

    what do the Republicans hope to accomplish? What did the Democrats hope to accomplish last time?

    To take the opportunity to indulge in a lot of whining and cry-babying seems to be the only goal.

    Don’t forget fundraising. Please send your donation of $10, $50 or $100 to help fund this crucial battle to preserve or prevent something or other.

  • naturalcynic

    Of course, they never bothered to make such arguments because the opposite happened. And it was the Democrats then arguing that the electoral college should be eliminated by constitutional amendment and the popular vote that should determine the outcome of the election. And if Romney wins the popular vote but loses the electoral vote, the two parties will switch sides and begin arguing the exact opposite of what they argued in 2000. The Republicans will roll out the strategy detailed above and the Democrats will be saying all the things the Republicans were saying 12 years ago.

    Why bother. What they should say is summed up in one word: karma.

  • lofgren

    I’ll go everybody one better. How about junking the current system and going over to a parliamentary system like Great Britain, Germany, Spain, etc.?

    Note that a parliamentary system effectively has an electoral college, it just merges the electoral college with the congressional representative.

    I don’t buy the argument that modern communication has eliminated any rationale for the electoral college. In fact I’d really like to see Ed back up that argument. It strikes me as very poorly considered. As near as I can tell, the arguments for the electoral college have little to do with the speed of communications.

    Personally, if my vote is going to be canceled out then I would rather it be canceled out by my neighbor than by somebody 2,000 miles away. Switching to a straight popular vote would further disenfranchise any organization without a national reach, make mobilizing people outside of big cities almost pointless, and thus strongly encourage massive, national campaign apparatus that is fixated on sloganeering and further disengaged from (and uninterested in) actual issues. I wouldn’t like to see New York, LA, Chicago, and a handful of other urban centers become the only foci of national campaigns.

    I think it is a good thing that the electoral college gives “disproportionate” power to some smaller states. The place where it gets out of hand is due to the far more disproportionate value of large swing states thanks to the winner-take-all system. I’d like to see a Constitutional amendment that would outlaw that. I think Maine has the right idea. So did Thomas Jefferson, incidentally.

  • naturalcynic

    I could actually support their system, which gives the winner of each congressional district one electoral vote…

    The problem with that is, it will subject the Presidential election to gerrymandering by state politicians.

    The problem still remains where the vote count and the electoral count may not coincide. If party A’s candidate wins 285 districts with an average margin of 10,000 votes and party B’s candidate wins 253 districts with an average margin of 20,000 votes, the losing party B candidate will have 2.21 more votes. Yes, gerrymandering can play a significant factor.

  • barryd

    “Right now, to carry a state, candidates must be able to appeal to both urban and rural people, both liberal and conservative. To get a majority of electoral votes, a candidate must appeal across diverse regions and be able to carry both large states and small.”

    Not really; AFAIK Democrats carry NY and CA by pulling vast numbers of votes from huge cities.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    Ed: Doesn’t the Constitution give the House the power to decide which slate of electors to seat from each state? In 2000, the proper response to the recount controversy would have been for the House to vote on which set of electors best represented the voters in Florida. The result would have been the same, of course, since a Republican majority would have given Republican electors the benefit of the doubt; but according to the Constitution, the Supreme Court should not have been part of the electoral process AT ALL.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ootycat ootycat

    The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections. No more distorting and divisive red and blue state maps. There would no longer be a handful of ‘battleground’ states where voters and policies are more important than those of the voters in 80% of the states that now are just ‘spectators’ and ignored after the conventions.

    When the bill is enacted by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes– enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538), all the electoral votes from the enacting states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC.

    The presidential election system 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, not mentioned, much less endorsed, in the Constitution.

    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. 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.

    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). Support for a national popular vote is strong among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group in virtually every state surveyed in recent polls in recent closely divided Battleground states: CO – 68%, FL – 78%, IA 75%, MI – 73%, MO – 70%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM– 76%, NC – 74%, OH – 70%, PA – 78%, VA – 74%, and WI – 71%; in Small states (3 to 5 electoral votes): AK – 70%, DC – 76%, DE – 75%, ID – 77%, ME – 77%, MT – 72%, NE 74%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM – 76%, OK – 81%, RI – 74%, SD – 71%, UT – 70%, VT – 75%, WV – 81%, and WY – 69%; in Southern and Border states: AR – 80%, KY- 80%, MS – 77%, MO – 70%, NC – 74%, OK – 81%, SC – 71%, TN – 83%, VA – 74%, and WV – 81%; and in other states polled: AZ – 67%, CA – 70%, CT – 74%, MA – 73%, MN – 75%, NY – 79%, OR – 76%, and WA – 77%. Americans believe that the candidate who receives the most votes should win.

    The bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers in 21 states. The bill has been enacted by 9 jurisdictions possessing 132 electoral votes – 49% of the 270 necessary to go into effect.

    NationalPopularVote

    Follow National Popular Vote on Facebook via NationalPopularVoteInc

  • http://www.facebook.com/ootycat ootycat

    There is nothing incompatible between differences in state election laws and the concept of a national popular vote for President.

    Under the current system, the electoral votes from all 50 states are comingled and simply added together, irrespective of the fact that the electoral-vote outcome from each state was affected by differences in state policies, including voter registration, ex-felon voting, hours of voting, amount and nature of advance voting, and voter identification requirements.

    Under both the current system and the National Popular Vote compact, all of the people of the United States are impacted by the different election policies of the states. Everyone in the United States is affected by the division of electoral votes generated by each state. The procedures governing presidential elections in a closely divided battleground state (e.g., Florida and Ohio) can affect, and indeed have affected, the ultimate outcome of national elections.

    The U.S. Constitution specifically permits diversity of election laws among the states because it explicitly gives the states control over the conduct of presidential elections (article II). The U.S. Constitution permit states to conduct elections in varied ways. The National Popular Vote compact is patterned directly after existing federal law and preserves state control of elections.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ootycat ootycat

    An analysis of the whole number proportional plan and congressional district systems of awarding electoral votes, evaluated the systems “on the basis of whether they promote majority rule, make elections more nationally competitive, reduce incentives for partisan machinations, and make all votes count equally. . . .

    Awarding electoral votes by a proportional or congressional district [used by Maine and Nebraska] method fails to promote majority rule, greater competitiveness or voter equality. Pursued at a state level, both reforms dramatically increase incentives for partisan machinations. If done nationally, the congressional district system has a sharp partisan tilt toward the Republican Party, while the whole number proportional system sharply increases the odds of no candidate getting the majority of electoral votes needed, leading to the selection of the president by the U.S. House of Representatives.

    For states seeking to exercise their responsibility under the U.S. Constitution to choose a method of allocating electoral votes that best serves their state’s interest and that of the national interest, both alternatives fall far short of the National Popular Vote plan . . .”

    FairVote

  • http://www.facebook.com/ootycat ootycat

    With National Popular Vote, big cities would not get all of candidates’ attention, much less control the outcome.

    The population of the top five cities (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and Philadelphia) is only 6% of the population of the United States and the population of the top 50 cities (going as far down as Arlington, TX) is only 15% of the population of the United States.

    Suburbs and exurbs often vote Republican.

    If big cities controlled the outcome of elections, the governors and U.S. Senators would be Democratic in virtually every state with a significant city.

    A nationwide presidential campaign, with every vote equal, would be run the way presidential candidates campaign to win the electoral votes of closely divided battleground states, such as Ohio and Florida, under the state-by-state winner-take-all methods. The big cities in those battleground states do not receive all the attention, much less control the outcome. Cleveland and Miami do not receive all the attention or control the outcome in Ohio and Florida.

    The itineraries of presidential candidates in battleground states (and their allocation of other campaign resources in battleground states) reflect the political reality that every gubernatorial or senatorial candidate knows. When and where every vote is equal, a campaign must be run everywhere.

    With National Popular Vote, when every vote is equal, everywhere, it makes sense for presidential candidates to try and elevate their votes where they are and aren’t so well liked. But, under the state-by-state winner-take-all laws, it makes no sense for a Democrat to try and do that in Vermont or Wyoming, or for a Republican to try it in Wyoming or Vermont.

    Even in California state-wide elections, candidates for governor or U.S. Senate don’t campaign just in Los Angeles and San Francisco, and those places don’t control the outcome (otherwise California wouldn’t have recently had Republican governors Reagan, Dukemejian, Wilson, and Schwarzenegger). A vote in rural Alpine county is just an important as a vote in Los Angeles. If Los Angeles cannot control statewide elections in California, it can hardly control a nationwide election.

    In fact, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, and Oakland together cannot control a statewide election in California.

    Similarly, Republicans dominate Texas politics without carrying big cities such as Dallas and Houston.

    There are numerous other examples of Republicans who won races for governor and U.S. Senator in other states that have big cities (e.g., New York, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts) without ever carrying the big cities of their respective states.

    Candidates would need to build a winning coalition across demographics. Candidates would have to appeal to a broad range of demographics, and perhaps even more so, because the election wouldn’t be capable of coming down to just one demographic, such as Wal-mart mom voters in Ohio.

  • dingojack

    Personally I prefer compulsory proportional voting.

    You have to go to the polls, but there’s no requirement for you to actually hand in a ballot.

    If you vote for candidate A, and they fail to win enough votes, then your vote goes to your second choice, and so on. (Oh and voters fill out the ballot armed only with a pencil, we’re clever that way).

    The voting places, counting, registering and etc. is handled by the Public Service.

    Rich, smart and powerful country like the US should be able to handle that (or do we have to send in election monitors to ensure it’s free and fair?)

    😉 Dingo

  • http://rationaldreaming.com tacitus

    To those who put forward rationalizations for keeping the EC, please answer this question:

    Why should one person’s vote count for more than another’s?

  • eric

    Lofgren:

    Switching to a straight popular vote would further disenfranchise any organization without a national reach, make mobilizing people outside of big cities almost pointless, and thus strongly encourage massive, national campaign apparatus that is fixated on sloganeering and further disengaged from (and uninterested in) actual issues.

    Huh, I thought it was the reverse. A national popular vote makes regionally popular candidates and extremist candidates more viable. The Rick Perry’s of the world no longer have to pick up Ohio swing voters, because bringing another ultraconservative Texan to the polling booth counts just as much. Right now, the Perrys of the world have to appeal to moderates in swing states because “extra” Texas conservatives don’t do anything for them. But under a national popular vote, you can viably go after that extra Texas conservative rather than appealing to a wider base.

  • lpetrich

    National Popular Vote — Electoral college reform by direct election of the President

    There’s getting to be a blue-state-red-state split, with the blue states tending to be much farther along than the red states.

  • markholcombe

    On today’s ballot in my district there are 10 Republican candidates running unopposed and 5 Democrat candidates running unopposed.