T Nation

National Popular Vote Compact

Rhode Island has become the 10th state/district to pass the National Popular Vote Bill, which guarantees their state electoral college votes to the national popular vote winner. With RI, the movement is over halfway to the mandated 270 electoral votes required to make the bill go into effect (i.e. if states representing 270 electoral votes don’t sign on, no states will be on the hook to institute it).

From their website, the goal is to give a voice to every person in every state, and not just the swing states in Presidential elections. It would give Republicans a meaningful vote in blue California, which inexplicably Maximus does not want, and that last Democrat who is not already thrown in the gallows a vote in Texas.

I’m surprised there hasn’t been any discussion that I could find on this.

Thoughts?

[quote]VTBalla34 wrote:
Rhode Island has become the 10th state/district to pass the National Popular Vote Bill, which guarantees their state electoral college votes to the national popular vote winner. With RI, the movement is over halfway to the mandated 270 electoral votes required to make the bill go into effect (i.e. if states representing 270 electoral votes don’t sign on, no states will be on the hook to institute it).

From their website, the goal is to give a voice to every person in every state, and not just the swing states in Presidential elections. It would give Republicans a meaningful vote in blue California, which inexplicably Maximus does not want, and that last Democrat who is not already thrown in the gallows a vote in Texas.

I’m surprised there hasn’t been any discussion that I could find on this.

Thoughts?

http://www.nationalpopularvote.com/index.php[/quote]

So basically Americans voices would be more heard by their direct vote then electorals? Would this also give Americans the right to vote on issues?

[quote]thehebrewhero wrote:

So basically Americans voices would be more heard by their direct vote then electorals? Would this also give Americans the right to vote on issues?[/quote]

I think this particular movement is just for electing the President. I did not see anything about national referendums.

I don’t particularly care for it.

Mainly because it makes high density population areas the major targets.

Two problems with this:

  1. Ground game becomes paramount to winning elections, and this is exponentially easier to exploit in urban areas.

  2. policy will begin to shift to favor cities, and only major ones at that over time.

This will give less representation to the people who live in the sticks…

That, and there is a specific reason the country was set up a republic and not a democracy.

So instead of throwing all of the votes in the state to the majority side, they will actually count similar to the way they were cast?

[quote]SkyzykS wrote:
So instead of throwing all of the votes in the state to the majority side, they will actually count similar to the way they were cast?
[/quote]

Not exactly. They will still ALL be thrown to one side or the other, but in accordance with the NATIONAL popular vote, as opposed to the current STATEWIDE popular vote.

The final nail in the founding fathers’ United States of America’s coffin.

[quote]countingbeans wrote:
I don’t particularly care for it.

Mainly because it makes high density population areas the major targets.

Two problems with this:

  1. Ground game becomes paramount to winning elections, and this is exponentially easier to exploit in urban areas.

  2. policy will begin to shift to favor cities, and only major ones at that over time.

This will give less representation to the people who live in the sticks…[/quote]

I’m going to do the multi-part quote/response thing here, which I hate. But it was hard for me to discuss both in a single thought.

But for the above, isn’t a particular area (a swing state) already disproportionately targeted, leaving millions out in the cold? In the last election, Obama campaigned heavily in 8 states, Romney in 10. That left 40 states with populations I’m sure in the hundreds of millions without a “real” voice in the election of our Commander in Chief.

I would also submit that those people living out in the sticks are already neglected, even with the winner take all system. If a candidate has to win Virginia for instance, he isn’t going to bother with the paltry population of Appalachia and the Blue Ridge. He is going to hammer the shit out of populous Northern Virginia, Richmond, the Hampton Roads areas, and university towns.

I do not see a change at all in that regard since those areas already make up a disproportionate (square mile speaking) of the campaigning and the electorate. That is just a reality of how population centers work.

[quote]
That, and there is a specific reason the country was set up a republic and not a democracy. [/quote]

You lost me here and I’m going to have to request clarification, since the power to elect the President is given constitutionally to the states to elect in whatever manner they deem appropriate. There is nothing at all in the Constitution, derived or otherwise that I am aware, governing how states allocate their votes.

[quote]NickViar wrote:
The final nail in the founding fathers’ United States of America’s coffin.[/quote]

Keen insight, but please 'splain. If the founding fathers had wanted a winner take all system at the state level, why wouldn’t they have put that in the constitution? You are a states rights guy, right?

[quote]VTBalla34 wrote:

But for the above, isn’t a particular area (a swing state) already disproportionately targeted, leaving millions out in the cold? In the last election, Obama campaigned heavily in 8 states, Romney in 10. That left 40 states with populations I’m sure in the hundreds of millions without a “real” voice in the election of our Commander in Chief. [/quote]

Sure it is disproportionate, I’m not sure we’d really be able to solve that. The difference this would make isn’t going to change micro targeting much, just who is targeted.

I am sort of conflating/extrapolating a bit too.

I like the electoral college, as flawed as it is, over a popular vote winning an election. It gives each state a chance to be heard. If a particular state is always red or always blue, that is kinda on them… If they want a candidate to swing by, they need to diversify their state a bit. (But if you look at the election map based on county, it is the major urban centers that are blue and the sprawl that is red, so my fears already happen to a degree, lol)

Yeah, you’re not wrong. Like I said above, a quick look at the election map by county shows it is the major population centers that swing anything blue anyway.

[quote]

You lost me here and you’re gonna have to 'splain yourself, since the power to elect the President is given constitutionally to the states to elect in whatever manner they deem appropriate. There is nothing at all in the Constitution, derived or otherwise that I am aware, governing how states allocate their votes. [/quote]

That was in response to the “voting on issues” question. If a state does it, it is one thing, but federally, there is a reason we weren’t set up to do that from the get.

[quote]VTBalla34 wrote:

[quote]NickViar wrote:
The final nail in the founding fathers’ United States of America’s coffin.[/quote]

Keen insight, but please 'splain. If the founding fathers had wanted a winner take all system at the state level, why wouldn’t they have put that in the constitution? You are a states rights guy, right?[/quote]

They couldn’t imagine every possible scenario. If they had wanted a national popular vote to determine the presidency, I imagine they would have put that in the Constitution. I can’t imagine they dreamed up the electoral college for no reason, or merely as a formality. The founding fathers feared democracy.

You also have to remember that the people of the time viewed themselves as citizens of their state. States are now viewed merely as geographical locations.

I’m an individual rights guy.

[quote]NickViar wrote:

[quote]VTBalla34 wrote:

[quote]NickViar wrote:
The final nail in the founding fathers’ United States of America’s coffin.[/quote]

Keen insight, but please 'splain. If the founding fathers had wanted a winner take all system at the state level, why wouldn’t they have put that in the constitution? You are a states rights guy, right?[/quote]

They couldn’t imagine every possible scenario. If they had wanted a national popular vote to determine the presidency, I imagine they would have put that in the Constitution. I can’t imagine they dreamed up the electoral college for no reason. The founding fathers feared democracy.

I’m an individual rights guy.[/quote]

As an individual rights guy, I am surprised to hear you do not want your individual vote to really matter.

How does this impact the electoral college? That system is still in place.

[quote]countingbeans wrote:

I like the electoral college, as flawed as it is, over a popular vote winning an election. It gives each state a chance to be heard. [/quote]

This does nothing to change the electoral college. It is only an agreement by the states on how they will allocate their representatives to the electoral college, which they already do (Nebraska nor Maine follow the “winner take all” convention adopted by nearly all states at the state level).

What if a candidate wins the popular vote by plurality, but the 2nd and 3rd place popular vote winners are ideologically closer and together took a majority? If enough states to make 270 electoral votes pass the compact, does the compact bind them to give all electoral votes to the plurality winner even in this case?

I understand that the plurality winner is most likely the electoral vote winner anyway under the current system. But in some cases under the current system the electoral votes could end up split, and a congress that might be roughly representative of the popular distribution of ideological tendencies might choose the 2nd place winner, who would have gotten the majority of votes in a hypothetical run-off.

The other thing is, this is probably a step in the wrong direction anyway. A step in the right direction would probably be to have the president chosen by an electoral college made up of electors who are elected by voters based on their knowledge of the electors’ positions and judgement, rather than based on direct popular consideration of the presidential candidates themselves. But I am not sure how that would be do-able without trampling on freedom of speech or freedom of association in some (bad) manner.

Come to think of it, the following would require a Constitutional amendment or two, but this is what I think might be a good system:

  1. Direct popular election to the lower house of congress, with a larger number of smaller districts than is presently the case.

  2. Election of US senators by the lower house of each state legislature.

  3. Election of the president by the upper house of each state legislature, or by electors chosen by the state legislature in states with unicameral legislatures, with the votes for each state weighted in accordance with the current system of electoral college votes.

#3 would have the US president elected mostly by persons who were themselves elected to do some important job other than just elect the US president. I think that would tend to reduce or eliminate direct mass campaigning for US president, without interfering with freedom of speech or freedom of association.

My biggest problem with the legislation, although I support its overall goal, is that since I don’t live in a REAL swing state is that I am mostly spared from constant campaigning and bombardment by these bozos. I don’t think I could take 8 months or whatever it is now of constant mud-slinging and “truth misrepresentin’” (hell that’s why I come to T-Nation).

If they made a compact to elect via popular vote AND limit campaigning period to 2-3 months, and banned television adverts, I would fall over myself running to the polls to vote it in…

[quote]undoredo wrote:
What if a candidate wins the popular vote by plurality, but the 2nd and 3rd place popular vote winners are ideologically closer and together took a majority? If enough states to make 270 electoral votes pass the compact, does the compact bind them to give all electoral votes to the plurality winner even in this case?[/quote]

I imagine that answer is yes. The popular vote winner is pretty unambiguous, and says nothing about it being a majority. I’m sure that information is located somewhere on their website though. Good question.

[quote]
A step in the right direction would probably be to have the president chosen by an electoral college made up of electors who are elected by voters based on their knowledge of the electors’ positions and judgement, rather than based on direct popular consideration of the presidential candidates themselves. But I am not sure how that would be do-able without trampling on freedom of speech or freedom of association in some (bad) manner.

Come to think of it, the following would require a Constitutional amendment or two, but this is what I think might be a good system:

  1. Direct popular election to the lower house of congress, with a larger number of smaller districts than is presently the case.

  2. Election of US senators by the lower house of each state legislature.

  3. Election of the president by the upper house of each state legislature, or by electors chosen by the state legislature in states with unicameral legislatures, with the votes for each state weighted in accordance with the current system of electoral college votes.

#3 would have the US president elected mostly by persons who were themselves elected to do some important job other than just elect the US president. I think that would tend to reduce or eliminate direct mass campaigning for US president, without interfering with freedom of speech or freedom of association.[/quote]

The majority of that post scrambled my brain, but as I understand it, #3 could already be a legitimate method of allocating the electoral college votes. There is nothing that says the popular vote has to be taken into consideration at the state level, so a state could decide to select their electors for the Pres and VP based on any of the houses of government’s choice in that state. This is actually how the majority of representatives to the electoral college was chosen in the first part of our country’s history, before the popular-vote-winner-take-all convention!!!

[quote]VTBalla34 wrote:

[quote]countingbeans wrote:

I like the electoral college, as flawed as it is, over a popular vote winning an election. It gives each state a chance to be heard. [/quote]

This does nothing to change the electoral college. It is only an agreement by the states on how they will allocate their representatives to the electoral college, which they already do (Nebraska nor Maine follow the “winner take all” convention adopted by nearly all states at the state level).

[/quote]

Yeah, I was conflating.

I think Nebraska and Maine do it right. Well “right-er” than say Texas and CA.

I’d like to see states split their electoral votes based on popular votes in their state. 51% of Texas votes red, well the Republican gets 51% of Texas’ electoral votes, and the rest go to the Dem… Or they could do it by county/region. Whatever it may be, it is better than winner take all.

hmmm. I wonder if that type of split would help a 3rd party? Which means it will never happen, lol.

[quote]undoredo wrote:

#3 would have the US president elected mostly by persons who were themselves elected to do some important job other than just elect the US president. I think that would tend to reduce or eliminate direct mass campaigning for US president, without interfering with freedom of speech or freedom of association.[/quote]

I think this leaves the door open for a dictator more so than we have now, no?

[quote]VTBalla34 wrote:

[quote]NickViar wrote:

[quote]VTBalla34 wrote:

[quote]NickViar wrote:
The final nail in the founding fathers’ United States of America’s coffin.[/quote]

Keen insight, but please 'splain. If the founding fathers had wanted a winner take all system at the state level, why wouldn’t they have put that in the constitution? You are a states rights guy, right?[/quote]

They couldn’t imagine every possible scenario. If they had wanted a national popular vote to determine the presidency, I imagine they would have put that in the Constitution. I can’t imagine they dreamed up the electoral college for no reason. The founding fathers feared democracy.

I’m an individual rights guy.[/quote]

As an individual rights guy, I am surprised to hear you do not want your individual vote to really matter.

How does this impact the electoral college? That system is still in place.
[/quote]

The electoral college is just a formality when a state’s votes go toward the winner of the national election.

My individual vote does not count substantially more or less regardless. I oppose a popular vote being able to limit individual rights. This system will just help further convince America’s ignorant that anything the government does is just…because now their vote will “really matter.”

[quote]VTBalla34 wrote:

The majority of that post scrambled my brain, but as I understand it, #3 could already be a legitimate method of allocating the electoral college votes. There is nothing that says the popular vote has to be taken into consideration at the state level, so a state could decide to select their electors for the Pres and VP based on any of the houses of government’s choice in that state. This is actually how the majority of representatives to the electoral college was chosen in the first part of our country’s history, before the popular-vote-winner-take-all convention!!![/quote]

That sort of freaks me out in today’s world. Not that money wasn’t power back then to, but it is exponentially easier to collude now than then.

And I feel like the general population is so stuck in a partisan rut we are better off picking between the left and right hand of the same general party, than we would openly giving the power of choosing the most powerful man in the world to a group of what, couple hundred people?