Is there a conservative case for National Popular Vote?

posted at 4:30 pm on August 15, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

A few days ago, I got an invitation from my friend Laura Brod to discuss the National Popular Vote initiative.  Laura served several terms in the Minnesota legislature, rising to assistant GOP leader in her last two sessions (majority, then minority), and she has organized and served conservatives for her entire public career.  Given that, I was a little surprised to hear that Laura backed the NPV.  The proposal gets a lot of mischaracterizations; it doesn’t bypass the Electoral College, for instance, and since it relies on states voluntarily deciding to change how they allocate their Electoral College votes, it doesn’t violate the Constitution, either.  My skepticism rests mainly on my perception that an NPV arrangement would mainly serve the interests of high-population, mainly coastal states — and solve a problem that has only arisen twice in the preceding 134 years.

After meeting with Laura and Pat Rosenstiel from Red Cap Strategy, I was still skeptical, but at least intrigued by their argument that NPV would benefit smaller-population states and limit the kind of pandering that helped create Medicare Part D, for instance, and other big-ticket federal programs.  Laura wrote a brief essay for Hot Air introducing their case that conservatives should support NPV, and I’m curious to see how Hot Air readers respond.  I’ll have more to say at the end of the essay.

======

Don’t Rush to Judgment: There is a Conservative Story to be told about the National Popular Vote

Recently there has been a lot of discussion in the news and blogosphere about the National Popular Vote Plan to guarantee the awarding of state electors to the candidate who wins the National Popular Vote in all 50 states.  Unfortunately, there seems to be a lot of misstatements and rhetoric surrounding the issue.

I have recently read, due to passing of the bill in Massachusetts, that this is a “partisan” or even “liberal” effort.  This could not be further from the truth.  Just look at the experience and support of this legislation throughout the country with over 1935 supporting legislators from all political points of view across the political spectrum. In my home state of Minnesota, some of the most conservative members of our legislature are co-authors of the National Popular Vote Bill.  In the recent New York Senate vote on the legislation; Conservative Party endorsed Republicans favored the bill by a 20-3 margin.

The National Popular Vote Bill is not a Democrat or Republican bill.  It is not even a liberal or conservative bill.  The National Popular Vote Bill is a bill for Americans interested in both preserving our Electoral College and reforming the shortcomings of our current “winner-take-all” system that awards all the electors of one state to the candidate who wins in that particular state and which has led to a concentration of efforts in few states at the expense of many.

Like many conservatives, I view most ‘election reforms’ through a skeptical eye.  I share a reverence for the Constitution and our founding documents. In fact, when I first saw the National Popular Vote Plan, I defaulted to a “No” position on the concept.  But, I was curious enough to read the legislation, re-read the Constitution, and re-read some relevant Federalist Papers.  After evaluating the pros and cons of the current winner-take-all approach, I moved toward a position of support of both the concept and the legislation.  This plan rightfully utilizes the states’ rights, as explicitly spelled out in the Constitution, for full authority to award their electoral votes as they see fit.

Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution says:

“Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors… “

These words in the Constitution point out an important states’ right that the National Popular Vote Plan recognizes and, as a conservative, a right which I support.

Let’s be clear.  The National Popular Vote legislation being voted on and supported by legislators across this great nation does NOT abolish the Electoral College that is crucial to the stability of our republic – it preserves the Electoral College and each state’s right to award their electors.

I am one of a growing number of conservatives who support the National Popular Vote legislation because, contrary to what some folks suggest in rhetorical opposition, the many conservative supporters of the idea know that the National Popular Vote Plan is not in conflict with the Constitution and not an end run around the Constitution.  In actuality, the legislation is an exercise of power by the states that is explicitly granted through the Constitution.

Legislators across this great country—in red states and blue states, large states and small states— support this legislation because they are bound by one thing: the fact that their states are ‘flyover’ states.  When 98% of all presidential campaign spending and visits occur in only 15 states, the great majority of states are effectively ignored in presidential elections.  Legislators know this is not good for their state, their citizens, or their entire slate of candidates.  Many conservative legislators from across the country have recognized that policies important to the citizens of ‘flyover’ states are not as highly prioritized as policies important to ‘battleground’ states when it comes to governing.  And, over time we have seen too much profligate spending based on what moves electoral votes, rather than a real focus on holding spending and debt in check to ensure economic security and real economic opportunity for Americans.

I believe this is a center-right country and that our conservative ideas and ideals will win the day if we take the argument to all people, not just those in battleground states.  We leave many conservative votes on the table in red and blue states because candidates are not competing for those votes.  We allow greater opportunity for fraud because the cheaters know how and where to cheat to make one illegal vote equal many electoral votes.

I am one of the growing number of conservatives who support the concept of reforming our system through an agreement of the states for a National Popular Vote Plan that keeps the stability of our Republican form of government by preserving our Electoral College, keeps the checks and balances in place to ensure the protection against so-called mob rule, and keeps the states’ rights intended by the Founder’s securely intact.

The National Popular vote plan being discussed by legislatures across the country does exactly that.

As a conservative, I ask you to hold off on making a rush to judgment on this issue and hope you will consider all sides of the issue, judge for yourself, and not allow the rhetoric of the opposition too often lacking in hard facts to stand without question.  Whatever side you come down on, one thing is certain; there is a conservative story in favor of a National Popular Vote to be told.

Representative Laura Brod (R-Minnesota)

Representative Brod has been in the Minnesota House since 2002 and is the Ranking Republican member of Minnesota’s House Tax Committee.

=====

Laura points out a good article from Rich Bolen, a Constitutional law scholar and a member of the Federalist Society, rebutting arguments against NPV, such as the basis of my skepticism, the impact on smaller states in presidential elections:

Objection: Won’t small states be ignored if we eliminate winner-take-all rules and adopt the National Popular Vote?

Response: No, because even in states that are reliably red or blue a bigger margin of victory or smaller margin of defeat can offset losses in other states. Candidates will work hard in states they will definitely win so they can get out more of their supporters to influence the total number of votes cast for them nationally. In fact, in strongly supportive states, candidates can get a better return for their campaign investment.

During our meeting, we spent quite a bit of time on this question, and I’m still not entirely convinced it will have the intended effect — but I’m more open to the point than I was previously.  States like Utah, South and North Dakota, and Oklahoma are usually so overwhelmingly Republican that candidates don’t bother spending much time or effort there; the same is true for Democratic states like Vermont, Connecticut, and so on.  Their winner-take-all EC policy means that if a candidate is more or less guaranteed to win it all without lifting a finger, then they won’t — because the margin of overall victory doesn’t matter.  In an NPV system, every vote would count, and both parties will be forced to compete in smaller states to either maximize or minimize the eventual margin of victory — and that means every state will get attention.

Also, the NPV system would only “activate” under specific circumstances.  If the popular vote winner doesn’t get the EC victory, then each state would have to fulfill their requirement under the interstate compact to allocate their EC votes to the popular-vote winner, and only if enough states have joined the compact to get to 270 votes.  (Interstate compacts are perfectly legal, by the way, when they involve only powers properly held by the states — and allocation of Electoral College votes is completely a state’s decision.)  But the possibility that an election will hinge on these outcomes will force candidates to campaign in all 50 states, NPV advocates argue.

I’m still at least somewhat skeptical.  Adopting NPV essentially means that all presidential elections are popular-vote contests, which does make the EC less relevant while retaining its form and Constitutional finality.  I’m not sure at all that the NPV will actually get candidates to spend time in smaller states, especially Democrats, who will use their GOTV votes in urban areas to build huge popular-vote leads in New York, California, and other coastal states in a cost-efficient manner that may not be replicable in exurbs or rural areas.  However, the NPV advocates rightly note that the current system means fewer down-ticket resources applied in those areas in both parties because of the perceived lack of need for those votes now in national elections.

It’s worth debating, but given the relative lack of crises in the last 134 years, it will probably be difficult to move states into accepting such a change.


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Either do away with the EC or leave it be – but don’t bastardize it in this fashion.

For the record – I have no problem with eliminating the EC and going with a national vote. However, we need to it the right way – with a Constitutional amendment.

HondaV65 on August 15, 2010 at 4:35 PM

I would prefer to stick with the Electoral College. I think it keeps all the states in play.

Cindy Munford on August 15, 2010 at 4:37 PM

no no no. If this passes you will have the rural citizens ruled by the cities. It is as simple as that. You see it going on in the UK with the outlawing of fox hunts, hunting etc. the cities have no idea what it means to live out of them. You do not want this.

unseen on August 15, 2010 at 4:37 PM

The EC helps to maintain the “idea” of a Republic.

tim c on August 15, 2010 at 4:37 PM

Notwithstanding the arguable fundamentals of this debate, bear in mind that if in effect in November, 2000, we would have had President Al Gore, September 11, 2001 and afterwards. [shudders]

churchill995 on August 15, 2010 at 4:44 PM

The reason the NPV plan is bad is not because it will benefit Democrats (although I suspect it will).

Rather it is bad for the very reason Ms. Brod is supporting it. It encourages candidates to run up the score in areas they already have a lot of support in instead of trying to win “battleground” states.

This completely misses the whole point of the Electoral College and the distribution of votes (which benefits small states, no ifs ands or buts- and this was deliberate to ensure small states were not ignored).

The entire purpose was to ensure that the President was a national figure who could appeal to wide sections of the nation, and prevent one region from electing a “favorite son” by giving him a large percentage of their vote.

The effect of the Electoral College and winner take all is that candidates do not continue to appeal to voters in a state that they have already won. Instead they try to appeal to voters in other states that they have not yet convinced. This is a good thing, not a bad one.

Each state his individual needs. Often these needs are in conflict with each other. A National Popular vote would make the supporting the larger state interest as the more attractive political position even more so than currently. The current system tends to encourage compromise and avoiding state favoritism by the President.

The National Popular Vote is entirely at odds with the intentions of the Founders. It may be legal and Constitutional. But it is not in keeping with the constraints on Presidential power, and the federalism that the Founding Fathers supported.

It is short sighted foolishness that focuses only on states that are already on either edge of the political spectrum and their desire to have even more influence over their respective parties then they do currently.

Sackett on August 15, 2010 at 4:44 PM

Really. Bad. Idea. Right now, libs only crank up the vote fraud in urban districts when they need it for a close statewide race. Make the Presidency hang on national popular vote and “voter turnout” in tens of thousands of precincts will skyrocket, thanks to Soros, son of ACORN, etc. etc. Before you know it EVERY park bench and vacant lot will have 500 registered voters, not just the ones in Ohio and other swing states.

BuzzCrutcher on August 15, 2010 at 4:45 PM

The problem is the winner take all system. Allocate electoral votes according to the percent won. That way every state is important and third party candidates are not completely marginalized.

Heck, if they want to get down to the nitty gritty of saying it’s constitutional, therefore not a problem, let’s go whole hog and say the second place finisher is automatically the Vice President?

ButterflyDragon on August 15, 2010 at 4:45 PM

I’d prefer term limits of six years for both houses of Congress and keep the EC…

d1carter on August 15, 2010 at 4:46 PM

SOROS and the Communists collective wet dream.

Hillary Klinton began this drumbeat during the 90′s.

lilspitfire on August 15, 2010 at 4:46 PM

Objection: Won’t small states be ignored if we eliminate winner-take-all rules and adopt the National Popular Vote?

Response: No, because even in states that are reliably red or blue a bigger margin of victory or smaller margin of defeat can offset losses in other states.

His response is completely unresponsive to the question. It tends to confirm the premise of the question. Candidates will get better returns from larger supportve states, not smaller.

exception on August 15, 2010 at 4:47 PM

FTA: Also, the NPV system would only “activate” under specific circumstances. If the popular vote winner doesn’t get the EC victory, then each state would have to fulfill their requirement under the interstate compact to allocate their EC votes to the popular-vote winner, and only if enough states have joined the compact to get to 270 votes.

The problem is, democratics would default on the compact if default favors the democratics in that particular election. Look at how they bent and twisted state law in Massachusetts to favor democratics in Senatorial succession and election.

Second, for decades democratics have built up cheating machines in the socialist inner cities. Thus far they only work the machine to the extent necessary to win that district or state. For example, the machine rarely has to shift into high gear in New York or California. Under a compact it will benefit democratics to pump vote totals anywhere that they can. Look for twice as many democratics voting in the inner cities than the census says live there.

slickwillie2001 on August 15, 2010 at 4:47 PM

The EC helps to maintain the “idea” illusion of a Republic.

tim c on August 15, 2010 at 4:37 PM

FIFY Tim.

gryphon202 on August 15, 2010 at 4:47 PM

I would prefer to stick with the Electoral College. I think it keeps all the states in play.

Cindy Munford on August 15, 2010 at 4:37 PM

Indeed.

Plus, masses are often not that smart. See 2007-08 for some of the most lasting idiocies and pain.

Schadenfreude on August 15, 2010 at 4:48 PM

A little more interesting history, going into the 2000 election, some members of the Gore team thought their best chance was an Electoral College win with a narrow popular vote loss…hypocrites. (Couldn’t even win his home state of Tennessee nor historically Democrat West Virginia, so there you go.)

churchill995 on August 15, 2010 at 4:49 PM

If the idea is so wonderful, why is the NPV movement taking it directly to the elected officials without even trying to get a majority of people behind it.

Therein lies your problem with it.

lorien1973 on August 15, 2010 at 4:50 PM

Aside form the monkeying with a system that has served well for over 200 years, my biggest objection to the NPV is that it would allocate electors based on the votes in other states and not by the votes of the people of the state. To me, this is what makes it unconstitutional – it would overturn the majority vote in its own state.

I live in Washington. In 2000, the electoral votes woudl have gone to Gore, but they did anyway. However, in 2004, all of Washington’s electoral votes would have been switched from Kerry to Bush, despite what the majority vote was in our state. This is wrong.

States can, and should, make up their own rules for allocating electors, but the process should be based on only the votes from within the state. Period.

SouthernRoots on August 15, 2010 at 4:50 PM

Adopting NPV essentially means that all presidential elections are popular-vote contests, which does make the EC less relevant while retaining its form and Constitutional finality.

So basically, this is a move towards democracy and away from the Republic. I’m with @tim c on this… too many conservatives have forgotten that democracy isn’t a good thing.

MeatHeadinCA on August 15, 2010 at 4:51 PM

Heck, if they want to get down to the nitty gritty of saying it’s constitutional, therefore not a problem, let’s go whole hog and say the second place finisher is automatically the Vice President?

ButterflyDragon on August 15, 2010 at 4:45 PM

Because that is unconstitutional.

exception on August 15, 2010 at 4:52 PM

I’d prefer term limits of six years for both houses of Congress and keep the EC…

d1carter on August 15, 2010 at 4:46 PM

+1

MeatHeadinCA on August 15, 2010 at 4:52 PM

Change brings unforeseen, unintended consequences. Don’t make changes until you have a VERY compelling reason to do so.

S. Weasel on August 15, 2010 at 4:53 PM

If the idea is so wonderful, why is the NPV movement taking it directly to the elected officials without even trying to get a majority of people behind it.

Therein lies your problem with it.

lorien1973 on August 15, 2010 at 4:50 PM

Yeah… kind of ironic huh?

MeatHeadinCA on August 15, 2010 at 4:53 PM

If the presidential elections ever got to be a pure popular vote contest, Wyoming and Montana would never see a presidential nominee ever again. Just in the travel time to get to Wyoming, a candidate could visit three New England states that are packed end to end with voters.

RBMN on August 15, 2010 at 4:53 PM

the process should be based on only the votes from within the state. Period.

SouthernRoots on August 15, 2010 at 4:50 PM

Quit being reasonable and logical.

/s

CWforFreedom on August 15, 2010 at 4:54 PM

No, no, and again NO!

The Electoral College is not what’s broken. Try to fix it and you’ll easily end up irreversibly turning voting into a politicalized American Idol.

Dark-Star on August 15, 2010 at 4:55 PM

No there is not a conservative case…
The constitution says so. To say otherwise is Political Class rhetoric.

mjbrooks3 on August 15, 2010 at 4:55 PM

If this passes it will be the death of federalism. the idea of states having any say in the federal government will end. It will be as bad if not worse then allowing senators to be elected by popular vote.

unseen on August 15, 2010 at 4:55 PM

To me, this is what makes it unconstitutional – it would overturn the majority vote in its own state.

SouthernRoots on August 15, 2010 at 4:50 PM

That can make it a bad idea, both in theory and practice, but it wouldn’t make it unconstitutional. The Constitution does not call for any kind of majority vote for president, or any popular vote at all.

exception on August 15, 2010 at 4:55 PM

I got an idea.

Let’s have a precedent that lets state legislatures ignore the will of its citizens when choosing electors for President.

That can only end well.

lorien1973 on August 15, 2010 at 4:56 PM

The arguments that “it wouldn’t be as bad as we think” or “it might even help our side” are still not legitimate reasons to screw around with a system that has worked for 200 years.

This sort of thing is only incrementally different from proposals that rely on a “living Constituion.”Essentially everyone that wants it does so for ulterior motives.

The Lone Platypus on August 15, 2010 at 4:58 PM

Also, can anyone make the argument that our founders would have philosophically agreed with a popular vote?

MeatHeadinCA on August 15, 2010 at 4:58 PM

That can only end well.

lorien1973 on August 15, 2010 at 4:56 PM

Just to make it more fun, they can do it by separate legislation in each state. Legislation that could possibly change at interesting times.

Although, the Constitution allows this.

exception on August 15, 2010 at 5:00 PM

The arguments that “it wouldn’t be as bad as we think” or “it might even help our side” are still not legitimate reasons to screw around with a system that has worked for 200 years.

The Lone Platypus on August 15, 2010 at 4:58 PM

Reminds me of the pro-amnesty conservatives…

MeatHeadinCA on August 15, 2010 at 5:00 PM

first of all the law limiting the number of representatives enacted in 1904 is the root of the prooblem. that law was passed by congress to limit the amount of representative at 435. the nation has tripled its population since then but each individual vote means less. this allows battleground states to be pretty much constant. with a different type of system to select represenatives the battleground states would be more fluid. You can add in a process to make each congressional district give their vote to the winner.

unseen on August 15, 2010 at 5:01 PM

The Electoral College process prevents a tyranny from taking hold of our government. Popular does not always equal good or right. Besides, when you shift to a popular vote, larger urban centers (read: tax recipients/non liability voters) will always carry the day for the tyrant who promises handouts. Once we lose the Electoral College, we can kiss our Republic and our representative form of government goodbye.

long_cat on August 15, 2010 at 5:01 PM

The big problem: the first time a blue state is forced to cast its electoral votes for a Republican, they will sue and sue and sue to reverse their commitment. No such protest will be tolerated from a red state forced to cast its votes for the Democrat.

Let’s make a deal: If they’ll repeal the 17th amendment (direct election of Senators), I’ll give them the NPV. That’d be a good trade for anyone who cares about the sovereignty of small states.

joe_doufu on August 15, 2010 at 5:01 PM

Reminds me of the pro-amnesty conservatives…

MeatHeadinCA on August 15, 2010 at 5:00 PM

How so?

Dark-Star on August 15, 2010 at 5:02 PM

To put it another way: I’m not interested in a solution to a problem that does not exist, especially when almost literally 98% of those in favor of such a solution are on the left.

The Lone Platypus on August 15, 2010 at 5:04 PM

NO.

There is NO CASE WHATSOEVER for a “national popular vote.”

Think about it for a minute: don’t you think that, over the test of time, this simple idea (one vote per person, add ‘em up and see who gets the most votes) hasn’t been tried?!

…and that, maybe – just maybethere’s a reason that the Founding Fathers chose a more “awkward/indirect” method [SEE other example: REPUBLIC versus DEMOCRACY] for us?!?

They SAW the weaknesses, they SAW the potential disasters, and intentionally structured our system properly for a civilized people…

…which we still are, right?!!?

Lockstein13 on August 15, 2010 at 5:04 PM

You’d think a Representative from Minnesota would understand the implications such a system would have for sparsely populated rural communities and their lifestyles.

warden on August 15, 2010 at 5:05 PM

Dark-Star you lack comprehension skill don’t you?

CWforFreedom on August 15, 2010 at 5:06 PM

The Electoral College process prevents a tyranny from taking hold of our government. Popular does not always equal good or right. Besides, when you shift to a popular vote, larger urban centers (read: tax recipients/non liability voters) will always carry the day for the tyrant who promises handouts. Once we lose the Electoral College, we can kiss our Republic and our representative form of government goodbye.

long_cat on August 15, 2010 at 5:01 PM

Same thing happens when the free press allow a candidate to run as three different people in different states which is what happened in 2008. Obama was able to be all things for all people so the states with different views and needs voted for him when in the “real world” with a “real press” Several of those states would not have voted for him.

unseen on August 15, 2010 at 5:06 PM

How did the EC results work out for us in 2008.

Maverick received 45% of the popular vote. He won 44% of the states, in terms of popular vote. The EC system awarded him 33% of the total vote. Hummmmmm…..

Oh yeah, let’s not make this a “Maverick sucks thread” …. that is old news and without dispute.

David in ATL on August 15, 2010 at 5:07 PM

The big problem: the first time a blue state is forced to cast its electoral votes for a Republican, they will sue and sue and sue to reverse their commitment.

joe_doufu on August 15, 2010 at 5:01 PM

Excellent point.

CWforFreedom on August 15, 2010 at 5:07 PM

50 states. 50 recount rules and triggers. 50 different ballots.

Yeah that’s gonna work out.

What are you smokin’ today, Ed?

lorien1973 on August 15, 2010 at 5:07 PM

How so?

Dark-Star on August 15, 2010 at 5:02 PM

I’ve heard many pro-Amnesty conservatives make arguments along the lines of “Well, it’s not so bad for us… in fact, we could get he Hispanic vote!” Well, that’s not exactly the point. The point (at least for me), is it right?

Now, I personally don’t believe our founders philosophically agreed with popular votes for Presidential elections. That’s not to say popular votes are unConstitutional … just perhaps wrong.

MeatHeadinCA on August 15, 2010 at 5:07 PM

Heck, if they want to get down to the nitty gritty of saying it’s constitutional, therefore not a problem, let’s go whole hog and say the second place finisher is automatically the Vice President?

ButterflyDragon on August 15, 2010 at 4:45 PM

We had to add the 12th amendment to stop that from happening.

AshleyTKing on August 15, 2010 at 5:08 PM

This would be a great opportunity to compromise. Sure we’ll allow you to have a National Popular Vote for the President of the United States, the one and only seat in government who’s sole purpose is to represent the nation as a whole.

IF, there is either a repeal of the 17th Amendment like joe_doufu said, or if the practice of Gerrymandering is eliminated by having districts cut up in perfect squares.

JoeBrooks on August 15, 2010 at 5:08 PM

I don’t care what color your map is, there is no sane reason to change the Presidential Election construct, esp the electoral college structure. Remember, 50% of Americans pay no taxes. The Dems will certainly figure out a way to get them to the polls.

A national popular vote is disasterous for our republic.

eaglesdontflock on August 15, 2010 at 5:08 PM

A popular vote election is fine and dandy if there are only 2 candidates. The framers of the Constitution assumed there will be multiple candidates and most elections will be decided by the Electoral College since it will be impossible for anyone to get even close to a majority of the popular vote. There have been enough times when a third party had a significant influence in an election (most recently Ross Perot) to keep the Electoral College as insurance against civil strife after a hotly contested election.

AaronGuzman on August 15, 2010 at 5:08 PM

Oh yeah, let’s not make this a “Maverick sucks thread” …. that is old news and without dispute.

David in ATL on August 15, 2010 at 5:07 P

M

Pssst- he still would not have won in your little fantasy.

CWforFreedom on August 15, 2010 at 5:08 PM

The electoral college is the only think keeping conservatives in elected office.

The school system will become even more leftist (yes, it is possible) and ensure themselves a majority forever.

portlandon on August 15, 2010 at 5:09 PM

think

Thing

portlandon on August 15, 2010 at 5:10 PM

50 states. 50 recount rules and triggers. 50 different ballots.

Yeah that’s gonna work out.

lorien1973 on August 15, 2010 at 5:07 PM

Don’t we have that now?

AshleyTKing on August 15, 2010 at 5:10 PM

To put it another way: I’m not interested in a solution to a problem that does not exist, especially when almost literally 98% of those in favor of such a solution are on the left.

The Lone Platypus

May as well close this thread. WE HAVE A WINNER!!!!

honsy on August 15, 2010 at 5:11 PM

Back to my voter fraud point – we would not only have to worry about increased fraud in dark blue states like New York and Mass, but also in dark blue areas of dark red states like TN, TX, MS, etc. There will never be enough Republicans to police every precinct, and it will be like playing whack-a-mole.

BuzzCrutcher on August 15, 2010 at 5:11 PM

Plus, masses are often not that smart. See 2007-08 for some of the most lasting idiocies and pain.

Schadenfreude on August 15, 2010 at 4:48 PM

+1000+

Personally, I never really grasped how smart our Founding Fathers were to institute the Electoral College, until that fateful day in November 2008. It’s like they KNEW this could and would happen and they laid the foundation to prevent it.

Let’s spend time repealing the death care bill and continue exposing the underground Progressive dream of the destruction of America. Leave the electoral college alone.

Key West Reader on August 15, 2010 at 5:12 PM

AshleyTKing on August 15, 2010 at 5:10 PM

Yeah, but each case of possible corruption is contained to within the state. NPV moves it national. Every vote wrongly counted counts for the entire sum.

lorien1973 on August 15, 2010 at 5:12 PM

The Electoral College process prevents a tyranny from taking hold of our government. Popular does not always equal good or right. Besides, when you shift to a popular vote, larger urban centers (read: tax recipients/non liability voters) will always carry the day for the tyrant who promises handouts. Once we lose the Electoral College, we can kiss our Republic and our representative form of government goodbye.

long_cat on August 15, 2010 at 5:01 PM

Exactly. Which is why our Founders were very careful to create the Electoral College. They knew without doubt the tyranny that would necessarily spring from the ‘popular vote.’

We are a Representative Republicnot a democracy. They wrote extensively on the subject.

lilspitfire on August 15, 2010 at 5:12 PM

As James Taranto noted; such a pact is only worth the paper it was wrote on. Imagine the national crisis that would erupt if a state opted out after the popular votes are cast but before the electors vote.

His scenario was that a state like Massachusetts or Rhode Island potentially breaking the pact if the election is close enough that their vote would put someone (Taranto used Sarah Palin as an example) the state went strongly against over the top.

That fight would make the Election 2000 debacle look like childsplay.

Techie on August 15, 2010 at 5:13 PM

MeatHeadinCA on August 15, 2010 at 5:07 PM

-Truly sad that you had to spoon feed the tard

CWforFreedom on August 15, 2010 at 5:13 PM

IF, there is either a repeal of the 17th Amendment like joe_doufu said, or if the practice of Gerrymandering is eliminated by having districts cut up in perfect squares.

JoeBrooks on August 15, 2010 at 5:08 PM

The point of the 17th amendment is to take away sovereignty of the states. As you know, the #1 way the federal government dominates the state is to (a) tax their citizens so much that there’s nothing left over for the state government, and (b) give that money back to the state governments but only if they promise to implement X, Y, and Z federal programs.

When Senators were elected by state legislatures, they would never never ever have voted for a plan like that. The 17th amendment was the end of federalism, and it cost us more than the NPV proposition ever could. That’s why I think it’s a fair trade!

I agree that gerry-mandering is a problem, but I don’t think it’s in the same ballpark.

joe_doufu on August 15, 2010 at 5:15 PM

Dark-Star you lack comprehension skill don’t you?

CWforFreedom on August 15, 2010 at 5:06 PM

Take a hike, wingnut pharisee. Like you understand everything the first time around.

MeatHeadinCA on August 15, 2010 at 5:07 PM

Thanks for clarifying.

50 states. 50 recount rules and triggers. 50 different ballots.

Yeah that’s gonna work out.

lorien1973 on August 15, 2010 at 5:07 PM

Ugh. Good point, didn’t think of that. “BOOOSH stole the election” multiplied 50x…no freaking thank you!

Dark-Star on August 15, 2010 at 5:15 PM

David in ATL on August 15, 2010 at 5:07 P

As Rush always says: You will know when you strike a nerve. The O’Bots are out of the sheep pen.

/It’s a good thing.

Key West Reader on August 15, 2010 at 5:15 PM

Don’t Rush to Judgment: There is a Conservative Story to be told about the National Popular Vote

Sure, and there is a fine and entertaining Uncle Remus story you should read that is instructive.

myrenovations on August 15, 2010 at 5:15 PM

-Truly sad that you had to spoon feed the tard

CWforFreedom on August 15, 2010 at 5:13 PM

Truly sad that you have nothing to add to the conversation but insults and rehashed wingnut talking points.

Dark-Star on August 15, 2010 at 5:16 PM

lilspitfire on August 15, 2010 at 5:12 PM

Yep.

Techie on August 15, 2010 at 5:13 PM

Yep.

Not only that. It’s a very short road from saying “the will of the people doesn’t matter if all the other states don’t agree” to saying “the will of the people doesn’t matter”

Shorter than you’d probably like to believe.

lorien1973 on August 15, 2010 at 5:16 PM

It sounds terrible in words, but what we should do is make Congress physically bigger. Ie. we need more than 435 Representatives. Increasing the number of districts would limit the benefits of gerrymandering too, I think.

Techie on August 15, 2010 at 5:18 PM

I am strongly for the winner-take-all Electoral College. I believe Madison used the template of the House of Commons: the PM is the one with a majority of seats (based on winner-take all races) in the Commons. Here it the seat is the state because we are a federation of states.

If states want to divide up their electoral votes, as some did in the past, fine. But keep the EC. It is a bulwark of federalism.

AshleyTKing on August 15, 2010 at 5:19 PM

Al Gore won 600 districts. George W. Bush won 2400. Al Gore won the popular vote. There isn’t anything else you need to know to consider whether NPV is good or not. If by winning 4/5th of the country you would still lose, there is a problem.

SnKArcbound on August 15, 2010 at 5:19 PM

What was the “conservative” part of her rationale?

The NPV might be strategic, pragmatic, or “progressive”. But, it is definitely not conservative.

Part of conservatism is only changing things when you have A) strong evidence that change is necessary, and B) strong evidence that your change won’t make things worse.

Does the NPV meet those criteria?

Also, the NPV is un-Constitutional.

The intent of the Constitution is that each individual State determines its individual Electors, based on the will of the voters in that State either directly or through their State representatives.

It is a political decision for each individual State.

Do you really think the Founders intended the State’s EC votes to be based on National votes? It’s absurd.

Then the State could allocate Electors based on the phase of the moon, if they wished. Again, absurd.

Now, Ed, since you said you would be interested in our opinion, I’m sure you will enter these comments to address the issues raised by We The Commenters.

mockmook on August 15, 2010 at 5:20 PM

My biggest concern with this movement is that you could end up with a situation where (in theory) an entire state could vote 100% either Dem or REP and all their electoral votes could go the opposite way the state voted, depending on the popular vote outcome. How is this giving the flyover states more contrl or meaning in the outcome?

Koa on August 15, 2010 at 5:21 PM

Truly sad that you have nothing to add to the conversation but insults and rehashed wingnut talking points.

Dark-Star on August 15, 2010 at 5:16 PM

What’s up with the attacks on respected posters? Did you have a nice healthy dose of jerkweed or something? Geeze oh Petes.

Key West Reader on August 15, 2010 at 5:21 PM

Dark-Star on August 15, 2010 at 5:15 PM

————————
Yeh what talking points? You just blast away with stupidity.

It was obvious what he meant. You are mentally deficient and a punk to boot. You add little other than pompous regurgitations of others’ thoughts. You are one of the biggest jokes here. Crr is worse. She is a ten on the idiot scale and you are two steps behind.

CWforFreedom on August 15, 2010 at 5:21 PM

Less federalism = less freedom.

Ted Torgerson on August 15, 2010 at 5:21 PM

I have one word for this ridiculous proposal ACORN. Unless conservative are in the vote manufacturing business, this proposal is suicide for freedom loving Americans.

milemarker2020 on August 15, 2010 at 5:21 PM

Why not just pass the bill so we can see what’s in it…?

Oh, wait!

Then there is this little issue that everyone has seemed to forget about:

“Furano cast multiple votes on the instructions of a federal judge and the U.S. Department of Justice as part of a new election system crafted to help boost Hispanic representation.”

Why not get the illegals, fraud, and corruption out of the voting process first…

… then see what happens.

Seven Percent Solution on August 15, 2010 at 5:22 PM

I believe this is a center-right country and that our conservative ideas and ideals will win the day if we take the argument to all people, not just those in battleground states.

Where’s Laura to campaign in Rangel’s district???????? Hearts and minds…

MeatHeadinCA on August 15, 2010 at 5:23 PM

The problem is population is not even, as few as 10 states could seal the deal.

1. California – 36,457,549
2. Texas – 23,507,783
3. New York – 19,306,183
4. Florida – 18,089,888
5. Illinois – 12,831,970
6. Pennsylvania – 12,440,621
7. Ohio – 11,478,006
8. Michigan – 10,095,643
9. Georgia – 9,363,941
10. North Carolina – 8,856,505
11. New Jersey – 8,724,560
12. Virginia – 7,642,884
13. Massachusetts – 6,437,193
14. Washington – 6,395,798
15. Indiana – 6,313,520

Let’s not set up the system to be overwhelmed. Soros then could literally buy an election easier than he has already.

tim c on August 15, 2010 at 5:23 PM

Try to fix it and you’ll easily end up irreversibly turning voting into a politicalized American Idol.

Dark-Star on August 15, 2010 at 4:55 PM

Wow. That was deep. Thanks for sharing. Now go back and watch Tv

CWforFreedom on August 15, 2010 at 5:23 PM

Yeah, but each case of possible corruption is contained to within the state. NPV moves it national. Every vote wrongly counted counts for the entire sum.

lorien1973 on August 15, 2010 at 5:12 PM

Good point.

AshleyTKing on August 15, 2010 at 5:24 PM

Part of conservatism is only changing things when you have A) strong evidence that change is necessary, and B) strong evidence that your change won’t make things worse.

mockmook on August 15, 2010 at 5:20 PM

Yes, that is the fundemental convervative perspective, and this idea clearly fails that test.

It could possiblly yield candidates with broader national relevence, or a civil war.

exception on August 15, 2010 at 5:25 PM

Question – if you were absolutely positive that switching to this system wouldn’t see them outflanked and outvoted by the opposition in short order, would you still support it?

Dark-Star on August 15, 2010 at 5:25 PM

How is this giving the flyover states more contrl or meaning in the outcome?

Koa on August 15, 2010 at 5:21 PM

Because if you get all 600,000 people in WY to vote for you, it’ll balance out a city like NYC. Or something.

That’ll somehow make WY more viable to campaign in. I guess.

Ed is blind here. NPV goes national and maybe 20 cities will ever be visited by a candidate. Why would you go outside those areas? And thus, winners are determined by who hands them the most money.

NPV actively suppresses small town/state vote by magnifying the importance of large cities/states.

lorien1973 on August 15, 2010 at 5:25 PM

Ed, in this quote you posted:

Objection: Won’t small states be ignored if we eliminate winner-take-all rules and adopt the National Popular Vote?

Response: No, because even in states that are reliably red or blue a bigger margin of victory or smaller margin of defeat can offset losses in other states. Candidates will work hard in states they will definitely win so they can get out more of their supporters to influence the total number of votes cast for them nationally. In fact, in strongly supportive states, candidates can get a better return for their campaign investment.

it doesn’t really seem as though the response is answering the concern of the objection. Because it still behooves the candidate to focus on high population areas/states, especially those that greatly support you. This would almost ensure that all “red” money is spent in Texas, North Florida, and the like, while all “blue” money is spent in NY, CA, etc. The cost/benefit of a Republican candidate turning out strong in NJ is not worth the effort, and he/she will probably just say, “I’ll just make up the deficit by campaigning harder in Texas.” This would still isolate the candidates within dense population centers, while adding the aspect of Red vs Blue. In fact the galvanizing effect of such a scheme in terms of Red state vs. Blue state would be permanent: one candidate would only campaign in heavily populated states/locales that already lean his way, and the other candidate would only campaign in heavily populated states that already leaned his way. That means that most policy initiatives that each candidate put forward for discussion would only address the concerns of those areas that he’d already win, in order to score bigger in voter turnout. If one candidate polls well in CA, he’s hardly going to advance a policy on energy that’s going to appeal to the oil and natural gas industry. The debates would become just as futile, because each wouldn’t be playing for the whole country, just those areas in which they can score the most points in order to make up for the deficit created by not “pandering” to the areas his competitor is strong in. This still doesn’t seem like a good idea.

Weight of Glory on August 15, 2010 at 5:25 PM

A
C
O
R
N

Key West Reader on August 15, 2010 at 5:25 PM

as few as 10 states could seal the deal.

tim c on August 15, 2010 at 5:23 PM

It’s not even 10 states. It’s something like 17 cities (metro areas) can get you a majority vote.

lorien1973 on August 15, 2010 at 5:26 PM

he arguments that “it wouldn’t be as bad as we think” or “it might even help our side” are still not legitimate reasons to screw around with a system that has worked for 200 years.

The Lone Platypus on August 15, 2010 at 4:58 PM

Reminds me of the pro-amnesty conservatives…

MeatHeadinCA on August 15, 2010 at 5:00 PM

The obviousness could only be lost on an obtuse tard.

CWforFreedom on August 15, 2010 at 5:26 PM

The reason lefties want this is they’re concentrated into a handful of high population states. This seems like a big mistake for Republican voters.

Dark Eden on August 15, 2010 at 5:26 PM

Now go back and watch Tv

CWforFreedom on August 15, 2010 at 5:23 PM

1. I don’t watch TV. Content is 99% garbage, .5% reruns, .5% worth watching.

2. Come and make me, Walter Wingnut Mitty.

Dark-Star on August 15, 2010 at 5:26 PM

Question – if you were absolutely positive that switching to this system wouldn’t see them outflanked and outvoted by the opposition in short order, would you still support it?

Dark-Star on August 15, 2010 at 5:25 PM

Could you clarify? Support what? The EC or popular vote?

MeatHeadinCA on August 15, 2010 at 5:27 PM

50 states. 50 recount rules and triggers. 50 different ballots.


Indeed. And what about the money? In ’08, the candidates spent over $1 billion, and that was with them skipping states that were in the bag. Imagine the additional campaign costs of running hard in every state. Oy.

Additionally, in case no one has noticed, we’re broke. SS & Medicare are unsustainable, our debt has surpassed $12 trillion, 14.6 million Americans are out of work…and we’re going to spend time and effort fixing something that isn’t broken? Focus people, focus!

rcpjr on August 15, 2010 at 5:28 PM

Weight of Glory on August 15, 2010 at 5:25 PM

It’s so simple, Ed is missing it.

Who is going to win this election?

Candidate A spends all his money in 20 metro areas, building up a huge vote lead.

Candidate B spends all his money everywhere else in the country.

A is gonna win 99% of the time. That’s reality.

lorien1973 on August 15, 2010 at 5:28 PM

If you really want to make all states ‘important’, then make the EC vote a proportional one. That is, if MA really wants to be democratic, have their EC votes split per their voters votes. Not per the votes of every other voter in the country.

This way even the bluest/reddest state would be worth fighting for.

Phoenician on August 15, 2010 at 5:28 PM

It’s something like 17 cities (democrat hegemony hellholes) can get you a majority vote.

lorien1973 on August 15, 2010 at 5:26 PM

dfadaf

Inanemergencydial on August 15, 2010 at 5:28 PM

Could you clarify? Support what? The EC or popular vote?

MeatHeadinCA on August 15, 2010 at 5:27 PM

Popular vote.

The majority of the objections seem to me that switching to that system will be a disaster due to current voting patterns. And they’re right; the liberal cities would rapidly monopolize the voting scene.

But what if that weren’t the case?

Dark-Star on August 15, 2010 at 5:29 PM

lorien1973 on August 15, 2010 at 5:25 PM

I think my point still stands that those 600,000 WY votes would mean nothing if the national popular vote went the other way and all of WY electoral votes went with the popular rather than the states vote.

Koa on August 15, 2010 at 5:29 PM

Question – if you were absolutely positive that switching to this system wouldn’t see them outflanked and outvoted by the opposition in short order, would you still support it?

Dark-Star on August 15, 2010 at 5:25 PM

America is not about to “switch” to any system so get that through your head and take it all the way to the top of your White House. Nice trial balloon.

Our Constitution, Our Nation, Our Founders and Our People are under attack by ravenous wolves wearing progressive coats of kitty cat fur.

Don’t underestimate the Power and Resolve of We The People.

Now is not the time for you to throw some half baked monkey wrench into our way. Be aware of this: We are many, we are strong, we are focused, we are determined. The Progressive Movement will not only be defeated, it will be delivered a death blow in November.

Now…. Scurry back under that rock that you crawled out of and stop making us taunt you.

Key West Reader on August 15, 2010 at 5:30 PM

Dark -Star

How so?

American Idol

hahahaaha

CWforFreedom on August 15, 2010 at 5:30 PM

Is there a conservative case for National Popular Vote?

None at all. It would violate the agreement made at the founding of the United States of America between the large and small population states. The electoral vote is based on one vote for each senator (states equal) and one vote for each representative (by population). If the electoral vote was done away with, so should be the senate. Could a “conservative” case be made for that?

Tav on August 15, 2010 at 5:31 PM

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