One of the biggest complaints among supporters of Hillary Clinton regarding the fact that she lost the election is that… she lost the election. That probably sounds a bit oversimplified, but in the end it’s what it comes down to. And absent any other monster under the bed to pin the blame on, plenty of Democrats remain angry about the electoral college. If it weren’t for that pesky old constitution, as the “logic” goes, she could have racked up all those votes in California and New York, sailing to a comfortable victory. With that in mind, some have been seeking creative ways to get around the EC without all the muss and fuss of amending the founding documents.
But why should they bother? To listen to the folks at Salon (yes, I know… I know.. but bear with me) the battle is very nearly over. This is demonstrated in their hopeful sounding article, “Why doesn’t anyone know we’re incredibly close to replacing the Electoral College with the popular vote?”
The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact would only take effect when a sufficient number of states sign on such that their combined electoral votes constitute the magic 270 we’ve always needed to elect a president.
So far 165 electoral votes from 11 states have been secured. Of the remaining 105 required, 82 are seriously in play, having passed at least one legislative chamber in 10 states. Optimistically, we’re 23 new electoral votes away from ridding ourselves of the Electoral College. It’s something that could be managed through strategically pressuring a handful of state representatives.
For any cynic who thinks the people can’t course-correct our own disenfranchisement, this is about as feasible as it gets.
Yes, they’re talking about the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. Most of you have probably heard of it, but if not you can read about it at the link. The short version is that they’re looking to set a binding agreement between a sufficient number of states who would all agree to ignore the results of their own state elections and award all of their electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote. If they can reach the magic number of 270 the race is over.
And to listen to their description, we’re on the verge of making that a reality. So, to go back to the title of the Salon article, why doesn’t anyone know this is about to happen? As Steven Taylor at Outside the Beltway explains, it’s because… it’s not about to happen.
Answer: because we aren’t close at all, that’s why…
Currently the NPV has been approved by 11 states accounting for 165 EVs. And while it is true that it has passed one chamber in a number of other states, that doesn’t mean anything at all, since in almost all of those cases at least one election has taken place since passage, so the reset button in those states has been pushed. The odds of getting this passed in enough states to guarantee 270 EVs are low, in my opinion.
Optimistically is not the right word here, delusional is, since really all 105 are still in play. The fact that, for example, the measure passed one chamber in North Carolina in 2007 is not indicative of being on the cusp of success (many of the passages noted here are at least half a decade old).
Steven’s entire article is worth a read because he has all of the explanations as to why this crazy sounding idea is even constitutionally possible in the first place. (Amazingly enough, it is.) But it’s mostly just the deep blue states who have not only already signed on in the past, but are also likely to carry through with it tomorrow if they had enough partners in the venture. Frankly, it’s just not going to happen.
And it shouldn’t happen even if they had the support for it. It’s technically legal through a sort of back door approach, but it still subverts the entire concept of equality among the states which the Founders built into the machinery when they launched this grand experiment. What this really turns out to be is a case of crying over spilled milk, sour grapes or whatever you’d like to call it. Rather than trying to win the debates in more states inland from the major liberal enclaves on the coasts, the Democrats would like to change the rules mid-game and simply declare themselves the winners.
Good luck with that. By which I mean, I wish you absolutely no luck whatsoever.