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Barack Obama faced a record amount of campaign spending against him and an 8% unemployment rate, yet he managed to win reelection in a landslide, capturing 62% of the electoral vote. However, Obama won the popular vote by only 4 percentage points. This is because Democrats have a built-in advantage in the Electoral College.

An already large disadvantage is getting larger for Republicans as they face demographic apocalypse, with old white voters being replaced by young minority voters. As Hispanic populations grow, perennial swing states like Nevada, Colorado, and Virginia are becoming solidly blue states. And once Texas, Arizona, and Georgia go blue in 2020 and beyond, the GOP will be perpetually shutout of the presidency (barring some kind of massive sea change in voting patterns).

It's no secret that Republicans have long been planning to rig the electoral vote in blue states that they currently control like Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin. If you're unfamiliar with the idea, there are two variations on the same plan:

The first idea is to apportion electoral votes by Congressional district, which would've granted Romney more electoral votes in PA, MI, and WI than Obama, even though Obama won all those states by over six points. This idea has lost traction, mostly because it's so fucking absurd that it would only serve to provide a much-needed civics lesson to the country's low-information voters on gerrymandering, and Republicans sure as hell don't want voters understanding why they control the House right now.

The second idea, which I expect to see return soon, is to replace the winner-take-all system with a system that apportions electoral votes by percentage of the total vote. So instead of getting all of Pennsylvania's electoral votes, Obama would have gotten 11 and Romney would have gotten 9 because Obama won 52% and Romney 46%. This could actually be a somewhat reasonable system if every state used it, but of course Republicans in Texas and Mississippi aren't turning over nearly half of their electoral votes to Democrats, so it's an obvious sham to rig the game.

In all the states where it was attempted in 2013, Republicans ended up tabling the bills. A lot of people think that these vote-rigging bills died because Republican governors like Synder and McDonnell stopped them. But these Governors stopped the bills only out of self-preservation. McDonnell had obvious Presidential aspirations (not anymore obviously) and Synder needed to get reelected a year later. The backlash of rigging electoral votes would likely make these GOP Governors unelectable in their own state.

But what happens in a lame duck session? Corbett is almost certainly going to lose in November, and with huge majorities in the legislature and nothing to lose, he could easily ram it through before he leaves office. Same thing could happen in Michigan or Wisconsin, or even Florida, where the writing is on the wall in terms of their demographic disaster there. I could easily see Rick Scott granting one final "fuck you" to Florida voters and granting half of Florida's 29 votes to the GOP.

If you think this can't or won't happen, think again. There are three reasons it will likely happen:

1) Republicans have the votes to pass these bills. If state legislators are brazen enough to pass rape-insurance laws or blatantly racist cuts to early voting, they won't think twice about rigging votes.  
2) Legal challenges would likely fail, as states have the right to decide how they award their own electoral votes. After all, Maine and Nebraska don't have winner-take-all systems, and Obama even campaigned in and won one of Nebraska's electoral districts in 2008.
3) The media will report "both sides" like good little stenographers, and RYNZ PREEBUS will be on the TeeVee explaining how this system is just "more fair" and "allows the voters of these states to have their votes counted" or some kind bullshit like that. As usual, the public who is outraged by manufactured IRS scandals will mostly ignore electoral vote rigging, because the media is horrible and people like David Gregory exist.

Since the media won't do their job, Democrats need a plan to combat this assault on the electorate... I have that plan. Are you ready? Repeat after me...

National. Popular. Vote.

A National Popular Vote nullifies all this electoral vote rigging bullshit. There was some push for a National Popular Vote after Bush v Gore, but it seems to have died. Let's be real: the Electoral College doesn't make any sense anymore. The President represents all of us. We should each be given an equal say as to who he/she is.

Besides being the most democratic way to elect a President, the National Popular Vote has the added benefit of driving up voter turnout throughout the country in non-swing states. And we all know what happens when voter participation goes up? Democrats win.

How many left-leaning voters in red states don't bother to vote because they know their vote won't matter? Millions. And higher turnout not only helps us at the Presidential level, but also helps drive up votes at the Congressional level.

Democrats shouldn't wait for Republicans to start rigging the electoral college. Obama, Hillary, and all the other party leaders need to start championing the National Popular Vote on a regular basis, and frame it as a fairness issue. It's not fair that Ohio and Virginia get 20 visits a piece from POTUS candidates while Mississippi and Vermont get zero. It's not fair that a Republican's Presidential vote in California or a Democrat's vote in Oklahoma are totally worthless.

Republicans are always going to disrespect voters. That's a given at this point. But the National Popular Vote is one sure-fire way to stop them, while also boosting overall voter turnout, which is good for the country.

9:11 AM PT: UPDATE:

A lot of commenters are expressing fears that because many states don't have recount laws, national popular vote would be a disaster in a close election. These fears are unfounded for several reasons:

1) a tie in a vote of over 150 million votes is statistically near-impossible. A 270-270 electoral vote on the other hand is much, much more likely.

2) states would still be responsible for certifying their own results, so in the event of a very close election, all the states with recount laws would recount their votes and all the states without recount laws would settle any discrepancies in the courts, the same as they do today.

3) any bill or Constitutional amendment to implement National Popular Vote could easily include language requiring individual states to have recount laws, solving this "problem" (it's really not a big problem)


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Comment Preferences

  •  I've Been Certain This Would Come Back in 2015 (9+ / 0-)

    and as you say, breaking the electoral vote only in blue leaning swing states which makes the WH and the House nearly Democrat-proof. The House gerrymandering also goes along with state gerrymandering making numerous state legislatures Democrat-proof. The Court has been already at least liberal-proof for a couple decades.

    The push for state appointment of Senators would make the Senate Democrat-proof --if it didn't, there wouldn't be the push.

    Republics are entirely amenable to permanent minority rule and that's what's being set up for the United States.

    While I support the original rationale for the electoral vote in terms of state influence, its strong susceptibility to Democrat-proofing the White House tells me that the framers' intended functioning is dead whether we do anything or not.

    I tentatively agree the only chance we have of retaining the White House beyond the short term is to end the Electoral College system in favor of national popular vote.  And it merely changes the distribution pattern, not the fact of total spending, of the immense private funding needed for a Presidential race.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon Jul 21, 2014 at 05:40:22 AM PDT

  •  It's not 1979. These aren't the salad days (8+ / 0-)

    of the Reagan Revolution. There isn't a big swell of Boomer, low-information voters in the pipeline to be indoctrinated with GOP talking points. The GOP right now is a terrified, cornered wild animal.

    It's a very dangerous time.

    Thanks for the diary.

    Supple and turbulent, a ring of men/ Shall chant in orgy on a summer morn...

    by karmsy on Mon Jul 21, 2014 at 06:01:09 AM PDT

  •  About PA. Corbett doies not have "huge majorities" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Samer, tobendaro

    in the legislature (currently R27-D23 in the state senate. And he can't even get GOP stuff through the legislature. There are enough moderatish, suburban Republicans (who would be hurt by supprting any such scheme) that i doubt it would even be proposed. Corbett can't even get them to destroy the State Store unions by privatizing liquor sales.

  •  Real problems with this proposal (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LordRobin, ManhattanMan, 18038

    First it cannot be cone by initiative but constitutionally must be done by state legislatures which means democratically controlled states will be most likely to pass it as can be seen by first state to pass as being MD

    Second, there is a possible conflict with the fourteenth amendment,   Or rather several possible conflicts.   If theoretically everyone in a state voted for candidate a but the electoral votes were awarded to candidate b have those voters been denied the right to vote for the electors of the president sufficiently that that state could be denied representation in the House under the amendment?   Also, given different standards of voting both between states as well as as in some cases within states is there an equal protection violation

    What happens if we need a national recount?  Recounts are controlled within states.  In theory no state could be close enough to required as or allow a recount yet the nationals vote total could be incredibly close.  Remember that in 1960 national popular vote margin was less than one vote per election precinct,

    Finally this Lead to even more emphasis on major media markets and population centers by presidential campaigns which would hurt down ballot democrats in smaller states and markets

    "Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it, because what the world needs is more people who have come alive." - Howard Thurman

    by teacherken on Mon Jul 21, 2014 at 06:36:12 AM PDT

    •  your penultimate reason is the kicker for me (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LordRobin, ManhattanMan

      What happens if we need a national recount? We don't get one. That might not be so bad if we could basically trust the national vote count. (It isn't inherently tragic to put the wrong person in office now and then, if the errors are small and random.) But I don't think the national vote count is all that trustworthy, and I think it would be far less so if it actually mattered.

      We could fix this, but first we would have to want to. NPV supporters, in my limited experience, seem oddly uninterested in fixing it.

      "Democracy is a political system for people who are not sure they are right." —E. E. Schattschneider

      by HudsonValleyMark on Mon Jul 21, 2014 at 06:59:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Forget the recount... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        HudsonValleyMark

        ...worry about the fraud.

        Right now many Southern states use various tricks and schemes to stop people from voting. These suck, but right now they don't affect the Presidency -- just Congress and State Government.

        When we go to NPV, that fraud becomes national. Mississippi can cancel votes in New York by (for example) purging Blacks off their own voter rolls.

        Instead of having to watch for scams in 3 states, we'll have to watch for scams everywhere. And some scams will succeed.

        That said, I still support NPV, because it is the only real game in town. There is no other reform proposal with as much support.

        •  yup, that too (0+ / 0-)

          NPV broadens incentives for electoral fraud and shenanigans of all kinds, in all directions. I suppose it can be argued that implementing NPV would be the best way to get us to address those problems nationally, but making things worse in order to make them better generally is a high-risk play.

          "Democracy is a political system for people who are not sure they are right." —E. E. Schattschneider

          by HudsonValleyMark on Mon Jul 21, 2014 at 08:55:32 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Voter fraud? (0+ / 0-)

          Explain to me how a National Popular Vote is going to allow Mississippi to suddenly "purge" black votes?

          Do you have any proof that that's happening now? As I recall, blacks just won an election in Mississippi.

          •  NPV doesn't "allow"... (0+ / 0-)

            ...it to happen. It is already legal. It just nationalizes the effects.

            To stop Blacks from voting, simply close the polling places in Black neighborhoods.  Make them drive an extra 40 minutes. It's not that hard.

            •  Yes, it's that hard (0+ / 0-)

              If it "weren't that hard" they'd already be doing it. After all, blacks vote in statewide elections for Governor and Senate race.

              The 15th Amendment is pretty clear, and any attempt to just "close black voting precincts" would be immediately squashed in court.

              •  Then... (0+ / 0-)

                ...why do Blacks have to wait longer at the polls?

                A separate analysis, by an Ohio State University professor and The Orlando Sentinel, concluded that more than 200,000 voters in Florida “gave up in frustration” without voting.
                Right-wingers are more than willing to play dirty. If we go with NPV, we had better be ready.
        •  Opps & Incentive for Fraud are High Now (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          YeaYouRite

          The current state-by-state winner-take-all system of awarding electoral votes maximizes the incentive and opportunity for fraud, mischief, coercion, intimidation, confusion, and voter suppression. A very few people can change the national outcome by adding, changing, or suppressing a small number of votes in one closely divided battleground state. With the current system all of a state's electoral votes are awarded to the candidate who receives a bare plurality of the votes in each state. The sheer magnitude of the national popular vote number, compared to individual state vote totals, is much more robust against manipulation.

          National Popular Vote would limit the benefits to be gained by fraud or voter suppression.  One suppressed vote would be one less vote. One fraudulent vote would only win one vote in the return. In the current electoral system, one fraudulent vote could mean 55 electoral votes, or just enough electoral votes to win the presidency without having the most popular votes in the country.

          The closest popular-vote election count over the last 130+ years of American history (in 1960), had a nationwide margin of more than 100,000 popular votes.  The closest electoral-vote election in American history (in 2000) was determined by 537 votes, all in one state, when there was a lead of 537,179 (1,000 times more) popular votes nationwide.

          For a national popular vote election to be as easy to switch as 2000, it would have to be two hundred times closer than the 1960 election--and, in popular-vote terms, forty times closer than 2000 itself.

          Which system offers vote suppressors or fraudulent voters a better shot at success for a smaller effort?

      •  no way (0+ / 0-)

        There is no way I could support a national popular election. Recounts would be a nightmare and I do not now (nor ever have) trust electronic voting machines. They are too easily "fixed."

        •  what?? (0+ / 0-)

          We ALREADY USE electronic voting machines.

          I'm confused. All the supposed arguments against National Popular Vote express fears about things that already exist, like electronic voting machines or states without recount laws.

          Every other developed nation in the world, even the ones as big as us, do it this way. It's not complicated.

      •  National Popular Vote's Proposal (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        YeaYouRite, HudsonValleyMark

        National Popular Vote has proposed federal legislation in "Every Vote Equal: A State-Based Plan for Electing the President by National Popular Vote" http://www.every-vote-equal.com/ stating:

        Congress has authority over the count in presidential elections as well as authority over the schedule of presidential elections.

        ● Congress should use this authority to enact a federal recount law that would give presidential candidates a right to obtain a recount that would be completed prior to the uniform national date for the meeting of the Electoral College.

        ● The federal recount law proposed would require states to accelerate their initial count and conduct a full recount upon the request of any presidential candidate willing to pay the state, in advance, for the cost of such requests.

        ● A federal recount law would be highly beneficial to the operation of the current state-by-state winner-take-all method for awarding electoral votes because of the high frequency of disputes in presidential elections under the current system (five litigated state counts in a mere 57 presidential elections). Such a law would also be potentially beneficial under the national popular vote approach, even though the probability of recounts would be much lower under a national popular vote because there would be a single large national pool of votes (instead of 51 separate pools).

        •  something like this approach can work (0+ / 0-)

          Based on experience so far, I think it would be hard to get Congress to pass legislation that even requires (or strongly incentivizes) states to use systems with voter-verifiable paper records, much less to do anything in particular with those records. But not unimaginably hard.

          I would want some sort of national audit provision, not just a national recount provision. If the votes are all auditable, then a relatively small sample could provide high levels of assurance in all but extraordinarily close NPV elections. It doesn't make much sense to mandate a 100% recount if the NPV margin is under X% (regardless of what X is) and not to check the count otherwise.

          The existing compact doesn't address this issue.

          "Democracy is a political system for people who are not sure they are right." —E. E. Schattschneider

          by HudsonValleyMark on Mon Jul 21, 2014 at 02:37:55 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •   "minimalist" (0+ / 0-)

            The National Popular Vote is intentionally "minimalist" in the sense that it does not attempt to solve "problems" that the current system does not address or where there is no public consensus that there is a "problem."

    •  There's already an Interstate Compact (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ewmorr, davis90, TofG, Samer

      So that if states controlling a majority of the electoral votes agree to participate, they'll award all of their votes to the winner of the popular vote.

      Not surprisingly, it's called the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. As of now, it has 165 votes, and as you might guess, entirely from blue states.

      •  And a PA governor and state leg. could add PA to (0+ / 0-)

        that total. How close to a majority would that make it?

        •  78% of PA Voters Support NPV (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          YeaYouRite

          Pennsylvania has 20 electoral votes.

          A survey of Pennsylvania voters showed 78% overall support for a national popular vote for President.

          Support was 87% among Democrats, 68% among Republicans, and 76% among independents.

          By age, support was 77% among 18-29 year olds, 73% among 30-45 year olds, 81% among 46-65 year olds, and 78% for those older than 65.

          By gender, support was 85% among women and 71% among men.

          The bill has passed 33 state legislative chambers in 22 rural, small, medium, large, red, blue, and purple states (not including PA) with 250 electoral votes. Add PA's 20, and that would be 270.  
          The bill has been enacted by 11 jurisdictions with 165 electoral votes – 61% of the 270 necessary to go into effect.

          NationalPopularVote

    •  The possibility of a tie is out of 300 million ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      davis90

      The possibility of a tie is out of 300 million votes is statistically almost impossible. Certainly much much less likely than a 270-270 electoral split. And there is no reason that all 50 states couldn't do recounts in that event.

      •  I meant 150 million. Obviously not the entire p... (0+ / 0-)

        I meant 150 million. Obviously not the entire population is voting

      •  a tie is not the point (0+ / 0-)


        Florida 2000 was not a tie, nor was Franken-Coleman 2006.

        A national recount is impossible, because many state laws do not provide for recounts, and indeed many voting systems do not permit meaningful recounts.

        (Some odd bug keeps trying to put my first line in bold; I think I outwitted it, but we'll see....)

        "Democracy is a political system for people who are not sure they are right." —E. E. Schattschneider

        by HudsonValleyMark on Mon Jul 21, 2014 at 07:31:09 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Incorrect (0+ / 0-)

          There is absolutely nothing about the fact that many states don't have recount laws that would change the dynamic in a national popular vote. States would still be responsible for certifying their vote totals. Any challenges in those would be dealt with by the courts, same as today. This is a complete non-issue.

          •  whut? (0+ / 0-)

            What does anything I wrote have to do with whether states are responsible for certifying their vote totals?

            "Democracy is a political system for people who are not sure they are right." —E. E. Schattschneider

            by HudsonValleyMark on Mon Jul 21, 2014 at 10:15:30 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well (0+ / 0-)

              Your original post seems to be worried about recounts, as if changing to a national popular vote would somehow create chaos in recounts.

              It wouldn't. And Congress could easily include a required recount law as part of the National Popular Vote.

              •  "chaos in recounts"?! (0+ / 0-)

                What I wrote was that we couldn't get a national recount because it would be impossible. No chaos there. Nothing there at all.

                And Congress could easily include a required recount law as part of the National Popular Vote.
                "Easily"? You might be in a better position to assess that if you actually advocated a required recount law as part of the NPV.

                "Democracy is a political system for people who are not sure they are right." —E. E. Schattschneider

                by HudsonValleyMark on Mon Jul 21, 2014 at 02:04:50 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  I believe (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          YeaYouRite

          only Mississippi does not have a state law for recounts.

          We do and would vote state by state. Each state manages its own election and is prepared to conduct a recount.

          Given that there is a recount only once in about 160 statewide elections, and given there is a presidential election once every four years, one would expect a recount about once in 640 years with the National Popular Vote. The actual probability of a close national election would be even less than that because recounts are less likely with larger pools of votes.

          •  maybe we're lost in semantics (0+ / 0-)

            I think you're right that Mississippi is the only state whose laws don't cover recounts at all. On the other hand, I'm not sure that any state has a recount statute that would apply (except perhaps coincidentally) in the event of a dispute over the NPV. Again, many states' voting systems don't even permit most votes to be meaningfully recounted, and many other states have very restrictive recount provisions even when statewide outcomes are disputed — which isn't the point here.

            We do and would vote state by state. Each state manages its own election and is prepared to conduct a recount.
            Yes, each state manages its own election, and this is indeed a barrier to implementing federal policy.

            I can't agree that each state is prepared to conduct a recount. Again, it's far from given that any state would conduct a recount if the NPV outcome were disputed.

            "Democracy is a political system for people who are not sure they are right." —E. E. Schattschneider

            by HudsonValleyMark on Mon Jul 21, 2014 at 02:21:19 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Now (0+ / 0-)

              Each state, except MS, is prepared to conduct a recount.

              The current presidential election system makes a repeat of 2000 more likely. All you need is a thin and contested margin in a single state with enough electoral votes to make a difference. It's much less likely that the national vote will be close enough that voting irregularities in a single area will swing enough net votes to make a difference. If we'd had National Popular Vote in 2000, a recount in Florida or any other state would not have been an issue.

              No recount would have been warranted in any of the nation’s 57  presidential elections if the outcome had been based on the  nationwide count.

              The ability to obtain a recount in situations “close enough to warrant a recount” is hardly ensured under the current state-by-state winner-take-all system, as demonstrated by the nation’s experience with Florida in 2000.

              In most states, there are numerous avenues available for obtaining a recount (with some state statutes providing as many as six ways).

              Obtaining a recount under a national popular vote would not be as difficult as you suggest (even  assuming that no changes would be made to existing laws in response to enactment of the National Popular Vote compact).

              Under the current system, a timely recount in a presidential race may be warranted, but impossible to obtain in practice.
              ● A recount would be less likely to be needed under the National Popular Vote plan than under the current state-by-state winner-take-all system.
              ● Enactment of the National Popular Vote compact would provide impetus for the states to review and modify their existing laws to ensure timely recounts in presidential elections.
              ● Federal legislation would be an expeditious solution to the problem of guaranteeing a timely recount in a presidential election under the current system and any future system.

              With both the current system and the National Popular Vote, all counting, recounting, and judicial proceedings must be conducted so as to reach a "final determination" prior to the common nationwide date for the meeting of the Electoral College.  The common nationwide date for meeting of the Electoral College has been set by federal law as the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December.  In particular, the U.S. Supreme Court has made it clear that the states are expected to make their "final determination" six days before the Electoral College meets.

              Current federal law (Title 3, chapter 1, section 6 of the United States Code) requires the states to report the November popular vote numbers (the "canvas") in what is called a "Certificate of Ascertainment." You can see the Certificates of Ascertainment for all 50 states and the District of Columbia containing the official count of the popular vote at the NARA web site.

              It is important to note that neither the current system nor the National Popular Vote compact permits any state to get involved in judging the election returns of other states.  Existing federal law (the "safe harbor" provision in section 5 of title 3 of the United States Code) specifies that a state's "final determination" of its presidential election returns is "conclusive"(if done in a timely manner and in accordance with laws that existed prior to Election Day).  

              The National Popular Vote compact is patterned directly after existing federal law and requires each state to treat as "conclusive" each other state's "final determination" of its vote for President.  No state has any power to examine or judge the presidential election returns of any other state under the National Popular Vote compact.  

    •  My big problem with the National Popular Vote... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TofG

      ...is that it would take the polarization of the country to its extreme end by removing swing states.

      Our nation is more split than ever before, among party lines and geographical lines.  Parties mostly try to appeal to their bases, while a dwindling independent electorate is encouraged to take sides.  But every four years, the two sides are forced to appeal to the same crowd.  Because of the importance of swing states, the Republicans and the Democrats are forced to come to states like Ohio and sell their messages to the middle.  It's closest we get to a true national debate these days.

      Switch to a national vote system, and that's gone.  Swing states disappear.  Ohio goes from being one of the most important states in an election, to being completely irrelevant due to its near 50/50 vote split.  Instead, the parties will retreat to their positions of strength, the northeast and west for the Dems, the south for the GOP, selling ever more extreme positions to their bases.  The ideal that a presidential election allows the country to come to a consensus will be well and truly dead.  It will be one side against the other, with neither side having any reason to care about the other's votes.

      The National Popular Vote looks great on paper.  In practice, it would be a nightmare.

      ------RM

      •  "Switch to a national vote system, and that's g... (0+ / 0-)

        "Switch to a national vote system, and that's gone. Swing states disappear."

        Thank god. Then Presidential candidates would have to pretend there are more than 10 states in the country.

        •  actually not (0+ / 0-)

          because the emphasis would be be on maximizing total votes, so one would not spend resources in rural areas or smaller states.  The fact that such an approach MIGHT benefit Democrats is not for me a justification

          "Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it, because what the world needs is more people who have come alive." - Howard Thurman

          by teacherken on Mon Jul 21, 2014 at 11:13:15 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  The swing voters are still there... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        davis90, Samer

        ...only they are spread all over the country.

        Instead of three married White women in Toledo, we will have to "swing" a married White woman in each of Atlanta, Houston, and Los Angeles.

        Oh, by the way, this will cost money. National ad buys instead of local buys in 10 states. Bring your checkbook...

        •  it won't cost that much more (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Samer

          Ad buys will and GOTV efforts will have to be adjusted, no question. But instead of the money being concentrated in swing states, it will be spread out. Either way, "it will cost more" is not a good argument not to do it.

        •  Candidates Will Reallocate (0+ / 0-)

          The main media at the moment, TV, costs much more per impression in big cities than in smaller towns and rural area. Candidates get more bang for the buck in smaller towns and rural areas.

          Presidential candidates currently do everything within their power to raise as much money as they possibly can from donors throughout the country. They then allocate their time and the money that they raise nationally to places where it will do the most good toward their goal of winning the election.

          Money doesn't grow on trees. The fact that candidates would spend their money more broadly (that is, in all 50 states and DC) would not, in itself, loosen up the wallet of a single donor anywhere in the country. Candidates will continue to try to raise as much money as economic considerations permit. Economic considerations by donors determines how much money will be available, not the existence of an increases number of places where the money might be spent.

          Presidential candidates concentrate their attention on only a handful of closely divided "battleground" states and their voters. There is no incentive for them to bother to care about the majority of states where they are hopelessly behind or safely ahead to win. 10 of the original 13 states are ignored now. Four out of five Americans were ignored in the 2012 presidential election.  After being nominated, Obama visited just eight closely divided battleground states, and Romney visited only 10. These 10 states accounted for 98% of the $940 million spent on campaign advertising. They decided the election.  That's precisely what they should do in order to get elected with the current system, because the voters of 80% of the states simply don't matter. Candidates have no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize, campaign, or care about the concerns of voters in states where they are safely ahead or hopelessly behind.  Over 85 million voters, more than 200 million Americans, are ignored.

          If every voter mattered throughout the United States, as it would under a national popular vote, candidates would reallocate their time and the money they raise.

          A nationwide presidential campaign, with every voter 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.

          In Iowa, Ohio, Florida, and Virginia (the four states that accounted for over two-thirds of all general-election activity in the 2012 presidential election) rural areas, suburbs, exurbs, and cities all received attention—roughly in proportion to their population.

          Iowa has four congressional districts (each, of course, with equal population). The presidential candidates campaigned approximately equally in each part of the state in the 2012 presidential election.

          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 voter is equal, a campaign of polling, visiting, advertising, and organizing must be run everywhere.

          With National Popular Vote, when every voter 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.

      •  The indefensible reality is that (0+ / 0-)

        more than 99% of campaign attention (ad spending and visits) was showered on voters in just ten states in 2012- and that in today's political climate, the swing states have become increasingly fewer and fixed.    

        During the course of campaigns, candidates are educated and campaign about the local, regional, and state issues most important to the handful of battleground states they need to win.  They take this knowledge and prioritization with them once they are elected.  Candidates need to be educated and care about all of our states.

        Where you live should not determine how much, if at all, your vote matters.

        Policies important to the citizens of non-battleground states are not as highly prioritized as policies important to ‘battleground’ states when it comes to governing.

        Charlie Cook reported in 2004:
        “Senior Bush campaign strategist Matthew Dowd pointed out yesterday that the Bush campaign hadn’t taken a national poll in almost two years; instead, it has been polling [in the then] 18 battleground states.” [only 10 in 2012]

        Bush White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer acknowledging the reality that [then] more than 2/3rds of Americans were ignored in the 2008 presidential campaign, said in the Washington Post on June 21, 2009:
        “If people don’t like it, they can move from a safe state to a swing state.”

        State-by-state winner-take-all  laws adversely affects governance. Sitting Presidents (whether contemplating their own re-election or the election of their preferred successor) pay inordinate attention to the interests of “battleground” states.
        * “Battleground” states receive over 7% more grants than other states.
        *
        “Battleground” states receive 5% more grant dollars.
        * A “battleground” state can expect to receive twice as many presidential disaster declarations as an uncompetitive state.
        *
        The locations of Superfund enforcement actions also reflect a state’s battleground status.
        ** Federal exemptions from the No Child Left Behind law have been characterized as “‘no swing state left behind.”

        The effect of the current state-by-state winner-take-all system on governance is discussed at length in Presidential Pork by Dr. John Hudak of the Brookings Institution.

        Compare the response to hurricane Katrina (in Louisiana, a "safe" state) to the federal response to hurricanes in Florida (a "swing" state) under Presidents of both parties.  President Obama took more interest in the BP oil spill, once it reached Florida's shores, after it had first reached Louisiana.  Some pandering policy examples include ethanol subsidies, Steel Tariffs, and Medicare Part D.  Policies not given priority, include those most important to non-battleground states - like water issues in the west

        •  A national vote won't change that. (0+ / 0-)

          I'm sorry, but it's a delusion to believe that a national vote would result in the presidential candidates spreading their attention broadly across the entire country.  All the national vote will achieve is to change which states are targeted.

          Instead of targeting the swing states, campaigns will target those states that offer the most bang for the buck.  GOTV efforts will target the reddest and bluest states.  If a state is the "other color", but has a chance of turning purple, it would get attention too.  But Democrats wouldn't waste any time on Mississippi, and the GOP wouldn't bother with Vermont.  And Ohio would be outright ignored.  What's the point of spending money in a state when it's going to split its votes nearly 50/50 no matter how many resources you dump into it?

          Remember, under a national vote scenario, it's no longer about whether you can win a state -- it's about the margin.  It's only worth spending money in a state (or region) if you think you can increase a winning margin or shrink a losing margin.  So a state like Ohio, which is usually decided by a slim margin, just isn't worth the effort.

          Yes, with a national vote, every vote will "count".  It's got that going for it.  And I understand the appeal of that.  But it gives candidates no incentive to appeal to the middle.  Each presidential election becomes a base election on steroids.  I just don't see how we move forward as a country, long-term, if we abandon all pretense of unity ever being a goal.

          ------RM

          •  Successful Candidates Will Campaign Broadly (0+ / 0-)

            National Popular Vote ensures that every voter is equal, every voter will matter, in every state, in every presidential election, and the candidate with the most votes wins, as in virtually every other election in the country.

            With National Popular Vote, it's about winning as many individual votes as possible, throughout the country, regardless of where the votes comes from.

            Of Course appealing to Ohio voters will be worth the effort. Ohio's 11.5 million population would not be ignored.  

            38.04 million Californians would no longer be ignored.  Every Republican voter in California would matter to the Republican candidate, as would every Democratic voter in Texas.

            If presidential campaigns  polled, organized, visited, and appealed to more than the current 100,000,000 of 300,000,000 Americans, one would reasonably expect that voter turnout would rise in 80% of the country that is currently ignored by presidential campaigns.

            Successful candidates will run nationwide campaigns.  Now candidates don't spend any time in MS or VT or 80% of the states.  80% of voters are ignored.  That's not unity.  

            With National Popular Vote, every voter would be equal. Candidates would reallocate their time, the money they raise, and their ad buys to no longer ignore 80% of the states and voters, and no longer invest more than 99% of campaign attention (ad spending and visits) on voters in just ten states.

            In the 4 states (OH, VA, FL, IA) that accounted for over two-thirds of all general-election activity in the 2012 presidential election, rural areas, suburbs, exurbs, and cities all received attention—roughly in proportion to their population.

            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 waitress mom voters in Ohio.

            The political reality, that every gubernatorial or senatorial candidate knows, is that when and where every voter is equal, a campaign must be run everywhere.

            When every vote is equal in a close election, candidates cannot afford to ignore large portions of eligible voters.  Every vote, in every state, would matter and count towards the national popular vote total that determines the winner.

            In the words of Ray Haynes who served as the National Chairman of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in 2000, served in the California State Senate from 1994 to 2002, and was elected to the California Assembly in 1992 and 2002:

            "How will the National Popular Vote proposal affect a candidate’s decisions?
            First, it will require the candidate to campaign in more places, and in more states. No longer will 10, 12, or 15 states determine the outcome of a presidential campaign. Candidates will allocate their resources to change the minds of voters in more places, because now the votes of each voter in each state could change the outcome in the national election. Today, presidential candidates spend millions to pick up a thousand votes in Florida, Pennsylvania, or Ohio. Under National Popular Vote, that money may get spent to change the minds of voters in Washington State, or Georgia, or Texas, or New York, because those votes will now affect the awarding of electoral votes. Since the states will now agree to award their electors to the candidate that receives the most votes in all 50 states, candidates will devote their resources to receiving the most votes nationwide, and not just the most votes in Missouri or Wisconsin."

            Further evidence of the way a nationwide presidential campaign would be run comes from national advertisers who seek out customers in small, medium, and large towns of every small, medium, and large state. A national advertiser does not write off Indiana or Illinois merely because a competitor makes more sales in those particular states. Moreover, a national advertiser enjoying an edge over its competitors in Indiana or Illinois does not stop trying to make additional sales in those states. National advertisers go after every single possible customer, regardless of where the customer is located.

            •  I'm sorry, but no. (0+ / 0-)
              Of Course appealing to Ohio voters will be worth the effort. Ohio's 11.5 million population would not be ignored.
              So Ohio has 11.5 million people.  Let's assume you meant "voters".  So what?  What does that matter, if 5.75 million are going to vote Republican, and the other 5.75 million are going to vote Democratic?  You can shove as much money as you like into Ohio -- you're only going to change that balance by a little bit.  Did you read my point about vote margin at all?

              Your arguments are all idealistic.  Campaigns can't afford to be idealistic.  Pragmatism rules the day, because campaigns only have so much money to work with.  They wouldn't throw that money at a state just because it has a lot of people.  The population wouldn't matter.  Only the vote margin would matter.  You'd spend your money where you could make a significant positive impact on your vote margin or a negative impact on your opponent's margin.  States and regions that are guaranteed to be squeakers aren't worth your effort, because in the end, they're going to contribute roughly the same number of votes to both sides.

              ------RM

              •  Winning States Would No Longer be Goal (0+ / 0-)

                Winning the most individual votes from all states, is what would matter, not margins in individual states or regions.  Every potential voter, everywhere would be in play.  

                The National Popular Vote bill guarantees that the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in all 50 states will win the Presidency.

                The itineraries of presidential candidates in battleground states (and their allocation of other campaign resources in battleground states, including polling, organizing, and ad spending) reflect the POLITICAL REALITY that every gubernatorial or senatorial candidate knows. When and where every voter is equal, a campaign must be run everywhere. SUCCESSFUL candidates for U.S. Senate and Governor would never ignore 80% of their state.  SUCCESSFUL candidates could not afford to only spend a mere $28,288 in peak-season candidate advertising in any state, much less as in all of California in 2008, while $29,249,985 was spent in Florida. SUCCESSFUL candidates would try to get every vote in every state that they can, in a national popular vote election of the President.

                With National Popular Vote, every voter would be equal. SUCCESSFUL candidates would reallocate their time, the money they raise, and their ad buys to no longer ignore 80% of the states and voters.  

                Reality is, that in the 4 states that accounted for over two-thirds of all general-election activity in the 2012 presidential election, all parts of the 4 states received attention—roughly in proportion to their population. That makes sense.

                With National Popular Vote, when every voter is equal, everywhere, it makes sense for presidential candidates to try and elevate their votes where they are and aren't so well liked.   Candidates can't afford to ignore anyone, because every voter is potentially valuable.  

    •  You are correct... (0+ / 0-)

      ...there are really good reasons why the National Popular Vote is a bad idea, especially the horror of a National Recount.

      But we should still support it because it already has a lot of support and is the reform most likely to pass.

      We should go for the politically feasible reform now. Maybe later we can get a better system.

    •  Support for a National Popular Vote (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      YeaYouRite

      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 or past 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.

      More than 2,110 state legislators (in 50 states) have sponsored and/or cast recorded votes in favor of the National Popular Vote bill. The National Popular Vote bill has passed 33 state legislative chambers in 22 rural, small, medium, large, Democratic, Republican and purple states with 250 electoral votes, including one house in Arkansas (6), Connecticut (7), Delaware (3), The District of Columbia, Maine (4), Michigan (16), Nevada (6), New Mexico (5), North Carolina (15), Oklahoma (7), and Oregon (7), and both houses in California, Colorado (9), Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington. The bill has been enacted by the District of Columbia (3), Hawaii (4), Illinois (19), New Jersey (14), Maryland (11), California (55), Massachusetts (10), New York (29), Vermont (3), Rhode Island (4), and Washington (13). These 11 jurisdictions have 165 electoral votes – 61% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.

      NationalPopularVote

      •  several comments (0+ / 0-)

        1.  As recently as five years ago a strong majority opposed marriage equality

        2.  at the time of the 1964 Civil Rights Act a majority of Americans opposed some of its key provisions

        3.  one cannot assume that the polling data is consistent unless you can demonstrate that the same questions in the same order were used in all such states

        4.  many voters do not fully understand all of the provisions of such an approach

        5.  you do not address possible constitutional problems

        "Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it, because what the world needs is more people who have come alive." - Howard Thurman

        by teacherken on Mon Jul 21, 2014 at 11:15:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Every vote equal & politically relevant (0+ / 0-)

          The National Popular Vote bill ensures that every voter is equal, every voter will matter, in every state, in every presidential election, and the candidate with the most votes wins, as in virtually every other election in the country.

          Most Americans want to know, that even if they were on the losing side, their vote actually was equally counted and mattered to their candidate.  Most Americans think it would be wrong for the candidate with the most popular votes to lose. We don't allow this in any other election in our representative republic.

          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 or past 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.

          In state polls of voters each with a second  question that specifically emphasized that their state's electoral votes would be awarded to the winner of the national popular vote in all 50 states, not necessarily their state's winner, there was only a 4-8% decrease of support.

           Question 1: "How do you think we should elect the President: Should it be the candidate who gets the most votes in all 50 states, or the current Electoral College system?"

          Question 2: "Do you think it more important that a state's electoral votes be cast for the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in that state, or is it more important to guarantee that the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states becomes president?"

          Support for a National Popular Vote
          South Dakota -- 75% for Question 1, 67% for Question 2.
          Connecticut -- 74% for Question 1, 68% for Question 2,
          Utah -- 70% for Question 1, 66% for Question 2,

          NationalPopularVote.com

          National Popular Vote is based on Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution, which gives each state legislature the right to decide how to appoint its own electors. Unable to agree on any particular method for selecting presidential electors, the Founding Fathers left the choice of method exclusively to the states:
          “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors….”  
          The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly characterized the authority of the state legislatures over the manner of awarding their electoral votes as "plenary" and "exclusive."

          The constitutional wording does not encourage, discourage, require, or prohibit the use of any particular method for awarding a state's electoral votes.

    •  Every voter would be equal (0+ / 0-)

      The National Popular Vote compact would treat votes cast in all 50 states and the District of Columbia equally. Every voter is equal, every voter will matter, in every state, in every presidential election, and the candidate with the most votes wins, as in virtually every other election in the country.

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

      The Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment only restricts a given state in the manner it treats persons "within its jurisdiction." The Equal Protection Clause imposes no obligation on a given state concerning a "person" in another state who is not "within its [the first state's] jurisdiction."

      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) as well as congressional elections (article I).  The fact is that the Founding Fathers in 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 and requires each state to treat as "conclusive" each other state's "final determination" of its vote for President.

      The National Popular Vote bill does not violate the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.  

      “The bottom line is that the electors from those states who cast their ballot for the nationwide vote winner are completely accountable (to the extent that independent agents are ever accountable to anyone) to the people of those states.  The National Popular Vote states aren’t delegating their Electoral College votes to voters outside the state; they have made a policy choice about the substantive intelligible criteria (i.e., national popularity) that they want to use to make their selection of electors. There is nothing in Article II (or elsewhere in the Constitution) that prevents them from making the decision that, in the Twenty-First Century, national voter popularity is a (or perhaps the) crucial factor in worthiness for the office of the President.”
      - Vikram David Amar - professor and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the UC Davis School of Law. Before becoming a professor, he clerked for Judge William A. Norris of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and for Justice Harry Blackmun at the Supreme Court of the United States.

      •  not correct (0+ / 0-)

        Equal protection clause was extended against actions of the Federal government by the separate 1954 school desegregation case dealing with DC schools - Bolling v Sharpe.

        it is applicable on a federal basis.

        What is not clear by current jurisprudence is whether an action by a state that impinges upon equal protection of citizens in an other state thereby also invokes equal protection under the 14th Amendment.  The logic of marriage equality might well indicate that it does,.

        "Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it, because what the world needs is more people who have come alive." - Howard Thurman

        by teacherken on Mon Jul 21, 2014 at 11:18:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The National Popular Vote compact (0+ / 0-)

          would treat votes cast in all 50 states and the District of Columbia equally.

          There is nothing incompatible between differences in state election laws and the concept of a national popular vote for President. That was certainly the mainstream view when the U.S. House of Representatives passed a constitutional amendment in 1969 for a national popular vote by a 338–70 margin. That amendment retained state control over elections.

          The 1969 amendment was endorsed by Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and various members of Congress who later ran for Vice President and President such as then-Congressman George H.W. Bush, then-Senator Bob Dole, and then-Senator Walter Mondale.

          The American Bar Association also endorsed the proposed 1969 amendment.

          The proposed 1969 constitutional amendment provided that the popular-vote count from each state would be added up to obtain the nationwide total for each candidate. The National Popular Vote compact does the same.

          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.

          Current federal law (Title 3, chapter 1, section 6 of the United States Code) requires the states to report the November popular vote numbers (the "canvas") in what is called a "Certificate of Ascertainment." They list the electors and the number of votes cast for each.  The Congress meets in joint session to count the electoral votes reported in the Certificates of Ascertainment. You can see the Certificates of Ascertainment for all 50 states and the District of Columbia containing the official count of the popular vote at the NARA web site.

          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.

          For example, the 2000 Certificate of Ascertainment (required by federal law) from the state of Florida reported  2,912,790 popular votes for George W. Bush and 2,912,253 popular vote for Al Gore, and also reported 25 electoral votes for George W. Bush and 0 electoral votes for Al Gore. That 25–0 division of the electoral votes from Florida determined the outcome of the national election just as a particular division of the popular vote from a particular state might decisively affect the national outcome in some future election under the National Popular Vote compact.

          The 1969 constitutional amendment, endorsed by Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and members of Congress who later ran for Vice President and President such as then-Congressman George H.W. Bush, then-Senator Bob Dole, and then-Senator Walter Mondale, and The American Bar Association and, more importantly, the current system also accepts the differences among states.

    •  Recount Fears are Distracting (0+ / 0-)

      The idea that recounts will be likely and messy with National Popular Vote is distracting.

      No recount would have been warranted in any of the nation’s 57  presidential elections if the outcome had been based on the  nationwide count.

      The state-by-state winner-take-all system is not a firewall, but instead causes unnecessary fires.
      “It’s an arsonist itching to burn down the whole neighborhood by torching a single house.” Hertzberg

      The 2000 presidential election was an artificial crisis created because of Bush's lead of 537 popular votes in Florida. Gore's nationwide lead was 537,179 popular votes (1,000 times larger). Given the miniscule number of votes that are changed by a typical statewide recount (averaging only 274 votes); no one would have requested a recount or disputed the results in 2000 if the national popular vote had controlled the outcome. Indeed, no one (except perhaps almanac writers and trivia buffs) would have cared that one of the candidates happened to have a 537-vote margin in Florida.

      Recounts are far more likely in the current system of state by-state winner-take-all methods.

      The possibility of recounts should not even be a consideration in debating the merits of a national popular vote. No one has ever suggested that the possibility of a recount constitutes a valid reason why state governors or U.S. Senators, for example, should not be elected by a popular vote.

      The question of recounts comes to mind in connection with presidential elections only because the current system creates artificial crises and unnecessary disputes.

      We do and would vote state by state. Each state manages its own election and is prepared to conduct a recount.

      Given that there is a recount only once in about 160 statewide elections, and given there is a presidential election once every four years, one would expect a recount about once in 640 years with the National Popular Vote. The actual probability of a close national election would be even less than that because recounts are less likely with larger pools of votes.

      The average change in the margin of victory as a result of a statewide recount was a mere 296 votes in a 10-year study of 2,884 elections.

      The common nationwide date for meeting of the Electoral College has been set by federal law as the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December. With both the current system and the National Popular Vote, all counting, recounting, and judicial proceedings must be conducted so as to reach a "final determination" prior to the meeting of the Electoral College. In particular, the U.S. Supreme Court has made it clear that the states are expected to make their "final determination" six days before the Electoral College meets.

    •  More Bang for Buck in Small & Rural (0+ / 0-)

      The main media at the moment, TV, costs much more per impression in big cities than in smaller towns and rural area. Candidates get more bang for the buck in smaller towns and rural areas.

      A nationwide presidential campaign of polling, organizing, ad spending, and visits, with every voter 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.  In the 4 states that accounted for over two-thirds of all general-election activity in the 2012 presidential election, rural areas, suburbs, exurbs, and cities all received attention—roughly in proportion to their population.

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

      With National Popular Vote, when every voter 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.

  •  you lost me in the first paragraph (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TofG

    The basic reason Obama's electoral vote share was larger than his popular vote share is that the electoral college tends to magnify differences, not that the Democrats have a "built-in advantage in the Electoral College." Take 1988, please: Bush the Elder beat Dukakis by less than eight points, but won almost 80% of the electoral vote.

    Whatever else one says about the Electoral College, it doesn't presently appear to yield a clear partisan advantage one way or the other. Specifically, if the two major parties are tied in the popular vote, they're about equally likely to win the electoral vote. See, for instance, here, Figure 3, top panel.

    Certainly NPV would be fairer than having Republicans cherry-pick states to allocate their electoral votes on the Nebraska plan.

    "Democracy is a political system for people who are not sure they are right." —E. E. Schattschneider

    by HudsonValleyMark on Mon Jul 21, 2014 at 06:50:03 AM PDT

    •  You obviously didn't read the link about Dems' ... (0+ / 0-)

      You obviously didn't read the link about Dems' built in advantage. The electoral college uses overall population, not eligible voters. Read the link.

      •  LOL (0+ / 0-)


        I read the link, and I disagree with it, and I directed you to very detailed research that explains why.

        You may sincerely believe that your U.S. News and World Report "Debate Club" op-ed has better arguments, but it isn't obvious why.

        "Democracy is a political system for people who are not sure they are right." —E. E. Schattschneider

        by HudsonValleyMark on Mon Jul 21, 2014 at 07:41:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

          •  hardly (0+ / 0-)


            Silver wrote, in that 2012 piece, "This year's results suggest that this [current Electoral College configuration] could put Republicans at a structural disadvantage." That's a much weaker claim. Back in April, Harry Enten wrote for 538 that Democrats shouldn't count on an electoral edge in 2016, and he presented his historical analysis of why. What Silver wrote in 2012 doesn't actually contradict what Enten wrote in 2014; basically, they both wrote that the Democrats may or may not presently have an advantage, with Silver leaning harder on 'may' and Enten harder on 'may not.'

            You have some nerve citing The American Thinker as an authority on Daily Kos, but it isn't especially to your credit. And your last link basically rehashes Silver 2012.

            Ben Highton is a smart guy, and he may be right, but you've presented no evidence that "most everyone" agrees with what he wrote in April, and it's extremely unlikely. As for your op-ed's claim that Democrats benefit from the distribution of non-citizens, that's interesting if true, but none of your other sources appears to address it at all, and the op-ed doesn't provide actual evidence.

            "Democracy is a political system for people who are not sure they are right." —E. E. Schattschneider

            by HudsonValleyMark on Mon Jul 21, 2014 at 09:42:13 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Since you don't seem to be convinced (0+ / 0-)

              Let me make my own case. I will write a more detailed post on this soon.

              Let's take all 10 "swing" states in 2012, in no particular order:

              Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio, Florida, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Iowa, Nevada, and Colorado.

              Romney won only one of them, North Carolina, and that state is unquestionably seeing a huge increase in minority population. Furthermore, Obama's vote total from 2008 to 2012 in NC went down only 1.8, while Obama's national vote margin of victory went down 3.3. That means North Carolina actually voted more Democratic, when compared to the nation, in 2012.  

              Almost every other swing state shows a similar trend. Romney beat McCain's national margin, but that's because he made up considerable ground in red states. Meanwhile, Obama's margin in the swing states went down much less than his national vote margin did. This means that these states are also trending more Democratic than the national average.

              The most obvious examples are states with high Hispanic populations, with many young voters who aren't 18 yet and whose parents are ineligible to vote (because they're not citizens). These states are Nevada, Colorado, Florida, and to a lesser extent, Virginia (although Northern Virginia is creating even faster demographic change than those other states).

              Unless Hispanics start voting Republican, that's a total of 57 electoral votes that will be totally off the map for Republicans by 2020. That means, even if Republicans swept all the other states (OH, PA, NH, IA, WI, and NC), Republicans would still be 12 votes short of victory.

              A cursory look at the age breakdown of the exit polls in all six of those states should give you a pretty good idea that Republicans' chances of winning those states are becoming slimmer and slimmer by the year.

              Democrats will continue to win the electoral vote by a much larger margin than they win the popular vote. Count on it.

              •  I do appreciate a reasoned case (0+ / 0-)

                I'll think about this some more; a priori, I am somewhat skeptical about arguments that focus on swing states. Swing states change over time; focusing on trends in particular states makes it hard to distinguish trends in bias from trends in the normal vote. It's an inherently tricky problem.

                I don't count on Democrats winning the electoral vote, period. :) But how likely a Democrat would be to win the electoral vote while losing the popular vote by a point or so is... an interesting question. Of course, I don't think the Republicans who are trying to split California's electoral votes really care much about it.

                "Democracy is a political system for people who are not sure they are right." —E. E. Schattschneider

                by HudsonValleyMark on Mon Jul 21, 2014 at 03:18:54 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Swing/Non Swing State Realities (0+ / 0-)

                  In 1960, presidential campaigns paid attention to 35 states.
                  In 2008, Obama only campaigned in 14 states after being nominated.
                  In 2012, the presidential campaigns only cared about 9 swing states.

                  The number and population of battleground states is shrinking.

                  States' partisanship is hardening.

                  19 states (including California with 55 electoral votes) with a total of 242 electoral votes, have voted Democratic, 1992-2012
                  13 states with 102 electoral votes have voted Republican, 1992-2012

                  Some states have not been been competitive for more than a half-century and most states now have a degree of partisan imbalance that makes them highly unlikely to be in a swing state position. In a study before the 2012 election:
                  •  41 States Won by Same Party, 2000-2008
                  •  32 States Won by Same Party, 1992-2008
                  •  13 States Won Only by Republican Party, 1980-2008
                  •  19 States Won Only by Democratic Party, 1992-2008
                  •  9 Democratic States Not Swing State since 1988
                  •  15 GOP States Not Swing State since 1988

  •  Florida (0+ / 0-)

    With Virginia turning blue, it is absolutely essential for any GOP nominee to carry all of Florida's electoral votes.  They have no way to 270 without them.     If Rick Scott and the GOP wish to guarantee half of Florida's electoral votes to a Democrat, more power to them...

  •  I don't think this will happen (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    YeaYouRite, TofG, Samer

    The first thing we'd do after winning the governorships in those blue states (either in 2014 or in 2018 when the seats become available) is to pull out all the stops, not sign a single damn bill until it's repealed. We wouldn't take that lying down, no siree bob, and the Republicans know it. Oh sure, they might do it in NC where the governor is weak, but given that NC is light-red, that'd actually help us in the short term.

    What we need is a federal anti-gerrymandering law dictating how House seats are to be drawn. The Constitution gives us the power to do so under Article I Section 4. That should be the first order of business if we capture the House this decade.

  •  If what you want is a truer (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    YeaYouRite

    form of democracy, then a national popular vote only makes sense. Living in a red state, more often than not my votes are nothing more than "protest" votes. And sometimes I don't even get that when there is no opposition (no write in candidates allowed in my state).

    "There is no instance of a nation benefiting from prolonged warfare." ~ Sun Tsu

    by coyote66 on Mon Jul 21, 2014 at 09:21:21 AM PDT

  •  Typo? Misplacement? 2nd paragraph, 2nd line (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TofG

    "...old white voters replacing young minority voters..."

    Did you mean to write:

    "...old white voters being replaced by young minority voters.."

    In Georgia, acting the fool with a gun is not only legal, it is encouraged by the governor and the state legislature.

    by Mayfly on Mon Jul 21, 2014 at 09:48:05 AM PDT

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