National Popular Vote Is a BAD Idea

Article is revised due to an original misinterpretation of the proposal.

Unlike former State Senator Ray Haynes who is a proponent of National Popular Vote, I disagree with the idea of this ‘reform’. I think there are other sensible ideas that would help encourage presidential candidates to visit particular areas in California for popular support such as having each congressional district award electoral votes and the overall winner of the state get the other two electoral votes.

At least by doing this by congressional votes, people will campaign in those areas helping to bring money in the California economy and Republicans will still be able to get some influence in the electoral college where they have not won California since the Dodgers won the World Series in 1988.

The reason why we have the electoral college is to make sure small states, big states and medium states have equal power in their vote.

However with the National Popular Vote, the states in the compact send their electoral votes to the candidate who receives the majority vote in the nation as long as a combination of states that have the majority in the electoral college. The popularity of the idea depends on what type of states enter this compact.

Although as a former paid member of Californians for Electoral Reform, I do hear stories about how NPV is good for California and our nation, but I think we should just utilize the existing Electoral College and do it like how Maine and Nebraska and provide our electoral votes by congressional district.

Even though California likes President Obama no matter what he does to our nation, what happens if the rest of the nation in the NPV compact wants to vote for the Republican, then we are going to get a lot of unhappy people. This is why I am proposing my alternative suggestion.

5 thoughts on “National Popular Vote Is a BAD Idea”

  1. I have to disagree with you and believe that a National Popular Vote for President would be a great idea not only for California, but for conservatives as well. 

    I want to focus on your last point (I disagree with the others as well) about a lot of unhappy people.  I was unhappy in 2008.  Obama won California and the White House.  However, I was quite happy in 2004 despite Bush losing California.  The simple reason is that the candidate I supported won the election.  At the end of the day, while disappointed he didn’t carry my home state, I was happy because he won the election. 

    The reverse is also true.  My Democratic friends weren’t happy in 2004 even though Obama won California. 

    What matters most to me – and to most people – is whether the candidate they support ulitmately wins.  There are always going to be unhappy people after an election – the people who lost.  The question is should the candidate who gets the most votes of all the people voting in the election be the person sworn into office.  For me the simple answer is YES. 

  2. The current system of electing the president ensures that the candidates, after the primaries, do not reach out to all of the states and their voters. California is ignored.  Candidates have no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize, campaign, or care about the voter concerns in the dozens of states where they are safely ahead or hopelessly behind. The reason for this is the state-by-state winner-take-all method (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but since enacted by 48 states), under which all of a state’s electoral votes are awarded to the candidate who gets the most votes in each separate state.

    Presidential candidates concentrate their attention on only a handful of closely divided “battleground” states and their voters. California has no hope of being politically relevant.  In the 2012 election, pundits and campaign operatives agree already, that, at most, only 14 states and their voters will matter. None of the 10 most rural states will matter, as usual.  Almost 75% of the country will be ignored –including 19 of the 22 lowest population and medium-small states, and 17 medium and big states like California, GA, NY, and TX.  This will be more obscene than the 2008 campaign, when candidates concentrated over 2/3rds of their campaign events and ad money
    in just 6 states, and 98% in just 15 states (CO, FL, IN, IA, MI, MN, MO, NV, NH, NM, NC, OH, PA, VA, and WI).  Over half (57%) of the events were in just 4 states (OH, FL, PA, and VA).  In 2004, candidates concentrated over 2/3rds of their money and campaign visits in 5 states; over 80% in 9 states; and over 99% of their money in 16 states.                                        

    2/3rds of the states and people, including California, have been merely spectators to the presidential elections. 

    Policies important to the citizens of ‘flyover’ states, like California, are not as highly prioritized as policies important to ‘battleground’ states when it comes to governing.

    A candidate has won the Presidency without winning the most popular votes nationwide in 4 of the nation’s 56 (1 in 14 = 7%) presidential elections.  The precariousness of the current state-by-state winner-take-all system is highlighted by the fact that a shift of a few thousand votes in one or two
    states would have elected the second-place candidate in 4 of the 13 presidential elections since World War II.  Near misses are now frequently common.  There have been 6 consecutive non-landslide presidential elections (1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, and 2008).   A shift of 60,000 votes in Ohio in 2004 would have defeated President Bush despite his nationwide lead of over 3 million votes.
        
    In a 2008 survey, 70% of California residents and likely voters supported this change.  Democrats (76%) and independents (74%) were more likely to support a change to direct popular vote than Republicans, but 61 percent of Republicans also supported this change. Among likely voters, support for this change was 6 points higher than in October 2004 (64%).With National Popular Vote, every vote, everywhere would be counted for and directly assist the candidate for whom it was cast. Candidates would need to care about voters across the nation, not just undecided voters in a handful of swing states.

  3. The congressional district method of awarding electoral votes (currently used in Maine and Nebraska) would not help make every vote matter.   In NC,  for example, there are only 4 of the 13 congressional districts that would be close enough to get any attention from presidential candidates.  In California, the presidential race is competitive in only 3 of the state’s 53 districts.   A smaller fraction of the country’s population lives in competitive congressional districts (about 12%) than in the current battleground states (about 30%) that now get overwhelming attention, while two-thirds of the states are ignored  Also, a second-place candidate could still win the White House without winning the national popular vote.

  4. MMunson misunderstands how the National Popular Vote compact would work. The states in the compact send their electoral votes to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in ALL 50 states – not just the 25 or so states that might be in the compact. In other words, the National Popular Vote compact includes the everyone’s votes from every state.  It takes effect when states having a majority of the electoral votes (270 of 538) enact the NPV compact.

    1. Column is revised. I still have my opposition, but I did accurately state how NPV would be applied in the new revision.

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