National Popular Vote is bad for California, bad for the nation

Liberals have long sought to erode the checks-and-balances that guard against centralized government.  But, the current push to scrap the Electoral College by enacting a National Popular Vote (NPV) could be their crowning achievement.

Critics warn that once the Electoral College is out of the way, the big government progressives could conceivably engineer election victory after victory, providing a continual stream of chief executives far left of Barack Obama.

Delaware Senator, President Pro Tempore, and former IBEW Business Manager Anthony DeLuca said as much when he declared that, once the NPV passes, Republicans will never again elect a President.

Why would he say that?  The answer is simple.

In Federalist 10, James Madison argues that a system of “electors” safeguards the citizenry against those factions that seek greater governmental control.  Confining the influence of factions to single states protects against greater impact on the national election.

Today, these factions often manifest themselves through pockets of organized urban-area voter fraud.  Just as Madison predicted, the Electoral College limits to a single state the impact of corrupt political activities, such as Chicago’s notorious fraudulent cemetery voters.

Throw off the system of electors and you’ll likely see epic turnouts in heavy urban areas like Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago as Democrats pull out all the stops to nullify the power of smaller, rural states.  No longer would 50 states matter, but only huge urban regions would control the vote.  Chicago alone would bury the mid-west.

The fact is: the NPV movement was given new life when renegade billionaire Tom Golisano took over the fledgling campaign after the initial post Bush/Gore election drive faltered. Golisano is a seven figure donor to the Democratic Party, and he ran as an ‘independent’ not once, or twice, but three times against moderate Republican Governor George Pataki.  Golisano then moved to Florida and adopted NPV.

To promote the NPV, Golisano has hired an army of Republican lobbyists throughout the country, including the venerable Fred Thompson.  Golisano did not hire many Democrats, because they get the joke.  However, Golisano needed to mitigate potential Republican opposition, and so his army went to work.

Before the GOP was able to accurately assess the threat and produce a counter-effort, Golisano’s paid consultant army signed up scores of otherwise solid conservative Republican legislators, including some here in California.

But, in the last several months, conservatives have begun removing their names from the pro-NPV campaign.  And just last week the Republican National Committee overwhelmingly voted to oppose the National Popular Vote.

Our Nation continues to face unprecedented struggles posed by economic and debt woes. But, the NPV provides an even greater threat – one that could end the liberty and freedoms upon which our very system of government was founded.  We must remain vigilant to protect and preserve the American system of governance – one that has produced history’s most successful model of self-governance.

 

(Shawn Steel is a former Chairman of the California Republican Party, and currently serves as California’s Republican National Committeeman.  Learn more about Shawn Steel and Save Our Electoral College at www.savethecollege.com)

Comments

  1. The National Popular Vote bill is a state-based approach. It preserves the Electoral College and state control of elections. It changes the way electoral votes are awarded in the Electoral College. It assures that every vote is equal and that every voter will matter in every state in every presidential election, as in virtually every other election in the country.

    Under National Popular Vote, every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in every presidential election. Every vote would be included in the national count. The candidate with the most popular votes in all 50 states would get the 270+ electoral votes from the enacting states. That majority of electoral votes guarantees the candidate with the most popular votes in all 50 states wins the presidency.

    National Popular Vote would give a voice to the minority party voters in each state. Now their votes are counted only for the candidate they did not vote for. Now they don’t matter to their candidate. With National Popular Vote, elections wouldn’t be about winning states. No more distorting and divisive red and blue state maps. 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 the current handful of swing states. The political reality would be that when every vote is equal, the campaign must be run in every part of the country. Candidates could not continue to ignore 2/3rds of the states and voters, over 85 million.

  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. 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 the current 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. 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 CA, 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 have been merely spectators to the presidential election. That’s more than 85 million voters ignored.

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

  3. States have the responsibility and power to make their voters relevant in every presidential election.

    Unable to agree on any particular method, the Founding Fathers left the choice of method for selecting presidential electors exclusively to the states by adopting the language contained in section 1 of Article II of the U.S. Constitution– “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.”

    Federalism concerns the allocation of power between state governments and the national government. The National Popular Vote bill concerns how votes are tallied, not how much power state governments possess relative to the national government. The powers of state governments are neither increased nor decreased based on whether presidential electors are selected along the state boundary lines, or national lines (as with the National Popular Vote).

  4. Now with state-by-state winner-take-all laws presidential elections ignore 12 of the 13 lowest population states (3-4 electoral votes), that are almost invariably non-competitive, and ignored, in presidential elections. Six regularly vote Republican (Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, and South Dakota), and six regularly vote Democratic (Rhode Island, Delaware, Hawaii, Vermont, Maine, and DC) in presidential elections.

    Support for a national popular vote is strong in every smallest state surveyed in recent polls among Republican voters, Democratic voters, and independent voters, as well as every demographic group. Support in smaller states (3 to 5 electoral votes): Alaska — 70%, DC — 76%, Delaware –75%, Idaho – 77%, Maine — 77%, Montana – 72%, Nebraska — 74%, New Hampshire –69%, Nevada — 72%, New Mexico — 76%, Oklahoma – 81%, Rhode Island — 74%, South Dakota – 71%, Utah – 70%, Vermont — 75%, and West Virginia – 81%, and Wyoming – 69%.

    Nine state legislative chambers in the lowest population states have passed the National Popular Vote bill. It has been enacted by the District of Columbia, Hawaii, and Vermont.

    None of the 10 most rural states (VT, ME, WV, MS, SD, AR, MT, ND, AL, and KY) is a battleground state.
    The current state-by-state winner-take-all method of awarding electoral votes does not enhance the influence of rural states, because the most rural states are not battleground states.

  5. The population of the top five cities (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and Philadelphia) is only 6% of the population of the United States and the population of the top 50 cities (going as far down as Arlington, TX) is only 19% of the population of the United States. A “big city” only campaign would not win.
    Suburbs and exurbs often vote Republican.

    Evidence as to how a nationwide presidential campaign would be run can be found by examining the way presidential candidates currently campaign inside battleground states. Inside Ohio or Florida, the big cities do not receive all the attention. And, the cities of Ohio and Florida certainly do not control the outcome in those states. Because every vote is equal inside Ohio or Florida, presidential candidates avidly seek out voters in small, medium, and large towns. 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 in Ohio and Florida already knows–namely that when every vote is equal, the campaign must be run in every part of the state.

    Even in blue states with the biggest cities, urban voters don’t control statewide elections, so they can hardly control a national election. In California state-wide elections, candidates for governor or U.S. Senate don’t campaign just in Los Angeles and San Francisco, and there have recently been Republican governors Reagan, Dukemejian, Wilson, and Schwarzenegger. Just as with a national vote, a vote in rural Alpine county is just an important as a vote in Los Angeles. . If Los Angeles cannot control statewide elections in California, it can hardly control a nationwide election.

    In fact, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, and Oakland together cannot control a statewide election in California.

    Similarly, Republicans dominate Texas politics without carrying big cities such as Dallas and Houston.

    There are numerous other examples of Republicans who won races for governor and U.S. Senator in other states that have big cities (e.g., New York, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts) without ever carrying the big cities of their respective states. It is certainly true that the biggest cities in those states typically vote Democratic. However, the suburbs, exurbs, small towns, and rural parts of the states often voted Republican. If big cities controlled the outcome of elections, the governors and U.S. Senators would be Democratic in virtually every state with a significant city.

    The main media at the moment, namely TV, costs much more per impression in big cities than in smaller towns and rural area. So, if you just looked at TV, candidates get more bang for the buck in smaller towns and rural areas.

    If the National Popular Vote bill were to become law, it would not change the need for candidates to build a winning coalition across demographics. Any candidate who yielded, for example, the 21% of Americans who live in rural areas in favor of a “big city” approach would not likely win the national popular vote. Candidates would still 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 voters in Ohio.

    With National Popular Vote, every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections. Wining states would not be the goal. Candidates would need to care about voters across the nation, not just undecided voters in the current handful of swing states.

  6. The current state-by-state winner-take-all system of awarding electoral votes maximizes the incentive and opportunity for fraud. A very few people can change the national outcome by changing 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.

    Senator Birch Bayh (D-Indiana) summed up the concerns about possible fraud in a nationwide popular election for President in a Senate speech by saying in 1979, “one of the things we can do to limit fraud is to limit the benefits to be gained by fraud. Under a direct popular vote system, one fraudulent vote wins one vote in the return. In the electoral college system, one fraudulent vote could mean 45 electoral votes, 28 electoral votes.”

    Hendrik Hertzberg wrote: “To steal the closest popular-vote election in American history, you’d have to steal more than a hundred thousand votes . . .To steal the closest electoral-vote election in American history, you’d have to steal around 500 votes, all in one state. . . .

    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, I ask you, is an easier mark for vote-stealers, the status quo or N.P.V.[National Popular Vote]? Which offers thieves a better shot at success for a smaller effort?”

  7. In 1969, The U.S. House of Representatives voted for a national popular vote by a 338–70 margin. It was endorsed by Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, George H.W. Bush, and Bob Dole.

    Jason Cabel Roe, a lifelong conservative activist and professional political consultant wrote in National Popular Vote is Good for Republicans: “I strongly support National Popular Vote. It is good for Republicans, it is good for conservatives, it is good for California, and it is good for America. National Popular Vote is not a grand conspiracy hatched by the Left to manipulate the election outcome.
    It is a bipartisan effort of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents to allow every state – and every voter – to have a say in the selection of our President, and not just the 15 Battle Ground States.

    National Popular Vote is not a change that can be easily explained, nor the ramifications thought through in sound bites. It takes a keen political mind to understand just how much it can help . . . Republicans. . . .Opponents either have a knee-jerk reaction to the idea or don’t fully understand it. . . . We believe that the more exposure and discussion the reform has the more support that will build for it.”
    http://tinyurl.com/3z5brge

    By state (electoral college votes), by political affiliation, support for a national popular vote in recent polls has been:

    Alaska (3) — 66% among (Republicans), 70% among Nonpartisan voters, 82% among Alaska Independent Party voters
    Arkansas (6) — 71% (R), 79% (Independents).
    California (55)– 61% (R), 74% (I)
    Colorado (9) — 56% (R), 70% (I).
    Connecticut (7) — 67% (R)
    Delaware (3) — 69% (R), 76% (I)
    DC (3) — 48% (R), 74% of (I)
    Idaho(4) – 75% (R)
    Florida (29) — 68% (R)
    Iowa (6) — 63% (R)
    Kentucky (8) — 71% (R), 70% (I)
    Maine (4) – 70% (R)
    Massachusetts (11) — 54% (R)
    Michigan (16) — 68% (R), 73% (I)
    Minnesota (10) — 69% (R)
    Mississippi (6) — 75% (R)
    Nebraska (5) — 70% (R)
    Nevada (5) — 66% (R)
    New Hampshire (4) — 57% (R), 69% (I)
    New Mexico (5) — 64% (R), 68% (I)
    New York (29) – 66% (R), 78% Independence, 50% Conservative
    North Carolina (15) — 89% liberal (R), 62% moderate (R) , 70% conservative (R), 80% (I)
    Ohio (18) — 65% (R)
    Oklahoma (7) — 75% (R)
    Oregon (7) — 70% (R), 72% (I)
    Pennsylvania (20) — 68% (R), 76% (I)
    Rhode Island (4) — 71% liberal (R), 63% moderate (R), 35% conservative (R), 78% (I),
    South Carolina (8) — 64% (R)
    South Dakota (3) — 67% (R)
    Tennessee (11) — 73% (R)
    Utah (6) — 66% (R)
    Vermont (3) — 61% (R)
    Virginia (13) — 76% liberal (R), 63% moderate (R), 54% conservative (R)
    Washington (12) — 65% (R)
    West Virginia (5) — 75% (R)
    Wisconsin (10) — 63% (R), 67% (I)
    Wyoming (3) –66% (R), 72% (I)
    http://nationalpopularvote.com/pages/polls.php

  8. In a 2008 survey of 2,004 California adult residents interviewed from October 12-19, 2008, 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% of Republicans also supported this change. Among likely voters, support for this change was 6 points higher than in October 2004 (64%).

  9. jerry van ee says

    Oldgulgh has just presented the case for Popular Vote Election Ruse that the DEMOCRAT PARTY WANTS YOU TO BUY OFF ON ! … The founding fathers , on purpose wanted the thinly populated states empowered by allowing them a few electors to cast votes for the candidates that best represented them. So far 9 states have sacrificed their rights to their own electoral votes by adopting this plan. Everyone of these 9 states are blue states dominated by liberal progressive Democrats. In 2004 GW Bush barely won in the electoral college by winning Ohio by only 60,000 votes. Had GW 61,000 fewer votes Kerry would have won even though Bush beat him by millions in the nationwide popular vote. The Electoal College System empowers Ohio and not New York , California and Illinois. I have run some simulations in which this popular vote ruse can backfire on the Democrats. Wouldn’t that be funny to have the Democrats lose in 2012 due to a law 9 blue states passed ? These 9 blue states have signed make it is possible the DNC can lose in 2012. Democrats need the misinformed GOP to join them on their effort to change the intent of the founding fathers.The popular vote helps the groups like ACORN that can cheat in Illinois and run up the popular vote count. I prefer the living and not voters registered as Mickey Mouse to choose my President. Don’t listen to Oldgulgh’s psychogarble , he’s really a Democrat helping ACORN can steal some more elections. Jve (Ultra Conservative in Reagan Library Country)

  10. 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). The recent Washington Post, Kaiser Family Foundation, and Harvard University poll shows 72% support for direct nationwide election of the President. Support is strong among Republican voters, Democratic voters, and independent voters, as well as every demographic group surveyed in virtually every state surveyed in recent polls in closely divided battleground states: Colorado– 68%, Florida – 78%, Iowa –75%, Michigan– 73%, Missouri– 70%, New Hampshire– 69%, Nevada– 72%, New Mexico– 76%, North Carolina– 74%, Ohio– 70%, Pennsylvania — 78%, Virginia — 74%, and Wisconsin — 71%; in smaller states (3 to 5 electoral votes): Alaska — 70%, DC — 76%, Delaware –75%, Idaho – 77%, Maine — 77%, Montana – 72%, Nebraska — 74%, New Hampshire –69%, Nevada — 72%, New Mexico — 76%, Oklahoma – 81%, Rhode Island — 74%, South Dakota – 71%, Utah – 70%, Vermont — 75%, and West Virginia – 81%, and Wyoming – 69%; in Southern and border states: Arkansas –80%, Kentucky — 80%, Mississippi –77%, Missouri — 70%, North Carolina — 74%, Oklahoma – 81%, South Carolina – 71%, Tennessee — 83%, Virginia — 74%, and West Virginia – 81%; and in other states polled: California — 70%, Connecticut — 74%,, Massachusetts — 73%, Minnesota — 75%, New York — 79%, Oregon – 76%, and Washington — 77%.

    Come the end of voting on Election Day, most voters don’t care whether their presidential candidate wins or loses in their state . . . they care whether he/she wins the White House. Voters want to know, that even if they were on the losing side, their vote actually was directly and equally counted and mattered to their candidate. Most Americans consider the idea of the candidate with the most popular votes being declared a loser detestable. We don’t allow this in any other election in our representative republic.

    The National Popular Vote bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers, in 21 small, medium-small, medium, and large population states, including one house in Arkansas(6), Connecticut (7), Delaware (3), The District of Columbia, Maine (4), Michigan (16), Nevada (5), New Mexico (5), New York (29), North Carolina (15), and Oregon (7), and both houses in California (55), Colorado (9), Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island (4), 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), Vermont (3), and Washington (13). These nine jurisdictions have 132 electoral votes — 49% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.

    See http://www.NationalPopularVote.com

  11. Darfur Deng says

    oldgulph
    Just another Racist Liberal Nazi Gutter Trash Bigot making up the truth as he goes. The NPV is designed to usher in the Fourth Reich.

    Under NPV the Liberal Nazis like oldgulph would need only to focus in on the 11 most populated states, of which the majority are already Blue States. They could completely ignore the other 39 states, because they would already control the majority of the votes, and everyone else’s vote would be nullified. NPV rhetoric is a classic example of Orwellian double speak, manipulating the votes in 11 States, which are already notorious for their corruption would be a piece of cake for the Union Crooks. After all they already enslave the African American, and poverty vote by means of entitlements,

    The likes of Obama and oldgulph are nothing more than lying sacks of racist human gutter garbage, and should be dealt with as such.

    • James Lacy says

      The above post pushes the edge of this online magazine’s policies for commenting, which we believe should be focused and include minimal name-calling. We are pleased to post comments but urge a bit more civility in future on this thread to qualify for posting a comment.

    • OMG…”Liberal Nazis”? And we’re the ones “enslaving the African American”? Seriously? Are you listening to yourself? You’re all still waiting for the south to rise again…

  12. Under the current system, the 11 most populous states contain 56% of the population of the United States, and a candidate could win the Presidency by winning a mere 51% of the vote in just these 11 biggest states — that is, a mere 26% of the nation’s votes.

  13. That would be really nice if we never had another Republican president. REJOICE! Wasn’t sure whether or not I wanted to support this or not, but after seeing how vehemently you’re all against it, it MUST be a good thing. Thanks for the help!

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