Random thoughts, usually my comments on larger blogs.
By 2012, The National Popular Vote bill could guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections. 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.Now 2/3rds of the states and voters are ignored — 19 of the 22 smallest and medium-small states, and big states like CA, GA, NY, and TX. The current winner-take-all laws (i.e., awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in each state) used by 48 of the 50 states, and not mentioned, much less endorsed, in the Constitution, ensure that the candidates do not reach out to all of the states and their voters. Candidates have no reason to visit, organize, campaign, or care about the voter concerns in the dozens of states where they are safely ahead or hopelessly behind. Policies important to the citizens of ‘flyover’ states are not as highly prioritized as policies important to ‘battleground’ states when it comes to governing.The bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes—enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538). When the bill comes into effect, all the electoral votes from those states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).The bill uses the power given to each state by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution to change how they award their electoral votes for president. Historically, virtually all of the major changes in the method of electing the President, including ending the requirement that only men who owned substantial property could vote and 48 current state-by-state winner-take-all laws, have come about by state legislative action.The bill has been endorsed or voted for by 1,922 state legislators (in 50 states) who have sponsored and/or cast recorded votes in favor of the bill.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 in virtually every state, partisan, and demographic group surveyed in recent polls in closely divided battleground states: CO– 68%, IA –75%, MI– 73%, MO– 70%, NH– 69%, NV– 72%, NM– 76%, NC– 74%, OH– 70%, PA — 78%, VA — 74%, and WI — 71%; in smaller states (3 to 5 electoral votes): AK – 70%, DC – 76%, DE –75%, ME — 77%, NE — 74%, NH –69%, NV — 72%, NM — 76%, RI — 74%, and VT — 75%; in Southern and border states: AR –80%, KY — 80%, MS –77%, MO — 70%, NC — 74%, and VA — 74%; and in other states polled: CA — 70%, CT — 74% , MA — 73%, MN – 75%, NY — 79%, WA — 77%, and WV- 81%.The National Popular Vote bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers, in 21 small, medium-small, medium, and large states, including one house in AR (6), CT (7), DE (3), DC (3), ME (4), MI (17), NV (5), NM (5), NY (31), NC (15), and OR (7), and both houses in CA (55), CO (9), HI (4), IL (21), NJ (15), MD (10), MA(12), RI (4), VT (3), and WA (11). The bill has been enacted by DC, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Washington. These seven states possess 76 electoral votes — 28% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.See http://www.NationalPopularVote.com
The National Popular Vote is a bookend, or icing on the cake, for the DREAM Act. It is designed to be a final nail in the coffin of federalism. It is also the antithesis of republicanism in the small r sense. Those two concepts are the heart of the Constitution that made the United States exceptional and successful for 200 years. That experiment, of a controlled and limited yet still effective, government that provided the maximum degree of Liberty is now under serious threat. Liberty exists when protected by a series of firebreaks from tyranny. That rule by force and domination can come from two directions. It can come from an arbitrary and abusive Authority imposing itself on the people and it can come from the passions of the Mob demanding conformity. The greatest danger comes from politicians, demagogues would be aristocrats and corrupt people who foment factions, who are skilled at manipulating the masses and using them to crush the individuals. Power is not wielded by the Mob, except in moments of uncontrolled excess. It is wielded by individuals in the name of the people.We need a government, just as we need fire or religion. My creed is not Libertarianism that would chop down the forest of the Law and leave man shivering defenseless before the Devil. The States are part of the deliberately complex mechanism that protects the liberties of the persons who make up the people.
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