BEST ARGUMENTS FOR A NATIONAL POPULAR VOTE
NPV WRITTEN OR ORAL ARGUMENTS
(For use in hearings/debates)
WINNER-TAKE-ALL IS GERRYMANDERING OF A DIFFERENT COLOR:
Gerrymandering is the manipulation of boundaries in voting districts so that politicians can choose their voters, instead of voters choosing their politicians.
At the beginning of a presidential election, each state is a voting district containing a diverse regional constituency of red, blue, green and independent voters. Some states lean more heavily conservative, some more liberal and some more or less balance between the two. But within the borders of each state, the presidential election is a popular vote where every vote counts, because every vote is equal.
Once the statewide popular vote count is over, winner-take-all laws kick in, separate out the minority votes and keep only the votes of the majority party in order to pick its states presidential electors. While not changing the actual voting district boundary of each state, this legal manipulation of constituencies, skews election results just as surely as if they did.
This is not a consequence unforeseen by founding fathers from a distance of more than 220 years, but the original intent. After the presidential election of 1796 when Thomas Jefferson lost his own state of Virginia and hence the election, he encouraged leading politicians in other states, to enact winner-take-all laws to maximize their party’s dominance for future elections. A domino effect was set in motion and in just under 100 years, each state had adopted a national under-the-radar gerrymandering system that continues to preserve a tight grip on statewide political power to this day.
IT SIMPLY CAN'T BE DONE
If this historical data is to be believed, to win a popular vote election, the 15% of the country that lives in rural areas MUST BE COURTED! And the 70% percent that lives in between rural areas and the cities, the folks that are evenly representative of both rural and metro political affiliations, they are the group that adds sufficient numbers to either rural and city votes to win a popular vote election.
In a winner-take-all Electoral College election it is actually possible to win an election with only .6% of all popular votes cast. That is exactly what happened in 2016 when the Republican candidate legally gamed the system by intentionally targeting critical counties within the battleground states of Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Florida. In doing so, a relatively small number of votes (less than 130,000 or just under .6% of all ballots nationwide) flipped the electoral votes of these states and the presidency was won.
Although opponents of National Popular Vote in non-battleground states may not understand it now, when NPV is enacted (after enough states equaling 270 electoral votes join the Interstate Compact) they will wake up the morning of the following presidential election and comprehend that for the first time in their lifetime, their vote will matter. In a blue state, no overkill as a Democrat, no waist of time as a Republican.
DON’T ALLOW OPPONENTS TO REFER TO RED OR BLUE STATES:
The debate must stop taking place with a NPV framed within the traditional Electoral College map, it does not compute. There are no red or blue states in a NPV election, only voters that are not sequestered within their state boarders and whose votes are never thrown away. A NPV map would not show massive blocks of red or blue, but a pixelated swirl of red, blue, and even green regions surrounded wide swaths of open space. A NPV election result map would make it stunningly clear that the country is just as much sagebrush, prairie, forest and farmland, than Republicans, Democrats or Independents.
MAKE OPPONENTS CHOOSE BETWEEN PARTY AND CONSTITUENTS:
Whether Democrat or Republican, to continue to support the current system is to put party loyalties over duty to the constituents in your state who are not of your political affiliation. Supporting the current system is to also turn your back on voters within your own party, simply because they are the minority voters in other states. Republicans in blue states, and Democrats in red states have been abandoned by their party leaders simply because they don’t live in battleground states.
THE CURRENT SYSTEM IS FOREVER BROKEN:
The 2016 election made it crystal clear that even within state boarders, it is no longer necessary to reach out to voters in every part of that state. 2016 was won by intentionally targeting critical counties within the battleground states of Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Florida. In doing so, a relatively small number of votes (less than 130,000 or just under .6% of all ballots nationwide) flipped the electoral votes of these states and the presidency was won by the “legal” gaming of the winner-take-all system.
Now that this type of surgically targeted campaign strategy has proven effective, and impressively less expensive, it will likely be the way all future presidential campaigns will be run under the Electoral College winner-take-all system. And why not? It saves time, money and all that hassle of listening to as many voters as possible.
A DEMEANING COMPARISON:
THE ELEPHANT (or donkey) IN THE ROOM:
The 2016 election would not have been the same election under a National Popular Vote. Candidates would have campaigned differently and both have said as much. Perhaps for the first time in history, a third party candidate may have won the White House, we’ll never know. Hindsight is not 20/20 in this case, and not realizing this is due either to a lack of information, lack of understanding or an unwillingness to let go of tradition for its own sake.
DO WE WANT MORE PEOPLE TO VOTE OR NOT?
It is a fact: voter registration and voter turnout goes up in battleground states because people know their votes will matter. So ask your legislator: Is it a good thing or a bad thing that more people vote in presidential elections? If it’s a good thing, support a NPV. If it’s a bad thing, then support the Electoral College winner-take-all.
ASK YOUR LEGISLATORS: WHICH WOULD THEY CHOOSE?
Voters in the minority of non-battleground states, red or blue, feel cheated after every presidential election. There are likely significant numbers that have given up voting in these races. Landslide elections seem to be a thing of the past. In two out of the last eight presidential elections, (4 won by Republicans, 4 by Democrats and none considered landslides) the Electoral College and the popular vote diverged. A one-out-of-four failure rate is statistically significant and the more it happens, as non-landside elections become the norm, the more divided the country becomes.
If you, as a legislator had to make a choice, which would you choose?
To compare a popular vote for president to popularity contest demeans and disrespects American voters. It harkens back to original arguments that implied the general populace wasn’t intellectually qualified or sufficiently informed to directly vote for president.
Distance and communication barriers have long been broken and this argument should be called out for what it is: unabashed elitism.
The NPV is well on its way to becoming a national political issue and legislators elected by popular vote, who use the excuse that voters should leave the most important election in the country up to those “who know better” will soon find themselves very “unpopular.”
To win in an unfair election, or lose in a fair one?