Romney v Obama – A Potential Crisis In The Making!

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I know the election is still a few month off, but there is something on the horizon that no one is talking about, a gigantic California sized fly in the ointment, as it were – it’s the push for electoral college reform, and what this election might mean for that movement.

Before I go on, let me state the blindingly obvious – President Obama is going to CRUSH Mitt Romney out here in California. There is absolutely no question about it. It’s as sure a bet as any in politics.

Now that that is out of the way….

The election is a mere four months away. Seeing that the poll numbers for both candidates have been fairly static, and neither has yet to pull out a big lead, either Mitt Romney or Barrack Obama could win the popular vote, more than likely on a small margin. At this point at last, I’ve seen most of the analysis of the electoral vote favoring the incumbent. This means, if everything stays the same – ceteris paribus – there is a decent chance that election could mirror the 2000 election, where the winner of the electoral vote did not get the majority of the popular vote.

Meanwhile, there has been a movement afoot in the form of the National Popular Vote bill, which would in certain instances nullify the electoral college nullify the popular vote within each state. The idea is that, if one candidate wins the national popular vote but loses the electoral vote in any state that has signed on to the agreement, that state would nullify the will of the voters in that state and cast its electoral votes for the winner of the popular vote en toto.

Yes, Rachel. It IS a horrible idea. And, of course, just about a year ago California signed on to this folly. It was appealing to many in this liberal state because of the Bush / Gore debacle of 2000, where the favored liberal won the popular vote but lost the electoral college (and please, lets not get into the stolen election fallacy, as Gore would have lost the electoral vote had the count continued in the way he wanted). But, what the Democrat politicians of this state didn’t think about, it appears, is what would happen if if the party affiliation were reversed! And the election of 2012 might just bring that result, with Obama winning the electoral vote but Romney winning the national popular vote!

Can you imagine the uproar in this strange state if the Democrat Obama had his overwhelming electoral victory in California nullified by this law and instead the state handed over to the despised EVIL gay hating Romney????

If the Topsy-Turvy election result do come to pass in this election, and Romney wins the popular vote but loses the electoral count, expect California to divert all money from the high speed rail project in order to build a time machine and undo this bit of foolishness on their part.

17 Comments to “Romney v Obama – A Potential Crisis In The Making!”

  1. By Serenity, August 5, 2012 @ 9:13 am

    I always thought the National Popular Vote compact was a good idea myself. I mean, the Electoral College probably seemed like a great idea back when states were using it in innovative ways to apportion their votes as they saw was right for them, but most states these days aren’t even trying. In the vast majority of cases (even in Maine and Nebraska with only one small exception) all of the electoral votes just go to the winner of the popular vote, with no proportionality or involvement of state legislatures, so what’s the point of the Electoral College?

    I’ve actually been an advocate of run-off voting (effectively using the French system) for US Presidents for a while now, but in the absence of that, the National Popular Vote compact is the next best thing in my eyes. As for the possibility of that handing the election to Mitt Romney, all I can say is that fair’s fair and he won’t be my President so what do I care? If the American people want to be stupid and elect Mitt Romney, that’s democracy for you.

  2. By toto, August 5, 2012 @ 5:27 pm

    National Popular Vote does Not nullify the electoral college and does Not nullify the will of the voters in that state.

    The National Popular Vote bill would change existing state winner-take-all laws that award all of a state’s electoral votes to the candidate who get the most popular votes in each separate state (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but since enacted by 48 states), to a system guaranteeing the majority of Electoral College votes for, and the Presidency to, the candidate getting the most popular votes in the entire United States.

    The National Popular Vote bill preserves the constitutionally mandated Electoral College and state control of elections. It ensures that every vote 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.

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

    And now votes, beyond the one needed to get the most votes in the state, for winning in a state are wasted and don’t matter to candidates. Utah (5 electoral votes) alone generated a margin of 385,000 “wasted” votes for Bush in 2004. 8 small western states, with less than a third of California’s population, provided Bush with a bigger margin (1,283,076) than California provided Kerry (1,235,659).

    With National Popular Vote, every vote, everywhere would be counted equally 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. The political reality would be that when every vote is equal, the campaign must be run in every part of the country.

    In the 2012 election, pundits and campaign operatives agree that, at most, only 6-12 states and their voters will matter under 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. At most, 12 states will determine the election. Candidates will not care about at least 76% of the voters– voters in 19 of the 22 lowest population and medium-small states, and in 16 medium and big states like CA, GA, NY, and TX. 2012 campaigning could be even more obscenely exclusive than 2008 and 2004. In 2008, 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). 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. More than 85 million voters, 200 million Americans, have been just spectators to the general election.

    Now, policies important to the citizens of ‘flyover’ states – that include 9 of the original 13 states – are not as highly prioritized as policies important to ‘battleground’ states when it comes to governing, too.

    Since World War II, a shift of only a few thousand votes in one or two states would have elected the second-place candidate in 4 of the 13 presidential elections. Near misses are now frequently common. There have been 6 consecutive non-landslide presidential elections. A shift of 60,000 voters in Ohio in 2004 would have defeated President Bush despite his nationwide lead of over 3 Million votes.

    The presidential election system that we have today was not designed, anticipated, or favored by the Founding Fathers but, instead, is the product of decades of evolutionary change precipitated by the emergence of political parties and enactment by 48 states of winner-take-all laws, not mentioned, much less endorsed, in the Constitution.

    States have the responsibility and power to make their voters relevant in every presidential election. 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. It does not abolish the Electoral College.

  3. By toto, August 5, 2012 @ 9:18 pm

    More than 2,110 state legislators (in 50 states) have sponsored and/or cast recorded votes in favor of the National Popular Vote bill.

    Most Americans 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 think it’s 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 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%.

    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.
    see http://tinyurl.com/3jdkx7x

    Connecticut — 74% for Question 1, 68% for Question 2.
    see http://tinyurl.com/3nv8djt

    Utah — 70% for Question 1, 66% for Question 2.
    see http://tinyurl.com/3vrfxyh

    The bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers in 21 states. The bill has been enacted by 9 jurisdictions possessing 132 electoral votes – 49% of the 270 necessary to go into effect.

    The bill says: “Any member state may withdraw from this agreement, except that a withdrawal occurring six months or less before the end of a President’s term shall not become effective until a President or Vice President shall have been qualified to serve the next term.”

    Any attempt by a state to pull out of the compact in violation of its terms would violate the Impairments Clause of the U.S. Constitution and would be void. Such an attempt would also violate existing federal law. Compliance would be enforced by Federal court action

    NationalPopularVote

  4. By Sonicfrog, August 5, 2012 @ 9:30 pm

    Toto, thank for the reply.

    Yes, you are right. Given that each state has the authority to select electors as they deem appropriate, the NPC does not nullify the EC. I’ll change that wording. That said, if the scenario that I describe comes to past and the NPC is in effect, it does have the potential to nullify the will of the voters in each specific state and will sooner or later turn the concept of state popular vote on its head. Again, if a very liberal leaning state like California or New York had to change its voter approved electoral count from the voter directed liberal Presidential candidate to the Republican challenger, there will be hell to pay! And I don’t even want to think what would happen in Texas if the voters overwhelmingly chose, say, Sarah Palin, but found that because of this law their electors were switched to Rohm Emanuel instead!!!! (just kidding Texas…. Love You… Was raised there) It may not be nullifying the electoral college, but it would nullify the will of the voters in each of those states.

    Do I think it’s better just to do away with the electoral college? No. It does provide a safety mechanism from electoral skulduggery. To me, the better way to reform the system would b to split the delegate count according to the percentage of the states popular vote, and allocate elector by district. If memory serves, that is the way Maine and / or Nebraska chooses to handle their electoral count. that way, the electoral count is more of a true representation of how the state voted as a whole.

  5. By Sonicfrog, August 5, 2012 @ 9:36 pm

    “With National Popular Vote, every vote, everywhere would be counted equally for, and directly assist, the candidate for whom it was cast.”

    That is not correct. It only makes it count if there is a differing outcome than the normal result of most votes and most electoral votes aligning. People in California who vote Republican in the Presidential contest do not currently matter as far as the electoral college is concerned. Their vote doesn’t count, and would not count even if the NPV takes effect. Under my system, it would come much closer to reality.

  6. By Sonicfrog, August 5, 2012 @ 9:43 pm

    “Most Americans don’t care whether their presidential candidate wins or loses in their state. . . they care whether he/she wins the White House.

    Which is part of the reason why voting levels are so historically low. Why should a Republican vote in California when the winner is predetermined, and their vote for President will make no difference. By splitting the vote by districts, that would make each vote more important to the national race.

    The survey in question is stilted. It gives a false either / or choice. If Nebraska’s system were to be included in the line of questioning, I wonder what the survey would say then?

  7. By Cinesnatch, August 6, 2012 @ 2:54 am

    I always thought that the electoral college favors the flyover states–states who receive more representation per capita with an automatic three electoral votes, regardless of total population. Doesn’t seem right, but I could be easily convinced otherwise.

  8. By toto, August 6, 2012 @ 5:20 pm

    Dividing a state’s electoral votes by congressional district winners (as Maine and Nebraska do) would magnify the worst features of the Electoral College system.

    If the district approach were used nationally, it would be less fair and less accurately reflect the will of the people than the current system. In 2004, Bush won 50.7% of the popular vote, but 59% of the districts. Although Bush lost the national popular vote in 2000, he won 55% of the country’s congressional districts.

    The district approach would not provide incentive for presidential candidates to campaign in a particular state or focus the candidates’ attention to issues of concern to the state. With the 48 state-by-state winner-take-all laws (whether applied to either districts or states), candidates have no reason to campaign in districts or states where they are comfortably ahead or hopelessly behind. In North Carolina, for example, there are only 2 districts (the 13th with a 5% spread and the 2nd with an 8% spread) where the presidential race is competitive. In California, the presidential race has been competitive in only 3 of the state’s 53 districts. Nationwide, there have been only 55 “battleground” districts that were competitive in presidential elections. With the present deplorable 48 state-level winner-take-all system, 2/3rds of the states (including California and Texas) are ignored in presidential elections; however, 88% of the nation’s congressional districts would be ignored if a district-level winner-take-all system were used nationally.

    Awarding electoral votes by congressional district could result in third party candidates winning electoral votes that would deny either major party candidate the necessary majority vote of electors and throw the process into Congress to decide.

    Because there are generally more close votes on district levels than states as whole, district elections increase the opportunity for error. The larger the voting base, the less opportunity there is for an especially close vote.

    Also, a second-place candidate could still win the White House without winning the national popular vote.

    A national popular vote is the way to make every person’s vote equal and matter to their candidate because it guarantees that the candidate who gets the most votes in all 50 states and DC becomes President.

  9. By toto, August 6, 2012 @ 5:24 pm

    Opponents remain stuck on a misconception that the plan would “force” states to give their electoral votes to a candidate that may not have won their state, but this misses the point entirely. The National Popular Vote plan changes the Electoral College from an obstruction of the popular will to a ratifier in that it would always elect the candidate who has won the most popular votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Rather than states throwing their votes away, the actual voters themselves are empowered, as each and every one of us would have an equal vote for president – something we are sorely lacking under the Electoral College.
    http://tinyurl.com/3fnw62d

    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.

    And now votes, beyond the one needed to get the most votes in the state, for winning in a state are wasted and don’t matter to candidates. Utah (5 electoral votes) alone generated a margin of 385,000 “wasted” votes for Bush in 2004. 8 small western states, with less than a third of California’s population, provided Bush with a bigger margin (1,283,076) than California provided Kerry (1,235,659).

    This is about legitimacy. And the only way a candidate for president can be legitimate according to democratic principles is to win the popular vote of the entire country, and to campaign in the entire country, not just in the so-called “swing” states. Every voter in every state, every campaign worker must know that each vote counts and each effort to elect a candidate counts. That is not so in our present system

  10. By toto, August 6, 2012 @ 5:30 pm

    It is certainly true, in every presidential election, that
    “With National Popular Vote, every vote, everywhere would be counted equally for, and directly assist, the candidate for whom it was cast.”

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

    Your argument judges the National Popular Vote, a new election system, by the expectations of the current system.

    The whole point of the National Popular Vote bill is that the state-by-state outcome would no longer determine the Presidency, but, instead, the candidate who gets the most votes in all 50 states (and DC), would become President. The campaigns will be playing with new rules, and voters will understand that.

    Under the National Popular Vote plan, the focus of the campaigns and media in the months prior to the presidential elections will be on polls of the national popular vote, not on state-by-state polls from the current handful of closely divided battleground states. There will be no more handful of decisive battleground/swing states, only the United States.

  11. By toto, August 6, 2012 @ 5:32 pm

    A survey of Nebraska voters showed 67% overall support for a national popular vote for President.

    Support by political affiliation was 78% among Democrats, 62% among Republicans, and 63% among others.
    By congressional district, support for a national popular vote was 65% in the 1st congressional district, 66% in the 2nd district (which voted for Obama in 2008); and 72% in the 3rd District. By gender, support for a national popular vote was 76% among women and 59% among men.
    By age, support for a national popular vote, 73% among 18–29 year-olds, 67% among 30–45 year-olds, 65% among 46–65 year-olds, and 69% among those older than 65.

    In a 2nd question with a 3-way choice among methods of awarding electoral votes,

    * 16% favored the statewide winner-take-all system (i.e., awarding all five electoral votes to the candidate who receives the most votes statewide)
    * 27% favored the current system
    * 57% favored a national popular vote

    Support by political affiliation by a national popular vote was still 65% among Democrats, 53% among Republicans, and 51% among others.

    NationalPopularVote

  12. By toto, August 6, 2012 @ 5:33 pm

    A survey of Maine voters showed 77% overall support for a national popular vote for President.

    By political affiliation, support for a national popular vote was 85% among Democrats, 70% among Republicans, and 73% among others.

    By gender, support for a national popular vote was 82% among women and 71% among men.

    By age, support for a national popular vote was 79% among 18-29 year olds, 67% among 30-45 year olds, 78% among 46-65 year olds, and 82% for those older than 65.

    By congressional district, support for a national popular vote was 78% in the First congressional district and 76% in the Second district.

    By race, support for a national popular vote was 79% among whites (representing 94% of respondents) and 56% among others (representing 6% of respondents).

    In a follow-up question presenting a three-way choice among various methods of awarding Maine’s electoral votes,

    71% favored a national popular vote;
    21% favored Maine’s current system of awarding its electoral votes by congressional district; and
    8% favored the statewide winner-take-all system (i.e., awarding all of Maine’s electoral votes to the candidate who receives the most votes statewide).

    NationalPopularVote

  13. By toto, August 6, 2012 @ 5:36 pm

    Now political clout comes from being among the handful of battleground states.

    Flyover states are the more than 2/3 of states that are flown over, ignored, by presidential campaigns.

    Now with state-by-state winner-take-all laws (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but since enacted by 48 states), presidential elections ignore 12 of the 13 lowest population states (3-4 electoral votes), that are non-competitive in presidential elections. 6 regularly vote Republican (AK, ID, MT, WY, ND, and SD), and 6 regularly vote Democratic (RI, DE, HI, VT, ME, and DC) in presidential elections. Voters in states that are reliably red or blue don’t matter. Candidates ignore those states and the issues they care about most.

    Support for a national popular vote is strong in every smallest state surveyed in recent polls among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group. Support in smaller states (3 to 5 electoral votes): AK -70%, DC -76%, DE –75%, ID -77%, ME – 77%, MT- 72%, NE – 74%, NH–69%, NE – 72%, NM – 76%, RI – 74%, SD- 71%, UT- 70%, VT – 75%, WV- 81%, and WY- 69%.

    In the lowest population states, the National Popular Vote bill has passed in nine state legislative chambers, and been enacted by 3 jurisdictions.

    Of the 25 smallest states (with a total of 155 electoral votes) 18 received no attention at all from presidential campaigns after the conventions.

  14. By Sonicfrog, August 6, 2012 @ 6:36 pm

    Toto, I’m working right now and can’t respond at length. Will do so this afternoon. Meanwhile, could you provide a link to the survey showing Maine’s approval rating for the NPV act? Thanks.

  15. By Sonicfrog, August 6, 2012 @ 7:15 pm

    Thanks. Will take a look when I get time.

  16. By Sonicfrog, August 7, 2012 @ 2:39 am

    Just got home…. I’m beat. Probably won’t be able to respond until tomorrow.

    Again, thanks for the replies. You’ve made a strong case for your side.

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