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August 16, 2011

The idiotic Ames straw poll

I watched with some amazement the Ames straw poll. The process is truly bizarre and yet for some reason it was treated as some kind of major political event. A straw poll, as the name implies, is a quick way to see which way the wind is blowing at one particular instant, and it is absurd to use it for anything more. And yet, such a poll resulted in the elimination of Tim Pawlenty from the Republican race.

Just think about it. Less than 17,000 votes were cast. As of 2008, there were 206 million voting age citizens. So 0.008% of the voting age population, all located in a small part of the country and representing very narrow interests, denied the rest of the country the chance to decide if they thought Pawlenty would make a good president.

Let me make it clear that I am not holding a brief for Pawlenty. I did not like his politics and he showed that he was willing to pander to the nutty base of the party as enthusiastically as the rest. For all I know, he may have run an awful campaign in Ames. But he did not seem to be obviously insane and did serve as a governor of a major state for two terms and this should at least count for something. The point I want to make is that it is crazy to allow such a narrow segment of the population to have such a major voice in determining who should or should not be the president and allow them to summarily eliminate candidates who, at least on the basis of their resumes, deserve to be taken seriously.

In his fine book Plain, Honest Men: The Making of the American Constitution (2010), constitutional scholar Richard Beeman describes the extended discussions the Founding Fathers had during the summer of 1787 as they tried to figure out the best way to elect a president. The problem they faced was that the president had to represent the nation as a whole but the state of communications was so poor and travel so difficult that, apart from war hero George Washington, they feared that the public scattered across the thirteen states would not have the knowledge to vote for someone who was outside their region or state. They feared that a truly democratic election in which each citizen cast one vote directly for the president would result in each state's voters choosing their 'favorite son' for president, leading to an inconclusive result. They were also somewhat contemptuous of the wisdom, integrity, and intelligence of ordinary citizens and feared that they could be easily manipulated into voting for self-seeking and unscrupulous but charismatic politicians.

Hence the Founding Fathers developed the complicated indirect voting system that we call the Electoral College, whereby the voters in each state would vote for Electors who would in turn vote for the president. The hope was that these Electors would be from among the best and the brightest people in the state and most knowledgeable about national affairs and thus would cast an informed vote. But even this safeguard was considered insufficient since they feared that the numbers of Electors from each state was so small (varying from three each from Rhode Island and Delaware to twelve from Virginia) that they could be too strongly influenced or manipulated or even bribed by ambitious state politicians to vote for them. Hence they put in an additional requirement that each Elector had to cast two votes, at least one of which should be for someone from outside their own state. The hope was that it was from the votes cast for an out-of-state candidate that a truly national figure would emerge.

But they added even more precautions. If as a result of this process, no single candidate emerged with a majority of votes in the Electoral College, then the House of Representatives would vote from among the top five candidates. In this final election, each state's delegation would have just one vote. They hoped that this elaborate process would allow for the election of someone who could rise about the parochial interests of his home state and represent the interests of the new nation as a whole.

In April 1789 George Washington was elected the first president under this system, having received every one of the Electoral College votes cast. But of course, the main concern was not about Washington, who was always expected to be a shoo-in for the post, but to ensure that someone close to his stature would be elected once he left office.

But look what we have now. Unlike in 1787, we have rapid travel and almost instantaneous universal communication so that all voters everywhere have access to information about all the candidates. The difficult conditions that the founders designed their system to overcome no longer apply. And yet, rather than having a system that takes advantage of the elimination of those constraints to select a truly national candidate, what the Ames straw poll illustrates is that we have actually gone into reverse, granting a tiny, self-selected, and highly parochial group the right to decide who are the candidates worth considering and whom to eliminate.

The whole process is also profoundly anti-democratic and corrupt. The candidates buy tickets ($30 each) to enable people to participate, with the candidates acting like carnival barkers luring people to their particular sideshow. Michele Bachmann spent $180,000 to buy 6,000 tickets, of which almost 5,000 voted for her.

The media elevated this non-event to something of significance and also skewed the interpretation of the results. Ron Paul essentially tied with Bachmann in the vote (the difference was less than 1%) and yet the media treat her as if she was the sole winner and ignore Paul.

The most important quality that a candidate needs to possess to win the Ames straw poll is the ability to coax and bribe a tiny group of people to vote for them. This is precisely what the Founding Fathers sought to avoid. So why are we giving this non-event so much prominence instead of consigning it to the oblivion it deserves?

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Comments

There is some statistical evidence that the result of the straw poll predicts the outcome of the Iowa caucuses; see Nate Silvers "538.com" blog.

Of course, that doesn't correlate well with the outcome of the NOMINATION.

Posted by ollie on August 16, 2011 10:03 AM

The election is next year, why must the candidates start so early, because they need MONEY!

The system needs to change, right now only people with money can run for office.

Posted by Ron on August 16, 2011 10:36 AM

It's a reasonable assumption that those who make a big deal of the Ames straw poll are those who think they have the most to gain from it. Once it's well established then those who have the most say are those who feel they are best capable of gaming the system.

Presumably the media entities are among those who have a lot to gain from the straw poll. Aside from the obvious way it boosts ratings, I wonder if the corrupt way it is set up gives a strong bias to those that the mainstream media powers' Serious Candidates.

Posted by Jared A on August 16, 2011 11:39 AM

btw

The National Popular Vote bill would 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. There would no longer be 'battleground' states where voters and policies are more important than those of other states.

When the bill is enacted by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes-- enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538), all the electoral votes from the enacting 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 passed 31 state legislative chambers in 21 small, medium-small, medium, and large states, including one house in AR, CT, DE, DC, ME, MI, NV, NM, NY, NC, and OR, and both houses in CA, CO, HI, IL, NJ, MD, MA ,RI, VT, and WA . The bill has been enacted by DC, HI, IL,CA, NJ, MD, MA, VT, and WA. These 9 jurisdictions possess 132 electoral votes-- 49% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.

http://www.NationalPopularVote.com

Posted by oldgulph on August 16, 2011 04:17 PM

@oldgulph - That is a very interesting way to effectively nullify the anti-majoritarian effect of the Electoral College without a constitutional amendment. Political scientists have been complaining about this for years. But each state passing this bill is effectively trusting all the other states to count votes fairly and accurately. Do they really want to do that?

In 2000, Gore won the popular vote (48.38% to 47.87%) but lost the election in the Electoral College due to Bush's edge of less than 600 votes in FL, which the Supreme Court essentially froze in his favor. The bill you propose here would have solved that problem, and prevented the Court from making an ass of itself, to boot. But what if Bush had a tiny edge in the national popular vote as well as a dubious lead in Florida, such that a recount might have thrown the totals back to Gore? Would the other 49 states and DC be happy to award their electoral votes to Bush in this scenario - especially if they were blue states? I doubt it, and for this reason I can't see this bill winning the day.

But there's a much larger point to be made here. The US Constitution most emphatically did not take democratic majoritarianism as its central principle. Despite the direct election of senators, the Senate remains profoundly undemocratic in a national context (to say nothing of its procedures). If the Midwestern states did not enjoy two senators each, just like the more populous coastal states, do you think we would have agricultural subsidies like we do? If every state passes the electoral college bill, the logical next step is to amend the Constitution to reform the Senate - which can be done without Congress if the states are determined enough to form special conventions.

But you'll never get enough states to ratify such an amendment. The reason for the Great Compromise in the Federal Convention has not gone away. We remain a federal union of states of varying sizes; the small states will always want to protect themselves from the larger ones. Roger Sherman's answer is just as valid today as it was in 1787, unless the fundamental nature of the union is to change.

Posted by Richard Frost on August 16, 2011 09:04 PM

Mano - Sorry to take up so much space tonight, but you have raised an incredibly important issue.

The argument you make about the Ames straw poll can be made - and often is - about the primary process as a whole. This is why many states moved their primaries up, to rival Iowa and New Hampshire's traditional early influence. But I don't want to get into that here. And Pawlenty, I think, simply used Ames as a pretext to abandon a race he knew was doomed. He wasn't gaining any traction, and Perry's entry sealed his fate.

What I do want to address is your discussion of the framers' care to design political systems that would select what they considered appropriate men. This concern manifested itself not just in the presidential procedure (which failed miserably in the crisis of 1800, requiring an amendment) but in the very fabric of the federal structure.

Madison's main goal was to improve the quality of governance, and he felt the key to this was to ensure that only "virtuous men of distinction" would be elected to the Congress. His mechanism for achieving this was to limit the size of the House, such that each individual district would be huge in comparison to the small and numerous state legislative districts (which produced, not to put too fine a point on it, the wrong kind of people and crappy results). In large districts, only men with the best character and reputation could be elected - or so the theory went.

Fast forward to today. I've often wondered what would happen if we applied Madison's logic on the larger scale that our size and communications capability would warrant. To wit, congressional districts would no longer be gerrymandered monstrosities within the several states; instead, they would cover entire regions of the country or, if taken all the way, the entire U.S. Who would get elected in such districts? Not your local trial attorneys and prosecutors, that's for sure. We might end up with nationally prominent figures worthy of high office, but I fear we would get a bunch of celebrities instead.

In other words, Madison would have to come up with a new "republican remedy to the diseases most incident to republican government." I strongly suspect that this time around, he'd follow the money....

Posted by Richard Frost on August 16, 2011 09:36 PM

It is important to note that neither the current system nor the National Popular Vote compact permits any state to get involved in judging the election returns of other states. Existing federal law (the "safe harbor" provision in section 5 of title 3 of the United States Code) specifies that a state's "final determination" of its presidential election returns is "conclusive"(if done in a timely manner and in accordance with laws that existed prior to Election Day).

The National Popular Vote compact is patterned directly after existing federal law and requires each state to treat as "conclusive" each other state's "final determination" of its vote for President. No state has any power to examine or judge the presidential election returns of any other state under the National Popular Vote compact.

Posted by oldgulph on August 17, 2011 12:24 PM

There is nothing in the Constitution that requires states to allow their citizens to vote for president, much less award all their electoral votes based upon the vote of their citizens.

The presidential election system we have today is not in the Constitution. State-by-state winner-take-all laws to award Electoral College votes, are an example of state laws eventually enacted by states, using their exclusive power to do so, AFTER the Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution, Now our current system can be changed by state laws again.

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."

The constitution does not prohibit any of the methods that were debated and rejected. Indeed, a majority of the states appointed their presidential electors using two of the rejected methods in the nation's first presidential election in 1789 (i.e., appointment by the legislature and by the governor and his cabinet). Presidential electors were appointed by state legislatures for almost a century.

Neither of the two most important features of the current system of electing the President (namely, universal suffrage, and the 48 state-by-state winner-take-all method) are in the U.S. Constitution. Neither was the choice of the Founders when they went back to their states to organize the nation's first presidential election.

In 1789, in the nation's first election, the people had no vote for President in most states, only men who owned a substantial amount of property could vote, and only three states used the state-by-state winner-take-all method to award electoral votes.

The current 48 state-by-state winner-take-all method (i.e., awarding all of a state's electoral votes to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in a particular state) is not entitled to any special deference based on history or the historical meaning of the words in the U.S. Constitution. It is not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, the debates of the Constitutional Convention, or the Federalist Papers. The actions taken by the Founding Fathers make it clear that they never gave their imprimatur to the winner-take-all method.

The constitutional wording does not encourage, discourage, require, or prohibit the use of any particular method for awarding the state's electoral votes.

As a result of changes in state laws enacted since 1789, the people have the right to vote for presidential electors in 100% of the states, there are no property requirements for voting in any state, and the state-by-state winner-take-all method is used by 48 of the 50 states. States can, and frequently have, changed their method of awarding electoral votes over the years.

Posted by oldgulph on August 17, 2011 12:27 PM

? The equal representation of the states in the U.S. Senate is explicitly established and protected in the U.S. Constitution and cannot be affected by passage of any state statute.

? The National Popular Vote plan does not affect the equal representation of the states in the U.S. Senate.”

“Equal representation of the states in the U.S. Senate is explicitly established in the U.S. Constitution. This feature cannot be changed by state law or an interstate compact.

In fact, equal representation of the states in the U.S. Senate may not even be amended by an ordinary federal constitutional amendment. Article V of the U.S. Constitution provides:
“No State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.”

Thus, this feature of the U.S. Constitution may only be changed by a constitutional amendment approved by unanimous consent of all 50 states.

In contrast, the U.S. Constitution explicitly assigns the power of selecting the manner of appointing presidential electors to the states. The enactment by a state legislature of the National Popular Vote bill is an exercise of a legislature’s existing powers under the U.S. Constitution.

In short, enactment of the National Popular Vote compact has no bearing on the federal constitutional provisions establishing equal representation of the states in the U.S. Senate.”

http://www.every-vote-equal.com/

Posted by oldgulph on August 17, 2011 12:31 PM

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.

2/3rds of the states and people have been just spectators to the presidential elections. That's more than 85 million voters.

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).

Posted by on August 17, 2011 12:34 PM

Oldgulph - With all due respect, you haven't addressed the issues I raised in my first response to you.

I do not question the authority of the states to allocate their electors in any way they choose, but I do question the wisdom of doing so in the manner you propose. You need to address the scenario I presented based on a modified 2000. Your bill would require Democratic states - despite Florida's dubious counting - to give their electors to a (terribly bad) Republican candidate in that scenario. If you lived in such a state, could you accept that? I could not, and would raise holy hell with my state reps. I really wonder if the enacting states have thought this through.

I did not imply that the proposed bill affects the representation of the states in the Senate. But you must admit that it logically leads us to consideration of that issue. Let us not forget that the Electoral College itself, by awarding electors based on the number of senators as well as representatives, inherently gives a slight edge to the small states - a micro version, if you will, of the federal legislature. In this sense, the bill does affect the political power of the states relative to one another.

More generally, if the bill is being driven by a desire to ensure majority rule (again, not the framers' goal at all), then isn't it rather odd to apply that principle only to presidential contests? Are we going to live with the situation in the Senate just because it's really, really hard to change? (Thanks for the reminder on Article V. I'm rusty.) Is this a case of settling for the best you can get? Even if you win, I think it's a Pyrrhic victory, for the "more legitimate" national president will still have to work with the current Congress. And we all know how well that works...!

If you really want to make a difference, come up with a bill wherein the states will not award their electors to any candidate who took campaign contributions from corporations or superpacs. Then let's watch our "Corporate Court" stack up a "plenary" and "exclusive" power against the bogus First Amendment rights of corporate "personhood." Now that's a fight I'd really like to see....

Posted by Richard Frost on August 17, 2011 01:07 PM

National Popular Vote does not pretend to be a silver bullet. It has nothing to do with amending the Constitution about the Senate.

The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the MOST popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

The National Popular Vote bill is a state-based approach that uses the Electoral College and preserves state control of elections, as mandated in the U.S. Constitution. There is nothing in the Constitution that requires states to allow their citizens to vote for president, much less award all their electoral votes based upon the vote of their citizens. The constitutional wording does not encourage, discourage, require, or prohibit the use of any particular method for awarding the state's electoral votes.

The bill would assure 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.

It is not driven by a desire to ensure majority rule. Candidate with the most votes wins, as in virtually every other election in the U.S.

Because of the state-by-state winner-take-all electoral votes laws (i.e., awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in each state) in 48 states, a candidate can win the Presidency without winning the most popular votes nationwide. This has occurred 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 voters 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). 537 popular votes won Florida and the White House for Bush in 2000 despite Gore's lead of 537,179 popular votes nationwide. A shift of 60,000 voters in Ohio in 2004 would have defeated President Bush despite his nationwide lead of over 3 million votes. Some insider Republicans believe under the current system in 2012, President Obama could win the electoral vote without winning the popular vote.

The National Popular Vote compact is patterned directly after existing federal law and requires each state to treat as "conclusive" each other state's "final determination" of its vote for President.

In 2000, the country ultimately accepted Florida's count, and their 537 votes, despite Gore's lead of over 537,000 national popular votes, determined the presidency for the rest of the country, because that was the system in place. Under National Popular Vote the campaigns would be run based on the winner of the national popular vote being guaranteed to the presidency.

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 fact that the bonus of two electoral votes is an illusory benefit to the small states has been widely recognized by the small states for some time. In 1966, Delaware led a group of 12 predominantly low-population states (North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Utah, Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma, Iowa, Kentucky, Florida, Pennsylvania) in suing New York in the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that New York's use of winner-take-all effectively disenfranchised voters in their states. The Court declined to hear the case (presumably because of the well-established constitutional provision that the manner of awarding electoral votes is exclusively a state decision).

In a 1979 Senate speech, Senator Henry Bellmon (R–Oklahoma) described how his views on the Electoral College had changed as a result of serving as national campaign director for Richard Nixon and a member of the American Bar Association’s commission studying electoral reform.
“While the consideration of the electoral college began--and I am a little embarrassed to admit this--I was convinced, as are many residents of smaller States, that the present system is a considerable advantage to less populous States such as Oklahoma. … As the deliberations of the American Bar Association Commission proceeded and as more facts became known, I came to the realization that the present electoral system does not give an advantage to the voters from the less populous States. Rather, it works to the disadvantage of small State voters who are largely ignored in the general election for President.

Senator Robert E. Dole of Kansas, the Republican nominee for President in 1996 and Republican nominee for Vice President in 1976, stated in a 1979 floor speech:
“Many persons have the impression that the electoral college benefits those persons living in small states. I feel that this is somewhat of a misconception. Through my experience with the Republican National Committee and as a Vice Presidential candidate in 1976, it became very clear that the populous states with their large blocks of electoral votes were the crucial states. It was in these states that we focused our efforts.
“Were we to switch to a system of direct election, I think we would see a resulting change in the nature of campaigning. While urban areas will still be important campaigning centers, there will be a new emphasis given to smaller states. Candidates will soon realize that all votes are important, and votes from small states carry the same import as votes from large states. That to me is one of the major attractions of direct election. Each vote carries equal importance.
“Direct election would give candidates incentive to campaign in States that are perceived to be single party states.


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.

Posted by oldgulph on August 17, 2011 01:54 PM

Waitress, my cup runeth over. I get the distinct impression that we are being bombarded with propaganda and pre-written talking points. While I appreciate the discussion very much, you need to be more specific and measured in your engagement with interlocutors.

"It is not driven by a desire to ensure majority rule. Candidate with the most votes wins, as in virtually every other election in the U.S."

Er, bit of a contradiction there. Of course it's about majority rule.

"It has nothing to do with amending the Constitution about the Senate."

I know it doesn't, and I have said as much. But it inevitably raises that question, which sets up a conflict (albeit theoretical) with the majority principle.

"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."

And yet you stated just before that: "In 2000, the country ultimately accepted Florida's count, and their 537 votes, despite Gore's lead of over 537,000 national popular votes, determined the presidency for the rest of the country, because that was the system in place.

How are we going to square that circle? Clearly, the people will accept - and have several times - a counter-majoritarian outcome because that is the "system in place." Moreover, there was no national outcry when the rules of that system were pissed all over by a ruthless Republican machine and a Supreme Court that just couldn't wait to rush into the political thicket. If the American people will accept that result, they'll accept anything.

FWIW, I never did accept the result in 2000. Gore should have challenged the Court. It would have been the most dramatic constitutional crisis in our post-Civil War history, but he wasn't man enough for it. You can argue that Gore wouldn't have behaved any better after 9/11/01, but I think he would have. Afghanistan might have happened, but not Iraq. 2000 was a terrible turning point for America.

Your point on the marginalization of small states under the status quo is well taken, and I appreciate you replying to a specific charge. Campaigning certainly could change if we're not worried about winning swing-states any more. But I suspect that candidates - and the millions in advertising dollars that prop them up - will still focus on the more populous regions of the country. The rural states will, as now, have to get their revenge in the Senate.

I'm sorry if you feel I'm nit-picking you to death. My attitude, as stated several times before, is that the overarching problem in American politics is the all-pervasive influence of money. That is where we should be concentrating all our efforts, because it will take all our efforts to beat the incredibly powerful forces that benefit from plutocracy. Anything else is just pissing in the wind.

Posted by Richard Frost on August 17, 2011 03:32 PM

Again, National Popular Vote does not present itself as a cure all that addresses every ill. Practically and in the short term, it can help.

Under the current system of electing the President, no state requires that a presidential candidate receive anything more than the most popular votes in order to receive all of the state's electoral votes.

National Popular Vote also is based on the MOST votes, not necessarily a majority, of the national popular vote.

The political reality would be what every local, gubernatorial, or senatorial candidate already knows–namely that when every vote is equal, the campaign must be run everywhere there are voters. A candidate cannot afford to ignore any potential voters.

Posted by oldgulph on August 17, 2011 03:49 PM