Recently, ABC News’ program Full Circle featured my friend and fellow NPVIC advocate Deb Mazzaferro in a story about the National Popular Vote. The story is deep and unfortunately mistakes states with cities, but Deb make some great points.
I just wish folks would stop saying the ten percent of the nation that lives in the largest fifty cities is somehow going to control the elections. First of all, ten percent is no way to win an election. If you expect to win with ten percent of the vote, you’re going to lose. Even Abraham Lincoln, in a three-man race, got 39.8% of the popular vote in 1860, and no President—apart from the one-party, five man, election of 1824—ever got a lower Popular Vote lower than that. It’s unlikely we will be seeing a true three-person race in the near future, never mind a five-person race, but in no case, not even in those unusual races, did we ever see a President elected with only ten percent of the popular vote. The very idea is absurd.
Secondly, as I said, it’s not states, it’s cities. With the Popular Vote, you free millions of voters suppressed by winner take all in each state, from both parties. When you go to a popular vote, when you look at how purple each state actually is, you’ll realize that big states won’t control anything in the popular vote. If you want to talk cities, that’s ten percent. But as far as states are concerned, they are irrelevant with respect to the National Popular Vote.
Thirdly, I think it’s important to note that most people who claim the Popular Vote will favor cities are using it as code to say it will favor progressives. However, when you look at the ten smallest states, those that are guaranteed a conservative vote number 15 and those that guarantee a progressive number 17. The electoral college actually favors progressives. And what’s more, there’s a trend in the South for a number of large states to shift toward battleground and even progressive, meaning that that progressive bias will be even stronger as time goes on.
Finally, it’s important to note the irony of the idea that only certain states will dominate under a National Popular Vote. The whole reason we are fighting for a National Popular Vote is because right now only five battleground states decide our elections. How is a system that rests control of its nation in the hands of only five states one that can call itself a Democratic Republic? The Electoral College doesn’t help big states because they aren’t battlegrounds. It doesn’t even help small states because they aren’t battlegrounds either. It alienates 81% of nation, and how can that be a good way to govern?
Thank you Deb for your intelligent commentary on the NPVIC and let’s hope it moves more to believe that every vote should be equal and in the principle of one person, one vote.