(Video) National Popular Vote and the attack on the electoral college

Posted by: Phineas on May 25, 2015 at 1:02 pm


The Electoral College is one of the more obscure features of our government, yet it plays a crucial role: it elects the president, not the popular vote. When people in a state go to the polls, they’re really voting for slates of electors pledged to a particular candidate. The electors have traditionally honored the voters’ wishes (with the occasional individual exception for a protest vote), but the fact remains that they could choose someone other than “the People’s choice.” It also means that, occasionally, a candidate could win enough electoral votes to win the presidency while not winning the overall popular vote, as happened in 2,000 in the race between George W. Bush and Al Gore.

The fact that the winner of the popular vote might not win the race has annoyed a lot of people, especially on the Left (1), and they have proposed something called the “National Popular Vote,” a compact among the states comprising 270 electoral votes (the number need to win) to award them to whomever wins the national vote, regardless of individual state results. Not surprisingly, given the source, this represents an end-run around the system established in the Constitution, rather than an honest attempt to amend it.

In the video below from Prager University, attorney and author Tara Ross explains how the Electoral College works, why it was set up this way, and why NPV is a very bad idea:

(1) Because, you know, the Electoral College is “unfair!” “Unfairness” meaning “I didn’t get what I want!”

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

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8 Responses to “(Video) National Popular Vote and the attack on the electoral college”


  1. kohler says:

    Support for a national popular vote is strong among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group in every state surveyed recently. In the 39 red, blue, and purple states surveyed, overall support has been in the 67-83% range – in rural states, in small states, in Southern and border states, in big states, and in other states polled.

    Most Americans don’t ultimately care whether their presidential candidate wins or loses in their state or district . . . 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 equally counted and mattered to their candidate. Most Americans think it would be wrong for the candidate with the most popular votes to lose. We don’t allow this in any other election in our representative republic.

    The presidential election system, using the 48 state winner-take-all method or district winner method of awarding electoral votes, that we have today was not designed, anticipated, or favored by the Founding Fathers. It is the product of decades of 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.

    Unable to agree on any particular method for selecting presidential electors, the Founding Fathers left the choice of method exclusively to the states in Article II, Section 1:
    “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.”

    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 decide how they award their electoral votes for president. It does not abolish the Electoral College, which would need a constitutional amendment, and could be stopped by states with as little as 3% of the U.S. population. Historically, 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, without federal constitutional amendments.

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

    The bill has passed 33 state legislative chambers in 22 rural, small, medium, large, Democratic, Republican and purple states with 250 electoral votes, including one house in Arkansas (6), Maine (4), Michigan (16), Nevada (6), New Mexico (5), North Carolina (15), and Oklahoma (7), and both houses in Colorado (9). The bill has been enacted by 11 jurisdictions, including California, with 165 electoral votes – 61% of the 270 necessary to go into effect.


  2. kohler says:

    The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the majority of Electoral College votes and the presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in the country. It does not abolish the Electoral College.

    The National Popular Vote bill would replace 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 later enacted by 48 states), in the enacting 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 bill preserves the constitutionally mandated Electoral College and state control of elections. It ensures that every voter 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 voter, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in every presidential election. Every vote would matter in the state counts and national count.

    When states with a combined total of at least 270 electoral votes enact the bill, the candidate with the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC would get the needed majority of 270+ electoral votes from the enacting states. The bill would thus guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes and the majority of Electoral College votes.

    The electors are and will be dedicated party activists of the winning party who meet briefly in mid-December to cast their totally predictable rubberstamped votes in accordance with their pre-announced pledges.

    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. In 2012, 56,256,178 (44%) of the 128,954,498 voters had their vote diverted by the winner-take-all rule to a candidate they opposed (namely, their state’s first-place 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.
    Oklahoma (7 electoral votes) alone generated a margin of 455,000 “wasted” votes for Bush in 2004 — larger than the margin generated by the 9th and 10th largest states, namely New Jersey and North Carolina (each with 15 electoral votes).
    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).

  3. Jim says:

    I agree with your conclusions ( even if a little long ). I too, believe the electoral votes should be proportional. And would hope that all the states would decide to go with proportional . Doing away with the electoral voting would not be in keeping with our Republic. That’s why we are not a democracy. If we were, the east coast and west coast would determine the President every time
    This NationalPopularVote thing is close but still the wrong way to go about it. But it is good in that it might bring about some discussions about the system and why it is set up the way it is.

  4. Carlos says:

    You (and a majority of low-info, public indoctrinated fools) miss the point of the electoral college.

    Most of the Founding Fathers were terrified of the tyranny of the majority. They had lived their lives subject to that tyranny, the tyrants being the majority of subjects living in England.

    That is why we have a bicameral federal legislature, one representing the numbers of actual voters and the other representing the separate states equally, so that, say, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania could not gang up on the other eight states and ram legislation down the others’ throats.

    The idea is similar with the electoral college. The Founding Fathers didn’t want the larger, more populous states to have uninhibited access to victory without at least some input from the smaller, less populous states.

    Hence, the number of voters in the electoral college is based upon representation of both the actual voters (House) and the states (Senate) so that the bullies (such a popular word these days) couldn’t run roughshod over the weaklings.

    But, cynically, I still adhere to Stalin’s statement: It doesn’t matter who votes, but who counts the votes. Unfortunately, in my experience the vast majority of vote counters (county elections officials) are statists very dependant upon statists winning.

  5. Jim says:

    Carlos, You pretty much restated what I said. With the addition of the Stalin statement. Which I agree with, by the way .
    We lost the function of the Senate when President Wilson tricked the people of America into taking away the function of States providing the Senators and moving to a popular vote ( like the House ). NOT what the founders wanted. Because that took away any real power of States to control the Federal ( which the States had set up ). I am a real believer in States rights. We need to get back to that somehow.

  6. bobmontgomery says:

    What’s all this Constitution-thumpin’ goin’ on up in here? “Studies show” and “polls say” and “everybody knows” we can’t let the uppity “States” reclaim the autonomy and authority they once had, because then there won’t be any…..central planning. And everyone knows how important central planning is. That’s why we have……central committees. That’s why the Secretaries of Education and Transportation and Agriculture and Energy are just ….all that. And getting rid of the Electoral College will help bring us into the 21st Century. Progress. AS the GE commercials used to say, it’s our most important product.

  7. Carlos says:


    a) Wilson was a progressive idiot, but making the vote “popular” was very much in line with his socialist dream. (He also happened to be one of the biggest racists ever to occupy the WH and an amazingly dislikable person personally for anyone with an ounce of integrity, but those are stories for another day.)

    b) In our times, some states would send pure socialists to the Senate because (as exemplified by the left coast) the state leaders are socialists themselves. Not a good situation, but in response one may point out that Cheesy Chucky, Hillarious and Zero have all been or still are senators, so what’s the difference?

    c) The enumerated powers statement in the Constitution has to be the most ignored statement there. I, too, am a firm believer that the feds have overreached their constitutional mandate and limits by somewhere close to 99%, but they have the judiciary’s blessings to do so because “It’s for the children don’tcha know” when “the children” are defined as the turnips that vote and pay taxes.

  8. Jim says:

    YEP ! We do think alike.