NPV is ridiculous, radical, and dangerous
I’ve mentioned before that the National Popular Vote (NPV) bill is a ridiculous, radical, and dangerous way to elect a president. It’s not a casual assessment for it points to some of the key elements that make NPV fail in its endeavor to improve a voting system.
Some of you may disagree with me, especially so if you’re a congressperson who has sponsored such legislation. I’ll break it down for you.
NPV is ridiculous
There is great agreement across this nation that voters are not satisfied with how we elect a president. Some believe it’s a problem with the Electoral College. No, they’re not correct.
Let’s start with our perception. Most voting citizens, Democrats and Republicans alike, are frustrated with the large disparity between the popular vote and Electoral College results. One does not seem related to the other. How can a nation’s popular vote point to one result and the Electoral College point to another? Looking at the Electoral College result appears to be hiding something—and it is!
The problem is that every state (yes, every state) uses a winner-takes-all approach before it translates its popular votes into electoral votes. If you vote for a candidate who does not win in your state, your vote is swept aside and is not represented! It’s a travesty that tramples upon our democratic system!
Some may object saying that Maine and Nebraska are not subject to such criticism. No – that’s not true either. These states use congressional district voting, meaning they doubly-apply the winner-takes-all approach. Once when votes are counted for each of their congressional districts and again for their two statewide electoral votes.
NPV attempts to fix the disparity without fixing the winner-takes-all problem. In fact, NPV makes a shoddy situation even worse! It’s easy to conjecture scenarios wherein NPV would be enacted. If you do, you’ll quickly see that many such scenarios actually widen the voting disparity!
For example, assume Trump had won the popular vote (he came close). Assume, too, that the NPV compact was in place. It can be shown Trump could have taken 535 electoral votes to Clinton’s three!
Of course this is conjecture and fictitious, but the point is made. NPV is ridiculous, as it does not fix the underlying problem.
NPV is radical
There have been well over 500 attempts to amend the U.S. Constitution in regards to the Electoral College. It’s almost impossible to do, especially in a political climate as divided as it is today.
NPV dances around the challenge by inviting states to form a compact—a bloc of states in full agreement to go as the gang goes. It doesn’t look, sound, or even pretend to be a democratic approach.
The NPV compact, in essence, gathers multiple states together to form one larger state. What? Is California not large enough?
One of the ingenious aspects of the Electoral College is that it captures the voting voice of the citizenry as well as each of the individual states. Ours is a constitutional republic and the independence of each state is precious—almost sacred. NPV sets out to destroy this reality. NPV is radical!
NPV is dangerous
So why does this all matter? After all, if NPV were enacted we could be assured that the candidate winning the popular vote would be guaranteed to win the election. Where’s the harm?
Have you watched the news lately? Have you noticed how messaging makes a difference? If you’re a television watcher, switch from channel to channel to see and hear how the different networks treat the news. Here you can see the political tug-of-war between the left and right play out. Real news and fake news and everything imaginable in-between have a narrative to sell.
Consider the voting result disparity concern again. Realizing that NPV enlarges the disparity gulf between the popular vote and the Electoral College result, it’s easy to see messaging would take on a new life.
While Clinton beat Trump in the popular vote by a small 2% voting margin, Trump beat her by 77 electoral votes (rogue electors included). Since NPV enlarges such results, the follow-on messaging from the media and the winning political parties would spin narratives to justify a plethora of governing mandates.
I began this blog speaking about perceptions. What perceptions would we have if we allowed NPV to guide our narratives?
Equal Voice Voting is fair, sensible, and practical
Equal Voice Voting (EVV) is none of the above. EVV eliminates the winner-takes-all problem and ensures every vote counts. Further, the translation of popular votes into electoral votes ensures every state’s voting voice represents all of its constituents fairly and democratically. (see The Equal Voice Voting formula) EVV is not ridiculous!
EVV can be instituted on a state-by-state basis with neither a constitutional amendment nor a compact of states. It respects the republic. EVV is not radical.
If you’re a legislator reading this, consider what this means for you. It means you can be known as a legislative leader who wants – encourages — all constituents to have a viable voting voice. Also, should you be timid about trying new things, add in a sunset clause for your state as you exercise the EVV approach. Force your congress to reconsider the results after, say, three elections so you can make a decision on your state’s election data. It’s not an option you can entertain with the NPV compact.
If you’re a voting citizen, ask your legislator to do the right thing and make every voter in your state matter. Encourage voter turnout in your state because every voter can make a direct difference—everyone matters!
EVV is not dangerous. It is the most fair, sensible, and practical way to elect a president in these United States.