New Year celebrations are exciting times
As we look back on 2020, there are lessons to consider as we pivot into 2021. We consider new year’s resolutions, make plans and consider our circumstances. Some lessons are hard to swallow while others offer revelations that incite optimistic expectations. Our future promises a new adventure, and all that. This is, truly, an exciting time!
2020 delivered political lessons
There are lessons to consider about our recent national politics. Reality has given us its shocking news: COVID-19, a starkly divided nation, riots in our streets, and questions about election integrity, to name but a few.
There are some positives, too. For example, voter turnout in this past election was stunning! More than 20 million more voters cast their ballots this time than in 2016. The takeaway lesson here is that more people voting meant more political engagement (i.e., interest) than ever before.
Politics are entertaining
Here’s one perspective: Americans love entertainment! It cannot be denied given the billions of dollars spent annually on movies and television and sports. Our box office receipts attest to the notion that fiction is more entertaining than fact.
Our political theater does not disappoint either. Fictions are the currencies traded in every news cycle such that we consumers have trouble sorting it all out. Perhaps we need a fair labeling law to help brand truth, separating it from hyperbolic fabrications. It seems the stretched truth, outrageous spin, and – wink, wink – the storytelling captures the most attention.
Politicians make promises. That’s what they do because that’s what we want them to do. We live on promises. More than mere entertainment, promises paint futures that reassure us and entice us to go forward, either via the left or right, with a great deal of confidence and, lest we forget, defensiveness.
We are a divided nation
Which brings up the fact that ours is a divided nation. It seems we are more so today than ever before, though a careful reading of our nation’s history highlights other past divides. Let’s not forget the civil war, for crying out loud!
We are a divided nation and some say that it reveals who we are. Fair enough. But the division also points to what we have become as part of a process. We are not a static people, after all. We get swayed (entertained?) into following the cacophony of voices emanating from both the left and right. We cannot ignore the noise but we can ignore facts that support one position or the other. Fictions, after all, are more fascinating. We must follow because we consume them and we want more. It’s what we do.
As we consider the recent election and weigh the results in our minds for the lessons taught, it serves us well to focus on a few facts. Facts, too, can be entertaining. Plus, facts add clarity to our current reality.
Election facts worth considering
Let’s look at the election results by the numbers (facts). There is a gap that emerges between what popular voting gives us and the Electoral College results. They don’t coincide, which frustrates us a lot, especially when elections seem to give the nod to candidates who don’t win the popular vote.
The past 16 elections, 1960 through 2020, is presented in this graph. It shows the Electoral College results for election winners by a rather erratic black line that jumps across the frame. The popular voting is revealed by a more consistent green line, gently moving between the 40% and 60% boundaries.
There is an average gap percentage between these two results, erratic as one is, of 17.81%. What other things are you content with if your choice is almost 20% off from reality? Would bumping house payments up by that much each month be good? Would a tax increase by 17.8% be okay? Would you accept your income reduced by that percentage?
We voters, as political messaging consumers, are correct in being a bit upset because the Electoral College results do not match very well with how we voted. The gap, by the way, exists because we add on a Winner-Takes-All (WTA) convention to the process outside of the Electoral College.
Equal Voice Voting closes the gap
There is a lesson to be learned here. Notice the red line. It’s what Equal Voice Voting (EVV) would have produced in those 16 elections. It’s not a perfect match with the popular voting but it gets pretty close. The average difference is only 1.51% because WTA is removed from the election process! In other words, EVV makes All Votes Matter as it delivers a popular voting result on a state-by-state basis. It does so as it adheres to the U.S. Constitution and respects the sovereignty of our republic’s states, as our Constitutional Framers wanted.
Instead of denying Electoral College representation to almost 69 million voters, as was done in 2020, EVV would include all of them (us). The presidential election gap can be narrowed so we get more of what we expect.
For those of you who favor the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC), you should be aware that it cannot narrow the gap. In fact, instead of an average gap being around 20%, NPVIC can double it or more. If you’re a Democrat in an NPVIC state, you may find your vote cast aside in future elections. Your vote will be disenfranchised! That’s a fact, not fiction, and not very entertaining.
The lessons learned in 2020, as we move into 2021, is that we can make a change. Your state can adopt EVV without a U.S. Constitutional amendment and without the need for an interstate compact. Our votes need not disappear in an election result gap. If we want honesty in our presidential election results – not fiction – EVV is a necessity.
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By Jerry Spriggs and the Equal Voice Voting Team