Electoral College, would disbanding it lead to responsible voting?

Electoral College - US Census Bureau

Alexander Bershtein
Staff Writer

The Electoral College is a section of our American government that has not had much of a positive liking in the current era. Usually this disdain is a reference back to the year 2000. In the Race between George W. Bush and Al Gore the Electoral College decided to not vote along with the popular Vote for president. The previous time this happened was in 1888. In the presidential race between Benjamin Harrison and Grover Cleveland in which Benjamin Harrison won despite not having the popular vote.

Comparing the 1800s to this century would be ridiculous considering the different viewpoints, advanced technology, globalization, and how that has changed the way politics work in our time.

I find it astonishing that the basis of the electoral college’s founding was because of a lack of trust in the American public. The government believed that the people were not educated enough to elect someone who was not a tyrant. One of my favorite founding fathers, Alexander Hamilton, wrote his support for the Electoral college. It is one of the few things I disagree with him about though.

Is the reasoning behind establishing the electoral college now obsolete though? With phones, tablets, and even watches people can find all the information they could ever want on a presidential nominee. Majority of us have went to school and know what a dictator is. A lot of us know what a despot is. Does that mean the electoral college is needed anymore? Do we need a group of people second guessing our choice for our leader? Is that really democratic?

If you think I am wrong and want to respond, let me ask you something. Do you research your choices when voting? Do you know their platform and their motivations? Have you educated yourself on how what they want compares to what you want? Take some time and think about that.

I myself hate the Electoral College, but I also ponder its purpose. Even though I believe it can be manipulated and broken, as it was back in 2000. I also believe that if it is disbanded people need to take the responsibility to acknowledge their own participation in our country’s government. Would they acknowledge that the burden in now on them to select their leader? Would participation in the government rise and usher in an era of prosperity? Or would no one care and the country descend into chaos?

If you want to complain about the Electoral College, then at least be an American that participates in voting in the candidate you believe in.

  • toto

    The burden has been and is on us to select the president.
    It is our votes that determine the Electoral College vote in our state.

    Voter participation should rise when the president is guaranteed to be the winner of the national popular vote.

    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.

    National Popular Vote would give a voice to the minority party voters in presidential elections in each state. 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.

    In 2008, voter turnout in the then 15 battleground states averaged seven points higher than in the 35 non-battleground states.

    In 2012, voter turnout was 11% higher in the then 9 battleground states than in the remainder of the country.

    In the 2012 presidential election, 1.3 million votes decided the winner in the ten states with the closest margins of victory. But nearly 20 million eligible citizens in those states—Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin—are missing from the voter rolls.

    Overall, these “missing voters” amount to half, and in some cases more than half, of the total votes cast for president in these states.

    With National Popular Vote, presidential campaigns would poll, organize, visit, and appeal to more than 7 states. One would reasonably expect that voter turnout would rise in 80%+ of the country that is currently conceded months in advance by the minority parties in the states, taken for granted by the dominant party in the states, and ignored by all parties in presidential campaigns.

    • PhilliesFan2001

      In practical terms (i.e. getting bodies to polls) this still favors the organized, machine-run cities over the diffuse countryside. It will be the rule of the rural by the urban. Which is probably why the Democrats–the one party that would benefit from this because it has had decades-long dominance in the cities–is pushing the elimination of the EC.

      Every state must have a say, not just every voter. That is the essence of federalism, and the hedge against tyranny by a strong central government. Kings in the past became tyrants by offering in significant or broken promises to “the people,” leading everyone to think he is she indebted to that ruler. It is much easier to control a large number of separate individuals than organized and sovereign entities (like states). The Founders’ idea behind states (note the term “state” connotes sovereignty in a way “province” does not) is much like the idea behind organizing unions–to keep a powerful executive in check.

      And that is why the EC overstates the vote in small states. It is much like a progressive tax code that requires higher income taxpayers to pay more in percentage than lower income ones–recognizing that a power of the rich (or populous) is already disproportionately greater than the poor (or less populous).

      There has been a push toward monarchy in this country–very noticeable during the past administration in which people constantly referred to the president as the “commander-in-chief,” as if he was the commander of the country. He is not. He is only commander-in-chief of the armed force, not the states and not the citizenry. In the past administration the president was referred to as :”our king,” (I heard that from a few people I know) and “kind of a god.” In the present administration there is a lot of talk of “nationalist populism” or “populist nationalism.” Populism is precisely the tool used by would-be dictators. And nationalism is an ideology that glorifies the central government.

      I don’t think it’s any coincidence that the push to eliminate the Electoral College, which keeps a president from appealing to individual people (voters), coincides with what I see as creeping monarchism. It makes it easy for an imperial president to circumvent constitutional limits by appeal to individuals, most of whom are uneducated on the issues at hand.

      • toto

        Support for a national popular vote has been strong in rural states

        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 ( not mentioned, much less endorsed, in the Constitution) does not enhance the influence of rural states, because the most rural states are not battleground states, and they are ignored. Their states’ votes were conceded months before by the minority parties in the states, taken for granted by the dominant party in the states, and ignored by all parties in presidential campaigns. When and where voters are ignored, then so are the issues they care about most.

      • toto

        Voters in the biggest cities in the US are almost exactly balanced out by rural areas in terms of population and partisan composition.

        16% of the U.S. population lives outside the nation’s Metropolitan Statistical Areas. Rural America has voted 60% Republican. None of the 10 most rural states matter now.

        16% of the U.S. population lives in the top 100 cities. They voted 63% Democratic in 2004.
        The population of the top 50 cities (going as far down as Arlington, TX) is only 15% of the population of the United States.

        The rest of the U.S., in suburbs, divide almost exactly equally between Republicans and Democrats.

      • toto

        A successful nationwide presidential campaign of polling, organizing, ad spending, and visits, with every voter equal, would be run the way presidential candidates campaign to win the electoral votes of closely divided battleground states, such as Ohio and Florida, under the state-by-state winner-take-all methods. The big cities in those battleground states do not receive all the attention, much less control the outcome. Cleveland and Miami do not receive all the attention or control the outcome in Ohio and Florida. In the 4 states that accounted for over two-thirds of all general-election activity in the 2012 presidential election, rural areas, suburbs, exurbs, and cities all received attention—roughly in proportion to their population.

        The itineraries of presidential candidates in battleground states (and their allocation of other campaign resources in battleground states, including polling, organizing, and ad spending) reflect the political reality that every gubernatorial or senatorial candidate knows. When and where every voter is equal, a campaign must be run everywhere.

        With National Popular Vote, when every voter is equal, everywhere, it makes sense for presidential candidates to try and elevate their votes where they are and aren’t so well liked. But, under the state-by-state winner-take-all laws, it makes no sense for a Democrat to try and do that in Vermont or Wyoming, or for a Republican to try it in Wyoming or Vermont.

        The main media at the moment, TV, costs much more per impression in big cities than in smaller towns and rural area. Candidates get more bang for the buck in smaller towns and rural areas.

      • toto

        In Gallup polls since they started asking in 1944 until this election, 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 (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but later enacted by 48 states) (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided).

        Support for a national popular vote for President has been strong among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group in every state surveyed. In the 41 red, blue, and purple states surveyed, overall support has been in the 67-81% 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. Voters want to know, that no matter where they live, even if they were on the losing side, their vote actually was equally counted and mattered to their candidate. Most Americans think it is wrong that the candidate with the most popular votes can lose. We don’t allow this in any other election in our representative republic.

        The National Popular Vote bill in 2017 passed the New Mexico Senate.
        It was approved in 2016 by a unanimous bipartisan House committee vote in both Georgia (16 electoral votes) and Missouri (10).
        Since 2006, the bill has passed 35 state legislative chambers in 23 rural, small, medium, large, Democratic, Republican and purple states with 261 electoral votes, including one house in Arizona (11), Arkansas (6), Connecticut (7), Delaware (3), The District of Columbia, Maine (4), Michigan (16), Nevada (6), North Carolina (15), Oklahoma (7), and Oregon (7), and both houses in California, Colorado (9), Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico (5), New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.
        The bill has been enacted by 11 small, medium, and large jurisdictions with 165 electoral votes – 61% of the way to guaranteeing the presidency to the candidate with the most national popular votes and majority of Electoral College votes.

        It changes state winner-take-all laws (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but later enacted by 48 states), without changing anything in the Constitution, using the built-in method that the Constitution provides for states to make changes.

      • toto

        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 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 retains the constitutionally mandated Electoral College and state control of elections, and uses the built-in method that the Constitution provides for states to make changes. 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.

        Every voter, everywhere, for every candidate, would be politically relevant and equal in every presidential election. Every vote would matter in the state counts and national count.

        The bill would take effect when enacted by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes—270 of 538.
        All of the presidential electors from the enacting states will be supporters of the presidential candidate receiving the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC)—thereby guaranteeing that candidate with an Electoral College majority.

      • toto

        Trump, November 13, 2016, on “60 Minutes”
        “ I would rather see it, where you went with simple votes. You know, you get 100 million votes, and somebody else gets 90 million votes, and you win. There’s a reason for doing this. Because it brings all the states into play.”

        In 2012, the night Romney lost, Trump tweeted.
        “The phoney electoral college made a laughing stock out of our nation. . . . The electoral college is a disaster for a democracy.”

        Recent and past presidential candidates who supported direct election of the President in the form of a constitutional amendment, before the National Popular Vote bill was introduced: George H.W. Bush (R-TX-1969), Jimmy Carter (D-GA-1977), Hillary Clinton (D-NY-2001), Bob Dole (R-KS-1969), Gerald Ford (R-MI-1969), and Richard Nixon (R-CA-1969).

        Recent and past presidential candidates with a public record of support, before November 2016, for the National Popular Vote bill that would guarantee the majority of Electoral College votes and the presidency to the candidate with the most national popular votes: Congressmen John Anderson (R, I –ILL), and Bob Barr (Libertarian- GA), Senator Birch Bayh (D-IN), Senator and Governor Lincoln Chafee (R-I-D, -RI), Governor and former Democratic National Committee Chair Howard Dean (D–VT), U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R–GA), Senator and Vice President Al Gore (D-TN), Ralph Nader, Governor Martin O’Malley (D-MD), Jill Stein (Green), Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-CO), and Senator Fred Thompson (R–TN).

        Newt Gingrich summarized his support for the National Popular Vote bill by saying: “No one should become president of the United States without speaking to the needs and hopes of Americans in all 50 states. … America would be better served with a presidential election process that treated citizens across the country equally. The National Popular Vote bill accomplishes this in a manner consistent with the Constitution and with our fundamental democratic principles.”

      • toto

        Because of state-by-state winner-take-all laws, not mentioned, much less endorsed, in the Constitution. . .

        Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in 2015 was correct when he said
        “The nation as a whole is not going to elect the next president,”
        “The presidential election will not be decided by all states, but rather just 12 of them.

        Candidates have no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize, campaign, or care about the voter concerns in the dozens of states where they are safely ahead or hopelessly behind.

        With the end of the primaries, without the National Popular Vote bill in effect, the political relevance of 70% of all Americans was finished for the presidential election.

        In the 2016 general election campaign

        Over half (57%) of the campaign events were held in just 4 states.

        Virtually all (94%) of the campaign events were in just 12 states (containing only 30% of the country’s population).

        In the 2012 general election campaign

        38 states (including 24 of the 27 smallest states) had no campaign events, and minuscule or no spending for TV ads.

        More than 99% of presidential campaign attention (ad spending and visits) was invested on voters in just the only ten competitive states..

        Two-thirds (176 of 253) of the general-election campaign events, and a similar fraction of campaign expenditures, were in just four states (Ohio, Florida, Virginia, and Iowa).

        Over 87% of both Romney and Obama campaign offices were in just the then 12 swing states. The few campaign offices in the 38 remaining states were for fund-raising, volunteer phone calls, and arranging travel to battleground states.

      • toto

        Because of state-by-state winner-take-all laws, not mentioned, much less endorsed, in the Constitution. . .

        Issues of importance to 38 non-battleground states are of so little interest to presidential candidates that they don’t even bother to poll them individually.

        Charlie Cook reported in 2004:
        “Senior Bush campaign strategist Matthew Dowd pointed out yesterday that the Bush campaign hadn’t taken a national poll in almost two years; instead, it has been polling [the then] 18 battleground states.”

        Bush White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer acknowledging the reality that [then] more than 2/3rds of Americans were ignored in the 2008 presidential campaign, said in the Washington Post on June 21, 2009:
        “If people don’t like it, they can move from a safe state to a swing state.”

      • toto

        States have the responsibility and constitutional power to make all of their voters relevant in every presidential election and beyond. Now 38 states and their voters are politically irrelevant in presidential elections.

        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).

      • toto

        With National Popular Vote, when every popular vote counts and matters to the candidates equally, successful candidates will find a middle ground of policies appealing to the wide mainstream of America. Instead of playing mostly to local concerns in Ohio and Florida, candidates finally would have to form broader platforms for broad national support. Elections wouldn’t be about winning a handful of battleground states.

        Support for a national popular vote has been strong in every smallest state surveyed in polls among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group

        Among the 13 lowest population states, the National Popular Vote bill has passed in 9 state legislative chambers, and been enacted by 4 jurisdictions.

        Now 70-80% of states and voters are ignored by presidential campaign polling, organizing, ad spending, and visits. Their states’ votes were conceded months before by the minority parties in the states, taken for granted by the dominant party in the states, and ignored by all parties in presidential campaigns.

        State winner-take-all laws negate any simplistic mathematical equations about the relative power of states based on their number of residents per electoral vote. Small state math means absolutely nothing to presidential campaign polling, organizing, ad spending, and visits, or to presidents once in office.

        In the 25 smallest states in 2008, the Democratic and Republican popular vote was almost tied (9.9 million versus 9.8 million), as was the electoral vote (57 versus 58).

        In 2012, 24 of the nation’s 27 smallest states received no attention at all from presidential campaigns after the conventions. They were ignored despite their supposed numerical advantage in the Electoral College. In fact, the 8.6 million eligible voters in Ohio received more campaign ads and campaign visits from the major party campaigns than the 42 million eligible voters in those 27 smallest states combined.

        The 12 smallest states are totally ignored in presidential elections. These states are not ignored because they are small, but because they are not closely divided “battleground” states.

        Now with state-by-state winner-take-all laws (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but later enacted by 48 states), presidential elections ignore 12 of the 13 lowest population states (3-4 electoral votes), that are non-competitive in presidential elections. 6 regularly vote Republican (AK, ID, MT, WY, ND, and SD), and 6 regularly vote Democratic (RI, DE, HI, VT, ME, and DC) in presidential elections.

        Similarly, the 25 smallest states have been almost equally noncompetitive. They voted Republican or Democratic 12-13 in 2008 and 2012.

        Voters in states, of all sizes, that are reliably red or blue don’t matter. Candidates ignore those states and the issues they care about most.

      • toto

        Now 48 states have winner-take-all state laws for awarding electoral votes.
        2 award one electoral vote to the winner of each congressional district, and two electoral votes statewide.
        Neither method is mentioned in the U.S. Constitution.

        The current system does not provide some kind of check on the “mobs.”

        If any candidate wins the popular vote in states with 270 electoral votes, there is no reason to think that the Electoral College would prevent that candidate from being elected President of the United States

      • toto

        The National Popular Vote bill is 61% of the way to guaranteeing the majority of Electoral College votes and the presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in the country, by changing state winner-take-all laws (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but later enacted by 48 states), without changing anything in the Constitution, using the built-in method that the Constitution provides for states to make changes.

        All voters would be valued equally in presidential elections, no matter where they live.
        Candidates, as in other elections, would allocate their time, money, polling, organizing, and ad buys roughly in proportion to the population

        Every vote, everywhere, for every candidate, would be politically relevant and equal in every presidential election.
        No more distorting, crude, and divisive and red and blue state maps of predictable outcomes, that don’t represent any minority party voters within each state.

        The bill would take effect when enacted by states with a majority of the electoral votes—270 of 538.
        All of the presidential electors from the enacting states will be supporters of the presidential candidate receiving the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC)—thereby guaranteeing that candidate with an Electoral College majority.

      • toto

        A survey of Pennsylvania voters in 2008 showed 78% overall support for a national popular vote for President.

        Support was 87% among Democrats, 68% among Republicans, and 76% among independents.

        NationalPopularVote

        • PhilliesFan2001

          Those are some pretty foolish Republicans.

          • toto

            Recent and past presidential candidates who supported direct election of the President in the form of a constitutional amendment, before the National Popular Vote bill was introduced: George H.W. Bush (R-TX-1969), Bob Dole (R-KS-1969), , Gerald Ford (R-MI-1969), and Richard Nixon (R-CA-1969).

            Recent and past presidential candidates with a public record of support, before November 2016, for the National Popular Vote bill that would guarantee the majority of Electoral College votes and the presidency to the candidate with the most national popular votes: Congressmen Bob Barr (Libertarian- GA), U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R–GA), Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-CO), and Senator Fred Thompson (R–TN).

            Newt Gingrich summarized his support for the National Popular Vote bill by saying: “No one should become president of the United States without speaking to the needs and hopes of Americans in all 50 states. … America would be better served with a presidential election process that treated citizens across the country equally. The National Popular Vote bill accomplishes this in a manner consistent with the Constitution and with our fundamental democratic principles.”

  • toto

    A survey of Pennsylvania voters showed 78% overall support for a national popular vote for President.

    The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in the country, by changing state winner-take-all laws (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but later enacted by 48 states), without changing anything in the Constitution, using the built-in method that the Constitution provides for states to make changes.

    Every vote, everywhere, for every candidate, would be politically relevant and equal in every presidential election.
    No more distorting and divisive red and blue state maps of predictable outcomes.

    The bill would take effect when enacted by states with a majority of the electoral votes—270 of 538.
    All of the presidential electors from the enacting states will be supporters of the presidential candidate receiving the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC)—thereby guaranteeing that candidate with an Electoral College majority.

    The bill was approved this year by a unanimous bipartisan House committee vote in both Georgia (16 electoral votes) and Missouri (10).
    The bill has passed 34 state legislative chambers in 23 rural, small, medium, large, red, blue, and purple states with 261 electoral votes.
    The bill has been enacted by 11 small, medium, and large jurisdictions with 165 electoral votes – 61% of the 270 necessary to go into effect.

    NationalPopularVote

  • PhilliesFan2001

    Sorry, Toto. Every vote, everywhere would NOT be politically relevant. A national popular vote would completely disenfranchise the small states in national elections–which is to say, most of the U.S. landmass. No candidate would bother campaigning in Wyoming, Iowa, Alaska, Rhode Island, Vermont, and so forth, and the president would be the president of California, Texas, New York, Illinois, and Pennsylvania–or more to the point, LA, Houston, New York City, Chicago, and Philadelphia. Moreover, it would mean that parties and candidates with the most money (to spend on large media markets and corrupt urban politicians) would have an even larger advantage than they do now, and less accountability. Finally, it would result in even more centralization of government, effectively turning states into provinces run by DC.

    And–of course–Hamilton was correct. The average voter is very uninformed and subject to manipulation by the media. We are not more educated today–we are less. A 1984 survey of high school seniors (that is, people in their early 50s now) showed that a third thought World War I was a movie. On the other hand, a college admissions test from the 1850s required knowledge of ancient history, Latin, formal logic, and calculus–among other subjects. Yes, more people have credentials now, but does the average TV-watching, smartphone-addicted, American know more or less about historical events or logical reasoning, than, say, 50 years ago? And that doesn’t even address all the social psychology research about how easy it is to manipulate people. A direct popular vote is more, not less, likely to lead to bad choices.

    A popular vote for President sounds good superficially, but only until one reflects on the consequences.

    • toto

      No voter of state would be at all disenfranchised.

      The National Popular Vote bill would give a voice to the minority party voters for president in each state. Now their votes are counted only for the presidential 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 presidential 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).

    • toto

      With the current system, no candidate bothers to campaign in Wyoming, Alaska, Rhode Island, Vermont, and 20 other of the smallest 27 states.

      With National Popular Vote, when every popular vote counts and matters to the candidates equally, successful candidates will find a middle ground of policies appealing to the wide mainstream of America. Instead of playing mostly to local concerns in Ohio and Florida, candidates finally would have to form broader platforms for broad national support. Elections wouldn’t be about winning a handful of battleground states.

      Support for a national popular vote has been strong in every smallest state surveyed in polls among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group

      Among the 13 lowest population states, the National Popular Vote bill has passed in 9 state legislative chambers, and been enacted by 4 jurisdictions.

      Now 70-80% of all states and voters are ignored by presidential campaign polling, organizing, ad spending, and visits. Their states’ votes were conceded months before by the minority parties in the states, taken for granted by the dominant party in the states, and ignored by all parties in presidential campaigns.

      State winner-take-all laws negate any simplistic mathematical equations about the relative power of states based on their number of residents per electoral vote. Small state math means absolutely nothing to presidential campaign polling, organizing, ad spending, and visits, or to presidents once in office.

      In the 25 smallest states in 2008, the Democratic and Republican popular vote was almost tied (9.9 million versus 9.8 million), as was the electoral vote (57 versus 58).

      In 2012, 24 of the nation’s 27 smallest states received no attention at all from presidential campaigns after the conventions. They were ignored despite their supposed numerical advantage in the Electoral College. In fact, the 8.6 million eligible voters in Ohio received more campaign ads and campaign visits from the major party campaigns than the 42 million eligible voters in those 27 smallest states combined.

      The 12 smallest states are totally ignored in presidential elections. These states are not ignored because they are small, but because they are not closely divided “battleground” states.

      Now with state-by-state winner-take-all laws (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but later enacted by 48 states), presidential elections ignore 12 of the 13 lowest population states (3-4 electoral votes), that are non-competitive in presidential elections. 6 regularly vote Republican (AK, ID, MT, WY, ND, and SD), and 6 regularly vote Democratic (RI, DE, HI, VT, ME, and DC) in presidential elections.

      Similarly, the 25 smallest states have been almost equally noncompetitive. They voted Republican or Democratic 12-13 in 2008 and 2012.

      Voters in states, of all sizes, that are reliably red or blue don’t matter. Candidates ignore those states and the issues they care about most.

    • toto

      Now, a presidential candidate could lose despite winning 78%+ of the popular vote and 39 states.

      With the current state-by-state winner-take-all system of awarding electoral votes (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but later enacted by 48 states), it could only take winning a bare plurality of popular votes in only the 11 most populous states, containing 56% of the population of the United States, for a candidate to win the Presidency with less than 22% of the nation’s votes!

      But the political reality is that the 11 largest states, with a majority of the U.S. population and electoral votes, rarely agree on any political question. In terms of recent presidential elections, the 11 largest states have included 7 states have voted Republican(Texas, Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Georgia) and 4 states have voted Democratic (California, New York, Illinois, and New Jersey). The fact is that the big states are just about as closely divided as the rest of the country. For example, among the four largest states, the two largest Republican states (Texas and Florida) generated a total margin of 2.1 million votes for Bush, while the two largest Democratic states generated a total margin of 2.1 million votes for Kerry.

      In 2004, among the 11 most populous states, in the seven non-battleground states, % of winning party, and margin of “wasted” popular votes, from among the total 122 Million votes cast nationally:
      * Texas (62% Republican), 1,691,267
      * New York (59% Democratic), 1,192,436
      * Georgia (58% Republican), 544,634
      * North Carolina (56% Republican), 426,778
      * California (55% Democratic), 1,023,560
      * Illinois (55% Democratic), 513,342
      * New Jersey (53% Democratic), 211,826

      To put these numbers in perspective,
      Oklahoma (7 electoral votes) 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).
      Utah (5 electoral votes) generated a margin of 385,000 “wasted” votes for Bush in 2004.
      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).

    • toto

      The population of the top five cities (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and Philadelphia) is only 6% of the population of the United States.

      Voters in the biggest cities in the US are almost exactly balanced out by rural areas in terms of population and partisan composition.

      16% of the U.S. population lives outside the nation’s Metropolitan Statistical Areas. Rural America has voted 60% Republican. None of the 10 most rural states matter now.

      16% of the U.S. population lives in the top 100 cities. They voted 63% Democratic in 2004.
      The population of the top 50 cities (going as far down as Arlington, TX) is only 15% of the population of the United States.

      The rest of the U.S., in suburbs, divide almost exactly equally between Republicans and Democrats.

    • toto

      With National Popular Vote, when every voter is equal, everywhere, it makes sense for presidential candidates to try and elevate their votes where they are and aren’t so well liked. But, under the state-by-state winner-take-all laws, it makes no sense for a Democrat to try and do that in Vermont or Wyoming, or for a Republican to try it in Wyoming or Vermont.

      The main media at the moment, TV, costs much more per impression in big cities than in smaller towns and rural area. Candidates get more bang for the buck in smaller towns and rural areas.

    • toto

      Presidential candidates currently do everything within their power to raise as much money as they possibly can from donors throughout the country. They then allocate their time and the money that they raise nationally to places where it will do the most good toward their goal of winning the election.

      Money doesn’t grow on trees. The fact that candidates would spend their money more broadly (that is, in all 50 states and DC) would not, in itself, loosen up the wallet of a single donor anywhere in the country. Candidates will continue to try to raise as much money as economic considerations permit. Economic considerations by donors determines how much money will be available, not the existence of an increases number of places where the money might be spent.

      Presidential candidates concentrate their attention on only a handful of closely divided “battleground” states and their voters. There is no incentive for them to bother to care about the majority of states where they are hopelessly behind or safely ahead to win. 10 of the original 13 states are ignored now. Four out of five Americans were ignored in the 2012 presidential election. After being nominated, Obama visited just eight closely divided battleground states, and Romney visited only 10. These 10 states accounted for 98% of the $940 million spent on campaign advertising. They decided the election. That’s precisely what they should do in order to get elected with the current system, because the voters of 38+ states simply don’t matter. Candidates have no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize, campaign, or care about the concerns of voters in states where they are safely ahead or hopelessly behind.

      When every voter matters throughout the United States, as it would under a national popular vote, candidates would reallocate their time and the money they raise.

    • toto

      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).

    • toto

      The Electoral College would not prevent a candidate winning in states with 270 electoral votes from being elected President of the United States

      Now 48 states have winner-take-all state laws for awarding electoral votes.
      2 award one electoral vote to the winner of each congressional district, and two electoral votes statewide.
      Neither method is mentioned in the U.S. Constitution.

      The current system does not provide some kind of check on the “mobs.”

      If any candidate wins the popular vote in states with 270 electoral votes, there is no reason to think that the Electoral College would not elect that candidate.

    • toto

      Now, a presidential candidate could lose while winning 78%+ of the popular vote and 39 states.

      With the current state-by-state winner-take-all system of awarding electoral votes (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but later enacted by 48 states), it could only take winning a bare plurality of popular votes in only the 11 most populous states, containing 56% of the population of the United States, for a candidate to win the Presidency with less than 22% of the nation’s votes!

    • toto

      In 2012, under the current state-by-state winner-take-all system (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but later enacted by 48 states), voters in just 60 counties and DC could have elected the president in 2012 – even though they represented just 26.3% of voters

    • toto

      Most Americans don’t ultimately care whether their presidential candidate wins or loses in their state or district. Voters want to know, that no matter where they live, even if they were on the losing side, their vote actually was equally counted and mattered to their candidate. Most Americans think it is wrong that the candidate with the most popular votes can lose. We don’t allow this in any other election in our representative republic.

      • PhilliesFan2001

        All votes ARE equally counted now. That’s a red herring. And corruption is much easier to do in a city, or any population center, where there is more anonymity, more power centered in parties, and more favors to be doled out for voting “the right way.” Especially where there has been one-party rule for decades. The last non-Democrat mayor of New York was in the 1970s, the last one in Philly and Baltimore was in the 1940s, and the last non-Democrat mayor of Chicago was in the 1920s (!). I do not want Democrat politicos with the muscle and money to drum up votes (many of them manufactured) to determine the President, to the exclusion of the less organized countryside.

        • toto

          Of COURSE not all votes matter equally.

          Because of state-by-state winner-take-all laws, not mentioned, much less endorsed, in the Constitution. . .

          In 2000, 537 popular votes in Florida determined that the candidate who had 537,179 less national popular votes would win.

          Less than 80,000 votes in 3 states determined the 2016 election, where there was a lead of over 2,8oo,ooo popular votes nationwide.

          Since World War II, a shift of a few thousand votes in 1, 2, or 3 states would have elected a 2nd-place candidate in 6 of the 18 presidential elections

          In the 2012 presidential election, 1.3 million votes decided the winner in the ten states with the closest margins of victory.

          After the 2012 election, Nate Silver calculated that “Mitt Romney may have had to win the national popular vote by three percentage points on Tuesday to be assured of winning the Electoral College.”

        • toto

          Minority party voters for president in each state have their votes counted only for the presidential 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 presidential 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).

        • toto

          With the current system (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but later enacted by 48 states), a small number of people in a closely divided “battleground” state can potentially affect enough popular votes to swing all of that state’s electoral votes.

          537 votes, all in one state determined the 2000 election, when there was a lead of 537,179 (1,000 times more) popular votes nationwide.

          The current state-by-state winner-take-all system of awarding electoral votes maximizes the incentive and opportunity for fraud, mischief, coercion, intimidation, confusion, and voter suppression. A very few people can change the national outcome by adding, changing, or suppressing a small number of votes in one closely divided battleground state. With the current system all of a state’s electoral votes are awarded to the candidate who receives a bare plurality of the votes in each state. The sheer magnitude of the national popular vote number, compared to individual state vote totals, is much more robust against manipulation.

          National Popular Vote would limit the benefits to be gained by fraud or voter suppression. One suppressed vote would be one less vote. One fraudulent vote would only win one vote in the return. In the current electoral system, one fraudulent vote could mean 55 electoral votes, or just enough electoral votes to win the presidency without having the most popular votes in the country.

          The closest popular-vote election count over the last 130+ years of American history (in 1960), had a nationwide margin of more than 100,000 popular votes. The closest electoral-vote election in American history (in 2000) was determined by 537 votes, all in one state, when there was a lead of 537,179 (1,000 times more) popular votes nationwide.

          For a national popular vote election to be as easy to switch as 2000, it would have to be two hundred times closer than the 1960 election–and, in popular-vote terms, forty times closer than 2000 itself.