Kevin Drum is enthused that California has joined the National Popular Vote movement, and my question is: why?
I’m not asking “why does he support the National Popular Vote.” I agree with him that a national popular vote, assigning each state’s electors by percentage of votes to each party, is a much better and fairer way to assign electors to the Electoral College than the current winner-in-each-state-takes-all system, since it’s both more reflective of the populace’s desires and it also means that Presidential candidates can’t skip campaigning in their “solid” states. It ends the swing-state phenomenon. This is good.
But the NPV movement is going about it in a stupid way: they’ve decided to round of 270 electoral votes’ worth of states and, when they hit that number, they agree to all commit to popular-vote elector assignment. This sounds nice in theory, but right now, at about the halfway mark (132 electoral votes), they’ve signed up California, Vermont, Maryland, Massachusetts, Illinois, New Jersey, Hawaii, Washington and the District of Columbia.
What do all of these states (well, and D.C.) have in common? Not a one of them has gone to the Republicans since 1988. These are blue states, every one. And the problem with NPV is that if only liberal states are going to jump on the bandwagon, you’re basically saying that the only candidates electable to national office will be Republicans – since Republicans will get all of the electoral votes from their “safe” states in the Deep South and the plains, and then snag all the additional votes in blue states that they weren’t previously getting.
This is a recipe for electoral disaster for liberals in America – and liberals in America didn’t exactly have it easy to begin with. I understand and agree that, generally speaking, the national popular vote is a movement favoring good governance – but if only one side cares about it, the other side can take exceptional advantage of it.
EDIT: So apparently the National Popular Vote isn’t a proportional allotment of electors, making this entire post pointless! Just pretend it is about unicorns or something instead. You like unicorns, right?