29 thoughts on “The Electoral College”

  1. Since WW-II, Democrats have only one more than 50% of the vote four times, with Johnson v McGovern, Carter v Ford, and Obama twice. However, these EC compacts do refer to winning a plurality of the popular vote, not a majority.

    In 2020 the Democrats risk either alienating the middle by going socialist, or alienating the socialists by not going socialist. Hillary still blames Bernie bros for her loss, as so many of them sat it out or went for Jill Stein.

    Yesterday Howard Schultz of Starbucks had a long town hall in Kansas City that was moderated by Martha MacCallum and Bret Baier. He thinks he has a path to 270 as an independent candidate, and I think he’s going to run (He said he’d decide by August). If that happens they’ll be lucky to come away with 40% of the popular vote.

    There was a recent poll focusing on the Mueller probe that also asked an important question that indicates that Democrats are doomed if they stay hard left for the primaries:

    Thinking about the 2020 election, would you be satisfied with a presidential candidate who thinks the United States should be more socialist?
    Yes, 22.0%
    No, 66.7%
    Undecided, 10.9%
    Refused 0.4%

    Even if they can sway all of the undecideds on that one, it could hand Trump a 66.7% to 32.9% victory. That’s percentage would be bigger than a Johnson/Goldwater (EC 486 to 52), Nixon/McGovern (EC 520 to 17), or Reagan/Mondale (EC 525 to 13) landslide.

    And their EC compacts could hand Trump states that he didn’t even win in the popular vote. That would make their heads explode.

    The thing that will probably drive the pundits crazy on election night is that they probably won’t be able to call any of the EC compact states until the West coast weighs in, so East coasters might as well go to bed and read about it in the morning.

      1. Oops!

        I thought of a horribly devious and probably illegal fix to this, which is to have Republican attorney generals give all their states popular votes to the whoever actually wins their state’s popular vote. All the votes are still being counted, and the results are still being abided by. It’s just that they’ll be making their state’s vote unanimous when they officially report it.

        That would guarantee that Republicans would win the popular vote every time, unless the Democrats did the same thing. But if they do that, it once again becomes a contest between states, restoring some of the intent behind the electoral college.

  2. The New Mexico pol was complaining that candidates don’t bother going to New Mexico under the current system, as if NPV will change that.

    To people who always say, “Nobody can be that stupid,” you’ve just been refuted by events.

  3. So, how does this work in reality.

    So far as I know, there is no such thing as the “National Vote”, only state results. If this measure actually passes, the way each and every vote is counted will need to be changed. I can easily see this going to court and eventually the Supreme Court.

    1. Oh easily. It strips all of the state’s voters of their right for their vote to be weighed in the electoral college. Even if they are unanimous in opposing a particular candidate for profound geographic or political reasons, their state’s electors will be forced, by law, to ignore their votes.

      It also goes against at least one established precedent. Some states divide their electoral votes up into districts, such as Maine, but that makes those EC votes more granular, not less granular. A candidate has to win in an even more particular geographic area to win that electoral college vote. The compacts do the complete opposite, combing states into a super district that has no natural geographic basis.

      I’m betting that if Trump wins the popular vote in 2020, which is highly probable, two things will happen. The states that signed onto this nonsense will immediately sue themselves to get out of the compact, and their electors, who are bound by law to vote for Trump, will simply refuse to vote so as not to hand him an overwhelming electoral college victory.

      1. Nothing will happen in 2020, unless states with ~90 electoral votes are demented enough to sign onto this thing before then. It only goes into effect after states with >270 electoral votes pass it.

      2. I’m perfectly fine with each state determining how it chooses its electors–which is all this does, and is perfectly constitutional.

        So far, the only states that aren’t solid Blue that have passed this are CO and NM, and they’re now both a fairly deep shade of purple. If the Democrats want to constrain their options against a popular Republican, that also sounds fine by me.

        1. Well that’s the snag, isn’t it. The states are determining not to choose their own electors. They’re abdicating that responsibility by leaving it up to people in other states to choose their electors.

          If that is okay, then why can’t Kentucky decide that our electors will be chosen based on a vote of people in the United Kingdom – who aren’t allowed to vote in the United States?

          One might argue that such a policy must be illegal since non-US citizens aren’t allowed to vote in US elections, but they wouldn’t be voting in a US election, they’d be voting in a British election that has all the American Presidential candidates’ names on their ballot, and then we’d be making our electors follow the outcome of that foreign vote.

          Yet this is obviously irredeemably at odds with the Framer’s intent. They intended the electoral college to be a further insurance against outside interference in a state’s election because corrupt foreign officials wouldn’t know who to bribe or who to establish long term “beneficial” relations with. That’s why a state’s usual politicians aren’t delegates. They’re already corrupted.

          But is there any real difference between Kentucky giving its control over electoral votes to the British as opposed to Californians, since neither is allowed to vote in Kentucky? I would say there’s not. Kentucky’s EC votes weren’t granted to California or New York, they were granted to Kentucky, for control by Kentuckians.

          1. “The states are determining not to choose their own electors.”

            No, they’re just deciding to choose them in a way you don’t approve of.

            “If that is okay, then why can’t Kentucky decide that our electors will be chosen based on a vote of people in the United Kingdom – who aren’t allowed to vote in the United States?”

            They could be selected based on a vote of people in the UK. They could be selected by a coin toss, or whatever silly way the state legislature prescribed.

            “One might argue that such a policy must be illegal since non-US citizens aren’t allowed to vote in US elections…”

            IANL, so somebody jump in here if I’ve got this wrong, but there’s no law that mandates that electors be US citizens.
            The only restrictions are that they can’t hold a federal office at the time of their vote, and, if they are elected officers of a state, they can’t have rebelled against the United States without Congress first exonerating them. (It’s a post-Civil War, 14th amendment thing.)

            “Yet this is obviously irredeemably at odds with the Framer’s intent.”

            The Framers intent was that they expected states to choose their own electors:

            Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors…

            That’s all. The assumption was that the states would act in their own best interests.

            “That’s why a state’s usual politicians aren’t delegates.”

            If by “usual politicians” you mean federal office holders, then yes. But state politicians can be electors–except for those pesky unexonerated rebels.

            “Kentucky’s EC votes weren’t granted to California or New York, they were granted to Kentucky, for control by Kentuckians.”

            Technically, they were granted to the legislature of Kentucky, not Kentuckians. But, assuming that Kentuckians vote in their own state elections and hold their legislators accountable for acting in their interest, it’s a distinction without a difference.

            Again, you’re assuming that ordinary people vote for president. They don’t. Only electors vote for president. If ordinary people have a say in the designation of the electors, that’s because their state’s legislature granted that say.

            There are two main avenues of legal attack against the NPVIC:

            1) Interstate compacts that haven’t been ratified by Congress are unconstitutional. But that doesn’t rule out Congress approving of the compact. Nor is this argument a slam-dunk. The courts have usually interpreted the prohibition against interstate compacts as applying only when they would infringe on the powers of the federal government.

            2) There’s an argument that NPVIC would violate the Voting Rights Act of 1965, because it could dilute the power of minority groups. On this one, I’m gonna plead IANL.

            But there’s no argument to be made that states can’t decide how to appoint electors.

            FWIW, I think NPVIC is a stupid idea. I agree that it dilutes a state’s sovereign power. But it’s each state legislature’s decision. Article II is quite clear on this.

          2. This is actually a reply to TheRadicalModerate, but the reply pyramid won’t go any deeper.

            “They could be selected by a coin toss, or whatever silly way the state legislature prescribed.”

            There are clearly some limitations. If, e.g., the California state legislature thought it could get away with “In all presidential elections, the electoral votes of the State of California will be cast for the nominee of the Democratic Party”, they would already have enacted it.

          3. @Ishmael:

            California doesn’t need to enact that. It’s de facto true already.

            If a state did something truly outrageous, it could probably be challenged using the Voting Rights Act. But I don’t think there’s a constitutional remedy available.

            The Constitution stops working if enough people insist on being unreasonable for long enough. I’d argue that we’re getting kinda close to that point these days, but NPVIC, even if it gets activated, isn’t going to be the reason for going over the edge.

      3. It was reassuring to see electors refuse to give into the organized intimidation campaign to get them to change their votes in 2016. IIRC, a couple either said they would, or did, change their votes but it wasn’t over Trump winning but Hillary rigging the Dem primary.

        Funny thing was that the Democracy Dies in Darkness journolists didn’t investigate the coordinated effort to intimidate electors to change their votes.

        So, think we are safe in 2020. *crosses fingers*

    2. There being no recognized authority to certify and report the aggregated totals of all 51 elections, and this “compact” being powerless to create one, in the end it will prove to be just more empty virtue signaling — designed more to give certain segments of the electorate another excuse to break down crying when the outcome doesn’t go their way, than to effect actual change.

      1. Curious to see how the electors who will carry this out are chosen. In most states, while you may cast a vote for a candidate, you are actually casting a vote for a slate of electors chosen by the party. Usually they are party loyalists who do as they are told, but there’s always a “faithless” elector or two, and last time there were 7.

        So what happens when here in Colorado, for example, should the Republians win the electors but the Democrat somehow gets the so-called “popular vote”? How do they force the Republican electors to vote for a Dem, as part of a scheme to subvert the intent of the Consititution?

        Even better will be if Trump would prevail next year, and suddenly it’s Emily Litella time for the Dems.

        There’s lots of talk a out this but little that I can find about the actual mechanics of how they intend to actually implement this. Anyone got any links?

        1. “So what happens when here in Colorado, for example, should the Republicans win the electors but the Democrat somehow gets the so-called ‘popular vote’? “

          This is about how the electors are chosen, so what you’re describing can’t happen. Republican’s can’t “win” the electors, because the law will install the Democratic slate.

          How electors are chosen is up to the states. Colorado law now states that, if states with more than 270 electoral votes enact the popular vote compact, then electors are chosen by the national popular vote. Until then, nothing changes.

          1. I did see one positing where the guy claimed that the laws governing the choosing of electors in Colorado were not changed. (Colorado Revised Statutes 1.4.302, 1.4.304) So right there we see that this is a half-assed attempt at virtual signaling with no attempt to clean up the potential messes, or forestall lawsuits.

            But it does raise an interesting point– When I lived in Utah and Washington, states where my vote wasn’t going to matter because the winner was going to win by a large margin, I didn’t bother to vote, or voted for some 3rd party schlub. But if my vote would be counted in some sort of real “popular vote”, that would provide incentive to vote for real.

            And then there’s the incentive to pad your vote totals if you are counting votes in Eastern Washington or Northern California. We’ve already seen how votes can be “found” in all sorts of places that help Democrats, and eventually the Stupid Party will start doing the same.

      2. Not necessarily. If states representing 270 electoral votes adopt it, it goes into effect.

        There’s legislation pending in a lot of swing states, but I doubt it’ll go anywhere. Small states and swing states love the electoral college, because it gives them more power.

        The pathological case would be one where a swing state had a Democratic supermajority for long enough to get this enacted, and then it would be hard to get a similar Republican supermajority to repeal it. But to get to 270 that way would require more than one swing state to do that more-or-less simultaneously.

        Sounds like a good reason for the Republicans not to be so moronic that they completely lose control of swing states.

      3. What most people don’t realize is that there are over 150 million cowboys living in Wyoming who somehow got missed by the census, but who will faithfully show up on election day. As no other states are allowed to monitor Wyoming’s elections, I don’t think anybody will ferret out whether some shenanigans were going on, but boy will California scream when they get outvoted by a bunch of cows.

        The electoral college limits such damage, and assures that no state has a compelling need to monitor polling places and voter registration lists in other states.

      4. And any aggregated total is rather meaningless without uniform standards for the elections. Try it without such enforced standards, and the advantage goes to donkey states with easy voting and fraud.

  4. The template enabling legislation for the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact makes the change effective only after states representing more than 270 electoral votes enact it.

    Right now they’re at 189 electoral votes, so this does nothing for now.

      1. It’s not, really. It’s mostly made up of Blue states. There’s legislation pending in a bunch of purple states (and a couple of Red states), but the only ones to have pulled the trigger are CO and NM–which aren’t exactly high-population states, either.

        I don’t know the status of the various pending laws. If I had to guess, it’s pending in most places because it’s been tabled.

    1. … the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact …

      And then they’re going to trip over this:

      U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 10:

      3: No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.

      [emphasis added]

      1. Ah, that’s interesting.

        A quick trip to Wikipedia (so it’s gotta be true!™) says that recent Supreme Court decisions have allowed interstate compacts as long as they don’t encroach on federal power. Since the right to designate electors is explicitly granted to the states alone, the compact should be OK.

  5. No one is going to campaign in New Mexico, or more importantly, spend money in that state. Just the opposite of what those moronic legislators think.

    1. They don’t care about New Mexico. They care about flooding California with illegal Mexicans who’ll vote for Democrats and thereby steal the election from Americans in evilredneckwhitemale states.

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