Thursday, January 10, 2013

More people catch the drift: Republicans should move their purple states to the Maine-Nebraska Method

by Clifford F. Thies

National Review is running a piece reviewing various scenarios involving widespread or even nationwide adoption of the Maine-Nebraska Method and the implications are clear: WE WIN. (The Maine-Nebraska Method involves awarding a state's votes in the Electoral College one per Congressional District and two for the winner of the statewide popular vote.) 

We, at LR, noted this, prior to the election. We had a blogpost entitled "Gaming the electoral college," in which we said the Republicans could "steal" the election by switching the purple states that they controlled to the Maine-Nebraska Method. 


Our post was made before Hurricane Sandy and the shift in voter sentiment during the last week of the campaign, back when Romney and Obama were maybe tied (this depends on how you resolve the conflicting results of the nationwide polls). But, even with the nationwide popular vote being close, Romney was at a disadvantage because of Gary Johnson's popularity in the west, specifically in Colorado. 

Now, you have to ask yourself, what if it were the other way around, and the Democrats could gain a victory by switching to the Maine-Nebraska Method? Do you think they would hesitate?

Consider that the Democrats ran ads during our primary in Missouri, so as to help the social conservative Todd Akin (the weakest possible candidate for our side) beat Tea Party favorite Sarah Steelman. And, consider that in Montana, they made contributions to the Libertarian Party candidate, whose vote-siphoning enabled them to retain the Senate seat with a minority of the votes cast.

But there's more to the matter than immediate advantage. The whole of the matter was discussed in a little book by Roger MacBride a long, long time ago. Roger MacBride was the 1972 elector from Virginia who cast his vote for John Hospers and Toni Nathan, who was the 1976 L.P. candidate for President, and was helpful in the organization of the Republican Liberty Caucus during the 1990s. He is best known for continuing The Little House on the Prairie series, writing two books in the series, and, along with Michael London, bringing the series to television.

So, our support of the Maine-Nebraska Method has a long history. Indeed, it precedes the adoption of the method (formerly known as the District Method) by either Maine or Nebraska. But, the time is now for Republicans to come on board. Actually, the time was prior to the most recent election.


Gary said...

And when the Democrats re-take Texas or Florida do you want all those gerrymandered Democrat Congressional districts casting votes for Socialism?????

Electing Presidents by corrupt gerrymandered districts is really retarded.

toto said...

Maine and Nebraska voters support a national popular vote.

A survey of Maine voters showed 77% overall support for a national popular vote for President.
In a follow-up question presenting a three-way choice among various methods of awarding Maine’s electoral votes,
* 71% favored a national popular vote;
* 21% favored Maine’s current system of awarding its electoral votes by congressional district; and
* 8% favored the statewide winner-take-all system (i.e., awarding all of Maine’s electoral votes to the candidate who receives the most votes statewide).

A survey of Nebraska voters showed 74% overall support for a national popular vote for President.
In a follow-up question presenting a three-way choice among various methods of awarding Nebraska’s electoral votes,
* 60% favored a national popular vote;
* 28% favored Nebraska’s current system of awarding its electoral votes by congressional district; and
* 13% favored the statewide winner-take-all system (i.e., awarding all of Nebraska’s electoral votes to the candidate who receives the most votes statewide).


Republicans want to split electoral votes in blue states......but not red states.

Dividing more states’ electoral votes by congressional district winners would magnify the worst features of the Electoral College system.

If the district approach were used nationally, it would be less fair and less accurately reflect the will of the people than the current system. In 2004, Bush won 50.7% of the popular vote, but 59% of the districts. Although Bush lost the national popular vote in 2000, he won 55% of the country's congressional districts.

The district approach would not provide incentive for presidential candidates to campaign in a particular state or focus the candidates' attention to issues of concern to the state. With the 48 state-by-state winner-take-all laws (whether applied to either districts or states), candidates have no reason to campaign in districts or states where they are comfortably ahead or hopelessly behind. In North Carolina, for example, there are only 2 districts (the 13th with a 5% spread and the 2nd with an 8% spread) where the presidential race is competitive. Nationwide, there have been only 55 "battleground" districts that were competitive in presidential elections. With the present deplorable 48 state-level winner-take-all system, 80% of the states (including California and Texas) are ignored in presidential elections; however, 88% of the nation's congressional districts would be ignored if a district-level winner-take-all system were used nationally.

Awarding electoral votes by congressional district could result in third party candidates winning electoral votes that would deny either major party candidate the necessary majority vote of electors and throw the process into Congress to decide.

Because there are generally more close votes on district levels than states as whole, district elections increase the opportunity for error. The larger the voting base, the less opportunity there is for an especially close vote.

Also, a second-place candidate could still win the White House without winning the national popular vote.

A national popular vote is the way to make every person's vote equal and matter to their candidate because it guarantees that the candidate who gets the most votes in all 50 states and DC becomes President.

toto said...

Obvious partisan machinations like these should add support for the National Popular Vote movement. If the party in control in each state is tempted every 2, 4, or 10 years (post-census) to consider rewriting election laws and redistrict with an eye to the likely politically beneficial effects for their party in the next presidential election, then the National Popular Vote system, in which all voters across the country are guaranteed to be politically relevant and treated equally, looks better and better.

Most Americans don't care whether their presidential candidate wins or loses in their state or district . . . they care whether he/she wins the White House. Voters want to know, that even if they were on the losing side, their vote actually was directly and equally counted and mattered to their candidate. Most Americans think it's wrong for the candidate with the most popular votes to lose. We don't allow this in any other election in our representative republic.

In Gallup polls since 1944, 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 (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided). Support for a national popular vote is strong among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group in virtually every state surveyed in recent polls in recent closely divided Battleground states: CO – 68%, FL – 78%, IA 75%, MI – 73%, MO – 70%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM– 76%, NC – 74%, OH – 70%, PA – 78%, VA – 74%, and WI – 71%; in Small states (3 to 5 electoral votes): AK – 70%, DC – 76%, DE – 75%, ID – 77%, ME – 77%, MT – 72%, NE 74%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM – 76%, OK – 81%, RI – 74%, SD – 71%, UT – 70%, VT – 75%, WV – 81%, and WY – 69%; in Southern and Border states: AR – 80%, KY- 80%, MS – 77%, MO – 70%, NC – 74%, OK – 81%, SC – 71%, TN – 83%, VA – 74%, and WV – 81%; and in other states polled: AZ – 67%, CA – 70%, CT – 74%, MA – 73%, MN – 75%, NY – 79%, OR – 76%, and WA – 77%.

The National Popular Vote bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers in 21 states with 243 electoral votes. The bill has been enacted by 9 jurisdictions with 132 electoral votes - 49% of the 270 necessary to go into effect.


John Holliday said...

Unfortunately, all of the large metro areas have multiple representative districts and they will vote socialist every time.

The number of representatives should be limited. Each large metro area (more than 250K?) gets one representative. The remainder of the state gets double the number of large metro area representative districts. So a state with 4 metro areas gets 12 reps; 4 metro, 8 rural. The rural districts are nearly as square or rectangular as possible.

Population really doesn't matter because we only have 435 reps now instead of 1 rep for x-thousand people. So the plan above is just in keeping with the population not being an integral part of choosing representatives and their districts.