The real problem with the Electoral College.

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,755
Dispargum
As I understand it:
With the NPVIC, as soon as there are enough states in the compact to represent 270 EC votes, then all the electors in those states are assigned to the candidate with the majority of votes throughout the compact states.
Therefore, any state that would, otherwise have electors going to the "losing" candidate on the national ballot, those electors would be assigned to the candidate with the largest plurality.
National Popular Vote Interstate Compact - Wikipedia
You're right except that electors in compact states go to the candidate who wins the national popular vote, not just the popular vote in the compact states.

I agree about electors being forced to change their vote but that's the whole point. Electors would only be forced to change their votes from the national loser to the national winner. A state would only be losing their right to vote for the losing candidate. Is that so important to a state? That they have the right to be different? This argument of electors being forced to change their votes would only amount to a legal excuse for the courts to strike down the NPVIC. But the NPVIC is predicated on the assumption that the EC is obsolete so the courts would only be enforcing a law that most Americans do not want (assuming enough states join the NPVIC to activate it).
 
  • Like
Reactions: Cepheus

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
22,750
SoCal
I can’t believe we’re talking about the EC as if it makes anyt sense whatsoever. The Electoral College robs you and me of the power of my vote while enhancing the votes of folks from small states. That's right: my vote in Texas is worth less than a vote in Oklahoma. Is this fair? No, it isn’t. .It’s a cockamamie subterfuge that gets between the ordinary voter and the candidate he/she votes for. Any roadblock thrown in the voters’ paths is ridiculous. Presidential elections should be national and not by state.
The unfairness part is also true in regards to the US Senate.
 

RoryOMore

Ad Honorem
Mar 2012
3,398
USA
The problem is a practical one: California is too big. It makes no sense that there are 14 states on the Atlantic Coast, 3 on the Pacific. California should be broken up. Politically, that might require Texas to be broken up, too, or maybe multiple states. Going to the district by district system instead of winner take all makes sense, too.

California also uses a weird primary system where candidates don't run by party. The two top primary vote getters go to the general election. In 2016, 9 of the 55 districts in California didn't have any party opposition in the general election. The Senate election was also between two Democrats. This tends (and is designed) to stop opposition parties and candidates from gaining traction and building organizations from year to year. I don't see how any conclusions can be drawn about the national popular vote when it's so badly skewed by use of this system in California.
 

Cepheus

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
2,345
This argument of electors being forced to change their votes would only amount to a legal excuse for the courts to strike down the NPVIC. But the NPVIC is predicated on the assumption that the EC is obsolete so the courts would only be enforcing a law that most Americans do not want (assuming enough states join the NPVIC to activate it).
The other challenge, which may be a bigger obstacle than the ability of the state to ignore its voters(related to your point) is that the NPVIC is likely to be unconstitutional via Art. I, Sec. 10 in regard to interstate compacts.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Futurist

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
22,750
SoCal
The problem is a practical one: California is too big. It makes no sense that there are 14 states on the Atlantic Coast, 3 on the Pacific. California should be broken up. Politically, that might require Texas to be broken up, too, or maybe multiple states. Going to the district by district system instead of winner take all makes sense, too.

California also uses a weird primary system where candidates don't run by party. The two top primary vote getters go to the general election. In 2016, 9 of the 55 districts in California didn't have any party opposition in the general election. The Senate election was also between two Democrats. This tends (and is designed) to stop opposition parties and candidates from gaining traction and building organizations from year to year. I don't see how any conclusions can be drawn about the national popular vote when it's so badly skewed by use of this system in California.
The California system is actually meant to strengthen the hand of moderates by reducing the power that each party's base has. Before this reform, each party's base selected its candidates--and that often resulted in a lot of hardcore, far-left or far-right candidates who were unwilling to compromise and to work with the other side in order to actually get anything done.
 

Cepheus

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
2,345
I can’t believe we’re talking about the EC as if it makes anyt sense whatsoever. The Electoral College robs you and me of the power of my vote while enhancing the votes of folks from small states. That's right: my vote in Texas is worth less than a vote in Oklahoma. Is this fair? No, it isn’t. .It’s a cockamamie subterfuge that gets between the ordinary voter and the candidate he/she votes for. Any roadblock thrown in the voters’ paths is ridiculous. Presidential elections should be national and not by state.
You said it doesn't make sense and then you just it explained how it made sense. See that ? It gives the smaller states more power. edited to add: so, it makes sense if you are a smaller state looking for some degree of parity with the larger states. Whether that is fair or not is another matter. I'm sure you do not think it is fair and that is a logical and sound assessment. I don't disagree with you on the logic of that point.

Additionally, it blocks regional heavyweights. An example that Trent England points out in Imprimis, was the 1888 election where:
...incumbent Democratic President Grover Cleveland lost reelection despite receiving a popular vote plurality. he won this plurality because he won by very large margins in the overwhelmingly Democratic South. He won Texas alone by 146,461 votes, for instance, whereas this national popular vote margin was only 94,530.​
However, your point, royal744, is valid in that not all votes carry the same weight in an election. The national results, as you point out are skewed in favor of the smaller states.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Futurist

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,755
Dispargum
The other challenge, which may be a bigger obstacle than the ability of the state to ignore its voters(related to your point) is that the NPVIC is likely to be unconstitutional via Art. I, Sec. 10 in regard to interstate compacts.
That is a concern unless Congress gives its consent to the NPVIC. If enough states pass it to activate it (270 electoral votes) that will probably be enough votes to pass the House. The Senate could be more difficult.
 

Isoroku295

Ad Honorem
Jan 2009
8,488
In the Past
Much of the issues stem from us having a very different notion of what a State is and its relation to the federal government. It wasn't a democratic institution, it was a representative institution where States chose a (comparatively weak) President to carry out the execution of Congresses laws. Same with the Senate. It was built around the notion of sovereign states joining into a Union without losing their status as States.

The question is how we respond to the loss of this mentality, the failure of the modern populace in knowing the origin of their government institutions, and the change in perspective as people desire a more direct connection between them and the Federal government and the continued waylaying of the State into a mere intermediate structure.
 

Cepheus

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
2,345
That is a concern unless Congress gives its consent to the NPVIC. If enough states pass it to activate it (270 electoral votes) that will probably be enough votes to pass the House. The Senate could be more difficult.
Just to follow up on this:

I went back through wiki's info: NPVIC-wiki, I didn't see any information about the NPVIC initiative securing congressional approval.

The official NPVIC site clearly states:

The National Popular Vote interstate compact will go into effect when enacted by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes—that is, enough to elect a President (270 of 538). At that time, every voter in the country will acquire a direct vote for a group of at least 270 presidential electors supporting their choice for President. All of this group of 270+ presidential electors will be supporters of the candidate who received the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC—thus making that candidate President.​
Agreement Among the States to Elect the President by National Popular Vote

Additionally, just to drive the point home, the proponents of the NPV bill seem to have no intention to involve congress. Congress is left completely out of the progress:

The National Popular Vote bill will take effect when enacted into law by states possessing 270 electoral votes (a majority of the 538 electoral votes). It has been enacted into law in 16 jurisdictions possessing 196 electoral votes, including 5 small jurisdictions (DC, DE, HI, RI, VT), 7 medium-sized states (CO, CT, MD, MA, NM, OR, WA), and 4 big states (CA, IL, NJ, NY).​
Status of National Popular Vote Bill in Each State

Wiki has a good summary of the laws and judicial precedent that may be involved here. The legal hurdles seem do seem rather significant.