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Wed May 15, 2019, 06:33 PM

Want to Fix Presidential Elections? Here's the Quickest Way

By: Edward B. Foley

Source: Politico.com

<snip>

What are the existing proposals, and what’s wrong with them? Most of the energy to date has been devoted to replacing the Electoral College with a “national popular vote,” which would combine all votes cast nationwide into one unified count, rather than tallying them on a state-by-state basis. The idea here is to avoid situations in which a candidate wins the presidency when voters as a whole actually prefer a different candidate. Several of Warren’s Democratic colleagues in the Senate have introduced a constitutional amendment to implement a national popular vote. But a constitutional amendment is notoriously difficult to achieve, especially for this purpose, and especially in today’s partisan environment.

There is also an effort underway to adopt a national popular vote without a constitutional amendment. This plan calls for individual states to agree to award their own Electoral College votes to the candidate who wins the popular vote nationwide. The effort is structured so it doesn’t take effect until enough states sign on that they collectively represent a majority of Electoral College votes. Once that watershed is reached, the rule automatically kicks in, and, from then on, the Electoral College result will effectively turn on which candidate wins the most votes nationally (and not just in those states that have signed on to the plan).

As clever as this plan is, it has some serious problems. First, it’s not clear that the Supreme Court would accept it as constitutional, given that it’s designed to undermine the Electoral College’s system of separate state-by-state voting. Second, although this plan has been gathering momentum—it has been adopted by the District of Columbia and 14 states, most recently Colorado, Delaware and New Mexico—it still remains 81 Electoral College votes short of the 270 necessary to take effect. It’s unclear that the compact will reach the magic number before November 2020, or ever.

There is a third, more significant problem with the interstate compact. As drafted and as adopted by the states that have signed on, the interstate compact would award the presidency to the candidate who receives a plurality, not necessarily a majority, of the popular vote. Anyone concerned that Howard Schultz, the former CEO of Starbucks, might run as an independent, siphon votes from the Democratic nominee and cause President Donald Trump to win reelection understands the shortcomings of a plurality-based system. Suppose the nationwide vote is 43 percent for Trump, 42 percent for the Democratic nominee and 15 percent for Schultz. The national popular vote compact would hand the White House back to Trump, even though 57 percent of voters wanted him to lose.

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2019/05/04/electoral-college-reform-2020-226792

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Reply Want to Fix Presidential Elections? Here's the Quickest Way (Original post)
Different Drummer May 2019 OP
LisaM May 2019 #1

Response to Different Drummer (Original post)

Wed May 15, 2019, 06:46 PM

1. Good point. While I think the Electoral College HAS failed us twice since 2000

I also am hesitant about the Law of Unintended Consequences that could be triggered if it's changed too fast.

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