The is a follow up to John Stoehr’s excellent article a few days ago. Although I agree with very few of the arguments nor his conclusions, it is one of the very few that I have read that presents a cogent and rational argument against the National Popular Vote (NPV). Bravo.
I certainly do concur that we should just stick a fork in the National Popular Vote argument and let it go away.
Of all the arguments in favor of the NPV, these two are the ones that I most frequently hear. First, the very succinct argument is because “It is the right thing to do.” The next most popular argument points out that, “We are the only first-world democracy that does not use the NPV.”
This first argument is one that we have heard many times and applied to myriad situations in which a “real” argument doesn’t exist. It seems to be one of our governor’s most frequently cited arguments. “We must take all the Syrian refugees we can,” because “it’s the right thing to do.” Or, “boys in North Carolina must be allowed to shower with the girls if they want to” because it is, “the right thing to do.”
Needless to say, although this is rarely, if ever, challenged by the media, most of us regular folk will recognize that it is a simple restatement of the question. I have a 6-year old that wields this technique as expertly as Dannel Malloy.
“Why do you want me to buy you that?”
“Because I want it.”
The second argument points out the fact that every other country that has free and fair elections determine the outcomes by NPV. While this is correct it, overlooks one important point. We live in the United STATES of America. It is a unique democracy, one comprised of 50 united states. These states are autonomous to some degree and this is important since they all have different resources, needs, capabilities, and values. The electoral college gives the little states a bit of an advantage against the tyranny of the majority. If we eliminate the electoral college we may as well change the name of the country simply to America, and we will be “just like everyone else,” but that hardly seems like an objective that we should be striving for.
Connecticut is a little state, andwhat’s worse, it is a wealthy little state. To voluntarily surrender a tiny advantage the Electoral College gives us to the NPV is like sticking a “kick me” on our collective butts.
I did really like Stoehr’s piece, but there are two small nits with which I would like to take issue. It is incorrect to say that, the electoral winner is the winner even if, the “candidate loses the popular vote.” No one can “win” or “lose” the popular vote, there was no popular vote to win or lose. It is not part of the contest. It is irrelevant. If the rules were different the outcome would have been different. I don’t know who would have won, but it would have been different.
Baseball season starts this week, so I will insert a baseball analogy. Many times in the 171- year history of baseball, the winner of the world series was outhit and out pitched by the loser of that series. In 1960, the Yankees outhit the Pirates 91-60 (that’s huge) and out-pitched the Pirates (7.11 ERA vs 3.54 ERA). No one said that the Yankees won the hitting or the pitching. It’s just a stat and quite irrelevant. If it were a hitting or a pitching contest, both teams would have played those seven games much differently. There would be no sac-bunts or sac-flys, but lots of errors.
This fits nicely with my second nit. Stating that “The National Popular Vote Will Not Solve the Problem,” assumes that there is a problem. There is not. The Electoral College worked just as it should. The majority of the states voted and somewhat overwhelmingly established their choice. Without the EC, one very large state would have plopped their oversized thumb on the scale and the winner would have been selected by that one big state along with a minority of others.
Hillary Clinton received 2.8 million more votes than Trump (out of 129 million). She also won California’s 55 electoral votes by 4.2 million votes. To look at it another way, with the NPV, California calls the shots. Now, in this election that may have been fine with most of Connecticut, but before we surrender the little advantage that we have, remember that it may not always be that way. Connecticut is not California. I’m not one for scare tactics but are you ready for all-organic-gluten-free-no-GMO-all-natural-all-vegan tofu-roni pizza baked under the mystical pyramid of the almighty Gaia? – Yeeeech.
In conclusion, just to throw a little more fuel to the fire: Mr. Stoehr’s observation with regard to requiring a clear majority or establishing a ranking system. These may be alternatives which the states may wish to consider, however, I think it would be a better idea for California and some of the larger states to adopt the electoral college system at the state-level.
Nevertheless, reject the compact. Keep the Electoral College.
Nicholas Malino is a founding member of the Progressive Conservative Alliance and chairman of the Conservative Party of Connecticut. He is Managing Member of Tango Research, LLC a hedge fund in CT and NY. He has two books published on financial subjects.
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