Politics Magazine

National Popular Vote: I Beat the Drum

Posted on the 16 August 2012 by Erictheblue

Reading along in another humdrum article ("Medicare issue put to test quickly in Florida") concerning the presidential campaign, one comes to this graf:

The implications extend beyond Florida.  Elderly voters are significant forces in Iowa, New Hampshire, Ohio, and Virginia and Pennsylvania, all states that could help determine the outcome of the election.

This list of states that "could help determine the outcome of the election" is not evidently intended to be comprehensive.  It is, rather, a subset of all the states that "could help determine the outcome of the election"--namely, those states that "could help determine the outcome of the election" in which there are substantial numbers of elderly voters. 

Nevertheless, it's startling that people aren't startled by these cliches of political journalism.  That there are states that "could help determine the outcome of the election" indicates that there are other states that will not help determine the outcome of the election.  Here are a few of them: California, New York, Illinois, Texas, Tennessee, Georgia, Hawaii, Vermont, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Washington, Idaho, Wyoming, Alaska, Utah, Kansas, Oklahoma. . . .

To be a little more accurate: these states will, strictly speaking, help determine the outcome.  They do have electoral votes, and their electoral votes will count in the final tally.  But, since the race isn't close in any of them, and because the candidate who's going to win the state gets all the electoral votes allotted to that state, everyone who prefers the candidate who's going to lose is for all practical purposes disenfranchised.  All the Republicans in California, New York, and Illinois.  All the Democrats in Texas and Tennessee.  Millions and millions from all over the country.  They're suckers if they believe their vote has any impact on the outcome of the presidential contest.  Moreover, if, like me, you prefer Obama, and live in a state that Obama is going to win, your vote is, if not exactly worthless, heavily discounted.  Ditto for those who prefer Romney in the crimson states.

The electoral college is responsible for this sorry state of affairs.  There is a remedy at hand, however:  National Popular Vote.  It deserves your support.

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