When most conservatives think of the Electoral College, they think of one of the last bastions holding back the hordes of Democratic voters just frothing at the mouth to take away our liberties and turn us into a socialist, commie-lite one-party police state.
It’s only natural, considering that the last two instances where a U.S. president lost the popular vote yet won thanks to the current system came in 2000 with George W. Bush and 2016 with Donald Trump. Had we been under a popular vote system and Al Gore had won reelection in 2004, we could have conceivably been looking at 32 years of unimpeded Democratic Party rule, and the utter collapse of our Republic. You think things look bad now, imagine how bad it could have been, or so goes the logic.
I get it. The founders weren’t big fans of pure democracies and put safeguards in place to prevent the majority from overriding the minority. Hence, the Senate, where large and small states each get to send two, the Constitution, which can only be amended with the approval of three-fourths of the states, and the Electoral College, whereby electors from each state get to decide who the president is. With the office of the presidency seemingly becoming more consequential with each occupant, turning the choice of the world’s most powerful person over to the unimpeded will of the easily swayed masses seems like a risky proposition.
On the other hand, the current system seems pretty precarious too for conservatives, particularly given the results of the last election. Yes, President Joe Biden won the popular vote by 7 million votes, but he also won the Electoral College 306-232, a margin former President Donald Trump considered a “massive landslide victory” even as he lost the popular vote in 2016.
After voting Republican in six straight elections from 1968-1988, only George W. Bush in 2004 has won New Mexico for the GOP. Virginia, once a Republican bastion, turned blue in 2008 and hasn’t looked back. Georgia and Arizona have ‘officially’ turned purple, voting narrowly for Democrats in 2020. Texas, an absolute must-win for Republicans, hasn’t voted blue since 1976, but the margin grows slimmer each election cycle. Donald Trump won the state with only 52.07% of the vote in 2020.
In most if not all of those states, demographic changes brought about by both internal and external immigration have irrevocably shifted things left. If Texas goes, and many political analysts see that happening by 2028 at the latest, it will be structurally impossible for a Republican nominee to gain enough Electoral College votes to win the presidency. In fact, while Republicans have won the Electoral College but lost the popular vote twice in the past two decades, the opposite happening in the coming cycles is a more than conceivable scenario.
But that would never happen, you say, citing as ‘evidence’ that Republicans haven’t won a popular vote contest since 2004. Yes, but as Trump has pointed out, Republicans also have not been PLAYING to win the popular vote, which is an entirely different ‘game’ than campaigning non-stop in a few swing states.
If you’re a Republican in a state like California, for example, might you consider staying home, knowing you’re severely outnumbered by millions of wokists and your vote really doesn’t matter in the national scheme of things? Sure, maybe there’s a member of Congress you’d like to see elected, but is electing Devin Nunes (as good as he is) a reason to brave the traffic, the potholes, and the odds of getting mugged? I would say so, but are there some who might be on the fence, some who would be more likely to make an effort to make their voices heard if they knew their vote would be applied to electing the occupant of the highest office in the land? It’s hard to imagine not.
So in that sense, a national popular vote wouldn’t just ramp up voter participation, it could also conceivably help down-ballot party members in ways that are hard to anticipate and possibly good for congressional Republicans in blue states.
Of course, the retort to that is that Democrats could do the same in red states. That’s right, they could. But there is some evidence that Republicans could have more to gain with a national popular vote. For example, Oklahoma, a solidly red state, ranked dead last in voter participation for 2020. How many otherwise non-voting Oklahomans would jump at the chance to cancel out the vote of a New York Democratic socialist? I don’t know, but it’s probably more than a few.
And that’s really the point, after all. The presidential election is a national event, and it seems like it should be treated as such. Instead, the current system sees presidential candidates campaigning in, and making promises to, swing states only. In 2020, Michigan, Florida, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and North Carolina received the bulk of campaign visits, while states like Montana, Tennessee, Alabama, Oregon, Washington, and many more received a grand total of … zero.
In fact, 12 states received fully 96% of the general election campaign visits. If you’re a resident of one of those states, think you might have gotten a campaign promise or three? Conversely, how many campaign promises did Kentuckians receive? I live in Tennessee, and I don’t remember either Biden or Trump lobbying for my vote or promising me a damned thing. And worse, what does a president in office do when they know they must win, say, Michigan, in order to have a shot at a second term? Might this come at the expense of residents of another state? Wouldn’t it be better if ideas were vetted based on how they impacted the entire country instead of just a few states?
Sure, there are potential drawbacks, but one of them isn’t that it’s unconstitutional. The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact has already been enacted into law by the legislatures of 16 states, a power that the Constitution clearly grants. You might point out that those states are all currently run by Democrats, and you’d be correct. However, it’s also gaining traction in red states like Arkansas, Missouri, and Tennessee.
As Democrats cement their stranglehold on power, look for more and more Republicans to sign on to this idea as a last-ditch measure to open the playing field and try to beat Democrats by forcing them to defend their noxious ideas all over the map instead of just a few places. Hell, what have we got to lose?
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