Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Louisiana Legislature 's Ill Advised End Run Around Electoral College

I learned today via the twitter from Times Picyaune Reporter Bill Barrow that a Louisiana House committee passed the popular vote bill that is pretty much an end run around the United States Electoral College.

The  bill would obligate La. electoral votes to top vote-getter  after same strategy is adopted by states totaling 270 EC votes.

To me as someone from Louisiana this is foolish beyond words.

The above 2000  Bush / Gore map of the vote county by county map has been seen a good bit. Some people see BUSH vs GORE or GOP VS Democrats in that map. I see rural vs urban.

A few stats from that map:

Counties won:

Gore – 677
Bush – 2,434.

Square miles won:
Gore – 580,134
Bush – 2,427,039

Population of counties won:
Gore – 127 million
Bush – 143 million

That was 2000. I suspect the popular vote margin would be more narrow now because of the rural vs urban dynamic.

Not everything is GOP versus Democratic Party. There are rural and urban concerns. There is in the end so much of the budget pie to go around. When a rural community in South Louisiana wants a Levee to protect itself from flooding they are in competition with lets say folks in urban San Francisco.

Think of Transportation!! Amtrack might be the best thing  in the world for people in that Northeastern Urban areas. However in more rural American, Amtrack has less value because well it is not here for the most part. So while we are waiting for Highways and bridges we are very much in competition with that Amtrack money.

The examples are numerous. Also "Urban" Monroe and places like even Urban Metro New Orleans are not going to help that much bringing this into balance.

We are coming to a point where a President  hopeful  could pretty much just focus on urban areas ,and not give too much of a flip for the rural areas. This would very true of an incumbent President who would likely not be challenged very seriously in a party primary.

Now this is great for urban people and is in their best interest. But for the rest of us serfs in mainly rural areas that produce the energy and food for this country that is not a great deal. In fact it looks like a pretty huge power inbalance.

On a State level it would hurt places with not such great populations numbers. LIKE LOUISIANA. The Federal Govt is very much linked to some of the causes of Coastal Erosion down here. They also it seems don't seem to in a hurry to fix it or spend money on it.

When the Florida  Everglades is in danger people scream something gets done. As to Louisiana Coastal Erosion not so much. That is very linked to population numbers.

A view of the world of URBAN versus Rural in Federal Govt land was shown not too long ago . See Ed Markey’s Trying To Screw Louisiana Again. The key here is poltical party is not really key here. Its Urban Metro Reps against more rural reps.

Why oh why would Louisiana at this time ( or indeed any time) with a already weak Congressional Delegation want to have less influence. Louisiana being a working Coast  needs to have more influence not less. So therefore it makes sense to me that a future President might at least have to go through the motions to get our electoral votes.


toto said...

Louisiana has NO influence in presidential elections now.

With National Popular Vote, every vote would be equal. Candidates would reallocate the money they raise to no longer ignore more than 2/3rds of the states and voters.

Presidential candidates concentrate their attention on only a handful of closely divided "battleground" states and their voters. There is no incentive for them to bother to care about the majority of states where they are hopelessly behind or safely ahead to win. 9 of the original 13 states are considered “fly-over” now. In the 2012 election, pundits and campaign operatives agree already, that, at most, only 12 states and their voters will matter. They will decide the election. Louisiana will be ignored, as usual. None of the 10 most rural states will matter, as usual. About 76% of the country will be ignored --including 19 of the 22 lowest population and medium-small states, and 17 medium and big states like CA, GA, NY, and TX. This will be more obscene than the 2008 campaign, when candidates concentrated over 2/3rds of their campaign events and ad money in just 6 states, and 98% in just 15 states (CO, FL, IN, IA, MI, MN, MO, NV, NH, NM, NC, OH, PA, VA, and WI). Over half (57%) of the events were in just 4 states (OH, FL, PA, and VA). In 2004, candidates concentrated over 2/3rds of their money and campaign visits in 5 states; over 80% in 9 states; and over 99% of their money in 16 states.

More than 2/3rds of the states and people have been merely spectators to presidential elections. They have no influence. That's more than 85 million voters ignored. When and where voters are ignored, then so are the issues they care about most.

Policies important to the citizens of ‘flyover’ states, like Louisiana, are not as highly prioritized as policies important to ‘battleground’ states when it comes to governing.

The number and population of battleground states is shrinking as the U.S. population grows.

As of March 10th, some pundits think there will be only Six States That Will Likely Decide The 2012 Election

toto said...

With National Popular Vote, big cities would not get all of candidates’ attention, much less control the outcome.
The population of the top five cities (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and Philadelphia) is only 6% of the population of the United States and the population of the top 50 cities (going as far down as Arlington, TX) is only 19% of the population of the United States.
Suburbs and exurbs often vote Republican.

If big cities controlled the outcome of elections, the governors and U.S. Senators would be Democratic in virtually every state with a significant city.

A nationwide presidential campaign, with every vote equal, would be run the way presidential candidates campaign to win the electoral votes of closely divided battleground states, such as Ohio and Florida, under the state-by-state winner-take-all methods. The big cities in those battleground states do not receive all the attention, much less control the outcome. Cleveland and Miami do not receive all the attention or control the outcome in Ohio and Florida.

The itineraries of presidential candidates in battleground states (and their allocation of other campaign resources in battleground states) reflect the political reality that every gubernatorial or senatorial candidate knows. When and where every vote is equal, a campaign must be run everywhere.

With National Popular Vote, when every vote is equal, everywhere, it makes sense for presidential candidates to try and elevate their votes where they are and aren't so well liked. But, under the state-by-state winner-take-all laws, it makes no sense for a Democrat to try and do that in Vermont or Louisiana, or for a Republican to try it in Louisiana or Vermont.

Even in California state-wide elections, candidates for governor or U.S. Senate don't campaign just in Los Angeles and San Francisco, and those places don't control the outcome (otherwise California wouldn't have recently had Republican governors Reagan, Dukemejian, Wilson, and Schwarzenegger). A vote in rural Alpine county is just an important as a vote in Los Angeles. If Los Angeles cannot control statewide elections in California, it can hardly control a nationwide election.

In fact, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, and Oakland together cannot control a statewide election in California.

Similarly, Republicans dominate Texas politics without carrying big cities such as Dallas and Houston.

There are numerous other examples of Republicans who won races for governor and U.S. Senator in other states that have big cities (e.g., New York, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts) without ever carrying the big cities of their respective states.

The main media at the moment, TV, costs much more per impression in big cities than in smaller towns and rural area. Candidates get more bang for the buck in smaller towns and rural areas.

The National Popular Vote bill would not change the need for candidates to build a winning coalition across demographics. Any candidate who ignored, for example, the 16% of Americans who live in rural areas in favor of a “big city” approach would not likely win the national popular vote. Candidates would have to appeal to a broad range of demographics, and perhaps even more so, because the election wouldn’t be capable of coming down to just one demographic, such as soccer mom voters in Ohio.

toto said...

The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections. No more distorting and divisive red and blue state maps. There would no longer be a handful of 'battleground' states where voters and policies are more important than those of the voters in more than 3/4ths of the states, like Louisiana, that now are just 'spectators' and ignored after the primaries.

When the bill is enacted by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes– enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538), all the electoral votes from the enacting states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC.

The bill uses the power given to each state by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution to change how they award their electoral votes for President. Historically, virtually all of the major changes in the method of electing the President, including ending the requirement that only men who owned substantial property could vote and 48 current state-by-state winner-take-all laws, have come about by state legislative action.

In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state's electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided). Support for a national popular vote is strong among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group in virtually every state surveyed in recent polls in closely divided Battleground states: CO – 68%, FL – 78%, IA 75%, MI – 73%, MO – 70%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM– 76%, NC – 74%, OH – 70%, PA – 78%, VA – 74%, and WI – 71%; in Small states (3 to 5 electoral votes): AK – 70%, DC – 76%, DE – 75%, ID – 77%, ME – 77%, MT – 72%, NE 74%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM – 76%, OK – 81%, RI – 74%, SD – 71%, UT – 70%, VT – 75%, WV – 81%, and WY – 69%; in Southern and Border states: AR – 80%,, KY- 80%, MS – 77%, MO – 70%, NC – 74%, OK – 81%, SC – 71%, TN – 83%, VA – 74%, and WV – 81%; and in other states polled: CA – 70%, CT – 74%, MA – 73%, MN – 75%, NY – 79%, OR – 76%, and WA – 77%. Americans believe that the candidate who receives the most votes should win.

The bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers in 21 states. The bill has been enacted by 9 jurisdictions possessing 132 electoral votes - 49% of the 270 necessary to go into effect.

Follow National Popular Vote on Facebook via nationalpopularvoteinc

toto said...

The presidential election system we have today is not in the Constitution. State-by-state winner-take-all laws to award Electoral College votes, were eventually enacted by states, using their exclusive power to do so, AFTER the Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution. Now our current system can be changed by state laws again.

In 1789, in the nation's first election, the people had no vote for President in most states, only men who owned a substantial amount of property could vote, and only three states used the state-by-state winner-take-all method to award electoral votes.

The Electoral College is now the set of dedicated party activists, who vote as rubberstamps for presidential candidates. In the current presidential election system, 48 states award all of their electors to the winners of their state. This is not what the Founding Fathers intended.

The Founding Fathers in the Constitution did not require states to allow their citizens to vote for president, much less award all their electoral votes based upon the vote of their citizens.

Unable to agree on any particular method for selecting presidential electors, the Founding Fathers left the choice of method exclusively to the states in section 1 of Article II of the U.S. Constitution-- "Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors . . ." The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly characterized the authority of the state legislatures over the manner of awarding their electoral votes as "plenary" and "exclusive."

The constitution does not prohibit any of the methods that were debated and rejected.

States can, and frequently have, changed their method of awarding electoral votes over the years. Maine and Nebraska do not use the winner-take-all method.

James H said...


I think you make a good case for your argument. But it really seems that a small percentage of counties seem to rack up a lot of the vote and so that Urban vs Rural dynamic I am still concerned about