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California GOP Has the Right Idea

The talk shows are up in arms, the Democrats are furious, and even Daily Kos is predicting a Democratic loss in 08 over it. The California Democrats are pushing last centuries reforms with their National Popular Vote,  and now the Republicans want a referendum on delegating electoral college through congressional district. So it looks like California voters will get to chose which method they prefer.

By far the most democratic way of delegating electoral votes would be statewide through proportional representation. I have a feeling neither Democrats nor Republicans will be pushing that reform anytime soon.

The next best option would electoral college by congressional district such as is being put forward by Republicans in California. This approach would make the electoral college much closer to a national popular vote. The Democrats in North Carolina were pushing an identical bill last month, and Colorado has entertained similar measures. California may be just what these states and states like Virginia and Pennsylvania need to get the ball rolling.


4 responses to “California GOP Has the Right Idea

  1. Ben

    If we elected proportional presidents, this argument might be more compelling. I’m also intrigued by your claim that “making the electoral college much closer to a national popular vote” is somehow superior to an actual national popular vote.

  2. Ben,

    Of course we don’t elect proportional presidents, we elect electors. Why should all the electors of a given district or state be given to as few as 43% of the popular vote. Wisconsin’s 10 electors ought to carry the popular will of the popular vote. If 20% vote Nader, 40% Rep, and 40% Dem, the electoral college should represent that. No spoiler, and you only get the votes you earn.

    A true NPV could take 200 years to pass which is how long the last amendment took. Most of the states that are signing on are Democratic leaning, how long will those states give the electoral votes to a party that rarely carries their state. NPV is attempting to solve last centuries problem, excluding 2000 we have to go back to the 1800’s for an example of one getting the EC but not the NPV.

    The one benefit of the EC is its focus on the minority. At the time this was mainly geographical focus with an attempt for candidates to have support national in scope. A straight national vote would likely have the effect of making our politics more regional than it is now.

    If California went to EC by congressional votes which they most likely will (41% of Dems support it 42% oppose it), other states will likely follow. While not a direct correlation, it will be much closer to the popular will than say NPV. The NPV changes nothing about the nature of EC, which gives all electoral votes to as few as 40% of the voters.

    One more thing EC by congressional district could be a good thing for fans of the 50 state strategy. Dems could be competitive in so called red states that traditionally go to Repubs.

    EC by congressional district is not ideal because its still not proportional representation, but its a step in the right direction.

  3. Irish ⋅

    Interesting, I’m fine with splitting up the electoral votes of a blue state that isn’t going to change to red…..but only if we do the same with Texas, Florida, Ohio and Virginia.

    What the GOP wants is to get a few electoral votes out of a state they will never win. While I agree that a popular vote is really the way we ought to go, lets not give them any credit for advocating this move……as they will benefit most from it.

  4. Irish,

    The distribution of EC votes is a state by state decision. What CA offers is the push needed to get other states on board.

    Why should not the GOP or Dems be upset by giving the whole populations votes to the winner of a plurality of votes.

    What I am in favor of as long as we have EC is delegating them by proportional representation. We must have a full democracy where all political parties can participate where no vote is wasted or spoiled.

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