Blue Mass Group
Reality-based commentary on politics.
July 9, 2008 By greg 73 Comments
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Now it’s the Senate’s turn to enhance democracy.
Those small states have had too much say for too long. A step in the right direction.
MA is basically a small state in the scheme of things.
By my [hasty] count, only 12 states have more EVs: CA, TX, IL, FL, GA, NC, VA, MI, OH, PA, NY, NJ.
p>According to Open Secrets, in 2006 Massachusetts’ residents donated more than all but the following 10 states: DC, CA, NY, VA, FL, TX, IL, PA, NJ, MD, OH. Keep in mind that MD, VA, and DC are skewed by the Beltway demographics.
p>So, since Massachusetts is in the largest quartile of states in terms of electoral votes and dollars donated, I don’t think that the Commonwealth is considered a “small state in the scheme of things.”
Massachusetts was once big and remains among the largest, but is shrinking and is likely to continue to shrink, EV wise.
p>Not sure about the relevance of dollars donated to NPV.
like CA, TX, IL, NY, and MA as ATM machines. If popular vote matters, we should expect to see far more of them since they’re in town anyway collecting checks at chicken dinners…
p>I tried to come up with a third metric that made sense on the political scene and couldn’t come up with one, but I thought dollars might be relevant [though clearly not as relevant as population].
yes, we’ve always been larger than average, but not really huge… at least, if you’re talking the past 50-100 years. I will concede that the population growth is trending to places like NM, Nevada, NC, Arizona, etc… but most of those states still have a loooooong way to go – and it’s not as if Massachusetts couldn’t have a mini population boom of its own, if we were to focus on bringing the same sort of prosperity to Western Mass and the South Coast as we have Greater Boston.
I figured out once that if I moved to Winston Salem, I could take a prltty big pay cut and still afford a house that is nealrly triple the size of mine here.
p>I have family in that part of the country, and their utility bill, including A/C all summer and heat all winter, costs less than heating my house for the month of January.
p>I could one of two two kids to fancy private school on the savings in utilities and taxes alone.
p>If it weren’t for family up here, and the difficulty of moving a law practice, I would do it.
p>Financial factors skew heavily in favor of not living in the northeast if you are just starting out. That isn’t going to change easily.
Massachusetts is more expensive. That’s no big secret. However, I don’t see how that’s relevant to population growth. Sure, some people are leaving Massachusetts and moving elsewhere, but that’s a tiny blip on the radar screen compared to the population growth in the ‘booming’ states. Growth there is happening because of who’s moving in there, and the fact that those who are moving there are often having more kids. Actually, if I were a betting man, I’d bet half a liver that a great sum of the population growth is because of certain groups of people having more children per family.
p>Obviously, the expenses of living in Massachusetts is a burden – one that our higher salaries don’t actually quite make up. You can make significantly less in other states and actually have a slightly higher standard of living – if you’re talking about square footage of your house, or having a larger lawn. However, the sprawl in those states are a huge cause of Global Warming and a major reason why this country consumes so much fossil fuels. That way of life is not sustainable – the Massachusetts way of life is.
p>The reason to live in Massachusetts is because of our values. We think everyone deserves a standard of excellence in the classrooms – and we’ve gone further than any other state in this country in achieving that. We think poverty is one of the largest threats facing society – hence our nation-leading health care bill, aforementioned educational excellence, robust public transportation system (comparatively speaking, of course) and minimum wage that exceeds most of the country. We also think that everyone should have equal rights – doing a lot to walk the walk on that one too, as we continue to push the envelope on civil rights (the most recent being the soon-to-come vote on 1913). Finally, in Massachusetts, many people choose to live here because of the culture and history of the state – there’s something in our old homes and parks, museums and public buildings that you can’t get in almost any other state. There’s a richness added to the quality of our lives with all of these aspects of Massachusetts that more than makes up for the fact that it’s expensive to live here.
p>Plus, if your mortgage or rent in Brookline is killing you, why don’t you try Western Mass or the South Coast? You’ll get just as much bang for your buck there as you will in North Carolina, plus the added benefits of living in Massachusetts.
from my screen name that I live in Central Mass. And the mortgage isn’t killing me, as I am here, aliove and kicking.
p>But. If I were starting out today, it wouldn’t make much sense to start here.
p>There, I could earn a lot less to support my family. In all liklihood, because growth is booming in that region, I wouldn’t earn a lot less, I would just be wealthier. I would also be wealthier because I would spend vastly less on fuel, with far less demand for wintertime heat.
p>Driving is what it is, in Massachusetts as elsewhere. Unless you live in Boston and can take advantage of that thing masquerading as public transportation, you drive. I don’t drive a Canyonero just a simple (and aging) Swedish station wagon, and would drive the same thing there. And since I don’t have millions to buy a three bedroom place in Boston, plus resources for private school tuition, that isn’t a viable option.
p>As far as politics go, I am militantly centrist. When I lived in Texas, I was considered liberal. Here, I’m considered conservative. BFD. In each case, I considered neighbors who were Very Politically Active and attempt evangelization on behalf of their pet political cause to be rude.
p>Regarding history and culture, news flash: every place has its history and culture if you seek it out. The history of much of the south and southwest happened long before those Pilgrims landed on that piddly little rock in Plymouth. Additional news flash: somewhat to my own dismay, the visits to the MFA and the Gardener decrease rather dramatically, in inverse proportion to the visits to little league fields and scout camps. C’est la vie.
p>Here and there there are industries that do particularly well in Massachusetts. Financial services for one, and technology companies that have their genesis at one of the colleges.
p>On the whole though, if I were in my early 20s today, it would simply make financial sense to be out of the northeast, and into the “New South.” As it happens, we’re here for family reasons. That and the Red Sox.
I lived in North Carolina for four years. My parents live in Virginia. My wife’s parents and my brother’s family live in North Carolina.
p>Some people love it, some people don’t, just like anywhere else I suppose. My parents, who are from NYC and Westchester Country, would move back North in a heartbeat, but they can’t afford it because the property values have grown slowly in the South but much faster in the Northeast.
p>So, don’t sell the ranch and go for it unless you’re sure. It tends to be a one-way decision, like it or not.
Similar situation, though not as economically dynamic as the Resarch Triangle, except maybe around Austin.
… book I’ve read on the subject of “Texas” was fascinating . At first glance one would think the book is largely about Bush, but in reality it was largely about the cultural history and cultural roots of Texas. If you’re interested in such things, I’d recommend it. A word of caution though. Although the book is relatively small, the writing style is actually kind of heavy and you don’t go through the book nearly as quickly as you’d estimate from first glance.
I don’t understand how you guys can read these think-tank poltical polemics. They’re like reading cable TV “news.” Even if you agree with the guy, its like biting into tinfoil.
… because the background he outlines is hundreds of years in the making. I found it very informative besides any ‘polemics’.
for someone is the question you’re asking. Obviously, the perks of living in Massachusetts don’t overcome the financial reality that it’s cheaper to live elsewhere. That’s a personal decision you’ve made and good on you for making it. I’ll try to console myself when CMD moves on to greener pastures and starts populating Raleigh’s political blog instead of our own.
p>I, for one, as well as most of my friends, would rather split the rent with a friend, paying just as much as having our own place in North Carolina, than actually living there. The idea of living in a place who legislatively doesn’t value myself as equal is something I find abhorrent. All the value in the world wouldn’t make me live there, despite the fact that they do have cheaper, newer housing and plenty of new industry moving in along with their colleges and universities, which certainly rival anything coming out of Boston – Duke, Wake Forest, NC State, UNC/Chapel Hill, etc. I’ve been, I’ve seen and I went back home, still quite happy to call the North Shore home. Considering the fact that I’m the twentysomething, just starting to make lifetime decisions, and choosing to stay here is telling.
and North Carolina, politically, isn’t Kansas but it ain’t Massachusetts either. It is moving leftward in my opinion, as evidenced by their congressional delegation and governors.
p>Still, they’re terrible on gay issues, and I wouldn’t want to live in a place that made it so hard on me for loving someone.
p>That said Rye, I hope that you’re willing to live in a place who legislatively doesn’t quite value yourself as equal. After all, if all effective progressive political activists like yourself avoid a large portion of the United States, it’ll be that much harder to ever get them to come on the side of marriage and equality.
p>So, maybe not North Carolina. Maybe New Jersey or Oregon or somesuch. Go forth and progressify!
to live there if I wanted to move. However, I consider history and culture extremely important and would never want to move far away from where I’m from. I’d miss my family, too. So I really don’t see myself moving to a NJ or especially Oregon, but that’s not because I wouldn’t feel comfortable living there. I managed to survive in Massachusetts long before the state thought people like me deserved equal rights.
… in urban anywhere Ryan.
This from CommonCause, sorry no link.
Rep. Murphy, C.A.
Rep. Murphy, J.
Rep. Stanley, H.L.
Rep. Stanley, T.M.
Rep. Walsh, M.J.
Rep. Walsh, S.
I used to think it was good, but after my rep, Will Brownsberger, voted against it, and sent out an email explaining why, I’m not sure NPV is better than the current system.
p>NPV gives the presidency to a popular plurality winner. Fine if the plurality is close to 50%–but if we have a George Wallace who wins big in one region, he could get 35% of the vote if the other two spilt the vote evenly elsewhere.
p>NPV doesn’t have a run-off provision… and that’s a problem, because run-offs help assure the winner has support among the majority of people (i.e. is the 2nd choice).
p>I hope the Senate stops it. And if the Senate passes it, I hope the Governor vetoes it.
Sorry, Joel, we’re usually on the same page, but that argument just doesn’t make any sense. I agree that a runoff provision would be better (and an instant runoff provision would be even better than that), but we have plurality winners and vote splitting all the time with the current electoral college, and EC has the effect of making spoiled elections more likely!
p>The most recent example: Bush was a plurality winner in 2000, won the Electoral College, but loss the National Popular Vote. He did it in part because Gore and Nader split the vote in Florida, causing all of its EC votes to go to Bush. The EC had the result of magnifying the result of vote splitting.
p>A hypothetical example. Let’s say Michael Bloomberg enters the race and spends a ton of money, and actually wins New York state. Losing all of New York state’s votes could cause Obama to lose the Electoral College vote while still maintaining a lead in the popular vote.
p>With the current EC, a regional candidate need only knock off a state or two in his or her region — or just spoil the election in an individual state (a la Nader in Florida) — to cause the winner of the national popular vote to lose the presidency.
p>The example of George Wallace just doesn’t make sense. When you say Wallace wins “one big region”, you’re presuming there is a region of the country with over a third of all registered voters in which 100% of those registered voters all vote for Wallace. Remember, with the NPV, candidates know longer “win regions”, they win votes. To realistically win, Wallace almost certainly have to win heavily across at least half the nation.
p>The EC has the ability to exaggerate the effects of third-party and independent candidates, making vote-splitting and spoiling an even greater problem than it would be with a simple NPV. Yes, a runoff provision would be yet another benefit to democracy (there’s a lot of holes to be plugged here), and runoffs are something we can argue for once NPV is in effect.
p>By the way, nearly every Governor in the country is elected via a popular vote in their state with no runoff provision. If EC’s are so great, why don’t their advocates push for EC’s at the state level? Because the would have the same negative effects at the state level as the EC does nationally: 1) votes in some reasons count more than others, 2) only a small handful of swing reasons are payed attention to, and 3) the effects of local problems and third-party candidates are exagerrated.
maybe. I’ve been reading Rick Perlstein’s histories of 1964, 1968 and 1972 in ‘Before the Storm’ and ‘Nixonland.’ I grew up in the South, an all-white county in Arkansas, where former segregationist Orval Faubus came out of retirement and beat Bill Clinton in a gubernatorial primary in 1986 (Faubus won my county, not the whole statewide election). Perhaps my fears of racism being a good way to move votes are overblown.
p>But racists from the South have found ways to appeal to Northern voters (see Jacoby, for instance).
He said two days ago that he supports the objective, but wants more time to study the legislation himself.
p>And we’ve had a popular voting system on the statewide level for many years and nothing of that sort has happened. Not to mention that it would still be a “winner take all” type of system since all the NPV states would give all their electoral votes to the candidate that won the national popular vote. That would keep smaller candidates out just as it does now since most (48 out of the 50) states employ a winner take all system. So I highly doubt that scenario playing out.
would you be willing to share the email from Rep. Brownsberger? At this point, I tend to agree with Greg that the objections to NPV seem overblown, but I’m certainly willing to be shown that I’m wrong. But your George Wallace example doesn’t really work, for the reasons Greg has already given.
p>Because at this point the odds of the bill passing and becoming law are pretty good, we need to know now if there are good reasons not to support it.
Personally, I tend to agree that the “George Wallace” argument is overblown and a bit manipulated.
p>But Brownsberger also makes this intersting practical argument:
Which brings me to my second concern: An interstate compact just is not a robust way to build a system as important as the presidential election
system. If a state didn’t like the way the NPV system seemed to be headed, they could withdraw even in June of the election year. That’s awfully late in our long cycle and could throw the whole race into confusion. Moreover,
if a state decided to withdraw even closer to the election or after the election, the election would end up in the courts. It is not a settled question how and whether the Supreme Court would enforce an interstate
compact of this nature, although interstate compacts have been enforced for more mundane issues.
p>To me, this is pretty persuasive stuff.
Even if a state were to withdraw in June, where exactly is the “confusion”? We just go back to the same, broken, Electoral College system we’ve been using for years. No change. Prior to the withdrawal, maybe a few states got a little more attention than they otherwise would. Not the end of the world in the least.
p>What if a state tries to withdraw after the blackout period? Of course it will end up in the courts. States engage in interstate compacts all the time, and it is patently illegal for them to break them. Remind you, this interstate compact has been examined by leading constitutional scholars around the country who believe it fully binding and constitutional.
p>So here are the two options as I see them:
p>I don’t see why one would prefer the certainty of many, many broken elections over a small chance of some “confusion” in at most one presidential election. For me, the tradeoff isn’t even close.
I too am concerned about the prospect of a state pulling out in June. Changing the rules in the middle of the game is problematic. If I were gunning for a popular vote win, and suddenly in June I’ve got to work for EVs, my resource allocation is completely wrong. Heck, that’s one of the arguments for NPV — force the POTUS candidates to allocate resources to all voters, not just those in particular states.
p>Also, I wonder about “many, many broken elections” when in fact only a few times have a NPV winner not won the White House.
Changing the rules in the middle of the game is problematic.
p>Yes, but in this worst case, it’s still problematic for both sides and they still have months left to compete. All sides will have mis-allocated their resources for a few months and would still have months left to compete. It’s not desirable, certainly, but my point is that it’s not so terrible an outcome that it overshadows all the benefits of NPV.
Also, I wonder about “many, many broken elections” when in fact only a few times have a NPV winner not won the White House.
p>I consider any election where the major candidates focus on only a handful of swing states and where a vote in one state counts more than a vote in another state as “broken”. Even though the presidential candidate won the nominal NPV in 2004, 1996, and 1992, I still consider those elections broken for the stated reasons. Moreover, we have no idea whether the winner with NPV in effect in those three elections would have matched the winner under the EC, because of course having the NPV in effect would change the campaign itself.
2000 was definitely a time when the system failed because we not only got the candidate with less votes, we got a terrible President. (I’d also add that many people within that system failed, including the media and the SCOTUS.)
p>But for almost all the elections in recent history, the EC didn’t countermand the will of the majority.
p>So, I don’t see a certainty for many, many broken elections under the EC.
p>(BTW, there is the argument that a D vote in Utah is a waste of effort and an R vote in Mass is a waste–but really, isn’t that just a shadow of an argument like a vote for any losing candidate is a wasted vote? )
But for almost all the elections in recent history, the EC didn’t countermand the will of the majority. So, I don’t see a certainty for many, many broken elections under the EC.
p>See my above comment to stomv for my response to this point.
(BTW, there is the argument that a D vote in Utah is a waste of effort and an R vote in Mass is a waste–but really, isn’t that just a shadow of an argument like a vote for any losing candidate is a wasted vote? )
p>The analogy doesn’t work. If the NPV were in effect and there were a close election for the popular vote, a D vote in Utah and an R vote in Mass would definitely count. Every vote everywhere would count. In contrast, in a close EC election such as 2000, a D vote in Utah and an R vote in Mass is of no effect. With the EC, even in an extremely close election, R votes in blue states and D votes in red states don’t matter at all. With NPV, they would.
Always like to look at the law of unintended consequences (and I think that many are going for NPV due to the 2000 results; how are you going to feel sometime in the future if the parties reverse in the scenario).
p>One thing not mentioned, after looking at Florida in 2000, was that this was one state with a very close vote count. Things went on for over a month after the election playing back and forth on voting in 4 counties.
p>Now consider NPV in play with a national vote that is very close. Doesn’t matter the outcome in any particular state, if I’m on the losing side I’d consider contesting results anywhere and everywhere. Whether a state went overwhelmingly for one candidate or not, what do I have to lose by challenging counting all over the country in the hope that I’ll pick up enough votes.
p>Might want to consider tagging a move of the inaugural date back to March along w/ NPV…
With the Electoral College in place, it means a close race in a swing state can trigger a recount. With NPV, the race has to be within a tight margin at the national level. The EC mas the negative effect of magnifying otherwise small problems like butterfly ballots in Palm Beach into issues of immense national significance.
p>But lets take your worst case scenario: a nationwide recount. Florida could have completed its statewide recount in a few weeks. If done nationwide, every performs would perform their recount in paralle, so it would probably take only a few weeks — certainly no longer than a month. Large countries like Canada and Australia handcount all their ballots nationally and know the results the next day. March for the inauguration? Ha. We would know the result of a recount by the end of November.
p>So this worst case scenario of a nationwide recount is a few more weeks until we know the winner. What is so wrong with spending a few more weeks to get the correct result?
That’s a rhetorical question, Greg… and in 2000, the Supreme Court didn’t answer it the way you would want.
p>BTW population of Australia is 20 million, Canada is 33 million, and Florida in 2000 had 16 million people. America has about 300 million people and casts about 150 million votes.
America had about 120 million votes in 2004.
The issue in Florida was one of equal protection. The Gore campaign asked for a hand recount in only a few precincts, not statewide. If a nationwide recount were to take place, there would be no equal protection claim.
p>The number of registered voters in US isn’t that big a deal because the votes in all precincts nationwide will be counted simultaneously (in parallel). It doesn’t really take longer for 50 states to do a recount than it does for 2 states — they are counted at the same time.
After all, the number of poll workers in America is far higher than Australia and Canada. It scales perfectly, so raw population numbers are irrelevant.
Its really just a contract. Parties to a contract can decide to breach the contract if doing so is to their advantage.
p> If State X decides to repeal NPV and withdraw on the first Wednesday of November, after the election but before the electoral college meets, then it seems that you could have an unintended result.
That would violate the blackout period of the contract. By joining the compact, they are legally forbidden from pulling out during the backout period from July until the inauguration.
One, I don’t see a contract. All I see is a bunch of states doing X, but only if other states also do X.
p>The only thing binding a state is the statute itself, which can be repealed at any time, just like any other statute. And if it is repealed, any recourse the other states might have against the repealing state is also gone.
Withdrawal restrictions on interstate compacts are very common and legally enforceable. That is settled law. Read the Every Vote Equal book free online, particularly chapters 5 and 8, for more of the legal details and precedent.
This article shall govern the appointment of presidential electors
in each member state in any year in which agreement is, on
July 20, in effect in states cumulatively possessing a majority of
the electoral votes
SECTION 5. Other Provisions.
This agreement shall take effect when states cumulatively possessing
a majority of the electoral votes have enacted this agreement
in substantially the same form and the enactments by such
states have taken effect in each state.
Any member state may withdraw from this agreement, except
that a withdrawal occurring six months or less before the end of a
President’s term shall not become effective until a Presidential or
Vice President shall have been qualified to serve the next term.
p>I would’ve padded this out a bit further (maybe 9 months or so), but it’s covered.
p>Sure, you could take it to court, and IANAL, but this looks pretty cut and dried.
Mass adopts the statute, and it is triggered on July 20, obligating Mass EVs to vote according to the national popular vote, not the Mass popular vote.
p>Same thing in enough other states to trigger the statute.
p>Around Halloween, four or five “red” states suddenly and unexpectedly repeal NPV; now there is no statute binding their electors to the national vote.
As stated above, those red states would be legally forbidden from pulling out during the blackout period from July until the inauguration.
I still haven’t gotten an answer to this question. You say it would “break the law”. Okay…state law, because this whole thing is happening because we can’t legislate it federally. So the other states to the contract sue, in a state court they feel is most favorable.
p>Consequently, the state court judge would have to find cause to enforce a contract concerning the electoral system at a federal level. Not his/her jurisdiction.
p>But maybe s/he does it anyway. Maybe s/he also manages to place a dollar value on this. So, if Massachusetts pulled out, a Californian judge would be expected to determine damages to the other states — maybe lost revenue in what would be battleground states that are party to this contract.
p>Then, it gets appealed. You’re telling me that the US Supreme Court (and it would go there), would penalize a state for violating state law that usurps the role of the FEC and the Constitution in regulating federal elections?
p>This system doesn’t have any teeth, and I can’t imagine a legal route to strengthening it finding success.
The book is Every Vote Equal, available free for downloading.
p>8.6 IS THE SIX-MONTH BLACKOUT PERIOD FOR WITHDRAWALS
FROM THE COMPACT ENFORCEABLE?
p>Please review pp 344-357 and see what you think.
p>That’s right, 14 pages on the very topic you raise. I expect a thorough analysis in response.
I did download what the website calls the “COMLETE BOOK”, and I as I suspected, the enforcement mechanisms are utterly toothless.
p>First of all, no penalties are mentioned for states that seek to back out of the system, just a cobbled together legal history of previous judgments against nefarious in-state electioneering. Which means that we’d have to go through a cycle of suit-appeal-judgment-suit demanding enforcement-appeal-judgment-enforcement. That would take longer than the campaign season.
p>Secondly, what legal history is there is very reliant on Bush v. Gore. Remember, efforts were undertaken by the 2000 SC to declare that its decision in that case establishes no precedent. So now we’re going back to that court, asking for sanction based on a decision that the court itself had already declared does not count as precedent.
p>Thirdly, expecting the Supreme Court to enforce sanction would require two judgments from the court: 1) NPV is Constitutional, even though it appears to be a contravention of the Fourteenth Amendment to have two very different electoral systems operating within the same election, and 2) there is an available remedy. As I mentioned before, what you’re envisioning is the US Supreme Court fining certain states large sums of money until compliance occurs.
p>You’re placing an undue burden on campaigns to adjust strategy in a fluid environment, to have their overall strategies held hostage by the vicissitudes of the US Supreme Court, and its (possibly last-second) reaction to developments on the ground.
We are now squarely into the legal realm and out of my area of comfort (my brain seems to work orthogonally to legal theory).
p>I don’t buy the 14th amendment issue at all, but I’ll agree that enforcement and remedy is a potential issue. I just skimmed through the section I referred to again, and agree that it isn’t as definitive as I’d like.
p>The thing is, we know that the present system can send an election to the Supreme Court already. I don’t know how much of an anomaly Florida was in 2000, but that was a complete disaster. As least a SCOTUS case on this topic would (should?) be a fairly straightforward. As for remedy, would it be constitutional to strip electors? I would think not, but interestingly, the 14th Amendment seems to threaten just that in Section 2, if individuals’ (males, at the time of writing- no wonder the D primary pissed off so many women) rights to vote are denied. Not quite relevant to the issue at hand, but interesting.
p>Anyway, I agree that enforcement is an issue, but I am less concerned about the risk relative to the status quo.
What should happen (and what should have happened in 2000) is that it gets kicked over to the House.
While a very close election in a fulcrum state can send an election to the courts, we’re here looking at a second way to do so. Which isn’t a good thing in my judgment.
p>Secondly, let me clarify the 14th Amendment argument. In MA, we vote for a Democrat, but a Republican wins the pop. vote. Hence, our electors do not reflect our votes and are indeed Republicans…while electors in next-door RI are Democrats. Both states voted the same way, they got what they voted for, we didn’t (did I ever vote for NPV? No.) How does that respect the 14th Amendment of equal treatment?
There are no specified “sanctions” for pulling out during the blackout period, because the states cannot legally pull out! They just can’t do it. The “sanction”, to the extent there is one is, “too bad, your electors must go to the popular vote winner”. As the book discusses in great detail, withdrawal restrictions on interstate compacts are legally enforceable, and have been in the past. This is settled law.
p>Violation of the 14th amendment is silly. There are already two different election systems in effect in the same election — Maine and Nebraska uses different Electoral College vote allocations than the rest of the country. States have used a variety of systems in the past. That argument would be dead on arrival.
p>No one is asking for a sanction based on Bush v. Gore — not sure where that came from.
Laws are a means to discourage behavior, and punish in the aftermath…they can’t prevent an action. The president “just can” and regularly does break the law. Heck, so do most public agencies, if you know what law to look at. A sanction is the attempt to prevent this law breaking, and I don’t see one. You’d sue Massachusetts in a California state court on a matter that is under federal jurisdiction — not sure how that’s a winning case.
p>I do understand that Maine and Nebraska use a different system that the other 48 to allocate electors, but the electors are still allocated on the basis of the vote in-state. This system allocates votes based on those taken out of state.
What if California decided that they’re going to have twice as many electors this year to double their voting power for President? There are no specified sanctions against this. If the did attempt it, a court would say “too bad” — we’re still counting your electors as if you had your constitutionally allocated number. The same thing would happen if a state tried to pull out of the interstate compact: too bad — your electors get counted as you agreed to under the compact.
p>Also, there’s nothing in the constitution that says the Electors have to be chosen based on the in-state popular vote. In fact, there’s no nothing that says there has to be an in-state popular vote. Electors could be appointed by the legislature or governor, if the state chooses, or the state could choose to flip a coin. The states were explicitly given free reign to do whatever they want.
The statute? But the statute is repealed. There is no statute.
Withdrawal restrictions on interstate compacts are and (have been in the past) legally enforced. This is settled law.
But note that the thing that makes it illegal is the statute. Which means that if the statute is repealed, it is no longer illegal.
p>To wit: Statute X is hereby repealed, and the legislation effecting the repeal is designated “emergency” and made effective immediately. It might even provide for the immediate withdrawal from the NPV program, notwithstanding the provisions of the NPV statute.
p>This situation isn’t all that hard to imagine in a state in which the government is as partisanly lopsided as Massachusetts. Just look what happened when the leg wanted to be sure Romney couldn’t appoint a successor to Kerry, if Kerry won in 2004.
p>If Mass entered into the NPV program, but saw that it could swing things for the Democratic nominee by withdrawing, it would do so. As would a lopsided Republican state, if there is a mirror image to Mass out there.
And 13.5% of the popular vote.
p>So the winner-takes-all EV system helped dampen Wallace’s impact, but not by much.
p>At the risk of fulfilling Godwin’s law, it’s worth noting that Hitler didn’t seize power in Germany through democratic means, as is sometimes stated. His party had 196 of 608 seats in the Reichstag when he was made Chancellor via a backroom deal. Says Bullock:
Hitler did not seize power; he was jobbed into office by a backstairs intrigue.
p>At that point, Goebbels got to work:
Now it will be easy to carry on the fight, for we can call on all the resources of the State. Radio and press are at our disposal. We shall stage a masterpiece of propaganda. And this time, naturally, there is no lack of money.
p>I bring this up because I am less worried about a radical 3rd party candidate (of either extreme) winning a plurality. A 3rd party centrist might, and that may or may not be a good thing.
Many of Nixon’s voters in the South could likely have thought of Wallace as their first choice, but they voted for Nixon as he had more of an Electoral College advantage.
p>If Nixon’s voters had thought Wallace had a chance, Wallace could have gotten many more votes.
and 13.5% is still a looooong way from a plurality.
If you get to be an elector and that matters to you for some reason, good for you! I don’t see why it matters though, given that the role is a complete formality.
Is Willard really the best the GOP has to offer?
p>You guys need to work on your farm system!
If a state agrees to this NPV law, why does it make sense to have the “pull out in June” provision? Who put it there?
p>It strikes me as a good loophole for one-side to exploit to the detriment of the other–a Calvin-Ball option.
p>On something as important as picking the President, I’d prefer the devil I know to the devil I don’t.
There is no “pull out in June” provision, per se. There is a specific “blackout period” provision added to the compact during which states are prohibited from pulling out. The blackout period lasts from July until inauguration. It lasts past the election until inauguration so that no state can pull out after the fact.
p>If it were a “you can never pull out” provision, no state would accept it. Why not start the blackout period earlier than July? Maybe it has something to do with the timing of the end of legislative sessions. I’m not sure how the exact length of the blackout period was determined, but I’ll look into it.
p>I think the small amount of uncertainty prior to July that we may see because a state may flirt with the idea of pulling out is not enough to outweigh the tremendous benefits of NPV.
What sanction is in place for a state that pulls out during the blackout period? If Massachusetts’ pulling out of the compact could prevent a Republican victory, let’s say it would be seriously studied as an option.
Systems like how to choose a President ought to be designed not with the hopeful principles in mind but with great preparation to avoid disasters. Hence, the balance of powers between three branches of government, and the system of electors.
p>It’s hard to understand what mechanism actually exists to stop a state from gaming this system by pulling out in the blackout period.
p>I don’t like opposing Greg and Avi Green and the other people supporting this NPV bill–but given that we start our election cycle about a year before November, having the blackout period starting June seems like an invitation to game the system.
a lot of other states would very, very quickly follow suite, probably enough to ensure it wouldn’t determine the election. I seriously, seriously don’t think this is a big deal. Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.
p>Honestly, I see the NPV bills as an awesome step in the right direction. If enough states pass them (or close to it), it may provide the impetus to actually change the constitution to make there just be a national popular vote. If there’s one change to the constitution I’d like to see during my life, more than anything else, I think it would be NPV.
See my post above. The NPV book covers a lot of this stuff.
Yes I am
The majority always ends up screwing the minority. Unless of course the majority are socialists i guess.