Colorado voted to join the National Popular Vote Compact which basically forces the state’s electors to pledge to whichever candidate wins the popular vote.
The pact is not binding until enough states join to bring their combined total of electoral votes to 270 – the amount required to win the presidency. But, as the pact grows its numbers, how would it really change presidential campaigning and elections?
How the U.S. Elects It’s President Now
Each state has a certain number of electoral college votes in proportion to its population as determined by the census. A candidate must procure a majority (270 of the 538) to secure the presidency.
Each state determines its own rules for awarding its electors. Most award all-or-none meaning that whoever wins the state gets the total of their electoral votes. Some, Maine and Nebraska, have multiple districts awarding electors and an overall state amount.
A district or statewide popular vote, in all of these circumstances, determines which candidate is awarded the state’s electoral college votes.
How the U.S. Would Elect a President Under the National Popular Vote
Simply put, whichever candidate gets more votes wins the election – simple majority.
How Would the National Popular Vote Change Campaigning
Hand-shaking and baby-kissing will continue, but in far fewer places.
In the 2020 election, it might come down to the 11-electoral vote state of Arizona or the 16 votes in Georgia. Under a popular vote scenario, Trump would have had no reason to hold rallies in multiple rural areas in several states. Instead, he would have poured all of this time, effort, and money into New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Phoenix, Philadelphia, etc. Only large population centers would matter in a popular election – everyone else will get ignored and their concerns rendered unimportant. And all of those major population centers are heavily liberal.
So, if those areas are mostly-liberal, why would a Republican visit?
In a popular vote scenario, he doesn’t have to win the majority of any state. He just needs more people across the entire country so addressing the desires of a densely-packed group of voters is more economical and effective than visiting small towns and rural areas.
In all likelihood, any candidate with an ideology different from the majority of voters in the metro areas would find it impossible to get elected, but what choice would the candidate have?
How Would the National Popular Vote Change Policy-Making
Massive cities would drive executive branch policy-making. The needs of New York City, Los Angeles and Philadelphia will outweigh the needs of those in Dubuque, El Paso, or San Jose. Whole states need no-longer be considered – just their population centers.
Campaign promises will align with the thoughts and wishes of metropolitan residents and away from those who chose not to live that lifestyle. Those promises will drive taxation and spending policy.
What Would a National Popular Vote Really Mean in the United States?
New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston-area voters would become the conscience of the nation and drive policy-making. Those cities favor a single ideology – the rest of you be damned.
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