Saturday, December 15, 2018

Dems Should Push For Electoral College Change

JAMES CALABRESI ’20

STAFF WRITER

The Democratic Party walloped Republicans in the midterms. From Suburban moms to young urbanites, the country woke up that rainy November 6th and walked out to vote in the most historic midterms for Democrats since Watergate. Ushering in a new wave of over a hundred Congresswomen, Democrats are set to win the house and will likely lose a net 3 senate seats. With midterm turnout nearing that of Presidential year elections, Michael McDonald, an expert from UFlorida, projects that turnout of registered American voters is likely to end up at 49.2%, passing 1966’s 48.7%. It is also notable that Republicans could turn out their base to match record grassroots candidates and donations on the left. In another time, I would propose some form of compulsory voting, but given the surge in voting, and far more pressing issues, I’ll take it.

The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact is an agreement that began in 2006 and is about making sure the popular vote winner of Presidential Races cannot lose the election by losing the electoral college. Democrats, wary of Clinton’s loss in 2016, or infuriated by Gore’s in 2000, should trumpet this idea from every rooftop. The Compact relies on Article II, Section 1, Clause 2 of the Constitution wherein state legislatures get to decide on methods to appoint their electors to vote for candidates in the electoral college. Now, they can’t appoint them willy-nilly, or prejudice against a group, but in effect, it means that states, once the compact is enacted, get to decide to award their votes to the popular vote winner country-wide instead of to whichever candidate won their state. If the compact was law across the land, and Donald Trump ran in 2020 and won the same states he did in 2016, the Popular Vote Compact would instruct states to inform their electors that they are obligated to cast their votes to the Popular-vote winning candidate, causing Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Florida, and other states to award their votes to Trump’s opponent and rendering obsolete the electoral college.

Currently, the Compact is in effect in 11 Democratic Strongholds totaling 172 electoral votes by the 2016 map. However, if Democratic Legislatures in Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, and Oregon were to also enact the same law, then the sum of electoral votes of states that have passed the Compact will total 204. In each state legislature that its passed in, the rule details that the switching of electoral votes will only happen if there are enough states for the compact to make a difference in an election. This should be a Giga-priority for democrats in the coming two years as it would draw both popular attention and Republican ire, and would start to bring the narrative back onto the left’s both fair and equal terms. Between Gerrymandering and 4 out of the last 5 Presidential elections, Democrats have had a funny problem where they win more votes and yet somehow not the corresponding seats. It’s time to realize that candidates should be vying for communities the other side leaves out, such as democrats capitalizing on their untapped base in Texas this cycle. Primary elections could still provide excitement for smaller states, without insisting that candidates see their strategy on the US map the same way candidates did a hundred years ago- solely within state lines. Also, most immigrants are green card holders or naturalized citizens, and while Republicans made a brief spectacle like they did the ‘caravan’, the right wouldn’t dare try to mess with naturalization, *cough- Republicans* won’t you?

Candidates for President in 2020, who should be making presidential ambitions any week now, should be expected to share their visions with the country and the left ought to be mightily disappointed in anyone that won’t push for and make the NPVIC (or electoral college abolition) a litmus test for the eventual Democratic nominee. Between Pennsylvania, Michigan, North Carolina, and Ohio, states which experienced a leftward shift from 2016, there are enough electoral votes combined with the states mentioned previously to pass the 270-electoral vote threshold and ensure that no presidential candidate- whatever party- can win more votes than their opposition, and still lose. Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Minnesota, and Virginia are other good places to push for the Popular Vote Compact, though they and the states mentioned immediately above do not have Democratic trifectas (control of three branches of state government) like Colorado, Nevada, and others will soon possess.

Democrats should also take their popular positions to the ballot box at every chance they can get. They won big on ballot initiatives last Tuesday, preventing the stripping of executive power in North Carolina, and expanding Medicaid and minimum wages even further across the land. Particularly the Redistricting that passed in Michigan, and restoring the right to vote to Florida’s Felon population stand out as a lasting benefit. (Florida’s top elections would go left if this had already been passed!)

Also, it is always a good time to point out and shun racism, and those who peddle it (racists) whenever they reveal their serpent’s tongue, such as U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith did last Sunday. Hyde-Smith (R-MS) is set to face former Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy, who is African American, in a runoff election for Mississippi’s Class 2 senate seat and in the days following the midterms, made a profoundly racist remark to a gathering of supporters on Sunday. Democrats should force this in the face of the media for the next month, demanding how a Republican can use Southern Nostalgia in 2018 and get away with it. They need to ingrain the idea that Sen. Hyde-Smith and Rep. Ron DeSantis’ remarks amount to racial coding and were used as a means of drawing attention and support from the Republican party and Republican voters.

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