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Author Topic: Why haven't/don't states do smaller interstate Electoral College compacts?  (Read 2663 times)
Nichlemn
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« on: December 01, 2010, 05:33:46 am »
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For instance, suppose California and Texas had agreed that both states would pledge their electoral votes to the plurality winner of their collective popular vote. This would in effect create a 89 electoral vote state that voted 50.7/48.3 for Bush in 2004 and 54.5/43.6 for Obama in 2008. Instead of both major party candidates virtually ignoring the the two states, the "superstate" would gain vast attention as it would be all but a must-win for both candidates.

There have many opportunities to do something like this throughout history, yet I don't believe it's ever been tried. Why not? Would it be unconstitutional? I wouldn't think so as the national compact doesn't appear to be. Is it the fear that one party might benefit more than another? I don't think so, since you could always add another state or two to balance things out (and have the compact only last for one or two elections). I think the main reason is that voters wouldn't like their states' electoral votes going to the loser of the states' popular vote (as Schwarzenegger used for his justification of vetoing the national compact) and most of all, if the compact ended up costing their states' plurality winner an election. Of course, it should also win them elections they would have lost, but voters would likely react more at the voting booth to losses than gains.

It might also be a fun exercise to create some fictitious compacts and see how they would change past elections.
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Mr. Morden
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« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2010, 06:05:19 am »
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I suggested something like this here when I first heard about the NPV initiative.  I think this could actually end up getting us to a national NPV compact pretty quickly.

I mean, imagine that you combined, say, CA, TX, and GA or some similar combination such that it's a swing state with ~100 electoral votes.  It would loom so large on the electoral map that it would end up getting a hugely disproportionate share of attention from the candidates, and nudge other states towards either similarly large super-state compacts or simply passing a nationwide NPV compact to end the madness.

Or, alternatively, suppose that you had a swing superstate of ~100 electoral votes that was committed to always voting for the national popular vote winner.  This would be such a large block of electoral votes, that it would then become practically impossible for anyone to win the electoral college without winning the national popular vote.  It would be like you've de facto enacted NPV, even though only a few states have signed on.
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Nichlemn
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« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2010, 07:59:08 am »
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Or, alternatively, suppose that you had a swing superstate of ~100 electoral votes that was committed to always voting for the national popular vote winner.  This would be such a large block of electoral votes, that it would then become practically impossible for anyone to win the electoral college without winning the national popular vote.  It would be like you've de facto enacted NPV, even though only a few states have signed on.


Heh, I think I actually edited the Wikipedia article on the NPVC to suggest this some years ago. It was removed on grounds of being too speculatory. Still, I think commiting to voting for the winner of only the signers of the compact might make it more enticing for states to join. 
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emailking
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« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2010, 11:04:34 am »
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I think that's a neat idea. But in answer to your question, is it possiblly as simple that maybe not many people have thought of this?
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Nichlemn
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« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2010, 01:32:55 am »
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I think that's a neat idea. But in answer to your question, is it possiblly as simple that maybe not many people have thought of this?

Given that Mr. Morden and I both thought of it and large numbers of state legislators around the country have been exposed to the NPVIC, I found it unlikely. I'm sure there are a few state legislators out there who have thought of this but probably think that it's unfeasible.
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Nichlemn
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« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2010, 07:05:43 am »
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A similar question: why haven't states like Michigan established the Maine/Nebraska congressional district rule when they had Republican trifectas? (Consider that Bush won 10 out of 15 districts in Michigan despite losing statewide).

The most logical answer is that it would be seen as partisan power grab. Still, its precedent in Maine and Nebraska makes it look less so.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2010, 07:07:52 am by Nichlemn »Logged

tnowacki
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« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2010, 05:25:49 am »
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I really like this idea, although a too big bloque would probably attract all attention and leave other states, in particular those, who are strongly partisan, out of attention. However, there is a overrepresentation of smaller states in the Electoral College, as I have read.

Anyway, as an European I'd suggest that NPV is still the best.
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« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2010, 05:02:21 am »
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A similar question: why haven't states like Michigan established the Maine/Nebraska congressional district rule when they had Republican trifectas? (Consider that Bush won 10 out of 15 districts in Michigan despite losing statewide).

The most logical answer is that it would be seen as partisan power grab. Still, its precedent in Maine and Nebraska makes it look less so.

There were efforts to do this in North Carolina (by Democrats) and California (by Republicans) in the past four or five years. In both cases it was seen as a power grab and rejected, although it would have backfired in North Carolina had it been implemented.
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