Al Gore Suggests Ending Electoral College
This is music to a centrist’s ears because for far too long it has been argued that residing in a designated red or blue state discourages people from even voting in the elections because the electoral college places the vote anyway. Flash back to the election in 2000 with the infamous “recount,” and this is exactly the problem that can be avoided by eliminating the Electoral College.
The former Vice President and Democratic Presidential Candidate has recently supported the idea of removing electorate votes. Gore says, "I've seen how these states are written off and ignored, and people are effectively disenfranchised in the presidential race. And I really do now think it is time to change that."
At this point, every presidential election comes down to about a dozen swing states because of the number of electorate votes from each state. These are the decision states, and everything else doesn't matter. For so long, we've been saying that the Electoral College has pretty much eliminated the significance of voting in any guaranteed red and blue states. The people in states like Florida, Iowa, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Virginia, Michigan, North Carolina, and Nevada pretty much decide the president based on the electoral votes from those states.
There's no chance the Electoral College is lifted this year, however it could be a game changer for the entire race. With the amount of independent voters who are upset and disappointed with the results of the Obama administration, they are likely to vote for Romney looking to change things up in Washington. The polls would be different, and Romney and Ryan would likely have the advantage of the upper hand in the presidential race. If we could take Al Gore's point about the Electoral College as seriously has we have "global warming," something may actually be done about this, finally.
It's no secret that we have a problem with getting people to vote anyway. It's embarrassing that every year, Americans vote millions of times over on irrelevant reality shows, but can't seem to get to the polls to make a difference in their city, state, and country. If the Electoral College, it would encourage more people to vote knowing that their vote is actually counted. There's nothing more frustrating than some opinionated ass-hat complaining about the government and politics, but doesn't vote. We need to get the value of our votes back.
Posted by MichaelMears at August 31, 2012 4:48 PM
The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).
Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections. No more distorting and divisive red and blue state maps. There would no longer be a handful of ‘battleground’ states where voters and policies are more important than those of the voters in more than 3/4ths of the states that now are just ‘spectators’ and ignored after the conventions.
When the bill is enacted by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes– enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538), all the electoral votes from the enacting states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC.
The bill uses the power given to each state by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution to change how they award their electoral votes for President. Historically, virtually all of the major changes in the method of electing the President, including ending the requirement that only men who owned substantial property could vote and 48 current state-by-state winner-take-all laws, have come about by state legislative action.
In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided). Support for a national popular vote is strong among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group in virtually every state surveyed in recent polls in closely divided Battleground states: CO – 68%, FL – 78%, IA 75%, MI – 73%, MO – 70%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM– 76%, NC – 74%, OH – 70%, PA – 78%, VA – 74%, and WI – 71%; in Small states (3 to 5 electoral votes): AK – 70%, DC – 76%, DE – 75%, ID – 77%, ME – 77%, MT – 72%, NE 74%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM – 76%, OK – 81%, RI – 74%, SD – 71%, UT – 70%, VT – 75%, WV – 81%, and WY – 69%; in Southern and Border states: AR – 80%,, KY- 80%, MS – 77%, MO – 70%, NC – 74%, OK – 81%, SC – 71%, TN – 83%, VA – 74%, and WV – 81%; and in other states polled: AZ – 67%, CA – 70%, CT – 74%, MA – 73%, MN – 75%, NY – 79%, OR – 76%, and WA – 77%. Americans believe that the candidate who receives the most votes should win.
The bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers in 21 states. The bill has been enacted by 9 jurisdictions possessing 132 electoral votes - 49% of the 270 necessary to go into effect.
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It is interesting to try to parse this. Do we want a real majority (i.e. more than half of all the votes wins) or a mere plurality (i.e. whoever wins the most votes wins, even if it is a small % in a multiparty race.)
The mere plurality is unstable and bad things tend to happen. Dictators often come to power with pluralities. Guys like Hitler and Allende were elected with not much more than a third of the vote, for example.
Our electoral college is designed to ensure a broad majority. It forces candidates to get out to many parts of the country rather than pile up votes in a few places.
There has never been a case in U.S. history where the winner of a majority (i.e. more than half the total votes cast) has been denied the presidency because of the electoral college. The only case where a person who may have won a majority but did not get the presidency was the Tilden-Hayes election of 1876. In that case, however, it was fraud, not the electoral college that caused the trouble.
Nobody won a majority (i.e. more than half) of the vote in the elections of 1992, 1996 or 2000, BTW. In 2000, Gore won a plurality of 48.4%. It is a practical and nearly a mathematical impossibility for a candidate to win more than 50% of the total vote and not also win in the electoral college.
The question we really should address is whether or not we want a system that can routinely produce a president who has won fewer than half the votes casts and relies on one area of the country for the vast majority of his/her votes. Such outcomes have usually led to serious instability in places where they happened. In the U.S. the only time we elected a president with only a plurality of votes AND those votes were concentrated in a particular region, civil war resulted.
The electoral college has many flaws, but it does lead to greater stability and broader appeal for candidates. We decry the “battleground” states. But w/o the electoral college, candidates would simply concentrate efforts in populous places. These would be battlegrounds all the time.
Another advantage is that it limits fraud. In the election of 1960, for example, many historians suspect fraud in Texas and Illinois. That may have swung those two states, but could not swing the whole country. In any case, in 1960, Kennedy won decisively in the electoral college, but won by only 0.2% in the popular vote. W/o the electoral college, it is likely that Nixon would have demanded a recount, creating great uncertainty and strife.
The Bush v Gore was hard to watch in Florida. But the election was very close. Imagine what we saw in Florida, the recounts, in the whole U.S.
Despite what we sometimes hear, elections are practical, not metaphysical events. They measure the “will of the people” in broad terms. When elections are very close, we really cannot tell who has the “people’s” support. When elections are not close, we don’t need the electoral college. The winner of a majority of the popular vote always wins anyway. It is precisely in the close and difficult cases when we need it and it is in precisely those cases that we see the most criticism.
With the current state-by-state winner-take-all system of awarding electoral votes, it could only take winning a bare plurality of popular votes in the 11 most populous states, containing 56% of the population of the United States, for a candidate to win the Presidency with a mere 26% of the nation’s votes!
With the current system of electing the President, no state requires that a presidential candidate receive anything more than the most popular votes in order to receive all of the state’s electoral votes.
Not a single legislative bill has been introduced in any state legislature in recent decades (among the more than 100,000 bills that are introduced in every two-year period by the nation’s 7,300 state legislators) proposing to change the existing universal practice of the states to award electoral votes to the candidate who receives a plurality (as opposed to absolute majority) of the votes (statewide or district-wide). There is no evidence of any public sentiment in favor of imposing such a requirement.
If an Electoral College type of arrangement were essential for avoiding a proliferation of candidates and people being elected with low percentages of the vote, we should see evidence of these conjectured apocalyptic outcomes in elections that do not employ such an arrangement. In elections in which the winner is the candidate receiving the most votes throughout the entire jurisdiction served by that office, historical evidence shows that there is no massive proliferation of third-party candidates and candidates do not win with small percentages. For example, in 905 elections for governor in the last 60 years, the winning candidate received more than 50% of the vote in over 91% of the elections. The winning candidate received more than 45% of the vote in 98% of the elections. The winning candidate received more than 40% of the vote in 99% of the elections. No winning candidate received less than 35% of the popular vote.
Since 1824 there have been 16 presidential elections in which a candidate was elected or reelected without gaining a majority of the popular vote.— including Lincoln (1860), Wilson (1912, and 1916), Truman (1948), Kennedy (1960), Nixon (1968), and Clinton (1992 and 1996).
The precariousness of the current state-by-state winner-take-all system of awarding electoral votes is highlighted by the fact that a shift of a few thousand voters in one or two states would have elected the second-place candidate in 4 of the 13 presidential elections since World War II. Near misses are now frequently common. There have been 6 consecutive non-landslide presidential elections (1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, and 2008). 537 popular votes won Florida and the White House for Bush in 2000 despite Gore’s lead of 537,179 (1,000 times more) popular votes nationwide. A shift of 60,000 voters in Ohio in 2004 would have defeated President Bush despite his nationwide lead of over 3 million votes.
The current state-by-state winner-take-all method of awarding electoral votes (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but since enacted by 48 states), ensures that the candidates, after the conventions, will not reach out to about 76% of the states and their voters. Candidates have no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize, campaign, or care about the voter concerns in the dozens of states where they are safely ahead or hopelessly behind.
Presidential candidates concentrate their attention on only a handful of closely divided “battleground” states and their voters. There is no incentive for them to bother to care about the majority of states where they are hopelessly behind or safely ahead to win. 9 of the original 13 states are considered “fly-over” now. In the 2012 election, pundits and campaign operatives agree, that, at most, only 12 states and their voters will matter. They will decide the election. None of the 10 most rural states will matter, as usual. About 76% of the country will be ignored —including 19 of the 22 lowest population and medium-small states, and 17 medium and big states like CA, GA, NY, and TX. This will be more obscene than the 2008 campaign, when candidates concentrated over 2/3rds of their campaign events and ad money in just 6 states, and 98% in just 15 states (CO, FL, IN, IA, MI, MN, MO, NV, NH, NM, NC, OH, PA, VA, and WI). Over half (57%) of the events were in just 4 states (OH, FL, PA, and VA). In 2004, candidates concentrated over 2/3rds of their money and campaign visits in 5 states; over 80% in 9 states; and over 99% of their money in 16 states.
More than 2/3rds of the states and people have been merely spectators to presidential elections. They have no influence. That’s more than 85 million voters, 200 million Americans, ignored. When and where voters are ignored, then so are the issues they care about most.
The number and population of battleground states is shrinking as the U.S. population grows.
With National Popular Vote, every vote would be equal. Candidates would reallocate the money they raise to no longer ignore more than 2/3rds of the states and voters.
A nationwide presidential campaign, with every vote equal, would be run the way presidential candidates campaign to win the electoral votes of closely divided battleground states, such as Ohio and Florida, under the state-by-state winner-take-all methods. The big cities in those battleground states do not receive all the attention, much less control the outcome. Cleveland and Miami do not receive all the attention or control the outcome in Ohio and Florida.
The itineraries of presidential candidates in battleground states (and their allocation of other campaign resources in battleground states) reflect the political reality that every gubernatorial or senatorial candidate knows. When and where every vote is equal, a campaign must be run everywhere.
With National Popular Vote, when every vote is equal, everywhere, it makes sense for presidential candidates to try and elevate their votes where they are and aren’t so well liked. But, under the state-by-state winner-take-all laws, it makes no sense for a Democrat to try and do that in Vermont or Wyoming, or for a Republican to try it in Wyoming or Vermont.
Even in California state-wide elections, candidates for governor or U.S. Senate don’t campaign just in Los Angeles and San Francisco, and those places don’t control the outcome (otherwise California wouldn’t have recently had Republican governors Reagan, Dukemejian, Wilson, and Schwarzenegger). A vote in rural Alpine county is just an important as a vote in Los Angeles. If Los Angeles cannot control statewide elections in California, it can hardly control a nationwide election.
In fact, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, and Oakland together cannot control a statewide election in California.
Similarly, Republicans dominate Texas politics without carrying big cities such as Dallas and Houston.
There are numerous other examples of Republicans who won races for governor and U.S. Senator in other states that have big cities (e.g., New York, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts) without ever carrying the big cities of their respective states.
16% of Americans live in rural areas.
With National Popular Vote, big cities would not get all of candidates’ attention, much less control the outcome.
The population of the top five cities (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and Philadelphia) is only 6% of the population of the United States and the population of the top 50 cities (going as far down as Arlington, TX) is only 19% of the population of the United States. Suburbs and exurbs often vote Republican.
If big cities controlled the outcome of elections, the governors and U.S. Senators would be Democratic in virtually every state with a significant city.
In terms of recent presidential elections, the 11 largest states include five “red states (Texas, Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, and Georgia) and six “blue” states (California, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and New Jersey). The fact is that the big states are just about as closely divided as the rest of the country. For example, among the four largest states, the two largest Republican states (Texas and Florida) generated a total margin of 2.1 million votes for Bush, while the two largest Democratic states generated a total margin of 2.1 million votes for Kerry.
Among the 11 most populous states in 2004, the highest levels of popular support, hardly overwhelming, were found in the following seven non-battleground states:
* Texas (62% Republican),
* New York (59% Democratic),
* Georgia (58% Republican),
* North Carolina (56% Republican),
* Illinois (55% Democratic),
* California (55% Democratic), and
* New Jersey (53% Democratic).
In addition, the margins generated by the nation’s largest states are hardly overwhelming in relation to the 122,000,000 votes cast nationally. Among the 11 most populous states, the highest margins were the following seven non-battleground states:
* Texas — 1,691,267 Republican
* New York — 1,192,436 Democratic
* Georgia — 544,634 Republican
* North Carolina — 426,778 Republican
* Illinois — 513,342 Democratic
* California — 1,023,560 Democratic
* New Jersey — 211,826 Democratic
To put these numbers in perspective, Oklahoma (7 electoral votes) alone generated a margin of 455,000 “wasted” votes for Bush in 2004 — larger than the margin generated by the 9th and 10th largest states, namely New Jersey and North Carolina (each with 15 electoral votes). Utah (5 electoral votes) alone generated a margin of 385,000 “wasted” votes for Bush in 2004. 8 small western states, with less than a third of California’s population, provided Bush with a bigger margin (1,283,076) than California provided Kerry (1,235,659).
The current state-by-state winner-take-all system of awarding electoral votes maximizes the incentive and opportunity for fraud and voter suppression. A very few people can change the national outcome by adding, changing, or suppressing a small number of votes in one closely divided battleground state. With the current system all of a state’s electoral votes are awarded to the candidate who receives a bare plurality of the votes in each state. The sheer magnitude of the national popular vote number, compared to individual state vote totals, is much more robust against manipulation.
National Popular Vote would limit the benefits to be gained by fraud or voter suppression. One suppressed vote would be one less vote. One fraudulent vote would only win one vote in the return. In the current electoral system, one fraudulent vote could mean 55 electoral votes, or just enough electoral votes to win the presidency without having the most popular votes in the country.
The closest popular-vote election in American history (in 1960), had a nationwide margin of more than 100,000 popular votes. The closest electoral-vote election in American history (in 2000) was determined by 537 votes, all in one state, when there was a lead of 537,179 (1,000 times more) popular votes nationwide.
For a national popular vote election to be as easy to switch as 2000, it would have to be two hundred times closer than the 1960 election—and, in popular-vote terms, forty times closer than 2000 itself.
Which system offers voter suppressors or fraudulent voters a better shot at success for a smaller effort?
The idea that recounts will be likely and messy with National Popular Vote is distracting.
The 2000 presidential election was an artificial crisis created because of Bush’s lead of 537 popular votes in Florida. Gore’s nationwide lead was 537,179 popular votes (1,000 times larger). Given the miniscule number of votes that are changed by a typical statewide recount (averaging only 274 votes); no one would have requested a recount or disputed the results in 2000 if the national popular vote had controlled the outcome. Indeed, no one (except perhaps almanac writers and trivia buffs) would have cared that one of the candidates happened to have a 537-vote margin in Florida.
Recounts are far more likely in the current system of state-by-state winner-take-all methods.
The possibility of recounts should not even be a consideration in debating the merits of a national popular vote. No one has ever suggested that the possibility of a recount constitutes a valid reason why state governors or U.S. Senators, for example, should not be elected by a popular vote.
The question of recounts comes to mind in connection with presidential elections only because the current system so frequently creates artificial crises and unnecessary disputes.
We do and would vote state by state. Each state manages its own election and is prepared to conduct a recount.
The state-by-state winner-take-all system is not a firewall, but instead causes unnecessary fires.
Given that there is a recount only once in about 160 statewide elections, and given there is a presidential election once every four years, one would expect a recount about once in 640 years with the National Popular Vote. The actual probability of a close national election would be even less than that because recounts are less likely with larger pools of votes.
The average change in the margin of victory as a result of a statewide recount was a mere 296 votes in a 10-year study of 2,884 elections.
No recount would have been warranted in any of the nation’s 56 previous presidential elections if the outcome had been based on the nationwide count.
The common nationwide date for meeting of the Electoral College has been set by federal law as the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December. With both the current system and the National Popular Vote, all counting, recounting, and judicial proceedings must be conducted so as to reach a “final determination” prior to the meeting of the Electoral College.
First, I would be against anything the idiot Al Gore supports. He is on his way to being committed to an asylum.
Secondly, we trade our electoral college for a hand full of liberal controlled sanctuary states who by following democratic proposals would flood their states with illegal’s who now have the right to vote. And since most cities are contolled by Democrats, we know how that will turn out.
I’ll stick with the system that has proven itself to work just fine.
But, perhaps if the Democrats were willing to close the borders, deport all illegal aliens, and require a national voter ID law….who knows?
In 1969, The U.S. House of Representatives voted for a national popular vote by a 338–70 margin. It was endorsed by Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and various members of Congress who later ran for Vice President and President such as then-Congressman George H.W. Bush, and then-Senator Bob Dole.
Jason Cabel Roe, a lifelong conservative activist and professional political consultant wrote in National Popular Vote is Good for Republicans: “I strongly support National Popular Vote. It is good for Republicans, it is good for conservatives … , and it is good for America. National Popular Vote is not a grand conspiracy hatched by the Left to manipulate the election outcome.
It is a bipartisan effort of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents to allow every state – and every voter – to have a say in the sele
ction of our President, and not just the 15 Battle Ground States.
National Popular Vote is not a change that can be easily explained, nor the ramifications thought through in sound bites. It takes a keen political mind to understand just how much it can help … Republicans… . Opponents either have a knee-jerk reaction to the idea or don’t fully understand it… . We believe that the more exposure and discussion the reform has the more support that will build for it.”
Former Tennessee U.S. Senator and 2008 presidential candidate Fred Thompson(R), former Illinois Governor Jim Edgar (R), and former U.S. Representative Tom Tancredo (R-CO) are co-champions of National Popular Vote.
National Popular Vote’s National Advisory Board includes former Senators Jake Garn (R–UT), and David Durenberger (R–MN) and former congressman John Buchanan (R–AL).
Saul Anuzis, former Chairman of the Michigan Republican Party for five years and a former candidate for chairman of the Republican National Committee, supports the National Popular Vote plan as the fairest way to make sure every vote matters, and also as a way to help Conservative Republican candidates. This is not a partisan issue and the NPV plan would not help either party over the other.
Rich Bolen, a Constitutional scholar, attorney at law, and Republican Party Chairman for Lexington County, South Carolina, wrote:”A Conservative Case for National Popular Vote: Why I support a state-based plan to reform the Electoral College.”
Some other supporters who wrote forewords to “Every Vote Equal: A State-Based Plan for Electing the President by National Popular Vote ” http://www.every-vote-equal.com/ include:
Laura Brod served in the Minnesota House of Representatives from 2003 to 2010 and was the ranking Republican member of the Tax Committee. She is the Minnesota Public Sector Chair for ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) and active in the Council of State Governments.
James Brulte served as Republican Leader of the California State Assembly from 1992 to 1996, California State Senator from 1996 to 2004, and Senate Republican leader from 2000 to 2004.
Ray Haynes served as the National Chairman of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in 2000. He served in the California State Senate from 1994 to 2002 and was elected to the Assembly in 1992 and 2002
Dean Murray is a member of the New York State Assembly. He was a Tea Party organizer before being elected to the Assembly as a Republican, Conservative Party member in February 2010. He was described by Fox News as the first Tea Party candidate elected to office in the United States.
Thomas L. Pearce served as a Michigan State Representative from 2005–2010 and was appointed Dean of the Republican Caucus. He has led several faith-based initiatives in Lansing.
This has turned into a rambling monolog. What is your idiotic aim? Gore the whore is prostuting the electoral system. He should be treated as a rambling fool and scamer.
Gore is not alone.
In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided). Support for a national popular vote is strong among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group in virtually every state surveyed in recent polls
So, we get rid of the electoral college, the next presidential candidate just has to say “I will give each person in the cities of Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Atlanta and a handful of other cities $10,000 from the national treasury”.
That’s a ‘great system’, we should go with that. If the concern is the lack of remote areas of the country ‘mattering’, your proposed system will make it worse, not better. The rural areas of our country, which get little attention now, will get less (most likely none at all).
There are good reasons for why we have the electoral college….this country was founded on states’ rights and federalism. Plus, think of how crazy presidential elections would be if we had no electoral college. Think of how difficult it would be to calculate who won the election in such a polarized country like we have today.
I admire you very much, but I am sorry I have to copy your words that I love very much.