Editorial: National Popular Vote bill would dilute Nevada voting power

Democratic lawmakers in Carson City are at it again, bound and determined to give your presidential ballots to the voters of California and New York.

Two years ago — after Donald Trump won the Electoral College vote by 304 to 227, though Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by 2.9 million individual votes — a bill was introduced that would have had Nevada join in something called the “Agreement Among the States to Elect the President by National Popular Vote.”

Instead of awarding Nevada’s six electoral votes — one for each representative and senator in Congress — according to how Nevadans vote, those six electoral votes would be awarded to the president and vice president team that wins the popular vote nationally.

This essentially cuts the value of Nevada’s votes from six to four, since the votes nationwide would be proportional to population and exclude the power of our two senators, thus diluting our voting power.

Backers say the compact would become a reality if it is adopted by states possessing a combined 270 electoral votes, or a majority of the 538 electoral votes.

Fortunately, the bill went nowhere then.

But a group of Democratic lawmakers have dragged its carcass out of the slag heap and dumped it out as Assembly Bill 186. It is being discussed this week.

A similar bill was passed in Colorado this past week, giving the proposal 181 electoral votes, just 89 votes short of becoming binding.

The Founders established the nation on a federalist system, not a democracy. Certain enumerated powers were assigned to the federal government while the rest were reserved to the people and the sovereign states. The sovereignty of the states was so important that U.S. senators — until 1913’s 17th Amendment — were chosen by state Legislatures, not directly by the voters. That is also why the Electoral College was created to give added weight to smaller states.

Speaking of senators, one of the supporters of the National Popular Vote effort in 2017 was Nevada’s former senior Democratic Sen. Harry Reid.

“I believe that focusing on the Electoral College is important no matter how you do it, because what’s happened this decade, these last several elections, where we have clearly two elections, the Gore election and this election. In this election Hillary Clinton will wind up getting almost 3 million votes more than Trump. It’s time the system goes away. It is very undemocratic,” Reid said in an interview.

Pay no attention to the fact Reid served in the Senate for 30 years, where each state gets two votes no matter the size of its population. Most undemocratic.

A National Popular Vote bill did pass the Nevada Legislature back in 2009 on a strictly party line vote with 27 Democrats supporting it, all 14 Republicans opposing and one Democrat absent.

With Democrat majorities in both the state Senate and Assembly this year there is imminent danger that this constitutionally questionable usurpation of the power of Nevada voters could pass. We urge everyone to contact your lawmakers and express your ardent opposition to this atrocity.

A version of this editorial appeared this week in some of the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel,  Sparks Tribune and the Lincoln County Record.


26 comments on “Editorial: National Popular Vote bill would dilute Nevada voting power

  1. Rincon says:

    I can certainly understand why you want to keep our nation’s first affirmative action program (along with Senate representation), since you personally benefit. This is an excellent example of government programs that, once created, will never be destroyed because the beneficiaries will never give up their perk without a fight. While it’s certainly understandable, it’s ironic that the same Conservatives who don’t like Affirmative Action for other minorities that find themselves at a disadvantage, have no problem at all with it when it’s for their own kind.

  2. Rincon says:

    Come to think of it, the problem has become far more complex. As you have complained, the people of Las Vegas dominate the rest of Nevada. The same applies to most of our blue states. Chicago for example, dominates downstate Illinois and the cities of California overwhelm the rural portions. What’s your answer, Affirmative Action for all rural people everywhere? And, most importantly, what shall we do about the poor liberals who live in rural areas or conservatives that live in the cities? Are they not also minorities bullied by majorities at the state and local levels? Don’t they deserve Affirmative Action too? And what about Muslims and atheists? They live in a society dominated by Judeo-Christian values. And so on and so on….

    Even if it’s the best system in our opinions, the democratic process has its imperfections. The Bill of Rights was a good start, but perhaps there are other answers for the numerous minorities overwhelmed by the majority. I’m serious about this. Unless our population trends change dramatically, the Electoral College will be quite insufficient to continue protecting the lower populated areas anyway, so we might want to begin examining other possible answers to this problem.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Bias alone is not enough to declare a site untrustworthy.
    But when coupled with questionable factuality, any such site should set off alarm bells.
    No matter what the topic under discussion.
    Intellectual Takeout is one such site. I cannot trust their opinions because the “facts” on which those opinions are based may well not be facts at all.


  4. Rincon says:

    Good point. While a biased source may omit information, it does not mean that they put out misinformation. Those with questionable factuality should not even be read because of the illusory effect. Here’s a summary of one of the pioneering studies:
    A group of volunteers was presented with 60 statements. Researchers asked them to say if they were true or false. The same exercise was repeated later. The researchers noticed that these people deemed the statements they had already read before as true, regardless of how reasonable they were. https://exploringyourmind.com/illusion-of-truth/

    Note: Regardless of how reasonable they were. While it is important to expose yourself to views other than your own, beware: Expose yourself to lies, especially if you don’t know they are lies, and they may become a part of you.

  5. Be skeptical of everything, but read everything … until you’ve concluded that the source is of no use.

  6. Steve says:

    That worked well when sources were limited to print and even when TV/Radio came along. sources were limited and self policing.

    With total widespread, instantaneous access to every varying bias (extremes from every angle and all places in between are equally available) the need to a team approach to seeking and rating veracity has become necessary.
    Hence the growth of fact checkers and the one (I can find to date) doing bias checking sites, all using a team of people to help find and reveal these things.

    It used to be so simple.

    Nevertheless, while this “popular vote” compact is fully constitutional, it is also non binding in that any state can opt out at any time and could well become a real thorn in the side of its own authors.
    Take a look back to Massachusetts being the only state in the union to vote down Nixon.
    Had this compact been a thing in those days, MA would have to direct its electors to vote for Nixon instead of following the will of the states voters. As it turned out, Massachusetts was right.

  7. Rincon says:

    As long as you brought it up…I suspect Nixon would have been considered one of our better Presidents if not for Watergate. Nixon’s great flaw was that he got caught. Reagan’s Iran Contra affair may well have been just as egregious, but his teflon held, so that today, conservatives in particular, consider him to be one of the best. Rating Presidencies is complicated, but to me, Reagan was no better than Nixon, and probably worse.

    What I find interesting is that Nixon is vilified because he tried to cover up a crime, while Trump said a pardon for Manafort was a possibility (he said it wasn’t off the table) which, in my opinion, is clearly a coverup attempt, plus there’s so much smoke that you can’t breathe without a respirator. But Conservatives still support him in essentially all he says and does. Moral of the story: Your team will support you all the way to a conviction. Once actually convicted, you’re toast.

  8. Anonymous says:

    “Conservatives still support him in essentially all he says and does.”

    Wrong. A majority of conservative people do still support Trump, but this is rapidly changing and today’s decision by Rand Paul should be one indicator, Rincon.

    I think Bill Clinton is a better example anyway. He was impeached, but not convicted. Currently there is not enough evidence to impeach Trump. But losing the support of Republicans, like Paul, is an indication he may have reached the edge of the cliff.

  9. Steve says:

    Did it again, I did.

  10. Rincon says:

    I hope you’re right, but I don’t see enough of a change so far to call it rapid or slow. 84% of Republicans approved of his shutting down the government for the wall https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/poll-republicans-overwhelmingly-support-trump-in-shutdown and 77% support his emergency declaration https://www.politico.com/story/2019/02/20/trump-national-emergency-support-poll-1175971 His approval rating among the citizenry is, believe it or not, higher than it was for Reagan or Carter at this point in his Administration, and nearly the same as those of Clinton and Obama.

    The best explanation is that the economy is good, and voters are shallow enough thinkers to believe that whatever happens to the economy must be due to the competence or incompetence of the President.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Remember, not all conservative people are registered Republican.

    It’s also worth noting in the 2010 midterm, Obama lost 63 House seats to the Republicans. This compares to Trump’s first midterm loss of 40 house seats to the Democrats.

    Apparently, Trump has not angered the electorate as much as Obama did in his first midterm.

    And among the population, the feeling is that presidents are a major effect on an economy, so voters do award them with votes or blame them for a down economy as was the case with Obama though the economy was showing enough improvement he was able to hold on to the office in spite of the continuing weakness.
    But the truth of this matter is, presidents and government actions in general really have a small ; temporary effect if they have much of an effect at all. The stock market is not the economy.

  12. Jake Marley says:

    Buried somewhere in the inflammatory, dismissive, judgmental language used in the post is the germ of a good idea. The electoral college as it currently exists is no longer working. In trying to correct this, we human beings are doing our usual thing by overreacting and overcorrecting.

    The electoral college was enacted to make sure smaller population states would have a voice in the elections. Though, as usual, when something is done to insure fairness for one side, another side is being treated very unfairly. Individual electoral votes in Nevada represent far more people than individual electoral votes in California. Representation is going to be skewed one way or another, and somehow we decided to skew toward the smaller.

    A rancher in Wyoming doesn’t want a lot of inner city Chicagoans telling him/her how to live life. Equally, the inner city Chicagoans don’t want some ranger in Wyoming on to live theirs.

    A workable solution is to award electoral votes in proportion to the popular vote. This blunts the huge swings in electoral votes in very close popular elections. For instance, the current president won Michigan by about 10,000 votes (a fraction of percentage points) yet collected all 16 electoral votes. A win by a nose looked like a win by mile.

    There are a number of different scenarios to implement such a system; some where the current president still wins, others where neither candidate gets the necessary 270 electoral votes.





  13. HighflyinBrien says:

    The United States of America is a constitutional republic, not a popular vote democracy…and this is why…http://michaelpramirez.com/without-the-electoral-college.html

  14. Steve says:

    I love the outsize votes Canada and Mexico get!

  15. Rincon says:

    Good observation, Steve. Perhaps that represents all of the illegals who manage to vote. If so, I never knew there were so many Canadian illegals. Time to build another wall!

    I’m OK with with the Electoral College if they would just give us instant runoff voting. Nevertheless, the real travesty isn’t the electoral college. The travesty is that voters in Wyoming each have 68 times the power in the Senate as those in California. Show me any other affirmative action program that is as unbalanced as that. Rural Americans are by far the most powerful minority in America, but as a group, they are quick to complain about all of the others. BTW, rural citizens are more likely to be on food stamps than city dwellers, so be sure to update your mental images of these people. https://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/rural-families-rely-food-stamps-metro-areas-article-1.3379148

  16. Rincon says:

    Jake’s post is well taken. The people of Clark County have more in common politically with those of Denver than they do with the rest of Nevada, making Nevada a blue state in the 2016 Presidential election. Perhaps the Electoral College – and Senate – could be modified to represent smaller areas without taking away the favoritism it bestows upon rural voters (that won’t go away for decades, if ever). That way, only Clark County would have voted for Clinton, while the votes from the rest of Nevada would have actually counted for something. The swing state phenomenon would also become far less important, reducing the massive political clout of citizens in say, Florida.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Rincon bet you’re bottom dollar that if somehow rural folks all voted for liberals, and city dwellers all voted for republicans, you’d never hear a peep of support for the Electoral College round these parts.

  18. Rincon says:

    Probably true, but you probably would also find liberals defending it. It’s human nature, which killed the so called democracies of Greece and Rome, and will eventually kill ours.

  19. Anonymous says:

    True but up until very recently liberals haven’t measured out there principles based on which party would be the recipient of the benefits; rural folks, that received lots of benefits from liberal policies weren’t excluded from those benefits just because most of them have recently votes for republicans.

    On the other hand, the right seems intent on doling out there goodies on that basis like the tax policies passed recently that screw the blue states to the benefit of the red ones.

  20. JustMeAgain says:

    Maybe if the feds didn’t involve themselves in intrastate affairs, kept within their Constitutional limits, and left the majority of governing to the individual states, some people wouldn’t feel like changing the way the E.C. works, which is exactly as designed by the Founders when States’ Rights were preeminent. When usurpation and tyranny grow, it just becomes about power and money.

  21. Rincon says:

    I think you’re missing a big part of the picture. The real problem isn’t the federal government vs the states, it’s rich vs middle class and city vs rural people. Ask the people here if they feel well represented in Nevada with Clark County as the 800 lb. gorilla, although they do seem happy for some reason, that the rich vacuum up a far greater share of GDP in Nevada and everywhere else, than they did 50 years ago.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Nonymus is pretty liberal with “your’e” (sic)? bottom dollar, eh Rincon?
    I bet my bottom dollar Nonymus would indeed take your last dollar to support some gov’t entitlement dream/wish…Freud woulda been proud o’that “error”. Ha! I love it when they self expose.

    Everybody makes spelling and grammar errors in the blogosphere, but that is one that cuts both ways…get it?

  23. Steve says:

    And, yet again, I failed to enter my info!

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