Newspaper column: National Popular Vote would make Nevada voters irrelevant

The Nevada Assembly voted 23-17 this past week to cut the impact of your presidential vote by at least a third.

Assembly Bill 186 would have Nevada join 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.

One could say this cuts the value of Nevada’s votes from six to four, since the votes nationwide would be proportional to population. Or one could say it negates our votes entirely since it matters not how we vote.

Not a single Assembly Republican voted for the bill and five Democrats had the good sense to reject this attempt to emasculate the federalist system on which this country was founded.

If only three state Senate Democrats have the temerity to buck their party leadership and reject AB186 it would fail.

An email to Gov. Steve Sisolak’s office asking whether he would sign or veto the bill should it pass did not garner a response.

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

A similar measure passed the Nevada Assembly in 2009 on a party-line vote but failed to come up for a vote in the state Senate.

The instigation for the current push is the fact that in 2016 Donald Trump won the Electoral College vote by 304 to 227, though Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by 2.9 million.

If the National Popular Vote had been in force in 2000 Nevada’s then four electoral votes would have been enough to flip the election to Al Gore, even though George W. Bush won the popular vote in Nevada by 49.5 percent to 46 percent, winning every county except Clark. Bush won the electoral vote 271 to 266, but lost the popular vote by 540,000.

Janine Hansen, state president of the Nevada Families for Freedom, mentioned just such a scenario in testimony opposing AB186.

“There are three dangers I’d like to mention with the National Popular Vote,” Hansen testified. “One is the National Popular Vote will potentially betray the voters of our own state. If our state voted for candidate A and the National Popular Vote winner was candidate B, our votes would be stolen from our desire and given to the National Popular Vote winner, betraying the voters in this state. I think there would be a lot of angry voters if they found out that that’s what happened.”

Hansen also noted there is no national authority for determining the accuracy of the National Popular Vote.

In his testimony, Jim DeGraffenreid, vice chairman of the Nevada Republican Party, pointed out Nevada is currently a battleground state, getting significant attention from national candidates. He said the state’s first-in-the-West caucuses provide opportunities for all Nevadans to participate.

“The Electoral College exists because the Framers of the Constitution believed that each state should matter in selecting the president,” DeGraffenreid testified. “It is designed to protect the smaller states like Nevada. To suggest that a state should disregard its own voters and instead follow the will of voters in some other state is the exact opposite of what the Framers intended.”

He said the bill could make Nevada voters irrelevant.

The Founders created the Electoral College and the U.S. Senate to assure the smaller populated states were not relegated to powerlessness in a one person-one vote system. The states were meant to be sovereign and to hold the powers not specifically delegated to the federal government.

The National Review pointed out in a recent article that using 2016’s turnout stats a candidate could have won 54 percent of the vote in 48 states, losing only California, New York and D.C., but if an opponent won 75 percent of the vote in just those three locales, a 451 to 87 electoral vote landslide would have turned into a popular-vote defeat to 50.7 percent to 49.3 percent — even though the voters in 48 states rejected that candidate.

Should Nevada surrender its presidential votes to California and New York?

A version of this column appeared this week in many of the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel and the Lincoln County Record — and the Elko Daily Free Press.

24 comments on “Newspaper column: National Popular Vote would make Nevada voters irrelevant

  1. Rincon says:

    As I’ve said, the oldest Affirmative Action program in our nation is still alive and kicking. Does it occur to any of you that the Electoral College completely negates the votes of all Illinois Republicans since Illinois votes reliably Democrat? Not important if you live in Nevada though. Who cares if everyone has a say, so long as Conservatives get an advantage, right?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Republicans have railed against colleges for years and yet here they are supporting one. And it’s one of dang “public ones” too and not one them good private ones neither.

    And doesn’t the electoral college serve them daggone “elites” republicans do so love to bash at various times? Tyranny of the minority. “Don’t worry none, we few know what best for all you folks” seems to now be all the rage around here.

    Whatever happened to principles around here?

  3. bc says:

    The Electoral College is all about checks and balances, just like the rest of the Constitution. The founders did not want any one part of the government to be without some sort of check by the rest of the government. The same with the electorate. They envisioned that the larger states of Virginia and New York would have an outsized influence over the government and could run roughshod over the smaller states, the Electoral College is a check to that power to tell the larger states that they have to at least pay some attention to the needs of the smaller states. Clinton missed that part and spent all of her time on her base and not at any of the smaller states. In the process she managed to lose reliably democratic PA and WI and thus, the election.

    Trumps people knew how to count and keep the focus on his message and what the path was to victory. That path would need to include several democratic states and they focused on the blue collar democrat vote in those states, the vote that the dems had forgotten how to talk to (“we need to put every coal miner out of work!”). The take from that election for the Democratic Party needs to be that the party is losing the blue collar vote by focusing so narrowly on the east and west coasts.

    And yes Rincon, as a Republican in Cook County IL my vote matters little. While living in the Peoples Republic of Oak Park I am sure that I was one of only a handful that voted No on the local advisory question “should the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution be Repealed.” I am not in Oak Park now but still to have any say on the local governments here in Cook I have to vote in the Democratic primary as that is the only election that counts. The last Republican primary had only the Governor and Attorney General on the ballot.

  4. […] Source: Newspaper column: National Popular Vote would make Nevada voters irrelevant […]

  5. Rincon says:

    I didn’t realize you were a fellow Illinoisan, bc. You have my sympathy. For Illinois state offices, we are fellow Republicans. I think though, that you made my point for me with your last paragraph. Part of democracy of any kind is the general necessity of those with minority views to accept the judgments of the majority. As I understand it, skirting around that principle was done due to the practical problem of the smaller states refusing to join the union without being granted special privileges, not because the Founders thought it was somehow unfair to count all citizens equally.

    To clarify my point about the Electoral College being an Affirmative action program, a couple of definitions for Affirmative Action:
    The encouragement of increased representation of women and minority-group members, especially in employment. https://www.dictionary.com/browse/affirmative-action
    Another: A similar effort to promote the rights or progress of other disadvantaged persons http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/affirmative%20action

    So far as I can see, the Electoral College and dynamic of Senate representation meet this definition. On that basis, I propose that other disadvantaged minorities be given a greater voting share with the justification being the same as that given for residents of smaller states. In addition to the other standard minorities, I propose granting say 1 1/2 votes to those that are fat or ugly (maybe two votes if they’re both!), because they also are surely discriminated against. We could also fine tune the favoritism of rural folk. Perhaps those living on remote farms and ranches should each get a greater voting share than the townies in areas where the townies outnumber them. The opposite could be done when it is the townies that are outnumbered. The possibilities are endless!

  6. No, I do not always accept the judgment of the majority. The majority is too often wrong.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Locally Republican.
    Nationally Democrat.

    Hmmm, something smells rotten in Illinois.

  8. Rincon says:

    Not accepting majority rule implies a disdain for the democratic process. How far would you go to insure power for your team?

    An Illinois Democrat is not an average Democrat. They have had a lock on power for more than 15 years. Either party is no good when they can ignore their opponents. And I don’t like national Democrats either. It’s just that Republicans are worse. As long as the two party duopoly is imposed on the people of this country, we will be second rate.

  9. Steve says:

    As long as people refuse to vote their conscience and continue to vote the “lesser of two evils” the “duopoly” will continue unabated.

    smh

  10. Rincon says:

    You’re right Steve, but I don’t think people are likely to change that much. I think though, that instant runoff voting might be helpful. It’s being used in Maine and a couple of other places. If their experience is good, maybe it will catch on. I think it would be especially good for the primaries when large numbers of candidates are running.

  11. Anonymous says:

    “Ranked Choice Voting”

  12. Steve says:

    Maine had some issues with getting results out. But it does show promise.
    It’s being implemented in local races all over the country.

    https://nevadansforelectionreform.org/

  13. bc says:

    Rincon

    I don’t buy your argument about the Electoral College being affirmative action, too much of a stretch. And your tongue in cheek proposals just affirms that.

    I accept the fact that as a Republican in IL I am in the minority, I liked it better in Texas or even Colorado where there was some semblance of back and forth between the two parties and no one party dominated everything and there was a chance that my views might have some sway, although I hear that Colorado is headed more Democratic these days. Instead I am here in IL where the Democratic Machine and it’s attendant corruption, patronage and high taxes rules with an iron fist. But my job is here so here I am.

    But I digress. The Electoral College exist to force candidates to run on more of a nation wide platform. Whether Republican or Democrat, the candidates must reach across the entire country, small state and large for votes. No Democrat will care what happens in Nebraska or Iowa where they can only change the vote total by a few thousand, even if they happen to have some appeal there. But if they can pick up a dozen electoral votes, there may be a reason to spend time and study the issues affecting these small states.

    If Trump loses his reelection it will be because he has retreated to his base only and is not reaching out across the country anymore.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Tell voters, and let’s be honest here we’re not talking about a few but rather the vast majority that just so happen to live along the east and west coasts of this country, that Trump was reaching out to them during the last election, or plans to during this one.

    And if you could do this in the next few hours bc I’d appreciate it because I do need a good laugh this morning.

  15. Rincon says:

    So far as I can see, the logic justifying my tongue in cheek proposals is the same as that justifying the Electoral College. The votes of citizens in smaller states count for more strictly because they are a minority. Why should other minorities not receive the same perk?

  16. bc says:

    I doubt that Trump reached out much to the west coast or the northern east coast. Other than his home in New York he doesn’t much care for either. He did work the Carolinas and GA, He spent a lot of time in Florida. He did come here to IL though, so you have to hand it to him there but he did not need those states to win.

    But what he did do was turn the blue collar Democrat states of MI, WI and PA and made sure he won Florida and Ohio. Hillary did not solidify her base in those states nor did she work any Republican states in the South or Midwest. The only purple states she won were NV, CO and NM.

    Unfortunately the Democrats look at the West and NE Coasts as being all that matters, they don’t care much about the rest of the country and we have Trump as the President because of it. I hope that the Dems find someone who can look at the flyover states with something besides disdain in this upcoming election but with Bernie and Biden setting the tone, I am not optimistic.

    For all of the talk about the Electoral College, if this had been strictly a national count of votes I think that Trump and the folks around him would have adjusted their strategy and won anyway.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Well bc I don’t think you’ll see what happened in 2016 happening in 2020; whoever the eventual democratic nominee is will be spending plenty of time in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. Not to mention a lot of time in N. Carolina, Arizona, Texas, and maybe even Georgia.

    I also believe, given the anger Trump has engendered among American farmers in the Midwest, because of his tariffs and the whole “if the farmers aren’t for tariffs they’re not real Americans” thing, Democrats will probably dip their toes into some Midwestern states that they haven’t spent much time in in the past.

    Because recent polls have shown four different Democratic hopefuls as running neck and neck with Trump in TEXAS of all places, this campaign is going to be a lot different than the last one for sure.

  18. Rincon says:

    “I doubt that Trump reached out much to the west coast or the northern east coast” So neglecting these parts of the country was good strategy, wasn’t it?

    It sounds to me like you are quite happy with a system that encourages candidates to neglect such areas as the west and NE coasts, but not a one man, one vote system because candidates might neglect the heartland. You prefer voters of your team to have extra power over those voting for the enemy. Special perks for rural voters; screw the city dwellers. Got it.

    You never did answer why other minority groups shouldn’t be given greater representation just like rural folks. They also run the risk of being overwhelmed by the majority.

  19. bc says:

    Rincon
    I do not have an answer to your statement on minority vs. rural, perhaps it is because the electoral college is not about people but about states; those with more power vs. those with less and that those with less power (population) need to be listened too as well.

    I am not happy with someone ignoring the coasts but then I am not happy with someone ignoring the flyover areas of the country either, as apparently you are. That is the whole point of the EC is to encourage candidates to look at the entire country. If the elections are entirely population based, no candidate is going to pay attention to the lower population states like NE, NM, IA or even NV. Not enough votes there to matter. Conventional wisdom is that 20% of the votes are undecided and 20% of Texas, NY or California is worth going after but 20% of New Mexico, not so much.

    As far as Trump losing the Midwest, I can only hope you are right. And if the Democrats are running neck and neck with Trump in Texas then maybe there is hope. Apparently there are not many of us Never Trump Republicans left.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Truth be told, 2016 was Clinton’s campaign to lose.
    And they did so with vim and vigor, almost as if they WANTED to lose.

  21. Rincon says:

    They’re on track to throwing 2020 away as well.

  22. Steve says:

    I think so too, Rincon.
    But this time it won’t be due to “strategic decision” made from campaign HQ in NYC.
    This time it will be from moving far too left for many independent voters as both major parties continue to lose voters.

    And that anon post was me….sigh.

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