On the Matter of the National Popular Vote

I’m on Mrs. Clinton’s e-mail list because I haven’t unsubscribed yet. Today, the list sent me an e-mail about bills currently in the New York legislature to change how the State allocates its Electors. The bills under consideration in New York are A-489 and S-1820.

I don’t think their plea for me to contact my legislators had the result they intended.

New York is generally ignored during presidential campaigns because the results are too predictable. Why should the candidate of any party bother to stop here when it’s obvious that one of the candidates will win by a landslide?

New York is not the only State with this problem. Any State which allocates all of its Electors to the person winning a simple majority of the vote, and then proceeds to vote consistently for one party over another, loses influence. That State is now safe, reliable, the old girlfriend you turn to for brief satisfaction when the one you lust after pushes you away. Sure, she’s good for a screw, but who really cares what she thinks?

While I would like to see changes in how New York State allocates its Electors, I do not support the proposal to give our Electors to the candidate which wins a majority of the national popular vote in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. (What? Puerto Rico and the Territories still don’t count? And you call yourself a democrat!) This particular effort is an attempt to ensure that the person who wins the Presidency is the person preferred by the majority of all voters, but didn’t gain much traction until the supposed wrong done to Mr. Albert Gore in 2000. Because the problem was obviously the system, and not our impatience.*

If we ignore historical curiousities that restricted the electorate, and assume that the voters expressed the Will of the People, it’s rare that the winner of the popular choice has lost the Presidency. There have been 56 elections under the present system. Of those 56, 4 were not won by the winner of the popular vote.** That’s only 7.14%.

I would prefer, instead, that New York allocate its Electors proportionately, rather than in the winner-take-all manner that it does now. And I would like for New York to use the so-called instant run-off ballot, which would allow voters to rank several candidates according to their preferences.

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