Is the Electoral College Distorting Obama Policy?

Monday, June 29, 2009

In another demonstration of President Barack Obama’s preference for the tried-and-true ways of Washington, the new president has focused his domestic travel so far on those states that are likely to be battlegrounds in the 2012 election. Of the 16 states Obama has visited, all of them are so-called “swing states” where the margin of results between the Democrat and his GOP rival John McCain was less than 5% in 2008. And nine of these states went to Obama after voting for George W. Bush in 2004, including Ohio, North Carolina, Indiana and Florida.

FairVote, an organization that seeks electoral reform, argues the current reliance on the Electoral College distorts the political process and results in many Americans being ignored by the president. “With every passing election cycle, the inherent unfairness of the Electoral College becomes more and more apparent,” according to the FairVote website. “Voters in a handful of states have an exclusive claim to political relevance, while a vast – and growing – majority of Americans sit on the sidelines.”
FairVote points out that neither Obama nor McCain visited 32 of the 50 states in the last two months of the 2008 campaign—even though they’re home to 62% of the American population.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Obama's Travel Mixes Policy, Politics (by Scott Wilson, Washington Post)


mvymvy 8 years ago
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. The bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes--that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538). When the bill comes into effect, all the electoral votes from those states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC). The Constitution gives every state the power to allocate its electoral votes for president, as well as to change state law on how those votes are awarded. The bill is currently endorsed by 1,659 state legislators — 763 sponsors (in 48 states) and an additional 896 legislators who have cast recorded votes in favor of the bill. The National Popular Vote bill has passed 29 state legislative chambers, in small, medium-small, medium, and large states, including one house in Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Oregon, and both houses in California, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington. The bill has been enacted by Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, and Washington. These five states possess 61 electoral votes -- 23% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect. See
mvymvy 8 years ago
The major shortcoming of the current system of electing the President is that presidential candidates concentrate their attention on a handful of closely divided "battleground" states. 98% of the 2008 campaign events involving a presidential or vice-presidential candidate occurred in just 15 closely divided "battleground" states. Over half (57%) of the events were in just four states (Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania and Virginia). Similarly, 98% of ad spending took place in these 15 "battleground" states. Similarly, in 2004, candidates concentrated over two-thirds of their money and campaign visits in five states and over 99% of their money in 16 states. Two-thirds of the states and people have been merely spectators to the presidential elections. Candidates have no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize, campaign, or worry about the voter concerns in states where they are safely ahead or hopelessly behind. The reason for this is the winner-take-all rule enacted by 48 states, under which all of a state's electoral votes are awarded to the candidate who gets the most votes in each separate state.
mvymvy 8 years ago
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). The recent Washington Post, Kaiser Family Foundation, and Harvard University poll shows 72% support for direct nationwide election of the President. This national result is similar to recent polls in closely divided battleground states: Colorado-- 68%, Iowa --75%, Michigan-- 73%, Missouri-- 70%, New Hampshire-- 69%, Nevada-- 72%, New Mexico-- 76%, North Carolina-- 74%, Ohio-- 70%, Pennsylvania -- 78%, Virginia -- 74%, and Wisconsin -- 71%; in smaller states (3 to 5 electoral votes): Delaware --75%, Maine -- 71%, Nebraska -- 74%, New Hampshire --69%, Nevada -- 72%, New Mexico -- 76%, Rhode Island -- 74%, and Vermont -- 75%; in Southern and border states: Arkansas --80%, Kentucky -- 80%, Mississippi --77%, Missouri -- 70%, North Carolina -- 74%, and Virginia -- 74%; and in other states polled: California -- 70%, Connecticut -- 73% , Massachusetts -- 73%, New York -- 79%, and Washington -- 77%. see

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