Electoral College vs. Popular Vote

Partner in the firm of Butcher and Butcher of Sacramento and Newport Beach

If President’s were elected by Popular Vote, Gore Would Have Become President.  Wrong!

Everyone knows that had the popular vote decided the election, Gore would have defeated George W. Bush.  Everyone but me.

I contend this is nonsense.  We do not know who would have won, but I strongly suspect it would have been Bush.

Why? Because campaigns count.

One example, if Karl Rove managed a popular vote based election for Bush he would have run a very different campaign, starting with using their remarkable GOTV program in all the states.  How many Evangelicals would they have turned out in Ole Miss, Alabama…and California for that matter…non-voters who were left in peace on Election Day and in the run up to it?  Surely his micro-targeting and massive recruitment of pastors and their flocks would have worked everywhere, not just in Ohio, New Hampshire, Florida and other battleground states.

With the economy humming along, Gore being a part of a very popular administration, he would have won had no campaign been run. And no campaign is what most voters experienced, so it was hardly surprising he won the popular vote.

Next week, if President Barack Obama wins it will be against the expectations with high unemployment, limp and declining economic growth, massive increases in the debt, and a wide majority of Americans saying the nation is headed in the wrong direction. With no campaign, Romney would almost certainly win.  And no campaign is exactly what we have here and voters in about 37 other states and DC have seen.  Hence it would be surprising, actually, if Obama won the popular vote.  Again, one example: surely the national popular vote would be different had Obama defined Romney unchallenged everywhere after the Republican nomination was settled, rather than just in the battlegrounds.

With $2 billion plus spent in a dozen states, the candidates, staffs and volunteers working them day and night for months, one would expect a different result in those states…if not why have donors, ads, rallies,  and consultants?  Heaven forbid we are irrelevant!

Do not get me wrong.  The existing method of selecting our President is a disaster waiting to happen, and Citizens United has made a disaster much more probable.  But the interstate compact is almost equally dangerous, and not the solution.  Someday I will share with you what we should do…and, as a bonus if you really want the compact, an easy way to get it quickly adopted.

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