Monday, March 02, 2009

Republicans All Out Against National Popular Vote

Republicans All Out Against National Popular Vote

We know the vote broke on mostly partisan lines in the state Senate government committee last week, but not it seems to be a matter of party policy:
Last week, majority Democrats on the Senate State Government Committee passed legislation (SF 227) that would strip Iowa of its influence in future presidential elections by awarding Iowa’s electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote. This Tuesday, RPI Chairman Matt Strawn will be joined by statewide Republican activists at the Capitol to urge the defeat of SF 227 and to “Keep Iowa Relevant” in future presidential contests.

Chairman Strawn will make remarks regarding SF 227, the “Iowa Voter Irrelevancy Act”, after which he will take questions from the media.

I'm trying not to repeat myself too much, but this just seems so fundamental:
  • The person with the most votes should win.
  • It would be better if the Constitution actually said so.
  • But National Popular Vote is a nice stopgap.
  • If big states want National Popular Vote, it will pass without Iowa.
  • The caucuses, not the electoral votes, are what makes Iowa important.

    I think this is residual Bush-defending. Just as a lot of Dems saw presidential term limits as a slap at FDR's memory in 1947, perhaps Republicans see National Popular Vote as retroactive revenge for the butterfly ballot.

    Or maybe it's all historical revisionism driven by the fans of Rutherford Hayes (they called him "Rutherfraud" back in the day) and Benjamin Harrison.

    There was a bipartisan support for constitutionally abolishing the Electoral College in 1969, when Birch Bayh's amendment passed the House overwhelmingly but stalled in the Senate. In large part this was due to opposition from segregationist Southerners; the impetus behind reform was the relative success of the George Wallace campaign and his near-miss on throwing the election into the U.S. House.

    So maybe it's just the die-hard one-note Southern Strategy conservatism of the GOP driving this; it seems to be the only thing motivating them at all these days.

    Bud oddly, some on the left aren't fans either, like Trish Nelson writing at Blog For Iowa. She'd prefer that the Legislature be talking about the no-chance VOICE bill (going nowhere as long as we have leadership that's proud of its fundraising skill; it's like asking Barry Bonds to lead the fight for steroid testing) and the fantasy paranoia of blackbox voting (can no one accept that we lost Ohio in `04 because John Kerry was a lame candidate?), and has a sentimental argument for the Elctoral College:
    Personally, I like the idea of my vote going to a collective vote based on my state's particular interests. Sometimes my side wins, sometimes not, but a national popular vote would seem to render my single vote less meaningful. Instead of being one voice in roughly a million and a half, helping my candidate win my state, in a national popular vote system, my voice becomes only one of 220 million. This year, my candidate won. Because of the electoral college system, my vote became 7 votes of 538. I like that ratio much better.

    Personally, I like the idea of the person with the most votes winning no matter what. Sometimes my side wins, sometimes not, but a national popular vote would seem to render every vote more meaningful.
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