“Wisconsin would lose big time!” under National Popular Vote

2010/01/04
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Wisconsin has made it onto NPV’s list of targeted states. Dave Zweifel’s Madison.com article, “Using popular vote to elect president is the way to go,” parrots one of the National Popular Vote organization’s most often-used (and faulty) arguments: that because the Electoral College motivates candidates to campaign in some states (“swing states”) more than others (“safe states”) it should be eliminated as unfair and outdated.

Thankfully, the good people of Wisconsin take Zweifel to task in the comments section. I’ll let them speak for themselves:

  • “Why should my vote in Wisconsin have anything to do with New York, Texas, California or other more heavily populated states?”
  • “Many of the arguments for popular vote make reference to the uncompetitiveness of certain states. Many states that used to be solidly Democrat are now Republican and vice versa. Where they stand today is not a reason to change the system.”
  • “Contrary to popular belief, we are not a democratic nation; we are however a republic made up of 50 democratic states … all of which deserve their share of the pie.”
  • Wisconsin would lose big time! Normally voting pretty independently, we see both Democrats and Republicans campaigning here to sway our vote, that would never happen with a popular vote. Some buildings in Manhattan have more population than Wisconsin cities like Wausau or Chippewa Falls.”
  • “Each party would only seek to turn out as many votes as possible in ‘their’ regions of the country … In this scenario, a handful of states and heavily populated cities win while the remaining areas suffer.”
  • “The only difference this would make is that instead of certain battleground states getting all the attention, the high population states would.”

The recurring theme in these comments is how the Electoral College actually represents the will of the people better than a national popular vote would. Zweifel calls the Electoral College a “convoluted archaic system,” and claims that NPV would “ensure that the people … determine who is president.” The folks above seem to think the people do. And they’re right.

Battleground states are called battleground states because they’re evenly divided and represent more diverse viewpoints than safe states. Washington is usually safely blue; Texas is usually safely red. Ohio, on the other hand, tends to be purple until just before Election Day. To win a “swing state,” a candidate has to appeal to more than just his buddies. He has to win over a diverse, state-by-state majority.

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3 Responses to “Wisconsin would lose big time!” under National Popular Vote

  1. Diana on 2010/01/05 at 6:57 PM

    As a fairly important aside, Zweifel is mistaken in which states have passed NPV. Maine has not; Washington has.

  2. Trent on 2010/01/06 at 2:17 AM

    Zweifel's story is full of errors. He asserts that some states award electoral votes proportionally, which is incorrect, and that one state uses the Congressional District method (both Maine and Nebraska do that).

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