New Political Victors Would Arise From National Popular Vote


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winner-buttonOnce it became clear Donald Trump’s Electoral College triumph would be accompanied by a popular vote loss, USA Today predicted “attempts to kill the Electoral College.” On cue, supporters of the national popular vote (NPV) compact redoubled efforts to effectively do just that.

In the name of advancing democracy and making every vote count, the NPV compact would pledge each adopting state’s electoral votes to whoever received the largest national vote, if states representing 270 or more electoral votes did the same. It would sidestep the rules necessary for constitutional changes, which supporters cannot come close to. Current adopters already represent 165 state electoral votes.

However, NPV’s actual purpose has always been to make Democrats new political victors. NPV doesn’t achieve its supposed core rationale – fixing supposed disenfranchisement of voters in safe states, so “every vote matters.” Further, it would undermine, rather than enhance, the perceived legitimacy of a close election winner. There would always be plausible claims that close races were stolen, since fraud or cheating or other forms of running up the vote anywhere could swing such an election. It could take the Florida Bush-Gore controversy nationwide.

If the real issue was disenfranchisement, states have a constitutional alternative – assigning electoral votes to each district’s winner (plus two to the state winner) rather than winner-take-all. Every district would be reflected in the Electoral College. Yet only two states have adopted it. Most Legislatures have strenuously fought the idea.

District representation could be compromised by gerrymandering, by which politicians supposedly against disenfranchising presidential voters disenfranchise voters in state Legislature and House elections. However, that is not the fault of the Electoral College, but the supposed reformers.

NPV will not make individual votes matter more. Your vote only matters now if it decides your state and your state decides the Electoral College; under NPV, it would only matter if it determined the national popular vote winner. Your personal vote will remain insignificant.

Claiming safe states are ignored is also misguided. Their influence has already been exercised; the dominant party already has the support of a majority. Raising money also forces candidates to be responsive, even in “safe” states.

In fact, NPV is about increasing safe states’ political leverage, because running up votes there could then swing national elections (local media, consultants, etc., would also love the money it would bring). It would give those politicians and their friends clout to extract greater political payoffs. Given that every NPV state went for Hillary Clinton, the real intent is clear. NPV would also increase the leverage of major cities, strongholds of Democratic constituencies and political machines. It is also consistent with adamant Democratic opposition to voter ID requirements and other voter fraud deterrents, which limit their ability run up votes.

In a world without free lunches, however, those favors must come from others’ pockets. Consequently, NPV would effectively disenfranchise those forced to bear the burdens of buying urban and safe state votes.

Disenfranchisement claims also ignore its most important form — subjecting ever more individual decisions to political determination takes away individuals’ rights to make their own decisions. Markets are a democracy where individuals’ votes determine their own outcome. Yet NPV states favor giving government more power to disenfranchise those individual choices, even though preventing that is the essence of liberty.

NPV backers constantly repeat their disenfranchisement refrain. However, they have rejected effective, constitutional solutions. They have intentionally disenfranchised voters through gerrymandering and turned blind eyes to vote fraud. Every increase in enfranchisement they support will increase votes cast “the right way,” increasing the disenfranchisement of others. NPV will not make individual votes matter one iota more. And its advocates continually expand individuals’ disenfranchisement by moving ever-more decisions from them to government.

NPV is not electoral reform. It is a means to enhance the political expropriation of citizens for Democrats and Democrat-favored special interests, camouflaged behind totally misleading rhetoric of advancing democracy.

Gary M. Galles is a Professor of Economics at Pepperdine University, An Adjunct Scholar at the Ludwig von Mises Institute, a Research fellow at the Independent Institute and a member of the Foundation for Economic Education Faculty Network. His books include Apostle of Peace (2013), Faulty Premises, Faulty Policies (2014), and Lines of Liberty (2016)


  1. Mr. Galles,

    You’re a professor of Economics? Does that field not require a modicum of knowledge about subjects you write about?

    You see, you obviously know nothing about the Trump Triumph other than what socialist media has spooned you.

    It amazes me that someone erudite as you should be could get the facts so totally wrong.

    Trump did not lose the popular vote. Trump won the popular vote in a landslide of more than 3,000,000 votes. No vote cast by an alien counts under both our Constitution as well as federal law.

    See my video on this subject at

    Do NOT let the globalists use Goebbels-like tactics to perpetuate this BIG lie.

    Trump DID win the popular vote.

  2. In Ca stupid bald head brown let illegals vote– and no id’s –it is not legal for non-citizens to vote and he let cons out and in Virginia the stupid gov there released 200000 cons before election so they could vote—he is close friend of clinton—both these toilet heads should be recalled and thrown in prison—so electoral college worked good this time to nullify the soros machines and dead people and illegals and cons–and final pop vote is not in yet as military votes are enough to make Trump the winner of POP vote as well–when bush won –the electoral vote in Florida was changed so he could win–who was gov in FLA then and Geo Senior was in control but both bush and gore were bad -so it made no difference–but still not as bad as hitlery

    • The founders put the electoral college in there for a REASON! Prevention of the tyranny of the minority! If any of the SORE losers try to remove the electoral college there will be ORGANIZED resistance!!

  3. Well Said!

  4. With the current state-by-state winner-take-all system of awarding electoral votes (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but later enacted by 48 states), it could only take winning a bare plurality of popular votes in the 11 most populous states, containing 56% of the population of the United States, for a candidate to win the Presidency with less than 22% of the nation’s votes!

    A presidential candidate could lose, winning 78%+ of the popular vote and 39 states.

  5. Trump, November 13, 2016, 60 Minutes
    “But I would rather see it, where you went with simple votes. You know, you get 100 million votes, and somebody else gets 90 million votes, and you win. There’s a reason for doing this. Because it brings all the states into play.”

    The night Mitt Romney lost, Donald Trump tweeted.
    “The phoney electoral college made a laughing stock out of our nation. . . . The electoral college is a disaster for a democracy.”

    Recent and past presidential candidates who supported direct election of the President in the form of a constitutional amendment, before the National Popular Vote bill was introduced: George H.W. Bush (R-TX-1969), Jimmy Carter (D-GA-1977), Hillary Clinton (D-NY-2001), Bob Dole (R-KS-1969), Gerald Ford (R-MI-1969), and Richard Nixon (R-CA-1969).

    Recent and past presidential candidates with a public record of support for the National Popular Vote bill that would guarantee the majority of Electoral College votes and the presidency to the candidate with the most national popular votes: Congressmen John Anderson (R, I –ILL), and Bob Barr (Libertarian- GA), Senator Birch Bayh (D-IN), Senator and Governor Lincoln Chafee (R-I-D, -RI), Governor and former Democratic National Committee Chair Howard Dean (D–VT), U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R–GA), Senator and Vice President Al Gore (D-TN), Ralph Nader, Governor Martin O’Malley (D-MD), Jill Stein (Green), Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-CO), and Senator Fred Thompson (R–TN).

  6. A successful nationwide presidential campaign of polling, organizing, ad spending, and visits, with every voter equal, would be run the way presidential candidates campaign to win the electoral votes of closely divided battleground states, such as Ohio and Florida, under the state-by-state winner-take-all methods. In the 4 states that accounted for over two-thirds of all general-election activity in the 2012 presidential election, rural areas, suburbs, exurbs, and cities all received attention—roughly in proportion to their population.

    The itineraries of presidential candidates in battleground states (and their allocation of other campaign resources in battleground states, including polling, organizing, and ad spending) reflect the political reality that every gubernatorial or senatorial candidate knows. When and where every voter is equal, a campaign must be run everywhere.

    With National Popular Vote, when every voter is equal, everywhere, it makes sense for presidential candidates to try and elevate their votes where they are and aren’t so well liked. But, under the state-by-state winner-take-all laws, it makes no sense for a Democrat to try and do that in Vermont or Wyoming, or for a Republican to try it in Wyoming or Vermont.

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