by Sam Hieb
No doubt the debate over the Electoral College will continue as the 2020 presidential campaign carries on, with–you guessed it–Democratic hopefuls continuing to call for scrapping it going with exclusively with the national popular vote.
How North Carolina factors into the Electoral College was debated over the weekend, with–you guessed it again–two different views on the subject. Writing in the Fayetteville Observer, Civitas Institute editor Ray Nothstine says the Electoral College gives North Carolina considerable influence on the national scene:
The Electoral College model, enshrined by our Founding Fathers, is advantageous to North Carolina for a number of reasons. One of the main benefits is that North Carolina is now a perennial swing state. While Democratic presidential candidates have only won the state once since 1980 — Barack Obama in 2008 — many of those races remained competitive, particularly in years where the election was close. Presidential candidates pay special attention to North Carolina because its electoral votes are up for grabs. The Civitas poll notes too that voters seem to be aware of this benefit for North Carolina.
…A popular vote winner-take-all election would only cater to urban interests and pull candidates further and further to the left. Centrist and conservative states like North Carolina would quickly be left behind to the whims of the largest media markets and packed urban enclaves. Worst of all, a president could easily be elected with 30 percent of the popular vote in a crowded field, further alienating more and more Americans.
Meanwhile, our friends over at NC Policy Watch post a op-ed by veteran journalist Hedrick Smith, who ponder whether or not we can “fix” the Electoral College:
Frustrated by a two-century-old mechanism that has twice foiled the popular majority in just 16 years, legislatures in 14 states and the District of Columbia, have joined forces to try to assure that in the future the popular vote winner will gain the Presidency.
These states have formed the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, pledging to cast their electoral votes for the nationwide popular vote winner rather for the highest vote-getter in their own state – if enough other states agree to do the same.
In other words, rather than seeking to abolish the Electoral College, which would require a constitutional amendment with little chance for passage, the popular vote reform movement has devised what the digital world calls “a work-around.
All due respect to Mr. Smith, but the NPVIC is an idiotic idea that has the potential to create even more division. The reason why is easy–can you imagine blue states giving their Electoral College votes to Trump should he win the popular vote? Let me put it another way–Smith cites the 1992 election, when Bill Clinton won the presidency with only 43 percent of the popular vote but with an overwhelming majority of the Electoral College votes. Clinton was certainly not my preference, but I nevertheless was proud that my state of North Carolina voted for George H.W. Bush. I felt like my vote counted, and I would not have if N.C.’s Electoral College votes went to the candidate I was adamantly against.
Of course the best way to put an end to this debate is for Trump to win the popular and Electoral College votes in 2020.