Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Daudt Wants to Go Backwards

Yesterday, the same day that a group of Minnesota legislators was announcing its National Popular Vote bill, the newly installed Republican Majority Leader, Kurt Daudt, was introducing his own bill to do just about the opposite.

Daudt’s bill would change how Minnesota allots its electoral votes to majority vote within Congressional district, as is currently done in Maine and Nebraska. Not coincidentally, that would have given Trump 5 votes and Clinton 3, with the final 2 going to Clinton, I assume, based on the overall majority in the state.

I am opposed to this idea because it goes in the wrong direction. We want less dividing of votes into districts, not more. If Daudt’s bill allocated our electoral votes proportionately on the statewide totals, I might be in favor of that, if it also had a provision restricting the change to wait until every other state had done the same.

But even that method still maintains the artificial boundaries of the states (and the over-representation of small-population states) that are key problems of the Electoral College.

At the NPV press conference yesterday, the state representatives shared this map:

It shows how many official campaign events (Trump and Clinton) were held in the various states, and how over-emphasized the swing states are. Just one event in Texas and California. Not a single event in 24 states, including New York.

Even worse, these realities of our voting system affect policy. Swing states get more disaster declarations and disaster aid, and narrow interests within these states get support and money — think ethanol in Iowa, for instance. It’s bad policy and everyone knows it, but still, it continues.

Yes, NPV would mean candidates would campaign in large-population states, but since that’s where a large percentage of the population is, would that be a bad thing? And campaign appearances are usually based on media markets, so in many cases those visits would cover the smaller states as well.

What is this opposition to the idea that every vote should count equally? It's a remnant from slavery, and plans like Daudt's only make it worse.

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