Republican nominee Donald Trump’s surprising electoral college victory is likely to trigger renewed interest in a plan by left wing states to abolish the institution, according to professor John Gilmour of the College of William and Mary.
Democratic-leaning states back the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact [NPVIC] to effectively repeal the electoral college. The compact would require any state that signs onto it to give their electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote.
“The Democrats will go for it and already have,” Gilmour, who teaches government, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “For the interstate compact to succeed, what must happen is for the GOP to be robbed of its victory by the electoral college. The Dems have now been robbed twice in four elections, unprecedented in US history, I believe. They are naturally pissed as hell.”
Gilmour noted that after former President George W. Bush won the electoral vote, but lost the popular vote in the 2000 election, there was a wave of interest in NPVIC. Washington, Oregon and California quickly adopted the compact.
Illinois, New York, Maryland, New Jersey, Vermont, and Rhode Island signed the agreement as well.
“But the GOP cannot embrace the compact because doing so would tend to suggest that their candidates’ victories were tainted or illegitimate,” Gilmour said. “If you look at the states that have already signed on, they are all strong blue states. No red states have signed on, or will adopt it — until their candidate is robbed.”
Gilmour said Republicans will be capable of blocking NPVIC due to the expansion of GOP-controlled state legislatures, but added that interest in NPVIC will likely “surge” among Democrats.
“The major reason NPVIC is important is that over time the number of competitive states has decreased,” Gilmour told TheDCNF. “In the long run, that’s simply bad for democracy.”
The NPVIC would effectively abolish the Electoral College — an institution that arguably levels the between urban-dense states and more rural states — with “winner take all rules.” If a candidate wins the state of Florida by one vote, for example, then all of that state’s electors must vote for the winner if NPVIC is adopted. Advocates argue that the measure empowers every state, since a small majority can turn a major election.
Critics contend that NPVIC sharply decreases the importance of small states, and further, doesn’t require a candidate to have broad-spectrum appeal in many different states, potentially placing too much power in the hands of urban voters.
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