Three times in American history, the loser of the national popular vote became President of the United States — most recently when George W. Bush entered the White House with an assist from his fellow conservatives on the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, even in elections where the American people ultimately see their choice become president, candidates focus their efforts on just a handful of key swing states — Ohio, Florida, Colorado, etc. — while largely ignoring most of the country. If a plan passed by the Oregon House yesterday becomes sufficiently widespread, however, these practices will end and future presidents will be determined solely according to the will of the voters:
The legislation would require Oregon to cast its seven Electoral College ballots for the candidate who wins the national vote, rather than the one who gets the most votes in Oregon.
It would take effect only if a compact is enacted in states with a majority in the electoral college.
Nine states with 132 electoral votes have enacted it, about half of the 270 needed to win the presidency.
In addition to preventing incidents like the 2000 election, where the loser of the popular vote becomes the winner of the only vote that matters, this National Popular Vote plan would also prevent Republicans from enacting two plans they’ve proposed to rig the Electoral College.
The first such plan, which Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus proposed enacting in “a lot of states that have been consistently blue that are fully controlled red” would rig presidential elections by allocating most electoral votes in several blue states by congressional district, while still awarding 100 percent of red state electors to Republicans. Moreover, because these states are highly gerrymandered to benefit Republicans, it would lead the the absurd result where the Republican candidate would win the majority of the electoral votes in many states even if they lost the popular vote:
The second GOP election rigging plan is currently pending in the Pennsylvania state senate. Under this plan, the blue state of Pennsylvania would allocate its electoral votes proportionally to the popular vote in that state, while red states would once again award 100 percent of their votes to the Republican: