Most arguments in favor of the National Popular Vote interstate compact (NPV) aren’t terribly impressive, in my opinion. But some are worse than others. And some are downright horrible. In that last category I put any claim that NPV should be adopted so that one party or the other will have a better chance to win the presidency.
Recently, since most Democrat-leaning states have adopted NPV, the campaign has set its sights on Republicans. Thus the group now often argues—at least to Republican legislators and similar audiences—that Republicans would have a better chance of winning the presidency with NPV.
No doubt this was not a major talking point with Democratic state legislators in the largely “blue” states that have joined NPV to date. Many Democrats believe that NPV will shift power to the big cities and thus help their party win the White House. “Abolishing the Electoral College would certainly boost Democrats’ chances of winning the White House,” writes liberal political scientist Lee Drutman in a recent article. NPV’s founder and chairman, John Koza, is a major donor to Democratic candidates and party organizations—he is certainly not trying to help Republicans win elections. Nor is his fellow NPV funder, Jonathan Soros, the son of liberal financier George Soros.
Yet today, NPV’s sales pitch often claims the plan will boost Republicans. For example, a recent op-ed in The Detroit News by Matthew Joyner, “Popular vote would give GOP a better chance” tries to make the case to Michigan legislators for NPV as a boon to Republicans. There’s a lot wrong with the piece, much of which I’ll address in a future post, but for now I’ll simply ask what I hope is rhetorical question: Is it really acceptable and appropriate to make a massive change to the process of electing the president with a primary goal of benefitting either political party?