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"National Bonus" in the Electoral College

David Barron writes in the Convictions blog on Slate: Obviously, one solution for the future is to scrap the electoral college altogether, something Senator Nelson of Florida proposed today.

But as it happens, I came across this news while reading Arthur Schlesinger s updated version of The Imperial Presidency. There, he sets forth a plan for avoiding such a problem that seems to have been lost to history or at least, came as news to me and that seems preferable to dispensing with the electoral college altogether.

Schlesinger calls it The National Bonus plan. The idea is to keep the electoral college, but then augment it with additional electors for the winner of the popular vote. His proposal was to award a total of 101 bonus electors to the winner of the popular vote, which strikes me as at least 50 too many. After all, if the bonus is too big, the college gets wiped out for all practical purposes; candidates need not really compete very hard outside their natural bases of support. -- Enough With Superdelegates, What About the Electoral College

Comments

The major shortcoming of the current system of electing the President is that presidential candidates have no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize, campaign, or worry about the voter concerns in states where they are safely ahead or hopelessly behind. The reason for this is the winner-take-all rule under which all of a state’s electoral votes are awarded to the candidate who gets the most votes in each separate state. Because of this rule, candidates concentrate their attention on a handful of closely divided “battleground” states. Two-thirds of the visits and money are focused in just six states; 88% on 9 states, and 99% of the money goes to just 16 states. Two-thirds of the states and people are merely spectators to the presidential election.

Another shortcoming of the current system is that a candidate can win the Presidency without winning the most popular votes nationwide.

The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC). The bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes—that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538). When the bill comes into effect, all the electoral votes from those states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

The bill would make every vote politically relevant in a presidential election. It would make every vote equal.

The National Popular Vote bill has been approved by 18 legislative chambers (one house in Colorado, Arkansas, Maine, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and Washington, and two houses in Maryland, Illinois, Hawaii, California, and Vermont). It has been enacted into law in Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, and Maryland. These states have 50 (19%) of the 270 electoral votes needed to bring this legislation into effect.

See http://www.NationalPopularVote.com

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