Proposed Changes to the American Democratic System: National Popular Vote

That’s “Democratic” as in “Democracy”, not the political party.

As a systems guy, I tend to look at problems with our Democracy as being natural consequences of the systems where it is embedded. I have come to settle on a few aspects of our system that have outsized influence. These changes are all big. But they aren’t as big or well known as many other focus areas.

The National Popular Vote

This is a very clever constitutional hack.

  1. Your state passes a law which will give their electoral votes to whoever wins the national popular vote. But, it doesn’t actually go into effect! It’s waiting for a trigger.
  2. The trigger is other states, the electoral votes this law represents summed across the country. When the electoral votes represented by these states hits 270, then the law goes into effect in all of them, all at once.
  3. With 270 electoral votes, this bloc of states are the majority. It doesn’t matter if any other states join in, this block collectively controls 270 votes, and gives them to the winner of the national popular vote, enough to win the electoral college and the Presidency.

There is a good deal of bi-partisan movement behind this. What do you think is the pattern of states that have approved it? You’d think it would be the Blue / urban states, which would gain an advantage under then new system. Well, you’d be right! It’s mostly New England and the west coast. However, there is a generous helping of states all over that have passed it through one or both congressional houses.

The movement is further along than you’d think. They are currently at 195 electoral votes, with 75 to go. Admittedly, it gets harder as you go along. But 195 electoral votes is not chump change. This is change that is possible.

One thought on “Proposed Changes to the American Democratic System: National Popular Vote”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *