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DailyBeast: Can a Republican Win 270 Electoral Votes in 2016...or Ever?

by Myra Adams Aug 18, 2013 4:45 AM EDT

Recently, I attended a political event where about 400 conservative Republicans gathered to hear an impressive parade of conservative congressman, governors, and senators.

As I was chatting with a man in his mid-30s, the conversation turned to the 2016 presidential race. When I asked him who he was supporting as the Republican nominee, his answer was Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul. Then I was prompted to ask the question I ask every Republican after they tell me their preferred candidate: “Do you think Rand Paul can win 270 electoral votes?” The man immediately replied, “I never thought about that.”

For the record, I anonymously submitted that same question to Rand Paul himself at a Washington luncheon this past May. It was selected as the last question by the moderator, and Paul largely deflected it, instead speaking vaguely about the need to attract Democratic voter groups.

More at DailyBeast:
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/08/18/can-a-repub...

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Proportional Allocation versus National Popular Vote

FWIW - I agree with some of the other posters about focusing
on local and state level initiatives over being preoccupied with
the presidency.

Still, there is nothing that binds states to winner-take-all allocation
of their Electoral College votes and IMO there are good reasons to
consider changing to allocating them based on the proportion of
the popular vote each candidate receives.

This is in reply to mvymvy's various arguments against proportional allocation
and for National Popular Vote which are full of unsupported assertions and
outright errors.

So, mvymvy -

For one thing, stating that a non-battleground state will
reduce its influence by unilaterally going to proportional
allocation of EC Electors seems to contradict your assertion
that such states have to influence *now*. How can they
lose something you claim they don't have in the first place?

For another, I don't see you making a compelling case for why
someone winning the presidency with a minority of the popular
vote is necessarily a bad thing. You may have noticed that
it is not (yet) the United "State" of America but a union of states
a number of whom would never have agreed to unite under a
federal system without the protections for small-population states
that the Electoral College system provides.

For yet another, you imply that minority parties gaining enough
votes to deny either major party enough votes to gain an EC majority
is automatically going to be resolved in the House of Representatives
when there is every possibility that the minority party in the House
would be strongly motivated to negotiate with minor parties for their
support in the EC to avoid having the decision go to the House.
This would clearly amount to a step up in the amount of influence
minor parties wield compared to what they do at present - is that somehow
a bad thing?

Your assertion that the 2000 EC vote would have been a 269-269 tie
(under a proportional allocation) does not appear to be correct since
the 4% that Nader got in California would have translated into 2 EC
delegates allocated to the Greens. Additionally, isn't it likely that voter
behavior toward minor parties would change under proportional
allocation?

Under winner take all - either state level or NPV - many people hold their
noses and vote for a major party candidate because anything else is essentially
a protest vote. Under proportional allocation though, 2% of the vote in California
or 3% in Texas is going to translate to an actual EC electoral vote - it would not be
surprising to see the minor party vote to increase under proportional allocation.

Your assertion that there is a three to one population difference between
the largest and smallest of the seven states having only one Representative
in the House is incorrect - the largest population - of Montana (1,005,000)
is less than twice that of the smallest - Wyoming (576,000). In any case all
these low-population states benefit from the current EC system and would
lose influence under NPV...

You also say 75% of Oregonians support NPV - care to elaborate? Were they
offered any other choices besides that and the existing system? Sounds suspiciously
like the 90 percent of Americans supporting universal background checks.

I'd like to see...

...the State legislatures appoint the electors.

"Alas! I believe in the virtue of birds. And it only takes a feather for me to die laughing."

I don't care about presidential elections anymore

our power to make the changes needed to revive our freedom lies in the state legislatures.

Congress, the President, and the U.S. Supreme Court will never reliquish power and will forever rig the system against challengers.

basically, you need a threshold clause at the state level

the legislation would have to be drafted the same way state level NPV legislation (that I disagree with) has been drafted, with the state stating that as soon as x number of states have adopted proportional electoral college representation, then that state will adopt it also. so as soon as the threshold is reached then all of those states go into play at once.

If as many as 48 or 49 states

If as many as 48 or 49 states allocated their electoral votes proportionally, but just one or two large, closely divided battleground winner-take-all states did not, the state(s) continuing to use the winner-take-all system would immediately become the only state(s) that would matter in presidential politics.

Proportional

allotment of its Electoral College votes will put any state in play.

As it is now, Democrats in Oklahoma are ignored just as Republicans
are in New York. If all states allotted their EC electors proportionally the
entire country would have to be engaged, minor parties' significance
would be enhanced and the (reasonable, IMHO) weighting that the EC
system makes in favor of small population states would be retained -
whereas NPV would do just the opposite, as others have pointed out.

And this can be initiated at the state level - it's the sort of thing we should
have started working on about a week after the 2012 election - try to pass
an initiative in 2014 and shake things up a bit in 2016...

Would love to see this in Oregon - which is one place where such an
initiative just might fly.

76% of Oregon Voters Support a National Popular Vote

A survey of Oregon voters showed 76% overall support for a national popular vote for President.

Support was 82% among Democrats, 70% among Republicans, and 72% among independents.

By age, support was 67% among 18-29 year olds, 68% among 30-45 year olds, 82% among 46-65 year olds, and 76% for those older than 65.

By gender, support was 81% among women and 71% among men.

NationalPopularVote

Proportional Method Issues

Any state that enacts the proportional approach on its own would reduce its own influence. This was the most telling argument that caused Colorado voters to agree with Republican Governor Owens and to reject this proposal in November 2004 by a two-to-one margin.

If the proportional approach were implemented by a state, on its own, it would have to allocate its electoral votes in whole numbers. If a current battleground state were to change its winner-take-all statute to a proportional method for awarding electoral votes, presidential candidates would pay less attention to that state because only one electoral vote would probably be at stake in the state.

If states were to ever start adopting the whole-number proportional approach on a piecemeal basis, each additional state adopting the approach would increase the influence of the remaining states and thereby would decrease the incentive of the remaining states to adopt it. Thus, a state-by-state process of adopting the whole-number proportional approach would quickly bring itself to a halt, leaving the states that adopted it with only minimal influence in presidential elections.

The proportional method also could result in third party candidates winning electoral votes that would deny either major party candidate the necessary majority vote of electors and throw the process into Congress to decide.

If the whole-number proportional approach, the only proportional option available to an individual state on its own, had been in use throughout the country in the nation’s closest recent presidential election (2000), it would not have awarded the most electoral votes to the candidate receiving the most popular votes nationwide. Instead, the result would have been a tie of 269–269 in the electoral vote, even though Al Gore led by 537,179 popular votes across the nation. The presidential election would have been thrown into Congress to decide and resulted in the election of the second-place candidate in terms of the national popular vote.

A system in which electoral votes are divided proportionally by state would not accurately reflect the nationwide popular vote and would not make every vote equal.

It would penalize states, such as Montana, that have only one U.S. Representative even though it has almost three times more population than other small states with one congressman. It would penalize fast-growing states that do not receive any increase in their number of electoral votes until after the next federal census. It would penalize states with high voter turnout (e.g., Utah, Oregon).

Moreover, the fractional proportional allocation approach, which would require a constitutional amendment, does not assure election of the winner of the nationwide popular vote. In 2000, for example, it would have resulted in the election of the second-place candidate.

A national popular vote is the way to make every person's vote equal and matter to their candidate because it guarantees that the candidate who gets the most votes in all 50 states and DC becomes President.

One thing about this whole

One thing about this whole argument for NPV all you will do is change where the candidates spend all their effort, it will move to the big cities, the candidates instead of caring about Ohio and Florida will care only about New York city and Los Angelas, and Chicago. The rest of the state won't matter to them. Rural residents will be ignored instead. All you will be doing is changing who gets all the annoying commercials. Personally I live in Ohio and if New York city wants them all the more power to them.

Big City Number Realities

With National Popular Vote, big cities would not get all of candidates’ attention, much less control the outcome.
The population of the top five cities (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and Philadelphia) is only 6% of the population of the United States and the population of the top 50 cities (going as far down as Arlington, TX) is only 15% of the population of the United States.

Suburbs and exurbs often vote Republican.

Any candidate who ignored, for example, the 16% of Americans who live in rural areas in favor of a “big city” approach would not likely win the national popular vote.

If big cities controlled the outcome of elections, the governors and U.S. Senators would be Democratic in virtually every state with a significant city.

A nationwide presidential campaign, with every vote equal, would be run the way presidential candidates campaign to win the electoral votes of closely divided battleground states, such as Ohio and Florida, under the state-by-state winner-take-all methods. The big cities in those battleground states do not receive all the attention, much less control the outcome. Cleveland and Miami do not receive all the attention or control the outcome in Ohio and Florida.

The itineraries of presidential candidates in battleground states (and their allocation of other campaign resources in battleground states) reflect the political reality that every gubernatorial or senatorial candidate knows. When and where every vote is equal, a campaign must be run everywhere.

With National Popular Vote, when every vote is equal, everywhere, it makes sense for presidential candidates to try and elevate their votes where they are and aren't so well liked. But, under the state-by-state winner-take-all laws, it makes no sense for a Democrat to try and do that in Vermont or Wyoming, or for a Republican to try it in Wyoming or Vermont.

Even in California state-wide elections, candidates for governor or U.S. Senate don't campaign just in Los Angeles and San Francisco, and those places don't control the outcome (otherwise California wouldn't have recently had Republican governors Reagan, Dukemejian, Wilson, and Schwarzenegger). A vote in rural Alpine county is just an important as a vote in Los Angeles. If Los Angeles cannot control statewide elections in California, it can hardly control a nationwide election.

In fact, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, and Oakland together cannot control a statewide election in California.

Similarly, Republicans dominate Texas politics without carrying big cities such as Dallas and Houston.

There are numerous other examples of Republicans who won races for governor and U.S. Senator in other states that have big cities (e.g., New York, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts) without ever carrying the big cities of their respective states.

With a national popular vote, every vote everywhere will be equally important politically. There will be nothing special about a vote cast in a big city or big state. When every vote is equal, candidates of both parties will seek out voters in small, medium, and large towns throughout the states in order to win. A vote cast in a big city or state will be equal to a vote cast in a small state, town, or rural area.

Candidates would need to build a winning coalition across demographics. Candidates would have to appeal to a broad range of demographics, and perhaps even more so, because the election wouldn’t be capable of coming down to just one demographic, such as waitress mom voters in Ohio.

Swing States Get Higher Policy Priority

Policies important to the citizens of non-battleground states are not as highly prioritized as policies important to the handful of ‘battleground’ states when it comes to governing.

Charlie Cook reported in 2004:
“Senior Bush campaign strategist Matthew Dowd pointed out yesterday that the Bush campaign hadn’t taken a national poll in almost two years; instead, it has been polling [in the then] 18 battleground states.” [only 10 in 2012]

In apportionment of federal grants by the executive branch, swing states received about 7.6% more federal grants and about 5.7% more federal grant money between 1992 and 2008 than would be expected based on patterns in other states.

During the course of campaigns, candidates are educated and campaign about the local, regional, and state issues most important to the handful of battleground states they need to win. They take this knowledge and prioritization with them once they are elected. Candidates need to be educated and care about all of our states.

Compare the response to hurricane Katrina (in Louisiana, a "safe" state) to the federal response to hurricanes in Florida (a "swing" state) under Presidents of both parties. President Obama took more interest in the BP oil spill, once it reached Florida's shores, after it had first reached Louisiana. Some pandering policy examples include ethanol subsidies, Steel Tariffs, and Medicare Part D. Policies not given priority, include those most important to non-battleground states - like water issues in the west, and Pacific Rim trade issues.

“Maybe it is just a coincidence that most of the battleground states decided by razor-thin margins in 2008 have been blessed with a No Child Left Behind exemption. “ – Wall Street Journal , June 5, 2012

As of June 7, 2012 “Six current heavily traveled Cabinet members, have made more than 85 trips this year to electoral battlegrounds such as Colorado, Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania, according to a POLITICO review of public speeches and news clippings. Those swing-state visits represent roughly half of all travel for those six Cabinet officials this year.”

99% of Campaign Attention was to Only 10 States in 2012

The indefensible reality is that more than 99% of campaign attention was showered on voters in just ten states in 2012- and that in today's political climate, the swing states have become increasingly fewer and fixed.

Even in the recent handful of states where a presidential vote matters to the candidates, the value of a vote is different.

Where you live should not determine how much, if at all, your vote matters.

The current state-by-state winner-take-all method of awarding electoral votes (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but since enacted by 48 states), ensures that the candidates, after the conventions, will not reach out to about 80% of the states and their voters. Candidates have no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize, campaign, or care about the voter concerns in the dozens of states where they are safely ahead or hopelessly behind.

Presidential candidates concentrate their attention on only a handful of closely divided "battleground" states and their voters. There is no incentive for them to bother to care about the majority of states where they are hopelessly behind or safely ahead to win. 10 of the original 13 states are ignored now. Four out of five Americans were ignored in the 2012 presidential election. After being nominated, Obama visited just eight closely divided battleground states, and Romney visited only 10. These 10 states accounted for 98% of the $940 million spent on campaign advertising. They decided the election. None of the 10 most rural states mattered, as usual. About 80% of the country was ignored --including 19 of the 22 lowest population and medium-small states, and 17 medium and big states like CA, GA, NY, and TX. It was more obscene than the 2008 campaign, when candidates concentrated over 2/3rds of their campaign events and ad money in just 6 states, and 98% in just 15 states. Over half (57%) of the events were in just 4 states (OH, FL, PA, and VA). In 2004, candidates concentrated over 2/3rds of their money and campaign visits in 5 states; over 80% in 9 states; and over 99% of their money in 16 states.

80% of the states and people have been merely spectators to presidential elections. They have no influence. That's more than 85 million voters, 200 million Americans, ignored. When and where voters are ignored, then so are the issues they care about most.

The number and population of battleground states is shrinking.

Now Rural Residents are Ignored

None of the 10 most rural states (VT, ME, WV, MS, SD, AR, MT, ND, AL, and KY) is a battleground state.
The current state-by-state winner-take-all method of awarding electoral votes does not enhance the influence of rural states, because the most rural states are not battleground states, and they are ignored. When and where voters are ignored, then so are the issues they care about most.

Support for a national popular vote in rural states: VT–75%, ME–77%, WV–81%, MS–77%, SD–75%, AR–80%, MT–72%, KY–80%, NH–69%, IA–75%,SC–71%, NC–74%, TN–83%, WY–69%, OK–81%, AK–70%, ID–77%, WI–71%, MO–70%, and NE–74%.

NationalPopularVote

The Answer Is Yes

Rand can get the vote of neo-cons, as noted in your post. He has a strong base of support among liberty and tea-party Republicans. And he has already earned the support of many free-speech/privacy/anti-war Democrats. So yes, Rand can easily win 270 electoral votes.

If you pair him up with a woman, like Sarah Palin, it will negate Hillary's gender(?) advantage. I think a Paul/Palin ticket would win in a landslide.

And...

...if Rand doesn't do as he's told they'll kill him so Palin, who WILL play ball, will take over. Rand needs a running mate that scares them as much as he does. Napolitano, perhaps?

Work for pay, pay for freedom
Fuck 'em all, we don't need 'em

The only way for Rand Paul to

The only way for Rand Paul to not have the election stolen by rigged machines, is to win by a landslide. Can he win by a landslide when Hillary is promising free stuff, and he is preaching about personal responsibility?

Definitely, after the

Definitely, after the economic collapes.

Nobody ever WINS electoral votes

They are stolen through voter fraud, electronic voting machine manipulation and corrupt political parties. Most people just haven't woken up to the game of "Ballot Box Bingo" yet. It's just a game. It's just a scam. Most politicians are preselected long before any votes are pretended to be cast. The best way to win is to NOT play the game.

To the voting cattle still among us: http://bit.ly/WXn2Hw

“Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.”― Henry David Thoreau

The voice of defeatism and surrender speaks thusly...

....you're already a corpse, go find a grave already and leave us alone.

"Alas! I believe in the virtue of birds. And it only takes a feather for me to die laughing."

Not playing the game is not

Not playing the game is not an option though, if you consider that for every intellectual person that chooses not to vote, some idiots vote carries twice the weight.

If ignorance is bliss, Washington DC must be heaven.

Sorry sport

I doubt that even 10% of the American population would be remotely considered intellectual. It's all an illusion that we actually have any choice. It's a rigged game, a dog and pony show from start to finish. They trot out and recycle the same bunch of criminals every election. Anyone even close to being any good is ignored, slandered and demonized (read Ron Paul). Exactly what planet have you been living on?

I've been around for over 66 years now. The agenda never changes no matter who gets into office. Just a little more totalitarian creep each year until their end game is reached. The system must totally crash and burn. The old system cannot be redeemed or changed for the better... And I'm an optimist.

“Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.”― Henry David Thoreau

Exactly - that's why the

Exactly - that's why the entire 10% need to turn out. Flood the system with credible, intelligent, and caring people. The ignorant will become educated and the deceptive will have no choice but to cease the lies and propaganda for fear of showing their true colors. If RP's waive of support had started just a month sooner, if people understood what they do now, then, things would have been different. I don't want to make the same mistake again. The people that sit on their hands are no better than the ones that have caused the whole mess we're in. "The obedient must be slaves"...don't just give up.

If ignorance is bliss, Washington DC must be heaven.

By God!

That's it! Why didn't I think of that magical trick? Let's see, we overwhelm 90% of the ignorant population with our entire 10% of intellectuals. This will shock the brain dead into believing that they will have no other choice but to cease the lies and propaganda, etc. Pure genius!

Thanks for the pep talk, Zippy! I'm okay now. I must have been drinking too much fluoride. I have to stop using my head for something other than a hat rack.

P.S.: I think that I just threw up in the back of my throat a little.

“Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.”― Henry David Thoreau

Or you can be sarcastic.

Or you can be sarcastic. Everyone knows that get's a whole lot done too. But you're 66 so you know and have thought of everything. Hell, I bet you've changed a lot of things with that great attitude!

P.S. slowing down on the blue agave should help with that.

If ignorance is bliss, Washington DC must be heaven.

Not trying to be sarcastic

Sometimes when someone hears their own ideas repeated back to them, they don't sound so great. I was just being a sounding board. Sorry that you were offended. I may not change a lot with my attitude. But I know for a fact that nothing will ever change by voting.

Things will change when people wake up from their illusions and simply disobey and stop cooperating with government thugs. Treat them like the parasites and criminals that that they are.

By the way, Zippy. I've been tossed in jail and beat up by cops at least a half dozen times trying to change things. I worked tirelessly and contributed every bit of my spare time and money to both 2008 and 2012 Ron Paul campaigns. I've defied the I R S for the past 20+ years and won. But no matter what I ever did, it didn't change a thing in the end.

The change begins from within: “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Mahatma Gandhi

And, you know what there, sport? Anything worthwhile that I have ever accomplished in my life was based SOLELY on my attitude.

“Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.”― Henry David Thoreau

You weren't just repeating my

You weren't just repeating my ideas back to me, you were adding your own degrading spin to it as well. And yes, I'm pretty sure you had a dash of sarcasm in there as well, ex: "pure genius!", "Zippy", "magical trick"...pretty much the whole thing.

"Things will change when people wake up from their illusions and simply disobey and stop cooperating with government thugs. Treat them like the parasites and criminals that that they are."
-i can completely agree with the first sentence, but the second I have issues with.

Lots of things have changed. It's taken a while for the USA to degrade to this point, it's not going to fix itself overnight. Sounds like you use to be a fighter...but have since given up.

You quote Gandhi on one hand and on the other imply it's useless to do/try anything. How can you be the change you want to see and not do anything?

If ignorance is bliss, Washington DC must be heaven.

This is why we can not give up

promoting sound money, values, and consistency.

I have been on a band-wagon lately trying to get this point across. No matter who wins president, it will not matter if the house, senate, and people across America continue to cling to the things that have been and continue to destroy our Republic.

The intellectual battle does not happen overnight. Elections were yesterday, elections are tomorrow, all in a fleeting moment.

We have let our guards down and not doing what we are supposed to do. tptb count on that, time and time again.

Remember how everybody felt prior to primaries? This is how we must be every single day.

"What if the American people learn the truth" - Ron Paul

I thought so, too

As the Fly Lady would say, "This mess didn't happen in one day, and it won't get cleaned up in one day, either." Basically, it takes time to undo damage and clean up messes that have been developing for decades. The message of liberty is definitely strong enough to survive the long fight, if only we don't give up on it, and work with our children so they become future principled citizens.

"Moderation in temper is always a virtue; but moderation in principle is always a vice." -- Thomas Paine

Stopped reading at:

"My suggestion would be to dump the entire Electoral College system and elect the president through direct “popular” vote."

abolishing electoral college = bad idea = direct democracy

although...the electoral college has seemed a bit useless the past few elections.

If ignorance is bliss, Washington DC must be heaven.

With NPV, Every Vote Would Count and Matter for Every Candidate

The Electoral College is now the set of 538 dedicated party activists who vote as rubberstamps for their party’s presidential candidate. That is not what the Founders intended.

During the course of campaigns, candidates are educated and campaign about the local, regional, and state issues most important to the handful of battleground states they need to win. They take this knowledge and prioritization with them once they are elected. Candidates need to be educated and care about all of our states.

The current state-by-state winner-take-all method of awarding electoral votes (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but since enacted by 48 states), under which all of a state's electoral votes are awarded to the candidate who gets the most votes in each separate state, ensures that the candidates, after the conventions, in 2012 did not reach out to about 80% of the states and their voters. 10 of the original 13 states are ignored now. Candidates had no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize, campaign, or care about the voter concerns in the dozens of states where they were safely ahead or hopelessly behind.

80% of the states and people were just spectators to the presidential election. That's more than 85 million voters, 200 million Americans.

Since World War II, a shift of a few thousand votes in one or two states would have elected the second-place candidate in 4 of the 15 presidential elections. 537 popular votes won Florida and the White House for Bush in 2000 despite Gore's lead of 537,179 (1,000 times more) popular votes nationwide. A shift of 60,000 voters in Ohio in 2004 would have defeated President Bush despite his nationwide lead of over 3 million votes.

States have the responsibility and power to make all of their voters relevant in every presidential election and beyond.

Policies important to the citizens of non-battleground states are not as highly prioritized as policies important to ‘battleground’ states when it comes to governing.