It never ceases to amaze me how some people — those who oppose making every voter in every state relevant — deny basic facts and political realities.
Opponents of the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact — adopted last year by Colorado's legislature and approved by the governor — continue to claim that the highly populated parts of the country, which also happen to be in deeply Democratic blue states, would negate the votes of everyone else if this bipartisan reform to the way America elects the president is enacted. This false claim has been widely debunked by simple math.
The country’s 20 biggest cities contain only about 10% of the population. This means 90% of the country lives outside the big cities. Put another way, only 18% of voters live in California and New York, The New York Times reported.
Colorado is actually a perfect case in point.
As Politico recently noted, the once highly competitive battleground states of Colorado and Virginia are no longer seen as real swing states in this year’s presidential election, which is more likely to be decided by Arizona and even Georgia.
This could have serious down-ballot consequences for Republicans. That’s because when presidential candidates show up, so do voters.
If the trend proves accurate and, as many analysts expect, Colorado goes for the Democratic presidential nominee, then Republicans, already trailing the number of registered Democrat and unaffiliated voters, will lack the coattails that can make a real difference in congressional, legislative and countywide races.
Just look at California, the state that gave the country Presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan.
It wasn’t that long ago when Republican presidential or gubernatorial candidates won the Golden State. But in the intervening 20 years since Republicans last seriously contested a presidential election, the GOP has all but gone extinct outside of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s fluke tenure as governor.
Another popular — no pun intended — false claim is that the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact unconstitutionally erodes the Electoral College.
The compact fully preserves the Electoral College. Period.
Opponents either know this and knowingly make false claims or they simply can’t read the Constitution, which gives state legislatures the sole authority to select the method of allocating their Electoral College votes. These voices falsely suggest the state-based, winner-take-all method used by most states to allocate presidential electors is the method of the framers. Just as they fail to do basic math, compact opponents fail to get basic history right.
The state-based, winner-take-all-method, which is presently used by Colorado, wasn’t widely in place until the country’s 11th presidential election. Even today, Maine and Nebraska use a different method. Yet, nobody claims that these two states are violating the Constitution or ignoring the Framers.
The fact is, states have used a variety of methods of allocating electors. In fact, Massachusetts has changed methods 11 times since George Washington was elected president. Michigan, by contrast, changed methods three times in less than eight years.
In light of these facts and political realities, it is clear that the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact would make Colorado relevant again.
Reasonable minds may disagree with this assessment, but their disagreement must be based on facts, not false claims. Coloradans deserve an intellectually honest discussion between now and November.
Matt Mackowiak is president of Potomac Strategy Group, LLC. He’s a Republican consultant, a Bush administration and Bush-Cheney re-election campaign veteran and former press secretary to two U.S. senators.