Chicken Little Thinking: How Much Farther Can The Sky Fall?

by Laura Kirshner // Published July 16, 2007
David Lublin wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post where he jots down a loose laundry list of hypothetical problems with the National Popular Vote plan. In contrast, the problems with the current system are not hypothetical at all.

The division of our country into safe states and battlegrounds locks out more than two-thirds of voters, and the Electoral College is still an accident waiting to happen. It's no wonder more than 70% of Americans are calling for change.

Lublin's anti-NPV remarks have been thoroughly answered time and time again, like Richard Winger does here. I think we should focus on the bigger picture.

Common sense tells us that a popular vote should be a given. There is no reason why the candidate who wins the presidency has fewer votes than another candidate. It just shouldn"t happen.

The NPV bill is the most viable way to give the people what they've wanted for a long time, while keeping the Electoral College intact. It has the potential to succeed, as long as people don"t get caught up in hypothetical technicalities.

Perhaps some are worried because the NPV bill is new. They look to every possible worst-case scenario, most of which are ludicrous.

We have our own chicken little scenarios:

What if every state had a marginally close election, such that, despite a clear winner of the national popular vote by several million votes, every state had to do a recount to award its electoral votes to one candidate or another? Under the NPV bill, even if every state had a close election, the states" electoral votes would go to the NPV winner, thereby eliminating the need for any recounts. Isn"t this far more preferable to what happened in 2000? Or what nearly happened in 2004?

What if we had a national popular vote that had worked for every election in the last 200 years, consistently producing a president who wins the most votes nationwide, and a movement arose to replace it with the current Electoral College system? What if we tried to replace every election for state governor with a mini-Electoral College within each state?

It seems absurd to think that we would give up a popular vote for such an unusual alternative.