Alan Seabaugh’s Excellent Speech Defending The Electoral College

From yesterday at the Louisiana House of Representatives, just prior to the 65-30 vote to dispatch with extreme prejudice the National Popular Vote Compact in yesterday’s session.

A little history, a lot of common sense and a ton of principle. Rep. Seabaugh (R-Shreveport), who word is will be going after Foster Campbell for a seat on the Public Service Commission in 2014.

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30 thoughts on “Alan Seabaugh’s Excellent Speech Defending The Electoral College

  1. With the current system, Louisiana has no politically relevant voice in presidential elections. Louisiana and policies important to Louisiana are ignored by presidential candidates after the primaries.

    Supporters of National Popular Vote find it hard to believe the Founding Fathers would endorse an electoral system where 9 of the original 13 states are ignored now, among the more than 2/3rds of the states, like Louisiana, and voters that are completely politically irrelevant in presidential elections.

  2. The 2000 election was an artificial crisis created because of Bush's lead of 537 popular votes in Florida. Gore's nationwide lead was 537,179 popular votes (1,000 times larger). Given the miniscule number of votes that are changed by a typical statewide recount (averaging only 274 votes); no one would have requested a recount or disputed the results if the national popular vote had controlled the outcome. No one would have cared that a candidate happened to have a 537-vote margin in Florida.

  3. The main media at the moment, TV, costs much more per impression in big cities than in smaller towns and rural area. Candidates get more bang for the buck in smaller towns and rural areas.

    With National Popular Vote, candidates would need to care about voters across the nation, not just undecided voters in the current handful of swing states.

  4. With National Popular Vote, candidates would reallocate the money they raise to no longer ignore more than 2/3rds of the states and voters, like Louisiana.

    Big cities would not get all of candidates’ attention, or control the outcome.
    The population of the top 5 cities (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and Philadelphia) is only 6% of the population, and the population of the top 50 cities (going as far down as Arlington, TX) is only 19%.
    Suburbs and exurbs often vote Republican.

  5. The current state-by-state winner-take-all system does not protect the two-party system. It simply discriminates against third-party candidates with broad-based support, while rewarding regional third-party candidates. George Wallace got 46 electoral votes with 13% of the votes in 1968, while Ross Perot got 0 electoral votes with 19% of the national popular vote in 1992. The only thing the current system does is to punish candidates whose support is broadly based.

  6. With the current state winner-take-all system of awarding electoral votes, winning a bare plurality of the popular vote in the 11 most populous states, containing 56% of the population, could win the Presidency with a mere 26% of the nation's votes!

    With the current system of electing the President, no state requires that a presidential candidate receive anything more than the most popular votes in order to receive all of the state's electoral votes.

    If an Electoral College type of arrangement were needed to avoid many candidates and people being elected with low percentages, we should see evidence of these conjectured apocalyptic outcomes in elections that do not use such an arrangement. In elections in which the winner is the candidate receiving the most votes throughout the entire jurisdiction served by that office, history shows no massive proliferation of third-party candidates and candidates do not win with small percentages.

    In the 905 elections for governor in the last 60 years, based on statewide popular votes, the winning candidate received more than 50% of the vote in over 91% of the elections. The winning candidate received more than 45% of the vote in 98% of the elections. The winning candidate received more than 40% of the vote in 99% of the elections. No winning candidate received less than 35% of the popular vote.

    Since 1824 there have been 16 presidential elections in which a candidate was elected or reelected without gaining a majority of the popular vote.– including Lincoln (1860), Wilson (1912, and 1916), Truman (1948), Kennedy (1960), Nixon (1968), and Clinton (1992 and 1996).

  7. The National Popular Vote bill preserves the Electoral College and state control of elections. It ensures that the candidate with the most votes wins, as in virtually every other election in the country.

    Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in every election. Every vote would be included in the state counts and national count. The candidate with the most popular votes in the country would get the 270+ electoral votes from the enacting states.

    With National Popular Vote, the United States would still elect the President by a majority of Electoral College votes by states, to represent us and conduct the business of government in the periods between elections.

  8. Prior to arriving at the eventual wording of section 1 of Article II, the Constitutional Convention specifically voted against a number of different methods for selecting the President, including.
    ● having state legislatures choose the President,
    ● having governors choose the President, and.
    ● a national popular vote.
    After these (and other) methods were debated and rejected, the Constitutional Convention decided to leave the entire matter to the states.

    The Founding Fathers in the Constitution did not require states to allow their citizens to vote for president, much less award all their electoral votes based upon the vote of their citizens.

    The presidential election system we have today is not in the Constitution. State-by-state winner-take-all laws to award Electoral College votes, were eventually enacted by states, using their exclusive power to do so, AFTER the Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution.

    Unable to agree on any particular method for selecting presidential electors, the Founding Fathers left the choice of method exclusively to the states in section 1 of Article II of the U.S. Constitution– "Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors…" The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly characterized the authority of the state legislatures over the manner of awarding their electoral votes as "plenary" and "exclusive."

    The constitution does not prohibit any of the methods that were debated and rejected.

    Indeed, a majority of the states appointed their presidential electors using two of the rejected methods in the nation's first presidential election in 1789 (i.e., appointment by the legislature and by the governor and his cabinet). Presidential electors were appointed by state legislatures for almost a century.

    Neither of the two most important features of the current system of electing the President (universal suffrage, and the 48 state winner-take-all method of awarding electoral votes) are in the Constitution. Neither was used by the Founders when they organized the nation's first presidential election in 1789.

    In 1789, the people had no vote for President in most states, only men who owned substantial property could vote, and only 3 states used the state winner-take-all method.

  9. Now more than 2/3rds of the states, like Louisiana, and voters are completely politically irrelevant after the primaries. Presidential campaigns have spent 98% of their resources in just 15 battleground states, where they weren’t hopelessly behind or safely ahead, and could win the bare plurality of the vote to win all of the state’s electoral votes. Over 85 million voters, 200 million Americans are ignored once the primaries are over.

    The precariousness of the current state-by-state winner-take-all system of awarding electoral votes is highlighted by the fact that a shift of a few thousand voters in one or two states would have elected the second-place candidate in 4 of the 13 presidential elections since World War II. Near misses are now frequently common. A shift of 60,000 voters in Ohio in 2004 would have defeated President Bush despite his nationwide lead of over 3 million votes.

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