Group's ad slams McConnell for opposing a change to how presidential races are decided

03/06/2012 06:47 AM

(UPDATED WITH ADDITIONAL VIDEO) A national group that wants the popular vote — not the electoral college — to decide presidential races began airing an ad in Kentucky cable markets targeting U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Senate GOP leader.

The 30-second spot paid for by the group Support Popular Vote urges Kentuckians to “send Mitch a message” because McConnell has opposed the concept of moving to a national popular vote system for the presidential race.

The ad is airing in Time Warner markets across Kentucky. cn|2 is a division of Time Warner.

During a December speech to the Heritage Foundation, McConnell called it “dangerous and absurd” because it could result in triggering an expensive recount across all 50 states if the vote tallies are close, according to MSNBC.

The ad began airing Tuesday — just as state Rep. Ruth Ann Palumbo, D-Lexington, was set to testify in front of a state House committee about her bill that would add Kentucky to the list of eight states and Washington, D.C., that would decide the presidential race by total votes, not electoral college votes.

The popular vote system would prevail once states with at least 270 of the 538 electoral votes sign on.

The Support Popular Vote has attracted bipartisan support. Among its co-chairs are McConnell’s former Republican U.S. Senate colleague Fred Thompson and Chet Culver, the former Democratic governor of Iowa.

It is headed up by Tom Golisano, a New York businessman and former owner of the Buffalo Sabres, who visited Kentucky last spring to meet with Palumbo and others, including Gov. Steve Beshear, to drum up support for the effort.

Golisano and proponents of the movement say a popular vote would force presidential candidates to campaign in more states instead of the dozen or so swing states, such as Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida that have been key battlegrounds in recent presidential races.

In addition, the group points to the four presidential races, in which the candidate with the most total votes across the country failed to win because the electoral college math favored the other candidate.

Golisano said during the interview that there could be three different effects of moving to a popular vote on how campaigns would be run:

About Ryan Alessi

Ryan Alessi joined cn|2 in May 2010 as senior managing editor and host of Pure Politics. He has covered politics for more than 10 years, including 7 years as a reporter for the Lexington Herald-Leader. Follow Ryan on Twitter @cn2Alessi. Ryan can be reached at 502-792-1135 or ryan.alessi@twcnews.com.

Comments

  • oldgulph wrote on March 06, 2012 01:29 PM :

    A survey of Kentucky voters conducted on December 17-18, 2008 showed 80% overall support for a national popular vote for President.
    Support was 88% among Democrats, 71% among Republicans, and 70% among independents.
    By age, support was 81% among 18-29 year olds, 79% among 30-45 year olds, 78% among 46-65 year olds, and 83% for those older than 65.
    By gender, support was 87% among women and 72% among men.

    The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections. No more distorting and divisive red and blue state maps. There would no longer be a handful of ‘battleground’ states where voters and policies are more important than those of the voters in more than 3/4ths of the states that now are just ‘spectators’ and ignored.

    When the bill is enacted by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes– enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538), all the electoral votes from the enacting states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC.

    The bill uses the power given to each state by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution to change how they award their electoral votes for President. Historically, virtually all of the major changes in the method of electing the President, including ending the requirement that only men who owned substantial property could vote and 48 current state-by-state winner-take-all laws, have come about by state legislative action.

    In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided). Support for a national popular vote is strong among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group in virtually every state surveyed in recent polls in closely divided Battleground states: CO – 68%, FL – 78%, IA 75%, MI – 73%, MO – 70%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM– 76%, NC – 74%, OH – 70%, PA – 78%, VA – 74%, and WI – 71%; in Small states (3 to 5 electoral votes): AK – 70%, DC – 76%, DE – 75%, ID – 77%, ME – 77%, MT – 72%, NE 74%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM – 76%, OK – 81%, RI – 74%, SD – 71%, UT – 70%, VT – 75%, WV – 81%, and WY – 69%; in Southern and Border states: AR – 80%,, KY- 80%, MS – 77%, MO – 70%, NC – 74%, OK – 81%, SC – 71%, TN – 83%, VA – 74%, and WV – 81%; and in other states polled: CA – 70%, CT – 74%, MA – 73%, MN – 75%, NY – 79%, OR – 76%, and WA – 77%. Americans believe that the candidate who receives the most votes should win.

    The bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers in 21 small, medium-small, medium, and large states. The bill has been enacted by 9 jurisdictions possessing 132 electoral votes – 49% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.

    NationalPopularVote
    Follow National Popular Vote on Facebook via nationalpopularvoteinc

  • Dee W wrote on March 07, 2012 02:22 AM :

    “Golisano and proponents of the movement say a popular vote would force presidential candidates to campaign in more states instead of the dozen or so swing states, such as Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida that have been key battlegrounds in recent presidential races.”

    No it would not…in fact the whole concept of States would be completely undermined, further eroding another source which keeps the power of the Federal Government in check. A single large city could cancel out Kentucky’s entire voice in a presidential election.

    A Presidential election is not a national election – when you vote in such an election, you are voting in a state election. The right to vote in this election is granted by the state, not the Federal government. The President is elected by the States – hence the whole concept of us being the United STATES.

    “In addition, the group points to the four presidential races, in which the candidate with the most total votes across the country failed to win because the electoral college math favored the other candidate.”

    What does that matter? That’s meaningless statistic – adding up the votes in completely separate elections? Are they serious? So if you took the votes in separate House and Senate elections and added them up across the whole nation and it showed one party or the other getting the most ‘national popular’ votes, do these people believe that control of Congress should be decided by this rather than how the people in the individual states voted? This is ridiculous!

    People behind such movements either don’t understand basic civics, or are being deceptive.

  • Dee W wrote on March 07, 2012 11:36 AM :

    “Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections. No more distorting and divisive red and blue state maps. There would no longer be a handful of ‘battleground’ states where voters and policies are more important than those of the voters in more than 3/4ths of the states that now are just ‘spectators’ and ignored.”

    This is not even close to being true. The votes of the people of the smaller states would be rendered completely irrelevant and would be ignored in favor of pushing voter turnout in large population centers like Los Angeles and New York City. This also ignores the fact that the President is the President of the United STATES – ergo, he is elected by the people as citizens of their STATES. When we vote for President, we are voting in a state election, not a national election. Our right to vote in these elections to choose our slate of electors is a right granted to us by our state legislature. This whole movement completely ignores the very foundations of our system of government.

    “When the bill is enacted by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes– enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538), all the electoral votes from the enacting states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC. The bill uses the power given to each state by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution to change how they award their electoral votes for President.”

    That is not constitutional as this is a pact between states. Moreover, why should the people of other states get to choose how Kentucky’s electors are allocated anymore than they should be able to choose who we elect as our Representatives and Senators? Is that coming next?

  • oldgulph wrote on March 07, 2012 04:06 PM :

    NOW the voters in 19 of the 22 smallest states ARE rendered completely irrelevant and ARE ignored.

    Now presidential elections ignore 12 of the 13 lowest population states (3-4 electoral votes), that are non-competitive in presidential elections. 6 regularly vote Republican (AK, ID, MT, WY, ND, and SD), and 6 regularly vote Democratic (RI, DE, HI, VT, ME, and DC) in presidential elections. Voters in states that are reliably red or blue don’t matter. Candidates ignore those states and the issues they care about most.

    Support for a national popular vote is strong in every smallest state surveyed in recent polls among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group. Support in smaller states (3 to 5 electoral votes): AK 70%, DC -76%, DE —75%, ID -77%, ME – 77%, MT 72%, NE – 74%, NH—69%, NE – 72%, NM – 76%, RI – 74%, SD- 71%, UT- 70%, VT – 75%, WV- 81%, and WY- 69%.

    In the lowest population states, the National Popular Vote bill has passed in nine state legislative chambers, and been enacted by 3 jurisdictions.

    Of the 22 medium-lowest population states (those with 3,4,5, or 6 electoral votes), only 3 have been battleground states in recent elections— NH, NM, and NV. These three states contain only 14 (8%) of the 22 medium-lowest population states’ total 166 electoral votes.

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

    The National Popular Vote bill uses the power given to each state by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution to change how they award their electoral votes for president. Historically, virtually all of the major changes in the method of electing the President, including ending the requirement that only men who owned substantial property could vote and 48 current state-by-state winner-take-all laws, have come about by state legislative action.

    The Founding Fathers left the choice of method for selecting presidential electors exclusively to the states by adopting the language contained 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.”

    Article I-Section 10, Clause 3 of the U.S. Constitution specifically permits states to enter interstate compacts. In fact, there are hundreds of major compacts currently in force (and thousands of minor ones).

    Under National Popular Vote, every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in every presidential election. Every vote would be included in the state counts and national count.

    Among Kentucky voters, there is 80% overall support for a national popular vote for President.

    Most voters don’t care whether their presidential candidate wins or loses in their state . . . they care whether he/she wins the White House. Voters want to know, that even if they were on the losing side, their vote actually was directly and equally counted and mattered to their candidate. Most Americans consider the idea of the candidate with the most popular votes being declared a loser detestable. We don’t allow this in any other election in our representative republic.

  • oldgulph wrote on March 07, 2012 07:34 PM :

    With National Popular Vote, every vote would be equal. Candidates would reallocate the money they raise to no longer ignore more than 2/3rds of the states and voters.

    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 19% of the population of the United States. Suburbs and exurbs often vote Republican.

    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.

    When every vote is equal, everywhere, it makes sense to try and elevate your share where you 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 Kentucky, or for a Republican to try it in Kentucky 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.

    The National Popular Vote bill would not change the need for candidates 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 voters in Ohio.

  • waybert17 wrote on March 12, 2012 12:07 PM :

    The purpose of the “electoral college” was so the candidates for President would have to consider all the states in campaigning. If you go to a popular vote election, in fact, the only states that the candidates will campaign in will be the states with large populations: California, New York, Illinois, Florida, etc. What you should do is reform the “electoral college,” by making the number of electors more equal among all the states. In such a case, it would be more like the US Senate (two senators from each state) regardless of the population of the state.

  • cynthia wrote on March 12, 2012 07:51 PM :

    A way Kentucky could begin to provide for a healthy economy would be by a state owned bank. If one looks at North Dakotas booming state economy and SURPLUS BUDGET and its ability to weather the current economic depression the reason for feat of economic health is their stated owned bank. All profits are RETURNED TO THE PEOPLE OF NORTH DAKOTA…NOT TURNED OVER TO MULTINATIONAL BANKING ABCESSES LIKE BOA citigroup, wells fargo ETC.
    Where are the Kentucky funds (drained from its citizens) stored? What is the rate of return on our investment? Will you ask the incumbents and the proposed newcomers what their position would be? 18 states currently have proposals in front of their senates & representatives mandating a state run bank. Go here for more information:http://wapublicbankproject.org/
    Washington is in the same economically crippled state we are with 9% unemployment and billions being faced as cuts in state budget. They are taking positive steps which force no further cuts to education and social programs and which bring back to their state revenues currently being siphoned off by major financial abcessed corporation.
    Thank you for your consideration.

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