Ty Cobb: Dumbest vote of the 2009 Legislature
For the Nevada Appeal
In April, the Democrat-dominated Assembly passed a bill that would lend support to the concept that the United States should shift from electing presidents through the Electoral College to a system whereby the victor would be the candidate with the most popular votes. That is a dumb idea and one that is especially pernicious to the state of Nevada.
The proposed shift to a popular vote is being driven by an organization called the “National Popular Vote,” ostensibly bipartisan but heavily Democrat in composition. Not surprising since the Blue party’s strength largely lies in the heavily urban and densely populated enclaves on both coasts. Nevada Democrats were influenced by their national party, which is pushing this “reform” strongly.
We are fortunate the bill died a well-deserved death in the state Senate. If this concept were to pass, the wisdom of the framers of the Constitution, who recognized the need for geographic representation as well as population considerations, would be abandoned. And it would severely impact the importance and influence of the Silver State.
The last three presidential elections have been extraordinarily close, and Nevada’s five Electoral College votes were critical in selecting the chief executive ” particularly in 2004. Given that Nevada became a crucial “swing state,” we received constant and intense attention from the national parties and the candidates.
If the system were changed to a selection by popular vote, Nevada would be nothing more than a “fly over” as the candidates raced from one coast to the other. Would any Nevadan even bother to go to the polls?
Ironically, being a battleground state, Nevada received more attention than California or New York. Think about that. One analysis showed that 98 percent of the presidential ads during the campaign were run in just 15 swing states. And if you are one of the hard-line anti-Yucca folks, do you think that Barack Obama, coming from a state heavily dependent on nuclear energy, would have pledged to stop the repository?
The nation’s founders were not anti-democratic, although they feared “mob rule.” They were not elitist or monarchist, but they understood that the best system respected the voices of individual citizens while preserving the rights of the sovereign states.
The Electoral College is an integral component of the federal system of government established more than 200 years ago. It was a wise decision then, and still is today.
– Tyrus W. Cobb is former special assistant to President Ronald Reagan.