Wednesday, September 17, 2008

7 Weeks From Election

There is some buzz that Obama and the Dems are losing their mojo, and that the Republicans are going to surprise in November. I see no evidence to convince me of that. The Palin pick and the RNC Convention brought a lot of energy to Republicans, but it appears that the excitement was just short lived.

The poll numbers have steadily been moving back to Obama. There are three main reasons - (1) Americans are recognizing that Palin, the packaged product is not as advertised. She is not the great reformer who stopped earmarks and saved Alaska. (2) Both McCain and Palin have been lying constantly about everything from inventing BlackBerries, to supporting the Bridge to Nowhere, to Obama's record. But most importan, is (3) the Republicans and the ideology of unregulated markets has destroyed the American financial system. This, in turn, is destroying the economy. People may not understand the intricacies but they can smell out a rat. McCain has been responsible to eliminating regulatory safeguards over the past three decades, but he thinks the fundamentals of the economy are fine. Americans know better.

I'm going to take a first crack at the outcome of the election. I'll try to update it each week. I believe the national popular vote totals will show a 4% margin of victory for Obama. This takes into account the millions of newly registered voters who are supporting Obama and the hundreds of thousands of Americans who say they will vote for Obama, but won't vote for him simply because he is Black (to think there is no hidden racism in the country is to be naive).

Most people know that the President is not elected by popular vote, it is the Electoral College that determines the President. The EC essentially requires presidential candidates to win enough states to become elected. Contrary to what folks are saying right now, I don't think this will even be close. I am going to guess that Obama will get 302 EC votes to McCain's 236. Obama will get most of the Democratic states, but he is going to turn Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, Indiana, and Virginia blue (I am least confident about Indiana). I'm going to leave Ohio and Florida to McCain for now, but even those states are in play - especially Ohio. I am inclined to move Ohio to Obama, but will wait for another week or two to pass to see what happens.

In Congress, the Dems will net out at least another 12 seats in the House, and at least 4 seats in the Senate. This will be a major victory for Dems, and it will be a result of the utter disgust with George W. Bush.


mvymvy said...

To make every vote in every state politically relevant and equal in future presidential elections, support the National Popular Vote bill.

The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC). The bill would take effect only when enacted by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes (270 of 538). When the bill comes into effect, all the electoral votes from those states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

The National Popular Vote bill has been approved by 21 legislative chambers (one house in CO, AR, ME, NC, and WA, and two houses in MD, IL, HI, CA, MA, NJ, RI, and VT). It has been enacted into law in Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, and Maryland. These states have 50 (19%) of the 270 electoral votes needed to bring this legislation into effect.



Rob said...

You people should quit shilling your nonsense here. The National Popular Vote nonsense will never become law because it requires a Constitutional Amendment that will NEVER, EVER pass.

All that would happen if it did somehow pass is that candidates would only campaign in large cities. It would turn "battleground states" into even more narrow "battleground cities."

mvymvy said...

There is nothing in the U.S. Constitution that needs to be changed in order to have a national popular vote for President. The winner-take-all rule (awarding all of a state's electoral votes to the candidate who gets the most votes inside the state) is not in the U.S. Constitution. It is strictly a matter of state law. The winner-take-all rule was not the choice of the Founding Fathers, as indicated by the fact that the winner-take-all rule was used by only 3 states in the nation's first presidential election in 1789. The fact that Maine and Nebraska currently award electoral votes by congressional district is another reminder that the Constitution left the matter of awarding electoral votes to the states. All the U.S. Constitution says is "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 states over the manner of awarding their electoral votes as "plenary" and "exclusive." A federal constitutional amendment is not needed to change state laws.


mvymvy said...

The "normal way" of changing the method of electing the President is not a federal constitutional amendment, but changes in state law. The U.S. Constitution gives "exclusive" and "plenary" control to the states over the appointment of presidential electors.

Historically, virtually all of the previous major changes in the method of electing the President have come about by state legislative action. For example, the people had no vote for President in most states in the nation's first election in 1789. However, nowadays, as a result of changes in the state laws governing the appointment of presidential electors, the people have the right to vote for presidential electors in 100% of the states.

In 1789, only 3 states used the winner-take-all rule (awarding all of a state's electoral vote to the candidate who gets the most votes in the state). However, as a result of changes in state laws, the winner-take-all rule is now currently used by 48 of the 50 states.

In other words, neither of the two most important features of the current system of electing the President (namely, that the voters may vote and the winner-take-all rule) are in the U.S. Constitution. Neither was the choice of the Founders when they went back to their states to organize the nation's first presidential election.

In 1789, it was necessary to own a substantial amount of property in order to vote; however, as a result of changes in state laws, there are now no property requirements for voting in any state .

The "normal process" of effecting change in the method of electing the President is specified the U.S. Constitution, namely action by the state legislatures. This is how the current system was created, and this is the built-in method that the Constitution provides for making changes. The abnormal process is to go outside the Constitution, and amend it.

What the current U.S. Constitution says is "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."

mvymvy said...

Evidence of the way a nationwide presidential campaign would be run comes from the way that national advertisers conduct nationwide sales campaigns. National advertisers seek out customers in small, medium, and large towns of every small, medium, and large state. National advertisers do not advertise only in big cities. Instead, they go after every single possible customer, regardless of where the customer is located. National advertisers do not write off Indiana or Illinois merely because a competitor has a 8% lead in sales in those states. And, a national advertiser with an 8%-edge over its competitor does not stop trying to make additional sales in Indiana or Illinois.

Although no one can predict exactly how a presidential campaign would be run if every vote were equal throughout the United States, it is clear that candidates could not ignore voters in any part of any state.

Rob said...

Look, there is no way in the world that all of the states are going to subdivide their EC votes.

Frankly, I don't even understand the logic behind pushing for a National Popular Vote bill. You point out that this is a states issue, so why the federal law?

On a practical basis, because some states may choose to split their EC votes and others won't, it would require a Constitutional Amendment to force states to do so. THAT IS THE ONLY WAY THIS WOULD EVER BECOME THE LAW OF THE LAND. There is no way that would pass.

If you are crying about the fact that candidates focus on a few key battleground states, if your positon somehow became law, all that would happen is that there would be an even greater focus on the just the 10 largest cities. There are 25 million Americans who live in those cities (this does not include the millions more who live in their suburbs).

If you consider that there are more voters in these 10 cities and their suburbs than the combined total population of about 25 states, that means that there would be little to no focus on these smaller states. How or why would any candidate bother spending money to compete there when you can get more bang for your buck by just focusing on 10 cities?

Your argument makes no intellectual sense in my opinion. It only makes sense if you want to narrow the focus of candidates o just the most populous cities.

Rob said...

Using national advertisers as an example is ridiculous. Campaigns have limited resources to convince voters over a short period of time. That said, they are going to go where they can impact the most voters.

When Coke runs an ad campaign it is not simply to get buyers to purchase on one day in November. They run the ads to increase sales, but also for the longer-term purpose of building their brand image.

Beyond seeing some ads on cable news, voters in Idaho, Hawaii, Alaska, Delaware, the Dakotas, Montana, Wyoming, and a whole host of other states would never, ever see a candidate. But the people of New York City, L.A., Chicago, Houston, Phoenix, Philly, and about 15 other cities would see the candidates all the time.