The Campaign Spot

Help Massachusetts Democrats Do Something Phenomenally Stupid!

As a general rule, I think messing around with the Electoral College is a bad idea. Making the presidential race simply a popular vote ensures that many states, and in fact, vast swaths of the country, will be irrelevant to the contest. The current system, for all of its flaws, requires a candidate to win a somewhat diverse batch of states.

But if you want Republican presidential candidates to have an advantage in the coming cycles, by all means, do what you can to help out this effort in Massachusetts:

The state Legislature is poised to give final approval this week to a new law intended to bypass the Electoral College system and ensure that the winner of the presidential election is determined by the national popular vote.

Both the House and Senate have approved the National Popular Vote bill. Final enactment votes are needed in both chambers, however, before the bill goes to the governor’s desk . . . Governor Deval Patrick’s press office didn’t immediately return a message this morning seeking comment on whether he would sign the bill, if it makes its way to his desk.

Under the proposed law, all 12 of the state’s electoral votes would be awarded to the candidate who receives the most votes nationally.

Despite Scott Brown’s win, Massachusetts remains a heavily Democratic state, particularly in presidential elections. Obama took 62 percent of the vote in 2008; local guy John Kerry won 61.9 percent in 2004; Al Gore won 59.9 percent in 2000; Bill Clinton won 61.5 percent in 1996 and 47.5 percent in 1992 (Perot took 22.7 percent); local guy Michael Dukakis won 53 percent in 1988. The last time a Republican won the state was Reagan in 1984, with 51.2 percent.

Anything is possible, but it is most likely that Massachusetts will be heavily Democratic for quite a while. But it’s not that unthinkable that a Republican will win the popular vote in 2012 or 2016 or 2020 or at some point; under this law, Massachusetts’s 12 electoral votes would go to that Republican candidate, not the Democrat who actually won the most votes in the state.

Beyond that, why would any candidate of either party waste a moment campaigning at all Massachusetts? Better to do your best in the other 49 states. Under this law, candidates wouldn’t even have to pretend to care about winning Massachusetts.

Enacting this law would be one of the most epically self-destructive acts in modern American politics. Go for it, Massachusetts Democrats!

UPDATE: A reader writes in that the legislation would only go into effect once enough states to get 270 electoral votes have enacted similar bills, a point echoed by “The proposal — being pushed in legislatures around the country by an organization called National Popular Vote — wouldn’t take effect until enough states have passed identical legislation.”

The Globe didn’t bother to mention that point.

Most Popular


Angela Rye Knows You’re Racist

The political philosopher Michael Oakeshott said that the “rationalist” is hopelessly lost in ideology, captivated by the world of self-contained coherence he has woven from strands of human experience. He concocts a narrative about narratives, a story about stories, and adheres to the “large outline which ... Read More

What the Viral Border-Patrol Video Leaves Out

In an attempt to justify Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s absurd comparison of American detention facilities to Holocaust-era concentration camps, many figures within the media have shared a viral video clip of a legal hearing in which a Department of Justice attorney debates a panel of judges as to what constitutes ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Pro-Abortion Nonsense from John Irving

The novelist has put up a lot of easy targets in his New York Times op-ed. I am going to take aim at six of his points, starting with his strongest one. First: Irving asserts that abortion was legal in our country from Puritan times until the 1840s, at least before “quickening.” That’s an overstatement. ... Read More
Film & TV

Murder Mystery: An Old Comedy Genre Gets Polished Up

I  like Adam Sandler, and yet you may share the sense of trepidation I get when I see that another of his movies is out. He made some very funny manboy comedies (Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, The Waterboy) followed by some not-so-funny manboy comedies, and when he went dark, in Reign over Me and Funny People, ... Read More