My apologies if it was unclear, I was referring to someone winning the popular vote but losing the election.
No worries, I got to that from the previous sentence about nobody trying serious reforms.
My understanding is the bill was proposing to break down the electoral college from a state level to a district level, is that correct? If so, that would be on the scale level closer to the popular vote than the current system.
That matches my understanding of the bill as expressed through the writings of both opponents and proponents. But I’m not sure it would be “closer” to the “popular vote”.
But what it would have done is to alter the political unit the EC is designed to represent. The EC, as designed represents the states, not the people. This is an important distinction.
The United States, as designed, is a union of mostly sovereign states. It is this union the POTUS is the head of. The POTUS is not a representative of the people, and was never designed to be. Indeed the notion itself is a rather modern creation. Changing that to be a district-level division w/o essentially eliminating states would be rather worse than what we have now — regardless of who is in the White House.
So why calling it “vote-rigging” back then if the very same people now use the popular vote as an argument to delegitimise the 2016 election?
Because it would not have given those people what they wanted: effectively uncontestable control. It is important to note that the Huffington Post is a solid Democrat-bias publication. If the Republicans propose it it will be “rigging”. If the Democrats had, it would not be. At the time, the conventional wisdom was that the Democrats had “the blue wall” which would give them the upper hand in all POTUS elections in the EC.
The Republicans were buying into it as well, and were looking for an opportunity to break it. Clearly they didn’t need a legislative change; something which people who look at historical trends knew. But the EC is only brought as a bad thing up by the losing side as an opportunity to shift blame to something or someone else for their loss. Witness the Democrats doing it in 2000, the Republicans in 2012, the Democrats again in 2017. Notice further how none of them talk about “reforming the EC” when it is on their side. It is the same reason Democrats in California will likely never vote to leave the union or break into smaller states.
If California left the union there go a massive currently blue EC vote, giving Republicans a distinct advantage in the EC, not to mention the so-called “popular vote”. I put it that way because there isn’t really a popular vote. Each state has its own electors so technically every state is actually voting for something different. If anything the general election is technically for a party, not candidate.
Further messing up the design by changing the EC to anything other than state-level considerations would be a larger trainwreck than changing Senators to be popularly elected by the people in the state rather than the state government. If yo ulook at th next four years, and realize the difference between the Senate and the House as designed you’ll see where a strong state representation by the Senate would have prevented much of the populism from infecting the government.
While many claim Trump is moving us toward authoritarianism they ignore the structural design that was aimed squarely at preventing, or a tlest slowing down, that process. Authoritarianism is enabled by a stronger central government, rather than stronger state governments (in relation to each other). Altering the Senate away from state control/representation was a major step in the direction of authoritarianism. Altering the election of the POTUS away from states and to the people would be an even larger mistake.
And yet, in a sense, what the Republicans proposed in 2012 can be rightly called vote-rigging in that it was an attempt to change the rules to be in what the proponents believed to be their favor, just as the Democrats “wanting” to change it to the popular vote would be. That latter bit may require some explanation, so bear with me a moment if you would.
First, let us look critically at when the Democrats want this: when they lose the EC. Thus on this criteria it, like the Republicans, shifts it toward the real of “vote-rigging”. Second, look analytically at the Hillary v. Trump election. I mentioned California earlier. It is important to realize the underlying details of the “popular vote”. Outside of California, Trump “won” it.
In California, Hillary’s margin over Trump eclipsed the “national popular vote” margin. Remove California and the argument that Trump “lost the popular vote” is gone, as he would have had a positive margin of close to two million votes. I believe you can do the same with NY. So essentially the current argument is really “We want to insitutionalize our current Democrat bias in one or two key states to hold more power”.
It could be likened to gerrymandering where you draw lines based on ensuring the areas your side wants to strengthen. Hence, it is really not any different than the recent Republican attempts to move to a district based EC — a form of “vote-rigging” in their favor — they both want to shift things in their favor, and only when they believe the outcome would have been in their favor if it had been done.
And yet, people still wonder why we don’t generally trust or believe them other than when our confirmation bias kicks in because they say something we like or agree with. Despite all the press about how low Trump’s approval ratings appear to be, they are better than Congress’ approval ratings. Congress has had crappy approval ratings for quite some time — under 25% since 2010 IIRC.