History: In the 2000 Presidential election, after weeks of a bitterly contested vote count in Florida, The Supreme Court stopped the Florida vote count and gave George W. Bush, Republican, the 29 Florida electoral votes and the Presidency. Al Gore, Democrat, became the 21st Century’s first candidate to win the popular vote and lose the election. In the years that followed, a movement developed to replace the electoral college with the popular vote as the determiner of victory.
The National Popular Vote Bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in the 50 states and D.C. As of 2016, the bill has been enacted into law by eleven states with 165 electoral votes. They are: CA, HI, IL, MA, MD, NJ, NY, RI, VT, WA & D.C. It will take effect when identical laws are enacted by states holding 105 more electoral votes. Both houses of the bicameral bodies must pass the bill into law for this to happen. At present, twelve states have reached passage in one house for 96 electoral votes : AR, AZ, CO, CT, DE, ME, MI, NC, NM, NV, OK, OR.
The time and effort since 2000 have been enormous throughout the United States to achieve the goal. Polls consistently show that over 70 percent of the American people nationwide would prefer the popular vote to the electoral college. One of the main arguments is that during campaigns, candidates only go to “swing states” for rallies and ignore the rest of the country. In addition, millions of dollars are spent on television ads, robo calls and direct maiings that flood the “swing states”. During the 2016 election campaign, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and their surrogates spent almost all their time in: Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Ohio , California, Illinois, Michigan, Iowa , Nevada and New York. The aim was one or more paths to 270 electoral votes to clinch the nomination. Certain states have always been important for their total vote; others like Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada vote early and are seen as bell weather states.
When one considers George W. Bush’s first term as president when the nation was attacked on 9/11 and the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars began, the significance of those years is overwhelming. We know that Vice President Cheney and ‘neocon’ advisors were strongly in favor of the Iraq war although all men in the planes that attacked the World Trade Center and Pentagon were from Saudi Arabia. We still have certain “observers” and “non-combat troops” in both countries as we fight ISIS to reclaim Mosul and other areas in Iraq, and await the yearly influx of Taliban from Pakistan into Afghanistan.
The assessment of the Bush years has been a crucial motivator among the activists who have worked for The Popular Vote Bill throughout the sixteen years. We don’t know what Al Gore would have done, but we do know the Republican party “hawks” were the driving force for our involvement in the two wars in the Middle East and still support that decision.
Hillary Clinton won the popular vote on November 8, 2016. From a 200,000 vote margin, it has now reached over two million votes with absentee and mail-in ballots still coming in from California, Oregon and Washington. There have been angry protest marches across the country since the day Donald Trump was elected. Initially, he tweeted that organizers were behind the hundreds of thousands of mostly young marchers. He reversed this first blast with a more tempered response. A huge protest is planned in D.C. on the day of the inauguration, Friday, January 20. 2017.
We do not know what the next four years will hold for the nation when Trump actually becomes president. We have a very clear picture and record of what he has said and done throughout the sixteen months campaign. It does not engender confidence that our institutions and our diverse peoples will be safe and secure in the years ahead. President Obama has led the nation as always with his calm, steadfast demeanor and words. He met with Trump for an hour and a half in the White House to start the transition. He did comment on Democratic reactions at his press conference in Peru last week , “Give him a chance. I hope they don’t do to him what they did to me.” Thus, evoking the Republican opposition that began the night he was inaugurated in January, 2009 and lasted throughout his eight years.
I hope you decide to join the National Popular Vote movement. Just type the name in Google. Learn about the arguments in favor. It is something very positive we can do as the next months and years enfold under President Donald J. Trump.