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The Anti-College Try

The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact is bad for America, but deadly for the American Southwest.

Caliente, Nevada is quite far from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. So is Blanding, Utah. So is Duncan, Arizona. But 236 years ago, a gathering very distant from what would become the American Southwest produced a set of foundational rules for the U.S. government. We still live under many of those rules — some, in fact, have become sacred principles of the nation’s civic religion.

But others are under attack. One of the most dangerous crusades against the wisdom of the Framers is the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. States that join the agreement consent to award their Electoral College votes “to the candidate who receives the most popular votes across all 50 states and the District of Columbia.”

Sadly, three of the American Southwest’s eight states have fallen prey to the National Popular Vote movement. California (2011), New Mexico (2019), and Colorado (2020) chose to surrender their presidential power. Similar abdications passed one chamber in both Oklahoma (2015) and Arizona (2016). In 2019, the Silver State’s Democratic governor — no, that’s not a misprint — vetoed lawmakers’ attempt to join the compact. (“Once effective, the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact could diminish the role of smaller states like Nevada in national electoral contests and force Nevada’s electors to side with whoever wins the nationwide popular vote, rather than the candidate Nevadans choose. … In cases like this, where Nevada’s interests could diverge from the interests of large states, I will always stand up for Nevada.”)

On Friday, the Institute will host a discussion of the the National Popular Vote movement with Trent England and Sean Parnell. We’ll take a deep dive into the origins of the Electoral College, how it has impacted American history, and the many flaws of making the nation’s choice of president subject to direct democracy.

Whether you live in Caliente or Blanding or Duncan, watch our conversation online, and submit your comments and/or questions in real time.

By D. Dowd Muska

Dowd brings nearly 30 years of research and writing experience to the Institute. A veteran of several think tanks, he is an expert on government at the municipal, county, state, and federal levels.

Raised on an apple orchard in the Connecticut River Valley, D. Dowd Muska is a researcher, writer, editor, and commentator. His focus is the nexus of fiscal policy, economic development, and technology.

Mr. Muska is the author of numerous policy studies, and his writing has appeared in newspapers throughout the nation, including the Las Vegas Review-Journal, The Detroit News, the Orlando Sentinel, the Cape Cod Times, the Santa Fe New Mexican, the Hartford Courant, the Waco Tribune-Herald, the Albuquerque Journal, the New Haven Register, and The Oklahoman. A graduate of The George Washington University, he lives in the Albuquerque metro area, but has started (very) early planning for a relocation to the Sierra Blanca in Lincoln County, New Mexico. He recently launched the Substack platform No Dowd About It.

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