Over the weekend, NewsOK ran an editorial highlighting some of the problems of a proposal to change the way the nation handles the electoral college. Right now, many states have a system in which all its electoral college votes are handed to the winner of the statewide popular presidential vote. A proposal has been circulating, and had two bills introduced in the Oklahoma Legislature this past session, to change that to a system where each state assigns its electors to the winner of the national popular vote. In the editorial, NewsOK states that proposal would further marginalize states like Oklahoma.
The influence of voters in rural states like Oklahoma would be minimized; the clout of voters in some major population centers — and the political machines often associated with those cities — would be enhanced. Based on history, this hardly seems a recipe for good government.
The National Popular Vote plan might remove Oklahoma from the category of states paid little attention to in presidential elections because the outcome is a foregone conclusion. No Democratic nominee since Lyndon Johnson in 1964 has been awarded the state’s Electoral College votes. In theory, the plan would increase interest in Oklahoma as candidates seek to boost their nationwide totals any way they can.
The truth is that yes, Oklahoma would be further marginalized by Presidential candidates in the event of a national popular vote. However, that wouldn’t be changing much from the current situation. As NewsOK states, Oklahoma has been pretty much a Presidential flyover state since the 60s. Continue reading