Recently, Nevada’s Senate voted 12-8 to join the National Popular Vote Inter-State Compact (NPVIC), entirely along party lines. However, Governor. Steve Sisolak, a Democrat, submitted a formal veto of the measure on May 30th, 2019. He closed his message with the statement below.
Governor Sisolak addressed an issue which identifies why we have an electoral college in the first place. The big state/small state battle was a matter of heated debate in 1776 and it remains an issue today. In 1787 large states like Virginia and Pennsylvania, where the majority of the population resided, would dominate any national debate. They have more people, therefore they have more representatives and therefore, the opinions and needs of smaller states would not be relevant.
Proponents of the NPVIC say this argument is outdated. However, unless you pave over our farms, ranches and forests with stacked housing, we will always have a diverse population where the needs of the rural and the needs of the urban do not align.
Needs of the Few
Take your typical twenty-two year old Queens, New York native and transport him to a farm in Iowa where a similar twenty-two year old has rebuilt tractors since he was ten years old and protected their chickens from predators with rifles since he was twelve. The Queens native may not have ever driven a vehicle since public transportation is a normal way of life. He probably was trained from a young age that guns are dangerous, should never be held by minors and, if owned, they must be safely encased in so much security so that even the owner might have difficulty accessing them. You can imagine when these two individuals go to the voting booths they have different priorities.
The problem is, there are a whole lot more twenty-two year olds in Queens, New York than there are in rural Iowa. In a national election, big cities and heavily populated states far outnumber the populations that feed them; clothe them; raise, milk and slaughter cows for them; provide the lumber for their homes and furnishing and provide their water. New York City alone has to rely on over 9000 square miles of aqueducts just to extract enough water from rural locations to keep those city dwellers alive.
Imagine the city’s rules applied to that farmer. When a fox enters the hen house, the farmer would need to call animal control and wait for a government employee to humanely ask it to dine elsewhere. The tractor operator, unable to utilize fossil fuels, might have a challenge wiping the dust off of his tractor’s solar panels to enjoy a single pass of his field before having to recharge batteries repeatedly. If it breaks down, a long bicycle ride is in order for the farmer to get to a train station, to get to a dealer, to buy a new, expensive, low power, eco-friendly, replacement. The city dweller’s ideas on how all of America should function disregard the needs of the few who don’t live in steel towers or HOA governed communities.
When you consider the Green New Deal, this ridiculous scenario becomes a distinct possibility. It is, however, a good example of city thinking being federalized due to “democratic” voting without considering the consequences to the very people who make city living survivable.
Isn’t this how federal election should operate though? We are a Democracy aren’t we? No, regardless of how many times that statement is made, America is not, and never has been, a Democracy.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among MenJefferson, T. (1776, July 2). The Declaration of Independence: Full text. Retrieved July 11, 2019, from http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/document/ Emphasis added
We are a Constitutional Republic which elects representative legislators democratically in each state for the federal Congress. Making the claim that America is a Democracy fits easier on a bumper sticker, but that doesn’t make it true. Our founders specifically rejected a truly democratic election for the most powerful single person in our government, the president. Despite the desires of the masses, the government’s role is to protect the rights of the individual even when oppression is popular (a frequent occurrence in world history).
The President is like the captain of a cruise ship. He and his crew are vastly outnumbered by the passengers of his ship. Still, he works to ensure the safety of the vessel, the crew, and the passengers, sometimes in direct conflict with the desires of the masses. Our president is elected by states, not people. Each state is responsible for its own economy, infrastructure, and laws. The electors sent to cast votes for the presidency in each state represent every living soul and every resource in those states, not just passionate voters.
That Which is Popular Equals That Which is Law
That’s a description of popular sovereignty. In American history we have a vivid example of how reason and individual rights can be shunned in favor of collective ideas. At one time, a majority of colonists were taught by the behavior of the known world to accept slavery and it was an entrenched institution. As we expanded the nation, we employed popular sovereignty to let the majority of voters in each new state decide whether or not they wished to deprive innocent individuals of their rights. The needs of the many, outweighed the needs of the few and the people of many states chose to put people in chains for their own gain. The NPFIC is banking on the same flawed design, vast numbers of city dwellers with dreams of majority rule are pressuring state governments to impose their rule on the less populated states and rural communities which keep us all alive.
If the NPFIC were enacted densely populated cities, in only a few states, could potentially control every national election. We would no longer be a nation of united states. We would be controlled only by the whims of popular opinion. The needs and rights of the few would be drowned out by the desires and ignorance of the many. Is that the new American “democracy?”
If you have not done so already, please sign and share this petition to ensure that your votes are not ignored in your state in favor of the winner of a national popular vote.