Why I Call Myself Conservative

As an author at Wizbang, I am sure that many of the far left would lump me together with “those conservative bastards” that are the focus of their never ending scorn using no other logic than guilt by association.  Now in truth I do call myself a conservative but I do so despite the fact that I hold many views that would indeed find me the target of those on the right, not the left.  The libertarian streak runs strong in me.

I’m not a religious person.  Some of my favorite RUSH lyrics come from the song Freewill: “You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice.  If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.  You can choose from phantom fears and kindness that can kill; I will choose a path that’s clear.  I will choose freewill.”  That’s not exactly the expected viewpoint of a so-called conservative.  And actually even that quote doesn’t truly represent my views on religion.  The more honest assessment is that I don’t think about religion much at all and haven’t throughout my life.  Shocking, I am sure, to some readers here.

I could go on to list views on abortion, the war on drugs, same-sex marriage, and a variety of other topics that would clearly mark me as a man in the middle, not right-wing.  Yet if you ask me to self identify, I will readily declare that I am conservative.  Why?  There are several reasons but the one I want to focus on here is simple: rules.  Without rules, we have anarchy.  People came together to form societies based on self-preservation–it’s the basis of the fundamental social contract.  Any good society should have means by which rules can be changed but those means have to be measured.  Recently, I’ve seen way too many examples of people not understanding this basic concept.

Recently, Harry Reid triggered the nuclear option to change the Senate rules and end repeat filibusters.  No one expected him to vary from traditional Senate protocols for such an issue.  As expected, Republicans have vowed retaliation.  The only good thing that can come of this is perhaps some short-term gridlock in the Senate.  The most striking thing is that such a severe tactic was used for such a minor issue.  The precedence it sets is worrisome and reveal Reid’s actions as short-sighted.  Given the numbers advantage in the upcoming election it is very likely for the Senate to fall under Republican control.  If the Republicans use similar tactics as Reid, well, down that path lies chaos.

Also in the news of late is a radical plan by Republicans in Pennsylvania to game the way electoral votes are counted in a way to ensure that Obama cannot win the state in the upcoming election.  Hyper-partisan people tout these plans as ‘genius’ when they are anything but.  Of course this isn’t a new concept.  There’s a long-standing, and equally foolish, movement to base the presidential election on popular vote and recently California joined the insanity.  There are very good reasons the electoral college works the way it does.  While I could even entertain thinking about changes they would have to be well-justified.  Most importantly the reasoning of “because I can guarantee that my team wins” is a piss poor justification.

The examples don’t end there.  In Wisconsin, Democrats have started yet another recall push, this time against Governor Walker.  This recall madness is especially dangerous.  In American transition of power after regularly scheduled elections has happened with consistency and remarkably little violence or disruption.  Discounting elections and pushing for recalls as soon as one side wins an election damages the system.  It is akin to the ridiculous attempts to impeach presidents for minor technicalities or, in some cases, pure fantasy.  It started with Clinton; retaliation led people to suggest it for both Bush and Obama.  Enough.

The common theme here is that the people trying to game the system or change the rules have very little interest in seeing the rules improved.  What they want is an advantage for ‘their side’ without thinking about the consequences.  It is one of the main reasons I hate legislating from the bench.  By very definition lawyers on either side of a suit are trying to win for their side, by any logical argument and in many cases logic is stretched to the point of breaking.  While an effective way to win a case, it isn’t a good basis for determining a fair set of societal rules.

There will always be those that don’t like that there are rules to society, that dream of anarchy.  While you might want to call them crazy for such views don’t fall into the trap of mistaking insanity for stupidity.  Many such people are highly intelligent and motivated.  They see any discord as a possibility.  When unjust war was a big issue (you know, back when the president was a Republican) anarchists saw the opportunity and helped organize ‘peace protests’ nationally.  You can see it again with all these ‘occupy whatever’ protests.  It doesn’t matter what the goals were of the original protestors, if that was even definable.  It’s an opportunity for chaos and for some chaos is the end goal.

To ward off the inevitable comments, I’m not for a police state.  Far from it–I am a strong supporter of personal liberty and personal responsibility.  But all these recent signs I see of people willing to do anything to win one for their team and the consequences be damned is alarming.  And with the election season just heating up, I fear how far it will all go.

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Posted by on October 11, 2011.
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  • Anonymous

    Given the current occupant of the White House, and his previous actions on the campaign trail, this might well go down as one of the dirtiest elections in our nations history.  But that figures.  Everything Barry has done to date has been “historic”.

  • http://ethnografix.blogspot.com/ ryan a

    ” But all these recent signs I see of people willing to do anything to
    win one for their team and the consequences be damned is alarming.  And
    with the election season just heating up, I fear how far it will all go.”

    Dan, you are right on the money.  And we have ideologues on all sides who could care less what happens to the “other” side.  This is not a good situation, since it leads to the equivalent of scorched earth politics where people do anything and everything to win.  But what does winning look like when things come to this?  Many people forget that the people on the other side of the aisle are also Americans.

    • http://www.rustedsky.net Anonymous

      “But what does winning look like when things come to this?”

      I think we’re starting to see it.  A static depressed economy, a balkanization of the political scene, a population that’s getting conditioned to knee-jerk reactions when political topics are discussed…

      At best, we could have our pols wake up and go “WTF are we doing?”… and then start damping down the rhetoric.  As you point out, we’re all Americans – but they’ve been trying hard to separate out interest groups for advantage.  And that may get short-term advantage but is poisonous long-term.

      At the very worst, you end up with a Hutu-Tutsi style genocide ala Rwanda.  No appreciable differences between the two cultures, but in the end it was all about power… and what needed to be done to get it.

      We got trouble – and the politicians don’t see it.

      • http://ethnografix.blogspot.com/ ryan a

        “At best, we could have our pols wake up and go “WTF are we doing?”… and then start damping down the rhetoric.”

        Agreed.  I think a lot of people on all sides need to start seriously rethinking WTF we’re doing and where this is leading us. 

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_G7YIUZMXOD5JGZZTCYMVA75KFU Shadow

      Actually I don’t care what happens to the other (liberal) side. It is my opinion most politicians on the left and some on the right belong in a jail cell.  I do care what happens to America and the right side.  If we are dishonest in our endeavors to win elections and save the country we have become what we are fighting.  Conservatives stand for patriotism, smaller government, truth, and responsibility.  We can stand up to corruption and slander by responding loudly with the truth if we elect true conservatives and stop expecting RHINOS to do it for us.

      • http://ethnografix.blogspot.com/ ryan a

        “Actually I don’t care what happens to the other (liberal) side.”

        Then you’re part of the problem. So, you’re saying that you could care less what happens to people who don’t share your political views?  Really?  How is THIS in any way democratic or responsible?  Sounds like all you want is for your side to “win”, and to hell with everyone else who thinks differently.  Do you really think that all of that business about “freedom” and “liberty” was put into our founding documents so that we can create a state in which the only ones we really give a damn about are the people we agree with?  Seriously.  You might want to rethink where this leads.

        “I do care what happens to America and the right side.”

        News flash: America includes more than just YOUR side.  The rights, freedoms, and liberties are not just for people who agree with you, but also for those who don’t.  There are some pretty powerful reasons why maintaining this system–despite disagreements–is extremely important.

        “Conservatives stand for patriotism, smaller government, truth, and responsibility.”

        Conservatives also stand for supporting the Bill of Rights and the Constitution, no?  If so, this means that they also stand for the rights and freedoms of others, despite political differences.  This is the whole basis of our system.

        • http://www.rustedsky.net Anonymous

          The question them becomes which came first, the chicken or the egg?  If conservative pols get more grabby because they see liberal pols using a scorched earth policy, trying to shut THEM out (for only the best of reasons, of course…)  you’ve got wonder if they think that by doing what they’re doing they’re acting in the best interests of the country… or of their particular party.

          If party is more important than country – they need to get booted out of office and NEVER allowed back in.

          But again, it’s possible to sincerely convince yourself that what you’re doing IS in the best interest of the country, BECAUSE it’s in the best interests of your particular party.  (Of course, results don’t matter if the intentions are good…)

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Don-Lond/100000950693221 Don Lond

      Yeah, but don’t confuse principle with ideology. Folks in the middle usually refuse to stand for very much.

  • jim_m

    Part of the problem is that a significant portion of the left no longer believes in democracy.  When you see them chanting “This is what democracy looks like” as they shout someone down or they try to take over the capitol of Wisconsin, they are showing that they no longer understand what democracy is. 

    When their leaders are saying that the political battle doesn’t end  “Until we win”, it shows a fundamental lack of understanding what a representative democracy is and an unwillingness to abide by those rules.

    That’s not all of the left, but it is a significant portion of it and it is the most vocal and powerful part of it.  When one of the parties has seemingly abandoned any interest in fully participating in democracy unless they are granted permanent majority status you no longer have a stable government, you live perpetually on the brink of despotism.

    • http://www.rustedsky.net Anonymous

      “you live perpetually on the brink of despotism.”

      More like the brink of catastrophe.  A despot, in situations like that, might be a ‘better case’ scenario. 

      It’s all about the win, and what’s needed to get there for them.  AFTER the win doesn’t matter. If they’re on the top of a pile of political and economic wreckage, they don’t care – it’s still a win.

  • herddog505

    While I don’t like the “anything to win” aspect of politics, I’m not worried about it because it’s been going on since AT LEAST 1787.  Even Washington had his troubles: I recall reading that, the one time he went down to Congress to consult on some legislation, he was so disgusted by the grasping, petty, avaricious, selfish, profound stupidity that he witnessed there that he vowed that he’d be damned if he’d ever go back. 

    Further, most Americans are smart enough to recognize political rhetoric and propaganda for what they are; we’re used to it.  Finally, the genius of our constitutional system is that we have plenty of opportunities to avoid and correct foul-ups if people ARE suckered into electing the wrong man. 

    Here in No. Carolina, we have something of a rep for mudslinging politics.  Every few years, people have a handwringing festival about it, bewailing the fact that Tarheel politics ain’t genteel.  Doesn’t stop the politicians, however.  And why should it?  If we assume that politicians are not solely self-interested, that they really want to do this or that for their constituents (who may NOT be the “people”!) and that they really, passionately believe that their policies are best and that they other guy’s are disastrous, then it makes sense to do whatever they can to win.  Pick a policy that is important to you; now imagine that “the other side” is running somebody equally passionate about it but whose goals are the opposite of your own.  What would you do to stop him getting into office?

    Shoot, just consider the oppobrium heaped on Bad Luck Barry by many of us here… or on other commenters, for that matter.

  • Anonymous

    “But what does winning look like when things come to this?  Many people
    forget that the people on the other side of the aisle are also
    Americans.”

    Agreed. But we don’t really highlight the “American” aspect any longer.
    Instead we’re all assigned places into these neat little categories that serve to stress our differences.

    And though conservatives do it to an extent, I find my friends on the left do it all the time.
    We see it in our Presidents words. We heard it in the parlor speech Elizabeth Warren gave.
    We see it on the protests currently taking place. And it’s always well fed by the MSM.

    • http://ethnografix.blogspot.com/ ryan a

      “Agreed. But we don’t really highlight the “American” aspect any longer.
      Instead we’re all assigned places into these neat little categories that serve to stress our differences.”

      Yep.  Sometimes it’s important to recognize commonalities, to realize that people on the other side of the aisle are in fact citizens who deserve the same respect, rights, and freedoms.  We’re all human.  A lot of political rhetoric is incredibly dehumanizing, and it effectively furthers dehumanization and conflict.  Here in the US we have people on all sides going at one another, and they seem to forget some of the underlying principles that we all supposedly subscribe to.  This is why it’s important to remember phrases certain ideals about equality–at the national AND international level.

      “And though conservatives do it to an extent, I find my friends on the left do it all the time.
      We see it in our Presidents words. We heard it in the parlor speech Elizabeth Warren gave.
      We see it on the protests currently taking place. And it’s always well fed by the MSM.”

      In all fairness, I’d argue that we have folks creating and upholding these divisions on all sides.

      • http://www.rustedsky.net Anonymous

        Balkanize the populace, create all sorts of divisions.  African-American, Hispanic-American, Asian-American, Polish-American, Italian-American, Irish-American (Insert Ethnic Subculture Here)-American…

        Then pander the hell out of ‘em for votes.

        We used to call America the Great Melting Pot – all cultures came in, contributed, and were called ‘Americans’ by the third or fourth generations.  Now we’re not so much a ‘melting pot’ as a salad bowl, with everything tossed together and only the loosest of binders holding us together.

        Not much tensile strength there, to be sure…

        • http://ethnografix.blogspot.com/ ryan a

          Ya, I don’t think that multiculturalism is what’s causing the problem, JLawson.  To me there is no problem with recognizing that we have all kinds of different cultural traditions and histories here in the US.  The problem is when people are unwilling to respect those differences and agree to live under one larger pluralistic system.  I see no problem with people celebrating their unique traditions, heritage, and so on.  More power to them.  There is a problem when they are unwilling to respect others’ views.  So ya, culture and heritage isn’t the problem, at all, in my view.  What is the problem is when people are unwilling to grant the same rights, freedoms, and protections to other groups that they want for their own.  The binding agreement fabric in my view is not some national culture, but instead the ideals of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. 

          But I do agree with you that plenty of people use these differences, and inflame conflict between groups, to achieve certain political ends.  That’s definitely another problem.

  • mvy

    The reasoning behind National Popular Vote is not “because I can guarantee that my team wins.” 

    National Popular Vote is a nonpartisan coalition of legislators, scholars, constitutionalists and grassroots activists committed to preserving the Electoral College, while guaranteeing the presidency to the candidate who earns the most votes in all fifty states.                                                                        
    The National Popular Vote bill is a state-based approach. It preserves the constitutionally mandated Electoral College and state control of elections.  It changes the way electoral votes are awarded in the Electoral College, instead of the current 48 state-by-state  winner-take-all
    system. It assures that every vote is equal and that every voter will matter in every state in every presidential election, as in virtually every other election in the country.
                                                                 
    Under National Popular Vote, every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in every presidential election. Every vote would be included in the national count. The candidate with the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC would get the 270+ electoral votes from the enacting states.  That majority of electoral votes guarantees the candidate with the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC wins the presidency.
                                   
    National Popular Vote would give a voice to the minority party voters in each state and district (in ME and NE).  Now their votes are counted only for the candidate they did not vote for. Now they don’t matter to their candidate.  

    With National Popular Vote, elections wouldn’t be about winning states or districts (in ME and NE). No more distorting and divisive red and blue state maps.  Every vote, everywhere would be counted equally for and directly assist the candidate for whom it was cast. Candidates would need to care about voters across the nation, not just undecided voters in the current handful of swing states and less than 60 districts. The political reality would be that when every vote is equal, the campaign must be run in every part of the country.

    In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided).  Support for a national popular vote is strong among Republican voters, Democratic voters, and independent voters, as well as every demographic group surveyed in virtually every state surveyed in recent polls in closely divided Battleground states: CO – 68%, FL – 78%, IA 75%, MI – 73%, MO – 70%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM– 76%, NC – 74%, OH – 70%, PA – 78%, VA -74%, and WI – 71%; in Small states (3 to 5 electoral votes): AK – 70%, DC – 76%, DE – 75%, ID – 77%, ME – 77%, MT – 72%, NE 74%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM – 76%, OK – 81%, RI – 74%, SD – 71%, UT – 70%, VT – 75%, WV – 81%, and WY – 69%; in Southern and Border states: AR – 80%,, KY- 80%, MS – 77%, MO – 70%, NC – 74%, OK – 81%, SC – 71%, TN – 83%, VA – 74%, and WV – 81%; and in other states polled: CA – 70%, CT – 74%, MA – 73%, MN – 75%, NY – 79%, OR – 76%, and WA – 77%.  Americans believe that the candidate who receives the most votes should win.
                                                                        
    The bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers, in 21 small, medium-small, medium, and large states, including one house in AR, CT, DE, DC, ME, MI, NV, NM, NY, NC, and OR, and both houses in CA, CO, HI, IL, NJ, MD, MA, RI, VT, and WA. The bill has been enacted by DC (3), HI
    (4), IL (19), NJ (14), MD (11), MA (10), CA (55), VT (3), and WA (13). These 9 jurisdictions possess 132 electoral votes — 49% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.

    NationalPopularVote

    • http://www.rustedsky.net Anonymous

      Al this does is arrange for flyover country to be ignored.  Let’s not ‘improve’ the system to guarantee the coasts elect the President, ‘k?

      Sheesh.

      • mvy

        Why do you think they’re called flyover states now?  

        2/3rds of the states and people have been merely spectators to the presidential election. That’s more than 85 million voters ignored.  

        The current system of electing the president ensures that the candidates, after the primaries, do not reach out to all of the states and their voters. Candidates have no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize, campaign, or care about the voter concerns in the dozens of states where they are safely ahead or hopelessly behind. The reason for this is the state-by-state winner-take-all method (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but since enacted by 48 states), under which all of a state’s electoral votes are awarded to the candidate who gets the most votes in each separate state.

        Under National Popular Vote, every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in every presidential election. Every vote would be included in the national count. The candidate with the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC would get the 270+ electoral votes from the enacting states.  That majority of electoral votes guarantees the candidate with the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC wins the presidency.

        National Popular Vote would give a voice to the minority party voters in each state and
        district (in ME and NE).  Now their votes are counted only for the candidate they did not vote for. Now they don’t matter to their candidate. 

        Oklahoma (7 electoral votes) alone generated a margin of 455,000 “wasted” votes for Bush in 2004 — larger than the margin generated by the 9th and 10th largest states, namely New Jersey and North Carolina (each with 15 electoral votes). Utah (5 electoral votes) alone generated a margin of 385,000 “wasted” votes for Bush in 2004. 8 small western states, with less than a third of California’s population, provided Bush with a bigger margin (1,283,076) than California provided Kerry (1,235,659).

         With National Popular Vote, every vote, everywhere would be counted equally for and directly assist the candidate for whom it was cast.

        Candidates would need to care about voters across the nation, not just undecided voters in the current handful of swing states. The political reality would be that when every vote is equal, the campaign must be run in every part of the country.

        Under the current system, it could only take the 11 most populous states, containing 56% of the population of the United States, for a candidate to win the Presidency by winning a mere 51% of the vote in just these 11 biggest states — that is, a mere 26% of the nation’s votes.

    • Anonymous

      It’s also a Soros-backed move to make a whole bunch of states irrelevant. Take that and shove it up your cutting-and-pasting ass.

      J.

      • mvy

        If Soros liked the idea of curing cancer, would you knee-jerkly be against curing cancer?

        National Popular Vote is a nonpartisan coalition of legislators, scholars, constitutionalists and grassroots activists committed to preserving the Electoral College, while guaranteeing the presidency to the candidate who earns the most votes in all fifty states.

        Jason Cabel Roe, a lifelong conservative activist and professionalpolitical consultant wrote in National Popular Vote is Good for Republicans: “I strongly support National Popular Vote.   It is good for Republicans, it is good for conservatives . . . and it is good for America.    National Popular Vote is not a grand conspiracy hatched by the Left to manipulate the election outcome.  It is a bipartisan effort of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents to allow every state – and every voter – to have a say in the selection of our President, and not just the 15 Battle Ground States.                               

         National Popular Vote is not a change that can be easily explained, nor the ramifications thought through in sound bites. It takes a keen political mind to understand just how much it can help . . . Republicans. . . .Opponents either have a knee-jerk reaction to the idea or don’t fully understand it. . . .  We believe that the more exposure and discussion the reform has the more support that will build for it.”
        http://tinyurl.com/3z5brge

        Former Tennessee U.S. Senator and 2008 presidential candidate Fred Thompson(R), former Illinois Governor Jim Edgar (R), and  former U.S. Representative Tom Tancredo (R-CO)  are co-champions of National Popular

        Vote.Saul Anuzis, former Chairman of the Michigan Republican Party for five years and a former candidate for chairman of the Republican National Committee, supports the National Popular Vote plan as the fairest way to make sure every vote matters, and also as a way to help Conservative Republican candidates. This is not a partisan issue and the NPV plan would not help either party over the other. 
        http://tinyurl.com/46eo5ud

        Supporters who wrote forewords to “Every Vote Equal: A State-Based Plan for Electing the President by National Popular Vote ” include:

        Laura Brod served in the Minnesota House of Representatives from 2003 to 2010 and was the ranking Republican member of the Tax Committee. She is the Minnesota Public Sector Chair for ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) and active in theCouncil of State Governments.

        James Brulte  who served as Republican Leader of the  California State Assembly from 1992 to 1996, California State Senator from 1996 to 2004, and Senate Republican leader from 2000 to 2004. 

        Ray Haynes served as the National Chairman of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in 2000. He served in the California State Senate from 1994 to 2002 and was elected to theAssembly in 1992 and 2002

        Dean Murray is a member of the New York State Assembly.  He was a Tea Party organizer before being elected to the Assembly as a Republican, Conservative Party member in February 2010.  He was described by Fox News as the first Tea Party candidate elected to office in the United States.

        Thomas L. Pearce served as a Michigan State Representative from 2005–2010 and was appointed Dean of the Republican Caucus. He has led several faith-based initiatives in Lansing.In 1969,

        The U.S. House of Representatives voted for a national popular vote by a 338–70 margin. It was endorsed by Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, George H.W. Bush, and Bob Dole.

        • jim_m

          If Soros liked the idea of curing cancer, would you knee-jerkly be against curing cancer?

          Are you out of your mind?!?! 

          Curing cancer in this economy?  Can you imagine how many people that would put out of work?  The scientists and health care workers.  All the people doing home care and hospice work. Plus the countless people in the pharma industry who no longer have to push their anti-cancer drugs because they are now obsolete.  PLUS all those cancer survivors are going to be in the job market.  What’s THAT going to do to unemployment?

          No sir.  We need to be thinning the ranks in order to reduce unemployment.
          /sarcasm

          As for your notion that the idea of a national popular vote is something that is ” not a change that can be easily explained”.  That’s nonsense.  The electoral college was created for the purpose of creating a system that amplified the importance of small states, while preserving the importance of large states.  It also created a system that magnifies the margin of victory in the vast majority of contests giving the victor a more clear cut mandate rather than a narrow victory.

          Is the electoral college system perfect?  No.  Is it better than a direct election?  Absolutely.  A direct election would not only make the smaller states irrelevant, but it would make all rural areas irrelevant as well.  Campaigning would be confined to urban areas where the dollars spent would reach the maximum number of voters.  The electoral college does a very good job of making sure that all voters are valued in national elections.

          • mvy

            Are you kidding?

            The current system of electing the president ensures that the candidates, after the primaries, do not reach out to all of the states and their voters. Candidates have no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize, campaign, or care about the voter concerns in the dozens of states where they are safely ahead or hopelessly behind. The reason for this is the state-by-state winner-take-all method (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but since enacted by 48 states), under which all of a state’s electoral votes are awarded to the candidate who gets the most votes in each separate state.

            Presidential candidates concentrate their attention on only the current handful of closely divided “battleground” states and their voters.  There is no incentive for them to bother to care about the majority of states where they are hopelessly behind or safely ahead to win.  9 of the original 13 states are considered “fly-over” now. In the 2012 election, pundits and campaign operatives agree already, that, at most, only 14 states and their voters will matter. None of the 10 most rural states will matter, as usual.  Almost 75% of the country will be ignored –including 19 of the 22 lowest population and medium-small states, and 17 medium and big states like CA, GA, NY, and TX.  This will be more obscene than the 2008 campaign, when candidates concentrated over 2/3rds of their campaign events and ad money in just 6 states, and 98% in just 15 states (CO, FL, IN, IA, MI, MN, MO, NV, NH, NM, NC, OH, PA, VA, and WI).  Over half (57%) of the events were in just 4 states (OH, FL, PA, and VA).  In 2004, candidates concentrated over 2/3rds of their money and campaign visits in 5 states; over 80% in 9 states; and over 99% of their money in 16 states. 
                                                  
            2/3rds of the states and people have been merely spectators to the presidential election. That’s more than 85 million voters ignored. 
                                          
            Policies important to the citizens of ‘flyover’ states are not as highly prioritized as policies important to ‘battleground’ states when it comes to governing.

            Now with state-by-state winner-take-all laws presidential elections ignore 12 of  the 13 lowest population states (3-4 electoral votes), that are almost invariably non-competitive, and ignored, in presidential elections.  Six regularly
            vote Republican (Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, and South
            Dakota), and six regularly vote Democratic (Rhode Island, Delaware, Hawaii,
            Vermont, Maine, and DC) in presidential elections.
                                         
            Support for a national popular vote is strong in every smallest state surveyed in recent polls among Republican voters, Democratic voters, and independent voters, as well as every demographic group.  Support in smaller states (3 to 5 electoral votes): Alaska — 70%, DC — 76%, Delaware –75%, Idaho – 77%, Maine — 77%, Montana – 72%,  Nebraska — 74%, New Hampshire –69%, Nevada — 72%, New Mexico — 76%, Rhode Island — 74%,  South Dakota – 71%, Utah – 70%, Vermont — 75%, West Virginia – 81%,  and Wyoming – 69%.

            Nine state legislative chambers in the lowest population states have passed the National Popular Vote bill. It has been enacted by the District of Columbia, Hawaii, and Vermont.

            None of the 10 most rural states (VT, ME, WV, MS, SD, AR, MT, ND, AL, and KY) is a battleground state.
            The current state-by-state winner-take-all method of awarding electoral votes does not enhance the influence of rural states, because the most rural states are not battleground states.

          • mvy

            The current system of electing the President does not reliably generate a “mandate” in the form of a larger percentage share of the electoral vote than the candidate’s share of the national popular vote.   If anyone believes that an exaggerated margin in the Electoral College is desirable in that it enhances a new president’s ability to lead, the National Popular Vote plan would do an even better job of creating this illusion than the current system.  The winner starts with at least 270+ electoral votes from the enacting states.  Moreover, the current state-by-state winner-take-all system does not reliably confer an illusory mandate on an incoming President. There is certainly no historical evidence that the Congress, the public, the media, or anyone else has been more deferential to an incoming President after an election in which he received a larger percentage of the electoral vote than his percentage of the popular vote. As a recent example, Bill Clinton did not receive such deference when he came into office with an eye-catching 370 electoral votes but only 43% of the popular vote in 1992.

          • mvy

            Again, you’ve got it backwards.

            The main media at the moment, TV, costs much more per impression in big cities than in smaller towns and rural area. Candidates get more bang for the buck in smaller towns and rural areas.

            With National Popular Vote, big cities would not get all of candidates’ attention, much less control the outcome.

            The population of the top five cities (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and Philadelphia) is only 6% of the population of the United States and the population of the top 50 cities (going as obscurely far down  as Arlington, TX) is only 19% of the population of the United States.  Suburbs and exurbs often vote Republican.

            Any candidate who yielded, for example, the 16% of Americans who live in rural areas in favor of a “big city” approach would not likely win the national popular vote.

            If big cities controlled the outcome of elections, the governors and U.S. Senators would be Democratic in virtually every state with a significant city.

            Evidence as to how a nationwide presidential campaign would be run, with every vote equal, can be found by examining the way presidential candidates campaign to win the electoral votes of closely divided battleground states, such as in Ohio and Florida,  under the state-by-state winner-take-all methods. The big cities in those battleground states do not receive all the attention, much less control the outcome.  Cleveland and Miami certainly did not receive all the attention or control the outcome in Ohio and Florida in 2000 and 2004. 

            Because every vote is equal inside Ohio or Florida, presidential candidates avidly seek out voters in small, medium, and large towns. The itineraries of presidential candidates in battleground states (and their allocation of other campaign resources in battleground states) reflect the political reality that every gubernatorial or senatorial candidate in Ohio and Florida already knows–namely that when every vote is equal, the campaign must be run in every part of the state.

            Even in California state-wide elections, candidates for governor or U.S. Senate don’t campaign just in Los Angeles and San Francisco, and those places don’t control the outcome (otherwise California wouldn’t have recently had Republican governors Reagan, Dukemejian, Wilson, and Schwarzenegger).   A vote in rural Alpine county is just an important as a vote in Los Angeles.   If Los Angeles cannot control statewide elections in California, it can hardly control a nationwide election.
            In fact, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, and Oakland together cannot
            control a statewide election in California.

            Similarly, Republicans dominate Texas politics without carrying big cities such as Dallas and Houston.

            There are numerous other examples of Republicans who won races for governor and U.S. Senator in other states that have big cities (e.g., New York, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts) without ever carrying the big cities of their respective states.The National Popular Vote bill would not change the need for candidates to build a winning coalition across demographics. Any candidate who yielded, for example, the 16% of Americans who live in rural areas in favor of a “big city” approach would not likely win the national popular vote. Candidates would still have to appeal to a broad range of demographics, and perhaps even more so, because the election wouldn’t be capable of coming down to just one demographic, such as voters in Ohio.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_IZ5BM5GNLA54OADSWGSXAMA7SY Jay

    “I could go on to list views on abortion, the war on drugs, same-sex marriage, and a variety of other topics that would clearly mark me as a man in the middle, not right-wing.  Yet if you ask me to self identify, I will readily declare that I am conservative.  Why?  There are several reasons but the one I want to focus on here is simple: rules.  Without rules, we have anarchy.  People came together to form societies based on self-preservation–it’s the basis of the fundamental social contract.  Any good society should have means by which rules can be changed but those means have to be measured.  Recently, I’ve seen way too many examples of people not understanding this basic concept.”

    Dude, WTF?  If I read that right, here’s exactly what you’re stating. “If you’re part of the left wing, you’re automatically an anarchist.”  If you want to be conservative in some regards, that’s fine.  But saying that there’s only two ways to look at a problem is beyond misleading.  The world isn’t black and white, the rules do need changing every now and again, and obviously some thoughts of the societal good aren’t codified in a certain set of rules.

    ” It is one of the main reasons I hate legislating from the bench.”
    It’s kind of stunning how people think judges “legislate from the bench” only when someone on their side is losing.  But looking at the rest of the paragraph, this seems more of a strawman than anything.  I would strongly suggest observing some famous cases that may have been “legislated from the bench”, giving a different outcome than expected.

    ”  There are very good reasons the electoral college works the way it does.  While I could even entertain thinking about changes they would have to be well-justified.  Most importantly the reasoning of “because I can guarantee that my team wins” is a piss poor justification”

    Sadly, this is indicative of a fundamental flaw in our two party electoral system.  There are only red and blue states, with very few independents in the goverment, supporting only those two parties, and barely supporting the American people.  There should be changes to our electoral system, to the affect of allowing more diversity in Congress, and more opinions.  I obviously don’t believe that any “left wingers” truly want chaos, merely a government that could perhaps listen to them.

  • http://wizbangblog.com Shawn

    Ahhh..

    A fellow Rush fan!  My favorite band.

    ‘Freewill’ is a great tune.

    -S