CPAC 2020, Day One


The big deal of the day was a speech by Vice-President Pence. It was well received, and there’s lots of coverage about it elsewhere.

When I was involved in the pro audio equipment industry, I would sit at a table in the lobby bar of the convention hotel for various trade shows and buy drinks for other engineers, often from competitors. I picked up lots of useful trade information that way—and made some good friends as well. I do something similar at CPAC. I take a table in the Lobby Bar at the Gaylord Convention Center about an hour or so before they start serving, and as the place begins to fill up, I invite people to join me. Among the folks at or near my table this afternoon were several Republican political operatives, and their discussions about the relative pros and cons of the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact were the most interesting things I heard today.

One group believes that the Compact would be beneficial to Republicans because it will create an additional incentive for Republican voters to turn out on election day, and these folks see that as being helpful for candidates down the ballot. I understand their reasoning, but I’m not convinced.

I pointed out that I expect Donald Trump to actually win the popular vote in November, but still lose California. The Compact won’t be in effect for this election, but the Democrats in the California legislature will be presented with a scenario that would have caused the state to gives its electoral votes to a candidate who a) didn’t win the state and b) is from the wrong party. If Trump wins the national popular vote and loses California in November, I’ve bet a bottle of scotch that the California legislature will vote to leave the Compact before the end of the year. One of the pro-compact guys told me that that couldn’t happen, that it was illegal, that there was no escape clause. However, the text of the compact explicitly says, “Any member state may withdraw from this agreement[.]”

Buy more popcorn.

And stay tuned.

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