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.

An Unintended Consequence


Hillary Clinton carried Colorado during the 2016 election, but when the state’s electors met to vote, one of them refused to vote for her. The Colorado Secretary of State replaced that elector with one who would vote for Clinton. The original elector sued the Secretary of State, claiming that his removal was illegal and that the State could not bind him to vote in a particular way. Yesterday, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in the elector’s favor.

One consequence of a state’s inability to bind electors to vote a particular way is that the states who are members of the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact cannot legally require their electors to cast their votes in any particular way.

The Democrats’ plan to sabotage the Electoral College may have been stopped by the action of a Democrat elector.

Nevada, Murphy’s Law, and Unintended Consequences


It looks as if Nevada may become the 15th state to give away its right under Article !!, Section 1, Clause 2 of the Constitution to determine how its electors would vote for President. NPR is reporting the likelihood of the Nevada joining the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact as if it were a good thing.

The Compact would become active if states with at least 270 electoral votes join. If that happens, the participating states would give their electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote. Gentle Reader, suppose enough states join. Now, suppose Donald Trump wins a majority of the popular vote.

Would that be a good thing?