Friday, December 09, 2016

The National Popular Vote is a Fake News Story

(and you’re helping to spread it!)

If you are talking about the popular vote as something real, you are helping to spread fake news. I'm not a Trump supporter. I'm not trying to justify the electoral college. I don’t dispute that if if you add up all the votes cast for all 18 candidates on the ballots in the combined 50 states, Hillary Clinton’s total is higher than any other candidates.

I'm asking you to look at the reality of how our elections work. Whether you like it or not, the electoral college is how the winner of the election was determined and that's the ONLY race the candidates were trying to win.

What do California and Wisconsin have in common?  Neither one was considered a "battleground" state, and as such both states were ignored by one campaign.  

Could Trump have campaigned more in California (which is the most expensive state for media buys) and done better?  Certainly.  Could he have hypothetically cranked up the negative Hillary ads in California and knocked her total down?  Probably.   Could he have won California?  Of course not.  So is anyone surprised that Trump didn't care about the California results?  Does anyone think the numbers that came in in California are a representation of the BEST the Trump campaign could have done in California?  Of course not.  So Hillary won California by 4 million votes.  

In Wisconsin, Trump won by 24000 votes.  Jill Stein had 31000 votes and Gary Johnson had 106,000. The Clinton campaign chose not to campaign in Wisconsin, believing it to be a safe state.  Does anyone believe that if the Clinton campaign had chosen to focus on Wisconsin, they could have won?  Milwaukee had record low turnout.   If perhaps Hillary had come to Wisconsin we'd have a different President.  But certainly the vote would have been different.

Which leads us to this myth of "The National Popular Vote."  There is no such thing.  No one adds up the votes for the Presidential candidates in all the states.  And in fact very few states had the same candidates on the ballot.  Only Trump, Clinton and Johnson were on the ballot in all 50 states.  In Utah, Evan McMullin was on the ballot.  In California Gloria La Riva was on the ballot.  In New Hampshire Rocky De La Fuenta was on the ballot.  

In South Carolina there were 8 Presidential candidates for the voters to chose from.

This is why the idea that there is a "National Popular Vote" is pure fiction -- because people in different states were voting in different elections with different candidates.  And the campaigns were very different in each state.  People who voted for the Trump and Clinton campaigns in New York were voting for very different campaigns than people who voted for the Trump and Clinton campaigns in Montana.

So the "National Popular Vote" is a perfect example of a Fake New Story because it cobbles together unrelated facts as a way to prove something. The facts have nothing to do with the conclusion of the story.  It's also a fake news story because people keep sharing it and talking about it.  

So help us fight against fake news.  If you want to argue the electoral college is rubbish, you have plenty of ammunition.  You don't need imply that using fake news for your point is ok. The story that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote is fake news, because there is no such thing as a National Popular Vote. No one tried to win the national popular vote, and vote totals from different states are truly not the same election. The fact that Hillary Clinton won California by 4 million votes is not relevant in any way to the idea that there was a national consensus about who should be the President. Hillary Clinton got less than 50% of the total votes cast in all states. That doesn't mean she lost the popular vote either. It means there is no such thing as a "National Popular Vote."

1 comment :

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