Arizona Gov. Janet Brewer is feeling left out. The electoral college system, she says, ignores states like hers. So, the barely thinking goes, best do away with it and make presidential elections an actual popularity contest.
But that’s probably never going to happen — not that it should or shouldn’t happen, but few in the GOP probably want that to happen. A big reason why? Rural voters.
This is one of the most commonly cited “cons” to the National Popular Vote movement: Why, with a limited budget, would candidates fly to rural areas to win over thousands of votes when they could spend that same money on trips to big cities for a chance at hundreds of thousands (or millions!) of votes? Without electoral college math, rural areas lose; urban areas (like Phoenix) win.
And that’s why Gov. Brewer’s plan will likely never fly with the Grand Ol’ Poobahs of her party. Just take a look at the exit polls. President Obama trounced Mitt Romney in the big cities and won handily in the mid-sized ones. Romney, meanwhile, barely won the suburbs, which leaves Republicans the small cities and the rural votes as their base. In fact, Romney registered zero votes in some urban areas.
That’s not the way you win elections. What’s more there’s inherent money advantage for Democrats under the popular vote system. It takes a lot more money — and a stronger ground game — to turn out strong numbers of rural and enough urban GOP voters to best the Democrats.
Call me crazy, but I doubt the GOP will endorse a plan that potentially results in an automatic advantage for Democrats every cycle.