Advocates of the National Popular Vote (NPV) Compact emphasize that most states elect governors by simple plurality votes. They claim, therefore, that this is a good model for choosing the president. The analogy is not good for several reasons: For example, state parties are held together by the need to win U.S. national elections, which reduces the chances of candidates with 25-35% of the vote winning fragmented elections. Also, regionalism at the state level is not as risky as regionalism at the national level.
However, the analogy is good in one respect: Plurality voting enables Democrats and Left-leaning activists to control a state merely by running up vote totals in a few counties or regions. These areas are (1) big cities populated by the rich and the dependent, 2) areas with a high number of government employees (such as state capitals), and (3) university towns.
The Left now uses this formula to control California, Illinois, New York, Oregon, and Washington—and Nevada is under threat as well. The Republicans and moderates who live in the rest of the state are isolated and rendered powerless. No wonder all the state legislatures adopting the NPV Compact are Democrat. The latest gubernatorial results illustrate the tactic:
California: Note the extreme regional divides. At least half the state votes Republican, but you would never know it from state election results:
Illinois: The Left has a lock on this state even though most of the state votes Republican. The Democratic portions consist mostly of Chicago, university towns, and the state capital.
New York: This state has reputation as a Democratic stronghold, but most of the territory is Republican:
Oregon: The vast majority of the state is Republican, but Democrats control by piling up votes in the Portland-Salem-Eugene area. Portland is the largest city. Salem is the state capital. Eugene is the home of the University of Oregon.
Washington: The story here is much the same as in Oregon:
Nevada: The model appears to be working here: The Democratic candidate won the last gubernatorial election by amassing votes in two tiny areas of the state:
Rob Natelson served as a law professor for 25 years, and is nationally known as a constitutional scholar. He is Senior Fellow in Constitutional Jurisprudence at the Independence Institute in Denver, and author of The Original Constitution: What It Actually Said and Meant (3rd ed. 2014).