Opinion: National Popular Vote upholds American ideal

Saul Anuzis

The election results are certified. The Electoral College will meet next week. Joe Biden will have secured enough electoral votes to become the next president.

Millions of American voters will be unhappy with the result, and too many will believe that big-city political machines stole the election from President Donald Trump in a handful of battleground states. These claims will rip at the fabric of American democracy for months and years to come.

Millions of American voters will be unhappy with the result, and too many will believe that big-city political machines stole the election, Anuzis writes.

Under the current system of choosing the president, 2020 saw 33 states — containing two-thirds of American voters — completely ignored. We homed in on election machinery and ballot handling in Georgia, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Nevada and Michigan. Meanwhile, states from Texas and Rhode Island to North Dakota and Oregon were marginalized and forced to live with a result determined by fewer than 22,000 votes in three battleground states. 

Americans everywhere will have to live with another four years of questioned legitimacy surrounding another president, all because not every voter in every state was relevant in the 2020 election.

It does not have to be this way.

The National Popular Vote plan would guarantee the presidency to the candidate who wins the most popular votes in all 50 states. It would preserve the state power to award electors, it enjoys bipartisan support in Michigan, and it would advance the principle of “one person, one vote.” It would make every voter in every state politically relevant in the next presidential election. And, it can be in place for the 2024 campaign.

Here is how it works.

National Popular Vote is an interstate compact leveraging the state power to award electors under Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution. The compacting states agree that, once states with 270 electoral votes have passed the bill, they will all award their electors en bloc to the candidate who wins the most popular votes across all 50 states and the District of Columbia. In other words, the national popular vote will determine the winner. It’s that simple.

The National Popular Vote bill has already passed in 15 states and the District of Columbia, containing a total of 196 electoral votes. Here in Michigan, the House of Representatives has already passed the National Popular Vote bill, and the bill was introduced in the Senate with 15 Republican and 10 Democrat sponsors. We should do our part and pass the bill.

National Popular Vote opponents have been wrong about almost everything:

► They say the current system “forces candidates to build broad coalitions and leads to stability,” but all it delivers is states and voters being ignored and unneeded chaos surrounding results.

► They say it protects “rural voters and small state voters from urban machine politics.” Instead, it delivers contested ballots from big cities as machines work to flip battleground states.

► They say Republicans can “never win a presidential election with a national popular vote,” yet ignore the fact that Trump in 2016 won the popular vote everywhere he campaigned — that is, in the battleground states.

For the sake of the future of the conservative movement, we must take our commonsense message to every American voter. When we do, we will win.

But this is not about having a conservative moment. It is about having an American moment. The candidate with the most votes should win. That’s an American ideal.

I urge Michigan to join the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.

Saul Anuzis is a former state chairman of the Michigan GOP. He is a senior consultant to National Popular Vote. More information is available at nationalpopularvote.com.