The nonprofit National Popular Vote Inc. has spent about $100,000 in an effort to oust state Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, from the Legislature.
The California-based group apparently doesn’t believe in the vote of the Oregon voters who elected him.
It has been out to get Courtney because through at least five legislative sessions, it’s been Courtney who has blocked its efforts in Oregon. The group aims to effectively do away with the Electoral College by getting individual states to agree to switch all their electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote in presidential elections.
For instance, if Oregon voters wanted Hillary Clinton for president but the popular vote went to Donald Trump, Oregon’s electoral votes would be mandated under the agreement to go for Donald Trump.
It is, if you think about it, a way to disenfranchise a majority of Oregon voters periodically. That would have happened in 1916 (Oregon went for Charles Evans Hughes; Woodrow Wilson won nationally), 1948 (Oregon went to Thomas Dewey; Harry Truman won) and in 1960 (Oregon voted for Richard Nixon; Kennedy won).
Small, rural states also have a greater say than they would under the national popular vote, because each state, no matter how large or small, is guaranteed at least three electors.
So far, the popular vote group has spent its money on consultants and by taking out ads that have appeared in Courtney’s district. However, they’ve failed to recruit a candidate to run against him in the May primary election, and the chairwoman of the Marion County Democratic Party says the party will support Courtney in any event.
Courtney has said he’s willing to let Oregon voters decide if they wish to join the national popular vote movement. If it comes to that, voters must recognize that change is not always good, and this is a change that would not necessarily improve the current system.