Dem 51
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Maine Joins National Popular Vote Interstate Compact

The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC), a consortium of states that have agreed to cast their electoral votes for the winner of the popular vote, thus nullifying the Electoral College, got a little bigger yesterday as Maine joined the team.

The addition of Maine means that the NPVIC pledgees control 209 electoral votes. The Compact does not become binding until that total reaches 270, so barring some sort of miracle it won't have an effect on this year's elections. All of the states that have signed off on the pact are somewhere between "light blue" and "deep blue," so presumably the last 61 EVs would have to come from blue/bluish states that are not already participants.

Is it doable? Well, Michigan, Nevada, Arizona and Virginia are all blue-leaning, and all have an NPVIC bill under consideration at some level (often, pending consideration from a legislative committee). If we imagine that at some point in the next few years they all get Democratic trifectas (something only true of Michigan right now) and that they all take the plunge, then that would bring the total to 254 EVs.

There are five other states that have an NPVIC bill under consideration at some level, but they all have Republican-controlled legislatures: North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, Alaska and Kansas. North Carolina alone would be enough to put the NPVIC over the hump (again, assuming the four states in the previous paragraph all join), or South Carolina and Kentucky would be enough, or South Carolina/Kentucky and both Kansas and Alaska would be enough. We think any of these is very unlikely in the foreseeable future.

So then, one has to look at the map for blue/bluish states that aren't pondering an NPVIC bill, but might plausibly do so in the future. Wisconsin is a natural candidate, but its 10 votes would only take 254 to 264. Georgia is possible, and would take 254 to the necessary 270, but that state has a Republican trifecta and seems unlikely to make a move anytime soon. That leaves us with Pennsylvania, which has 19 EVs (bringing the total to 273) and may have a Democratic trifecta after this year's elections (three state Senate seats would have to flip).

And that leaves us with the likeliest path forward: Michigan, Nevada, Arizona and Virginia all adopt their pending NPVIC bills and then Pennsylvania decides to jump on board, too. It's a bit of a longshot, but one can squint and see the slight possibility of it happening by 2030 or so.

Alternatively, the government could announce that, 150+ years later, the request of the 11 Confederate states to secede has been granted. There would then be 513 EVs, since the size of the House is by law fixed at 435 members and there would be 78 senators, but the NPVIC members would get enough additional seats to just squeak past the 257 threshold. So, the next time you see a "The South Will Rise Again" bumper sticker, don't assume it's the property of some racist yokel. It could be a fan of the NPVIC. (Z)

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