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Connecticut joins 10 other blue states, DC in electoral vote pact

STAMFORD, CT - MARCH 24: The League of Women Voters registers a new voter during the March for Our Lives rally on March 24, 2018 in Stamford, Connecticut. A new bill that passed Connecticut's General Assembly would throw the state's electoral votes behind whichever candidate had the most votes nationally. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

Connecticut has joined 10 other states and Washington, D.C., in a pact to throw all of their electoral votes behind whoever wins the national popular vote in a U.S. presidential election — regardless of which candidate wins in that state.

The pact is part of a move to abolish the Electoral College. Supporters of the legislation point out that the pact now has 172 electoral votes, only 99 shy of the 270 needed to elect a president. However,  so far all of the members of the pact are from states (and a district) that reliably vote Democrat.

What's the story?

This Connecticut bill is part of the "Agreement Among the States to Elect the President by National Popular Vote." It's part of a nationwide movement to abolish the Electoral College completely. While this movement is largely promoted by Democrats and members of smaller political parties, it also boasts a few prominent Republicans including Newt Gingrich.

Even President Donald Trump, who won the Electoral College and lost the popular vote, has suggested that the Electoral College should be scrapped.

On April 26, Trump said that he would "rather have a popular election, but it's a totally different campaign." He added that he thought a popular vote election would be "much easier to win."

The compact terminates "if the Electoral College is abolished," according to the legislation.

The 10 other states who were already part of the pact — California, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington — are all reliably blue and voted for  Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Because of this, it's unlikely that a pact of these states would make a difference, since a Democratic candidate would likely get their electoral votes anyway and a Republican candidate who managed to win the popular vote would likely still lose at least most of these states.

Of course, there are always exceptions to these trends, like President Ronald Reagan's 1984 victory where he won every state except for Minnesota.

What happens if a GOP candidate wins the popular vote?

It's also not clear what these states would do if the GOP candidate won the popular vote, since most of the states in the pact are blue. The agreement will not take effect until enough states join the pact to hit 270 electoral votes.

The nonprofit National Popular Vote, which is helping to organize the movement, argued that "presidential candidates have no reason to pay attention to the issues of concern to voters in states where the statewide outcome is a foregone conclusion."

As evidence, it pointed to a statistic that stated that "two-thirds of the 2012 general-election campaign events (176 of 253) were in just four states (Ohio, Florida, Virginia, and Iowa). Thirty-eight states were ignored."

All but five U.S. presidents (John Quincy Adams, Rutherford B. Hayes, Benjamin Harrison, George W. Bush, and Donald Trump) have won both the electoral college and the popular vote.

Refresh my memory: why does the U.S. have an electoral college?

The Electoral College gives smaller states a voice. Without it, larger cities could dictate who would win the presidential election each cycle.

This PragerU video provides a good overview on the Electoral College, and why it was included in the U.S. Constitution:

One last thing…
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