If you live in one of the few battleground states left, you may believe that the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact is against your interests as one of the few voters who actually has a say in the outcome of presidential elections. But history has shown that states do not remain swing states forever, and voters in some of the most important swing states in past elections may soon find themselves joining most of the country in the Land of the Ignored Voters in the next election.
Take Ohio, the deciding state in the 2004 election. Alex Triantafilou, chairman of the Hamilton County Republican Party, criticized the popular vote movement as being against Ohioans’ interests because a national popular vote “would make Ohio not a player in the political game.”
However, looking forward to the 2020 election, Ohio has already lost its coveted swing state status and moved into the into the column of states taken for granted by the Republican party. The 2018 midterms, which generally provided significant gains for Democrats, demonstrated that Ohio has moved further into solidly-Republican territory “[s]o much so that the perpetual battleground seems less and less likely to be in play in 2020.” A prominent Democratic super PAC has “significantly downgrade[d] Ohio’s targetability, listing it as a ‘GOP Watch’ state along with Texas and Iowa.”
As a result, Republican commentator Scott Jennings predicts that “If you are one of the masochistic few who loves hearing your phone ring 48 times a day every fourth October, you are about to be sorely disappointed.”
On the other hand, Virginia, which had been a solidly-Republican state, then became a swing state, now looks more and more like a safely blue state. The result: candidates may soon stop visiting Virginia, spending money in Virginia, and taking policy positions that serve the interests of Virginians.
That former swing states should move to one column or another should not come as a surprise. Indeed, even Democratic stronghold California used to be a swing state. On the other side, Republican stronghold of Texas may become a swing state soon.
As time goes on and demographics and party positions change, the key swing states that decide elections will inevitably shift. A state with tremendous power and influence in one election may be completely ignored in the next. But under the national popular vote, all votes will matter equally in every election.