New York was once the Mecca of electoral activity. From 1812-1968, it had the most electoral votes in the nation, with its high watermark being in the 1930's, when that state garnered a formidable 47 Electoral Votes. For much of that time period, New York was a swing state. The result of this is that political parties would sometimes nominate New Yorkers for President, hoping that they would secure their home state's electoral goldmine.In 1884, the Empire state decided the Presidency with the state's incumbent Governor Grover Cleveland winning his home state by just 1,047 votes. Four years later, Cleveland was denied re-election. The deciding state was once again New York, which Cleveland lost by just 7,187 votes. From 1920-1944, the Democratic Party nominated a New York resident on every national ticket, save one. In 1920, Franklin D. Roosevelt was the Vice Presidential nominee.
In 1928, New York Governor Al Smith topped the ticket as the Presidential nominee. In 1932, 1936, 1940, and 1944, the Democrats nominated Roosevelt. In fact, in 1944, the Republicans countered by nominating New York Governor Thomas E. Dewey to run against Roosevelt, a former Governor of the state. Both Presidential candidates hailed from the same county, Duchess County.Presidential candidates spent an inordinate amount of time barnstorming the state of New York. The road to the Presidency invariably led through the Empire state. Candidates were forced to listen to the concerns of New Yorkers.Today, New York has almost no electoral leverage. It is a foregone conclusion that New York will select the Democratic Presidential nominee because of the large Democratic presence in New York City. Candidates use the Big Apple only as an ATM, landing in New York City, speaking to benefactors, collecting donations, and using the money to campaign in battleground states. In the 2008 Presidential election, the two major Party Presidential nominees, John McCain and Barack Obama, made a combined 62 campaign stops in Ohio, while only parachuting into New York to increase their war chests.The Long Island fisherman, the wine producer in the New York Finger Lakes region, and the family trying to rise above the poverty line in Harlem have no voice in Presidential politics. They have disparate concerns, ideologies, and life perspectives.
Ironically however, all share a common interest in supporting the National Popular Vote Initiative (NPVI), an interstate compact in which participating states would award their electoral votes to the person who secures the most votes nationally. Only then will the voices of New Yorkers be listened to in Presidential elections. A vote in Ohio would no longer be more coveted than a vote in New York.For a New Yorker to defend the current system, he/she must accept the fact that residents of the third largest state in the nation will continue to be ignored, while Presidential candidates will continue to solicit wealthy New York residents for donations to spend their money to cultivate support in battleground states.