Oklahoma House District 12: Vote against National Popular Vote

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House District 12 consists of most of Wagoner County, the part that is not in the Tulsa/Broken Arrow conurbation. The district lies mainly east of 257th East Ave (Midway Road) and south of 51st Street. The incumbent is Wade Rousselot, a Democrat finishing his fifth term, currently serving as the assistant floor leader of that party's dwindling minority in the State House.

The lone Republican to file against him is David Tackett, a Republican political operative with a mixed reputation among the conservatives who have dealt with him.

Multiple reliable sources have informed me that Tackett has been working with National Popular Vote lobbyists to give them opportunities to hoodwink grassroots Republicans into supporting legislation that would pledge Oklahoma's electoral votes to a far-left candidate who won the national popular vote, even if Oklahomans voted overwhelmingly for the conservative candidate.

rino-768px.pngI sent Tackett a message via Facebook on Tuesday: "David, I have been told that you have been assisting representatives and supporters of National Popular Vote to connect with grassroots conservatives here in Oklahoma. I'd like to know if there's any element of truth to that. What involvement have you had with NPV-related organizations? As a state representative, will you work to advance or to obstruct Oklahoma's entry into the National Popular Vote Compact? Thank you."

Facebook says that Tackett has seen my question, but Tackett has not replied. His non-response tells me that an honest answer is one that I wouldn't like.

(UPDATE: Charlie Meadows confirms Tackett's support for NPV and says that Tackett almost lost the OCPAC endorsement because of it.)

I won't repeat the full critique of NPV here (my first entry on NPV links to several critical articles), but here in a nutshell is why the Left wants it so badly. With NPV, the battle for the presidency will be fought in the populous media markets on the coasts, and Middle America will be ignored. Under the current system, state boundaries form a firewall against voter fraud, so that the Chicago cemetery vote only runs up the score in Illinois, but doesn't affect the result in any other state, but under NPV, fraudulent votes in Illinois would effectively cancel legitimate votes in Oklahoma.

The campaign for NPV is funded by the Left, but they have found a few individuals on the right to carry water for them. They seem to find former legislators who were genuinely conservative while in office, but who made some bad decisions in their personal lives that may also have hurt them financially and politically. Google the person's name and you learn that he or she was once a conservative warrior, and that's enough to persuade a grassroots conservative in Oklahoma to give the person a hearing. But search on the name plus the word "scandal" or "affair" and you understand why he or she didn't rise to higher office and are alerted that his or her political integrity might be as compromised as his or her personal life. NPV can offer these people a paycheck and a taste of the relevance they once enjoyed in exchange for the rental of their conservative credibility.

NPV lobbyists have been offering legislators electoral college "educational seminars" in desirable locations, like Las Vegas, Miami, St. Croix, and Scottsdale, Arizona. I have been told that certain legislators recently sent emails to colleagues, inviting them to an "educational seminar" in New York City, December 15-17, 2014, with "scholarships" to cover air fare and hotel paid by FairVote, a pro-NPV organization.

After the Oklahoma State Senate passed the NPV Compact bill (SB 906) with the support of 12 Republicans, grassroots conservatives mobilized to stop it, and some of the senators who voted for it recanted their support. Now NPV lobbyists, aided and abetted by consultants like David Tackett and Darren Gantz, are trying to bamboozle conservative activists to reduce resistance when the bill is run again.

I say bamboozle because my conversations with recovered NPV supporters remind me of conversations I've had with people who have escaped cults. NPV seems to have hit upon arguments that resonate emotionally with conservatives, so that the listener not only shuts off his own B. S. detector, but he shuts out perspectives from trusted voices before deciding to convert. Solidly conservative state senators like Josh Brecheen and Gary Stanislawski fell into NPV's trap. It took a massive outcry from grassroots conservatives to wake them up from their lobbyist-induced trance.

Look, I'm all for free and open debate, and I believe the truth will prevail, but I'm still not going to encourage my friends to meet with missionaries from the Church of Sighnutology "just to give their ideas a fair hearing."

Conservatives differ on many issues, but this is a matter of strategic importance, not a minor issue on which reasonable conservatives might differ. Oklahoma is the key battleground in a battle to control our nation into the distant future. Oklahoma would be the first conservative state to adopt the NPV compact. If Oklahoma says yes, it will set a precedent that will lower the resistance to the idea in other conservative states, and NPV supporters will be well on their way to victory.

I don't know whether Tackett's support of NPV is borne of venality or naïveté. Either way, he doesn't belong anywhere near the levers of power. His defeat will send the signal that supporting NPV is a career-ending move, and it will keep an NPV supporter out of a position of power.

Rep. Rousselot, the incumbent Democrat, will be term-limited in 2016. If Rousselot wins a final term, the 2016 election will be an open seat, and I would expect a robust contest for the Republican nomination. (Wagoner County Clerk Lori Hendricks, who has been a Paul Revere on the NPV issue, would make a great state rep.) If Tackett wins, an open NPV supporter will have a seat in the majority caucus and the incumbent's advantage for re-election in 2016. I don't know much about Rousselot's politics, but as a member of a tiny legislative minority, he can't do much damage, certainly not as much as Tackett can as a supporter of NPV in the majority caucus.

The current partisan balance in the State House is 72 Republicans to 29 Democrats. By my count of uncontested seats in the 2014 list of candidates, Republicans are guaranteed 46 seats in the new legislature to the Democrats' guaranteed 19. Only a handful of the contested seats are truly competitive, and the partisan composition of the new state house won't be much different from the old.

Conservatives don't need to pad the massive Republican majority with someone who is working, wittingly or unwittingly, for the strategic defeat of conservatism at the national level. I encourage my Republican friends in House District 12 to leave that ballot item blank.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on November 1, 2014 9:16 AM.

Oklahoma Election 2014: judicial retention ballot was the previous entry in this blog.

Oklahoma governor: For Mary Fallin is the next entry in this blog.

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