WASHINGTON: Democrats sell it as “one man, one vote.” However, it’s an end-run around our Electoral College. Hillary Clinton, they say, won the popular vote in 2016, an election they still can’t believe they lost. They know they can’t get a Constitutional Amendment across to abolish the Electoral College, so they’re appealing to the states (the blue states) to subvert a couple of hundred years of its intended use.
We know why the Founders did not want a popularly-elected President
The founders feared mob rule as much as the King’s, and they knew that the interests of the big cities and big states could overrule those of the rest of the country.
Unlike the mob-driven and quickly-tyrannical French Revolution, the American Revolution wasn’t about “liberté, egalité, fraternité.” It was about protecting all its citizens from tyranny – little guys have rights, too, even if the majority doesn’t like them. So they built a two-chamber Congress.
In the House, the general population was represented.
The Senate was to protect States’ interests, with an equal vote of each.
The Electoral College would combine the votes of each State, with a total vote representing both the population and the region – electors totaling the number of Representatives, plus two (the number of Senators). And D.C. has added three reliably-Democratic electors to the mix since 1961, courtesy of the 23rd Amendment.
When they wrote the Constitution, the manner of electing the President was one of the last items considered. Nobody thought much about it, and no one thought it would present too many problems… until they took a hard look and found that it was a steaming pot of potential trouble.
But when the Electoral College system finally emerged, James Madison commented,
“…if the manner of it be not perfect, it is at least excellent.”
Madison was right on both counts.
Five times, Democrats won the popular vote but lost the presidency in the Electoral College; Republicans, never. Andrew Jackson and Grover Cleveland made comebacks and won later; the mojo of Samuel Tilden, Al Gore, and Hillary Clinton washed up on the shores of ignominy, if not obscurity.
Electoral College 2016 – 2020
Until now, electors (in 24 states), though traditionally bound to represent their State voters, were “free” to cast their votes for the candidate of their choice. Delusional to the end, and perhaps influenced by Hollywood ads, seven electors went rogue in 2016 and broke with their State votes to cast for Hillary Clinton. But Donald J. Trump became President.
The latest Democratic trick is a “National Popular Vote,” an idea last considered fifty years ago. (The House in the 91st Congress passed HJ Res 681; the Senate defeated it.)
The NPV idea is simple. Regardless of the popular votes in a participating state fall, State’s Electors will be legally bound to vote for whichever candidate wins the popular vote, nationally.
No “rogue electors” – their votes would be automatic, reducing the position of “elector” to… nothing, and potentially going against the very “will of the people” of those states.
Popular Vote vs Electoral Vote
Though two of the last five presidential elections have gone to the candidate with fewer popular votes than the Democrat, it’s important to note that only two of the last 31 elections have gone that way.
So it seems crazy for these state legislatures to disenfranchise their own citizens and throw away their influence, to be led by whatever New York City, the California masses, and the Chicago and other big-city machines decide.
But it’s not crazy.
At worst, it’s illegal, but really, who cares? It’s just simpleminded. Here’s why:
• Democrats are positive they’ll win the popular vote in 2020, just as they (barely) did in 2016 and 2000, and they need to focus on the states they ignored in 2016, try to swing them back to the fold.
They don’t have any more money than they have ideas, so this will let them concentrate their funds.
• By locking in their electors ahead of time, these already-blue states are freeing the remaining Democratic war chest to blitz Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin, and perhaps Texas, any one or two of which could make the difference in the electoral vote.
- What if the voters and votes are required to be valid and verified in, say, the 57 counties (out of 3142 counties and parishes, total) where Hillary won?
- Or, and this is key, what if the previously-discouraged voters in deep-blue states realize their votes will matter under this scheme, specifically by narrowing the Democratic margin? And the electors, locked into voting the popular vote, will be forced to give us a Trump – Electoral – landslide.