National Popular Vote
NATIONAL POPULAR VOTE AND WHY FRED THOMSPON IS WRONG
[Note: contents 'freely borrowed' from many sources.]
At the end of that long, hot, contentious summer of 1787, after completing the hard work of writing the document revered around the world, Benjamin Franklin walked outside and seated himself on a public bench. A woman approached him and inquired, "Well, Dr. Franklin, what have you done for us?" Franklin quickly responded, "My dear lady, we have given to you a republic--if you can keep it."
In fact Article IV, Sec. 4 states:
The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.
REPUBLIC: a state in which the supreme power rests in the body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by representatives chosen directly or indirectly by them.
In fact the Founders made it very clear that we were not, and were never to become, a democracy:
[D]emocracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security, or the rights of property; and have, in general, been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.2 James Madison
Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.3 John Adams
[T]he experience of all former ages had shown that of all human governments, democracy was the most unstable, fluctuating and short-lived.7 John Quincy Adams
A simple democracy . . . is one of the greatest of evils.8 Benjamin Rush, Signer of the Declaration
Electoral College is an integral part of that Constitutional Republic
The Founders feared national mob rule more than anything else, certainly more than poorly run state elections. They studied how earlier democracies such as Greece devolved into bankrupt majoritarian collapse. They viewed the federal government as deriving power from grants by the individual states, not majoritarian whim. The Electoral College ensures that our president represents many parts of America, not just an urban core.
Aside from their insistence that the president and vice president be elected by the states, and not by the people, another concern was that a foreign power might one day attempt to achieve through corruption and political intrigue, that which they could not achieve on the battlefield.
The Electoral College, was designed as an independent body consisting of citizen electors chosen for the sole purpose of selecting the president and vice president. The manner in which presidential electors were to be chosen was left solely and exclusively to the legislatures of the various states, and neither the governors of the states, nor the courts, federal or state, were given any role whatsoever in that process.
You probably know that when you go to the polls to vote in a Presidential election, you are voting for the electors, not for the candidate himself or herself. The number of electors for each state equals the number of congressional districts plus the two senators. Hence, Tennessee has 11 Electoral Votes. After all the votes have been counted, these electors meet in December in Nashville to cast their vote for the winner of the votes for president in the State of Tennessee.
In 1969, there was an effort to amend the US Constitution to permit the direct election of our Presidents. It passed the US House and failed in the US Senate.
In 1970,Charles Black, Henry Luce Professor of Jurisprudents, Yale Law School stated: “I think a case can be made for the proposition that direct election, if it passes, will be the most deeply radical amendment which has ever entered the Constitution of the United States.”
In 2000, Senator-elect Hillary Rodham Clinton began a victory tour of upstate New York Friday by calling for elimination of the Electoral College.
At an airport news conference, the first lady said she would support legislation seeking a constitutional amendment providing for the direct election of the president.
At that moment, Americans were waiting to see who won Florida's 25 electoral votes and would become the next president. Vice President Al Gore led Republican George W. Bush in the popular vote nationwide.
"We are a very different country than we were 200 years ago," Clinton said. "I believe strongly that in a democracy, we should respect the will of the people and to me, that means it's time to do away with the Electoral College and move to the popular election of our president."
Well, there you have it – the problem was that Clinton did not know what form of government we have.
Starting in 2006
The current effort to effectively abolish the genius of our Electoral College started in February 2006 with the initial press release of NationalPopularVote.com
In 2008, Jonathon Soros [George Soros’ son] wrote in a Wall Street Journal article that "the Constitution is no longer in line with our expectations regarding the role of the people in selecting the President."
We must beware of mischievous activities intended to change our constitutional form of government and to abolish the Electoral College! This effort to radically alter the way we elect our presidents has become a nationwide campaign, led by a compact of as few as eleven of the most populous states. The plan of the campaign, called the National Popular Vote (NPV), is to get states with at least 270 votes in the Electoral College to enact identical bills requiring their own electors to ignore the winner of their state's election and cast all their state's ballots for the candidate who the state believes received more popular votes than the other candidates nationwide, even if he fails to win a majority of the popular vote.
This would be a way to make a fundamental change in the role of the Electoral College without the necessity of a formal amendment to the Constitution with its requirement of 38 states for ratification.
Many constitutional scholars argue that this plan will lead to extensive litigation involving challenges to the NPV compact on issues such as the scope of constitutional powers, the Compact itself, the need for congressional approval, the concerns of non-compacting states, and constitutional protections of state interests and their role in elections.
Traditionally, each state has cast its electoral votes, equal to its total representation in Congress, for the candidate who receives the most votes statewide. The Electoral College is one of the legacies of the inspired genius of our Founding Fathers because it allows all states, regardless of size, to be players in the process of electing our President. It recognizes and respects the separation of and balance of power and authority between the states and the federal government.
It induces presidential candidates to gear their time, money, and policies toward the whole country, not merely toward the half dozen most populous states. The direct election of presidents would be a political, electoral, and constitutional mistake that would radically change America's election system and produce various unfavorable results, including:
* Geographically narrower campaigns, for election efforts would be largely urban.
* Increased election-fraud. (What could be done to answer allegations of voter fraud nation-wide? What about the need for recounts? NPV contains no mechanism.)
* A multicandidate, multiparty system, rather than the two-party system we currently have.
* Weaker presidents.
Had this compact been in place prior to the 2008 presidential election, it would have meant that Tennessee electors would have been required to cast their 11 votes for Obama.
Remember -- Two of the main reasons the Electoral College was implemented by our Framers in the first place was to protect the conservative notion of federalism (state’s rights), and second to protect rural minorities from overbearing urban majorities.
By implementing a national popular vote, we will be waving goodbye to both of these protections. Federalism has been under attack for nearly one hundred years, and this encroachment is more powerful every day.
Earlier Constitutional protections have been ripped away piece by piece. The Sixteenth Amendment allows the Federal Government to tax every aspect of our lives. The Seventeenth Amendment took away the right of states to choose effective advocates in the United States Senate. The last bulwark of federalism is the Electoral College.
One of the chief arguments made by proponents is that, under the Electoral College, not everyone’s vote counts equally. The argument goes that those people residing in swing states have more weight than those who do not. History shows that this is patently false. Since 1964 only DC (which has voted Democratic each time) has voted for the same political party in each election. All fifty states have cross-voted, which is to say that some elections they choose Republicans, in others Democrats. The only way a vote “would not count” is if a political party in a certain state decided that their efforts would be eternally futile.
Supporters trumpet that “Polls Show more than 70% Support for a Nationwide Vote for President.”
These figures must be taken with a HUGE ‘grain of salt’. Have you ever seen the scores that the average adult makes on any of the ‘civics’ test? I suspect that 8 out of 10 people could not tell us what the Electoral College was. When asked if the President should be elected by the popular vote, that sounds perfectly reasonable – so ‘American’ -- to those who do not understand and appreciate the design of our Founders.
Folks, this is serious business -- The eight states that have passed the National Popular Vote bill have 132 electoral votes, or about half of the amount needed to activate the agreement.
- District of Columbia – 3 electoral votes
- Hawaii – 4 electoral votes
- Illinois – 20 electoral votes
- Maryland – 10 electoral votes
- Massachusetts – 11 electoral votes
- New Jersey – 14 electoral votes
- Washington – 12 electoral votes
- Vermont – 3 electoral votes
- California – 55 electoral votes
The National Federation of Republican Women has come out strongly opposed to NPV.
Our own John Ryder, National Republican Committeeman has already written Popular presidential vote subverts Constitution
Basing the election on a plurality of the popular vote while ignoring the states would be like the New York Yankees claiming they won the 1960 World Series because they outscored the Pirates in runs 55-27 and in hits 91-60. However, no one challenges the fact that the Pirates fairly won that Series, 4 games to 3.
So, I don’t know why our own Fred Thompson has come down on the side of those like Hillary Clinton, ,Jonathan Soros, Common Cause, in undermining one of the beauties of our Constitutional Republic, but we will just have to agree to disagree.
TN Eagle Forum and national Eagle Forum will be doing everything in our power to preserve the uniqueness of for form of government and preserving the Electoral College.
I found a Notre Dame Law Journal article from 2007:
In Part III, the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact is examined and found constitutionally deficient. The Compact is actually a compact under the Compact Clause of the Constitution, because the Court has broadly construed what makes a compact. In particular, because the Compact is not effective until a critical mass of States have enacted it, and because States are constrained from withdrawing from the Compact too close to a presidential election, the Compact falls under constitutional scrutiny. Additionally, the Compact addresses a political matter that affects the interests of non-compacting sister States, and the compacting States enhance their political power at the expense of other States. The Article examines the various defenses of the Compact but finds that none of them overcome the political interests of sister States. Therefore, barring congressional consent, the Interstate Compact would fail.
The Electoral College system is better suited to handle recounts because they happen at a state level. Usually recounts are limited to one or two states. The jury-rigged NPV compact allows for no recounts, since that would require adding language to the Constitution. A national recount would be extremely difficult to conduct and would be very costly and highly chaotic. There would be a flurry of coast-to-coast litigation over
ballot design, alleged voting machine malfunctions, voting hours, and anything else lawyers could imagine.
Former Sen. Daniel
Patrick Moynihan (D-NY) has argued that abolishing the Electoral College would be “the most radical transformation in our political system that has ever been considered” because it would severely weaken the two- party system. The more candidates that enter the race the greater motivation there will be for additional candidates to run. In addition, candidates might enter the race in order to extract major concessions from the major party candidates in exchange for them dropping out of the race. The Electoral College system reduces voter fragmentation by forcing people to choose just a few candidates to be on the final ballot.