A Republic, If You Can Keep It

Following the Trump victory in last week’s election, many on the losing side have been calling for the abolition of the Electoral College. To do this would be to remove yet another Constitutional bulwark against raw democracy, which the Framers rightly saw as a buttered slide to tyranny (beginning with the tyranny of the majority). The Electoral College is all that gives the smaller states a voice at all in the selection of Presidents, and if it is abolished those states with large minority, urban, and elite populations — the ones that reliably go blue on Election Day — will effectively control the Executive branch forever (or at least until the dissolution of the Republic itself, which would likely follow shortly thereafter). Indeed, there would simply have been no United States at all under direct election of the President, as a Constitution that gave the big states such a commanding advantage would never have been ratified in the first place.

If you’ve been thinking about this over the past few days, you may have taken comfort in the fact that to abolish the Electoral College requires a Constitutional amendment, which in turn requires the approval of three-fourths of the state legislatures. Given the quite remarkable extent to which state voters have rejected the Democrats in recent years (only 26% of state legislatures are currently controlled by Democrats, and there are only four states — California, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Hawaii — in which both the governor and legislative majority are both Democrats), a Constitutional amendment is extremely unlikely.

You may not, however, be aware of a clever attempt to circumvent the Constitution, being sponsored by an organization called NPV, or National Popular Vote, whose plan is to put in place a contract by which signatory states can agree to bind their electors to the winner of the popular vote. The idea is that it takes effect when states totaling 270 electoral votes have signed on. It has already been signed into law in 11 states, with a total of 165 electoral votes. Even if it achieves its aim, I can imagine that it might not survive a challenge in the courts, as its effect is explicitly to nullify the electoral procedure prescribed in the Constitution. It is, nevertheless, something we all ought to keep an eye on.

Here’s a video explaining the plan:

The United States, a huge and diverse nation, is not, and was never intended, to be a democracy. It is an association of states. The voice given to the smaller and redder states by the Electoral College is an essential feature of a workable Union.

The 11 states (well, 10 plus D.C.) that have signed on so far are:

California
District of Columbia
Hawaii
Illinois
Massachusetts
Maryland
New Jersey
New York
Rhode Island
Vermont
Washington

Notice anything they have in common? This is, simply put, an attempt by the blue states to take over the Executive Branch (although, it should be said, it can only succeed if some swing states sign on; it is already only the large blocs of Democrat voters in these blue states that have tipped the popular vote against the Electoral result in recent years). Direct popular control of the Executive is precisely what the Framers sought to prevent, as they knew it would be the death of the Republic. We must do what we can to see that it fails.

Related content from Sphere

19 Comments

  1. J Clivas says

    Creepy blue state lawyers will just keep trying to have their way.

    Posted November 13, 2016 at 1:14 am | Permalink
  2. Malcolm says

    Well, right. We are pitted against entropy, decay, and disorder, which never rest.

    We must be vigilant.

    Posted November 13, 2016 at 1:33 am | Permalink
  3. It seems to me that a State like California, which has a large number of electoral votes and is overwhelmingly blue, is guaranteed to cast all its electoral votes for the blue candidate under current rules. Hence, California would actually lose some influence under the NPV plan. There will be some chance under NPV rules that all of its electoral votes will go to the red candidate if the red candidate wins the national popular vote. Bear in mind that the national popular vote includes all the red votes from all the red States as well as those red votes cast in all the blue States.

    In other words, under the current rules, my red vote in California has no influence whatsoever in a Presidential election. California’s electoral votes were going blue whether I voted or not. But under NPV, my vote would have an influence on the election like everyone else’s vote.

    It seems to me that, as I understand them, the NPV rules are a disadvantage for the blue States because they enhance their own red-vote incentive and thereby enhance the red Candidate’s chances of winning the election.

    Am I missing something?

    Posted November 13, 2016 at 4:10 am | Permalink
  4. Alex Leibowitz says

    These power struggles seem so boring. I would have thought that the best way to prevent candidates like Trump from taking power would be to make the electoral college and the party nomination process LESS dependent on the popular vote, not more. Had the founders had their way, the electors could nominate whomever they wanted for the presidency. Does anyone remember when exactly that changed, and why?

    Posted November 13, 2016 at 6:11 am | Permalink
  5. Whitewall says

    It is becoming a waste of time to give a Democrat elected official the Oath of Office. If he/she says “I will” – he lies.

    Posted November 13, 2016 at 7:24 am | Permalink
  6. Malcolm says

    Alex,

    Power struggles may be boring, but generally only to people who aren’t interested in power. And because such struggles are how power is seized and held, they will always be with us.

    As to the commitment of electors to the winning candidate, La Wik has an article here.

    Posted November 13, 2016 at 12:01 pm | Permalink
  7. Malcolm says

    Henry,

    Your points are good ones. I think the way to understand it is this:

    The states that are going to be interested in joining this coalition are the ones whose electoral votes are in agreement with the popular vote. These are the states that are getting more and more reliably blue, i.e., states in which the top/bottom coalition of minorities and elites is getting stronger every cycle, as immigrants flood in and traditional American types (middle-class/blue-collar workers, social conservatives, white people with a sense of cultural and ethnic identity, and grumpy old reactionaries like me) leave.

    You’re right that this contract actually exposes them to some danger, in that your vote, which is meaningless now, would factor in under the new system. They are counting on the fact that this won’t matter. The recent elections in which the electoral votes were at odds with the popular vote reassure them that this won’t be a problem — and they are wagering that the popular vote will tip more and more to the blue side as American demographics shift.

    So there’s really no reason for the solidly blue states not to sign on; after all, for the coalition to take effect, they need to get a coalition of states totaling 270 votes — which means that they will have had to pick up some red or swing states.

    It’s really just a way to nullify swing-state votes in elections where the swing states go red, and the popular vote goes blue (as they are betting it will keep doing).

    Posted November 13, 2016 at 1:57 pm | Permalink
  8. Alex Leibowitz says

    Thanks for the pointer, Malcolm, but it appears the answer is here:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unpledged_elector

    Posted November 13, 2016 at 2:37 pm | Permalink
  9. Malcolm,

    I understand what you are saying. But consider the following:

    If the blue States manage to assemble the requisite 270 (or more) electoral votes, how will NPV improve their fait accompli? You can’t do better than “done” — you can only do worse at such a point, n’est-ce pas?

    Posted November 13, 2016 at 3:40 pm | Permalink
  10. JK says

    http://observer.com/2016/11/americas-emerging-nationalism-crisis/

    I suppose we’ll see

    Posted November 14, 2016 at 10:51 am | Permalink
  11. Malcolm says

    Henry,

    The always-blue states can’t get to 270 on their own. But if they can count on the popular vote tipping blue, then by getting some swing states to sign on to the NPV contract, they will have locked in the Executive going forward.

    Posted November 14, 2016 at 10:55 am | Permalink
  12. Malcolm,

    “But if they can count on the popular vote tipping blue, …”

    Well, yeah. But that’s a big “if”. If either side could count on the majority of the popular vote, there wouldn’t be much need for elections. The rest of us would be thoroughly f*cked.

    But just because a state is blue doesn’t mean it can count on any specific proportion of the eligible (or not) votes in that state for any given election. After all, there is a not insignificant number of independent voters in every state. Moreover, not every blue or red voter can be absolutely counted on voting blue or red, respectively. A fair number doesn’t even bother to vote. Moreover, I know the majority of party members usually vote the party line, but even the blue ones occasionally make “mistakes” in a secret ballot.

    Understand, I am not in favor of what the NPV shysters are trying to accomplish. I think the electoral college system has generally worked well for more than two centuries. Don’t fix it if it ain’t broke, etc.

    I’m just wondering if the NPV idea isn’t something that could easily backfire. Of course, the states that signed up for it could probably sign out if they chose to do so. It’s not like seceding from the Union. But it could be a very big gamble to sign up in the first place.

    Shysters are sneaky and have street smarts. But they aren’t infallible and not all of them are especially intelligent. Look at that schmuck Dershowitz (if you can stomach the idea).

    Posted November 14, 2016 at 11:48 am | Permalink
  13. Malcolm says

    Henry,

    If either side could count on the majority of the popular vote, there wouldn’t be much need for elections.

    True, if it were the popular vote that determined the outcome of Presidential elections. But that’s exactly why there’s an Electoral College!

    But just because a state is blue doesn’t mean it can count on any specific proportion of the eligible (or not) votes in that state for any given election.

    Not a specific proportion, perhaps — but wouldn’t you agree that some states, for example New York and California, can with near certainty count on solid blue majorities in presidential elections?

    Posted November 14, 2016 at 1:00 pm | Permalink
  14. Malcolm,

    In the context of this thread about NPV, when I say popular vote I mean National popular vote under NPV rules. I know that is not how it works under current Electoral College rules. I am not an idiot.

    Of course the blue states can count on majorities in their own states. That’s why we call them blue states. But under NPV, their in-state majorities would not be the determining factor. They would need the National majority vote to win the election. And I submit, that is not something they can absolutely count on, even though they can count on their in-state majorities. Because every single state, regardless of color, has an impact on the National popular vote. Hence, every single voter in every single state will have influence over the electoral votes of the NPV signatory states.

    Posted November 14, 2016 at 2:34 pm | Permalink
  15. Malcolm says

    Henry,

    In the context of this thread about NPV, when I say popular vote I mean National popular vote under NPV rules.

    Well, right, Henry, I knew that was what you meant.

    I am not an idiot.

    I knew that too! (Man, I seem to be pissing everybody off today.)

    But under NPV, their in-state majorities would not be the determining factor. They would need the National majority vote to win the election. And I submit, that is not something they can absolutely count on, even though they can count on their in-state majorities.

    Right! That’s exactly the risk they take, and that’s why I said they were making a “wager” that the popular vote will tip more and more to the blue side as American demographics shift. If it does, and if they can get enough of the swing states to sign up, they’re in like Flynn. And because reliable Democratic control of the Executive will keep immigration policy tipping the balance toward the Dems, they’re in like Flynn forever.

    If the popular vote doesn’t trend that way, though, they are screwing themselves, just as you say.

    So: can we say we agree?

    Posted November 14, 2016 at 3:20 pm | Permalink
  16. Yes, Malcolm, we can agree on that, especially the part about the swing states being suicidal about their state sovereignty if they choose to link their destiny to the confederation of the thoroughly blue states. If the swingers did that, we as a Nation would be completely f*cked, and not in a pleasurable way.

    One other teeny weeny thing, however implausible. Even if enough states join the NPV blues, it is still not a certainty that the blue candidate would win the National popular vote. Because all of the red votes in all of the states could still exceed all of the blue votes nationwide. Probably not in most Presidential elections. But demographics, as everything else, are always subject to change.

    Never say “forever” :)

    Posted November 14, 2016 at 4:41 pm | Permalink
  17. JK says

    “Never say “forever” :)”

    Well TheBigHenry, then Sojourn in the Wilderness?

    http://malcolmpollack.com/2016/06/22/banging-their-spoons/

    Posted November 14, 2016 at 5:37 pm | Permalink
  18. JK,

    “Sojourn in the Wilderness?”

    I don’t get it. May I have another clue?

    Posted November 14, 2016 at 6:38 pm | Permalink
  19. Tina says

    It isn’t getting much play yet, but Independent candidates could destroy those Blue State election walls. This is basically what President Trump was, as we saw from the GOPe’s reaction to the voters’ choice. This election showed that Americans, with God’s help, field better candidates than our political parties do, that we would have been far better off over the past 20 years with a few more feisty Independents in both houses than to have fallen for the Uniparty’s pretense of “needing a majority”, and finally, that real Americans in cold prayer have more clout than the entire globalist circle of both parties, the media, the elites and the hyphenated-identity-voting-blocks combined.

    God has set in place a man to do some things God has planned. The very facts of the way this all came together (along with all of history) tell us that no weapon formed against us will prosper. That includes attempts to game our elections.

    Posted November 15, 2016 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

Post a Comment

Your email is never shared. Required fields are marked *

*
*

You can add images to your comment by clicking here.