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:
District of Columbia
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.