Monday, April 21

Dems pushing "compact" to end the electoral-college for presidential elections

Well, well, well.  I wondered what attack on our Constitution the Democrats would mount next, and here it is:  It's called the "National Popular Vote Interstate Compact"--and it's a real bomb.

As every American knows, we elect presidents based on a majority of "electoral votes" rather than a majority of the popular vote.  This system was written into the Constitution because the representatives of smaller states were reluctant to sign the Constitution if it specified that the presidency would be decided by the winner of the popular vote, as they feared that only candidates from large states could win.

Needing all the states to sign on, the Founders devised the "electoral college," in which each state has a number of electoral votes equal to the total of its senators and representatives.  Since every state has two senators this system leveled the playing field for smaller states to some extent, since it blended population size with the uniform two senators per state.

Frankly it strikes me as a brilliant compromise.  But Democrats--and even a few RINOs--want to junk it.

The impetus for this move arose from the results of the 2000 election, in which the Democrat won the popular vote but the Republican won a majority of electoral votes. This was the infamous Bush-Gore election, and to say the Democrats were furious is a huge understatement.

Maddened by losing the White House despite winning the popular vote, they determined they'd never again allow this to happen.  Unfortunately they knew the chances of amending the Constitution to so brazenly favor the big, urban, solidly-Democrat-voting states were microscopic.

Then brothers Akhil Reed Amar and Vikram Amar proposed a way to sidestep the clear and explicit Constitutional language and the hurdle of getting a super-majority of states to ratify a Constitutional amendment that disadvantaged half of them:  If Dems could get Democrat-controlled states to agree to award all their electoral votes to the candidate who won a majority of the nationwide popular vote, the electoral college system would be transformed into the "popular vote wins" rule sought by Democrats.

Let's go through that again, more slowly, because most people miss what the Dems want to do on the first pass:  Under the Democrats' proposal, all participating states will direct their "electors" to cast their electoral votes for the (presumably Democrat) winner of the national popular vote even if a majority of voters in that state voted Republican.

Did it make sense this time?  Cool deal, eh?  If your state signs on to this, and a majority votes for the Republican candidate for president, but the national popular vote favors the Democrat, your state will cast its electoral votes for the Democrat.  What a brilliant, fabulous scheme!

Each state's law specifies that this mandate shall go into effect as soon as states controlling a majority of electoral votes pass similar bills.

It's brilliant in its deviousness.  There's no question it would change the way presidential elections were decided--and unquestionably hugely to the benefit of the big, urban, Democrat-voting states.  It does that by taking advantage of a Constitutional provision that lets each state decide how to award its electoral votes.  But as to the ethics, consider how law professor Jamie Raskin replied to a critic who charged that the device was "an end-run around the constitutional amendment process:"  Raskin responded that "the term 'end run' has no known constitutional or legal meaning. ...the 'end run' is a perfectly lawful play."

In other words, they all know it subverts the explicit provisions of the Constitution but "does so via a legal process.  So screw you if you don't like it.  Besides, the Constitution is dead anyway."

Kinda reminds you of that fine lawyer "Slick Willie" Clinton, who parried a damaging question by saying "It depends on what the meaning of 'is' is."

There's a principle of contract law that says that when a contract clearly says that a party agrees to do "X," but later that party seeks to construe several other provisions of the contract as allowing it NOT to do X--where this outcome was clearly not contemplated by the parties at the time--the court won't permit the party to avoid its agreement by such subterfuge.  The theory is that it's irrational for a contract to allow one of the parties to do something *indirectly* that both parties explicitly agreed-- in clear language--was not allowed.

But of course that's exactly what's happening with the compact.

If you click on the Wiki explanation you can see this is a Democrat play all the way:  The compact is supported by the NYT, LA Times, Chicago and Boston papers.  Also Minnesota and Hawaii, which are strongly liberal/Dem.  Enough other states have joined that it has a shot at reaching the 270 electoral vote threshhold for liftoff.

You may notice something else about the Wiki piece:  The party affiliation of the governors who have signed legislation is never mentioned.

Normally one would immediately assume the Supreme Court would declare this abomination unconstitutional.  But after John Roberts voted to rule Obamacare constitutional by virtue of the government's power to levy a tax--even though team Obama had explicitly claimed it was NOT a tax, and the measure didn't originate in the House, which the Constitution says must source all taxing measures, clearly the fix is in.  (Some have suggested he's being blackmailed over an irregularity in the adoption of his children.)

I suspect this compact will reach its sign-up goal of 270 electoral votes--since it's to the advantage of the big states that already have a majority of the EVs.  And yet another mainstay of the Constitution will have been destroyed. 

When Democrats repeatedly trash what was once considered "the supreme law of the land," how can anyone expect residents to obey any law?

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