The Electoral College and the Constitutional Ignorance of the Left

By Ryan S. Walters

I recently ran across an interesting article on the leftwing website Salon.com on the Electoral College and the “schemes” of Republicans who want to change it.

In a piece entitled “Now they are trying to steal 2016: The demented GOP schemes to re-wire the Electoral College and elected a Tea Party president,” writer Paul Rosenberg, who hails from the Socialist Republic of California and also writes for Al Jazerra English, blasts conservatives for apparently committing the unpardonable sin of wanting to tamper with the sacred electoral process in the Constitution. “Republicans know they can’t win the popular vote,” he writes. “You won’t believe sick schemes they’ve launched to get around it.”

You really must appreciate the irony in such a vast waste of time and space. Aside from the fact that the Left hates the Constitution and always has since the days of Alexander Hamilton, Mr. Rosenberg never bothered to mention the major effort underway by Democrats to change the Electoral College to suit them. We will get to that shortly but first let’s look at a little constitutional history and what “sick scheme” Republicans are debating.

At present, Electoral College votes are allocated by state. Whichever presidential candidate wins the popular vote in a given state, even by the slimmest of margins, wins the total number of electoral votes.

But, unbeknownst to Mr. Rosenberg, the allocation of electoral votes is NOT set by the Constitution. So let’s establish one thing before we go any further: the apportionment of electoral votes can be changed and it does NOT take a new constitutional amendment to do it.

The Constitution states in Article 2, Section 1, Clause 1:

“Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.”

So the electors in each state can be chosen in any manner that the state legislature decides, which means that it can be changed at any time the state legislature wants to change the process in that state.

As a matter of fact, you really do not have a constitutional right to vote for President, at least according to the Constitution. And in the early years of our republic, much of the population didn’t cast votes for President because those states did not allow the public to cast votes for that office and it took a long time for that to change. South Carolina, for example, didn’t until after the War Between the States. The state’s legislature chose its presidential electors every four years.

This is an argument that was never made during the Bush v. Gore election case in 2000, but it should have been made. I vehemently opposed the US Supreme Court’s interference in that contest. It was blatantly illegal and unconstitutional.

Since a dispute occurred with the popular vote in the state of Florida, then the legislature should have appointed the electors. That’s the supreme law of the land, at least under the Constitution, and the Florida legislature had every right to appoint the electors. All power to appoint electors resides with the state legislatures, and, in fact, the legislature of Florida could have sent 25 baboons to the Electoral College in December of 2000 had they wanted to. It’s their constitutional prerogative.  The Supreme Court should have recognized that constitutional fact.

As for present plans, the Republicans are seeking to change the Electoral College, at least in some states, by allocating the votes by congressional district, not by state. This is an idea that I think has some merit to it and one I have studied a great deal.

Electoral votes, as you probably know, are equal to the number of House and Senate seats. In the case of Mississippi, that would be six.

One plan, which I believe is the most workable, would award two electoral votes to the candidate who wins the overall popular vote in the state and one vote for the winner of each congressional district.

In the election of 2012, rather than Romney winning all six electoral votes in Mississippi, he would have gained five and Obama would have won one by winning the congressional district represented by Bennie Thompson. So the Democrats would pick up some votes in the South under this plan.

But Republicans stand to gain the most, particularly in Northern/Rust Belt states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Illinois.

By running the numbers, Mitt Romney would have won the 2012 presidential election.

Take a look at county maps for the 2012 election.  First, the nation as a whole:

 

2012-Election-County-By-County

Even though Romney lost, look at how much of the nation he actually carried.  Check out some of the states won by Obama and how much red there is within those states.  As you can see, the Democrats carry areas that are heavily minority and are major population centers, which can be one and the same.

For a closer examination, let us look at Pennsylvania and Illinois:

Pennsylvania-2012_presidential_election-by_county

187px-Illinois_presidential_election_results_2012

The simple fact is that most people in the red areas of these blue states essentially have no representation in the Electoral College.  And that’s what Republicans seeks to correct, to make the Electoral College more representative of the will of the electorate across the nation.

Yet, despite his vitriol aimed at conservatives, Rosenberg conveniently forgot to mention that since the Democrat loss in 2000, when Gore won the popular vote by 500,000, the Left has sought a way to get rid of the Electoral College altogether and have presidential elections based on the popular vote alone. This, however, would require a constitutional amendment, unless you get the state legislatures to change how those electoral votes are distributed.

And that’s exactly what Democrats have been working on over the course of the last decade. They want each state to award its electoral votes to the candidate who wins the national popular vote. Several state legislatures have done so but their plan will only go into effect when enough blue states enact the plan to equal 270 electoral votes, the threshold to win the presidency.  And with efforts underway to pour millions of illegal immigrants into the country, and fast track them to citizenship (remember Bill Clinton’s Citizenship USA program), and since most of these illegals will gravitate toward the cities and population centers, this plan will guarantee Democrat presidential victories for decades to come, if not forever.

Aside from the fact that the Founding Fathers feared mass democracy, for many obvious reasons, there’s certainly nothing wrong with such a plan, at least not legally or constitutionally speaking. The state legislatures have every right to do it. Yet the Democrats are running into trouble because many of the small blue states are not willing to implement it because they understand that once the presidential vote is based on the popular ballots alone, then smaller states lose a lot of influence, and right they are. So their plan seems to have lost much of its steam.

Now, with their plan on the side of the road, they seem to be content to sit back and throw rocks at Republican plans, as if they never had one at all.

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Comments

  1. Hey Ryan: Great discussion. I too was shocked at the Supreme Court’s Due Process/Equal Protection overreach in the Gore case. It’s no wonder that the Court advised that the decision should not be used as precedent in other cases. As for the winner of the popular vote receiving all of the electoral votes in each, that is certainly the law in most states. However, if memory serves me correctly, the State of Nebraska provides that it’s electors are selected based upon the percentage of the popular vote received for President. Other states are considering making this change in order to eliminate the “winner takes all” traditional approach.
    David Frazier

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