One of the ways in which the left is trying to reconfigure the Constitution (Article 2, Section 1) without using the prescribed method outlined in Article 5, is the National Popular Vote Compact movement.
For reference: Constitutional Amendment Process
What is the National Popular Vote Compact? According to their website:
The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
It has been enacted into law in 13 jurisdictions with 181 electoral votes (CA, CO,CT, DC, HI, IL, MA, MD, NJ, NY, RI, VT, WA).
The bill will take effect when enacted by states with 89 more electoral votes. The bill is currently on the governor’s desk in Delaware and New Mexico.
It has passed one house in 8 additional states with 72 electoral votes (AR, AZ, ME, MI, NC, NV, OK, OR), including a 40–16 vote in the Republican-controlled Arizona House and a 28–18 in Republican-controlled Oklahoma Senate, and been approved unanimously by committee votes in two additional Republican-controlled states with 26 electoral votes (GA, MO).
It is my belief that this is simply a gutting of the intent of the Electoral College, although it retains the Electoral College and state control of elections as hollow shells. I also believe that it is legal. The Constitution leaves the method in which Electors of the various states vote up to the states. Unfortunately. A great deal is being made about how a democracy should use a popular vote to choose their chief executive, because it is more “fair” and each vote counts equally.
It is notable that neither the Declaration of Independence nor the U.S. Constitution mention the word “Democracy”. The United STATES of America is a Republic. The intent of such things as the Electoral College and the election of two senators for each state, regardless of population, was to equalize the power wielded by each state, regardless of its population.
There are other serious reasons to oppose this movement, not the least of which is that it would make voter fraud easier and more effective. If the National Popular Vote Compact had been in force in 2016, Hillary Clinton would be President of the United States of America, and we would be saying, “Madame President”.
A Facebook friend of mine who is more eloquent than I (he writes a weekly column for the Cape Cod Times), expressed his thoughts on it this morning:
One of the premises of the “Abolish the electoral college” crowd is that countries Americans most admire choose their presidents by national, popular vote. They don’t. Parliamentary systems vote for local representatives (roughly equivalent to our House of Representatives), then the party with the most members chooses a Prime Minister. Absent a majority, parties sometimes cobble together coalition governments. In neither case do rank-and-file voters elect a national candidate.
The European countries most adored by American lefties (Sweden, Norway, often the U.K.) are constitutional monarchies. The head of state is hereditary; only the head of government is elected. France is not a monarchy, but has a separate president and premier. In short, they all provide filters between the popular vote and the eventual result.
The American system empowers the American president with all three major positions: head of state, head of party, and head of government — all the more reason to have a filter between “the people” and “the power.”
Democracies have a lousy track record historically — a fact Americans need to be reminded of daily, perhaps hourly. Republics and parliamentary systems aren’t perfect, either, but at least they protect average citizens from the tyranny of a majority. The proverbial warning for that is “Two wolves and a lamb voting on what’s for dinner.”
Article 2, Section 1, reads:
Clause 1: Executive Power
The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, and, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same Term, be elected, as follows
Clause 2: Method of choosing electors
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.
Clause 3: Electors
Note: The procedure outlined in Clause 3 was changed by the 12th Amendment in 1804, the text of which is as follows:
The Electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and all persons voted for as Vice-President and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate;
The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted;
The person having the greatest number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. And if the House of Representatives shall not choose a President whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon them, before the fourth day of March next following, then the Vice-President shall act as President, as in the case of the death or other constitutional disability of the President.
The person having the greatest number of votes as Vice-President, shall be the Vice-President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed, and if no person have a majority, then from the two highest numbers on the list, the Senate shall choose the Vice-President; a quorum for the purpose shall consist of two-thirds of the whole number of Senators, and a majority of the whole number shall be necessary to a choice. But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.