Several states have discussed changing their method of allocating electoral votes, much to Democrats’ chagrin.
Democrats were recently shocked—shocked—to discover Republican plans to change how states allocate their Electoral College votes.
Just what is this conspiracy against the republic?
Its genesis can be found in the Constitution, which grants the states exclusive control over how their electoral votes are awarded. According to Article II, Section 1, “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors…”
For the past few years a left-wing group has been planning an end run around the Electoral College, lobbying state legislatures to pass a National Popular Vote compact. Legislatures that agree essentially promise electoral votes not to the candidate who wins their individual states, but to the one who wins the majority of the total votes nationwide.
As the National Popular Vote legislation is written, this change would take effect only once states with a combined Electoral College vote of 270 (the number a candidate needs to win the presidency) have passed the law. How are they doing? Eight states—Vermont, Maryland, Washington, Illinois, New Jersey, Maine, California, and Hawaii—have passed the law. All were controlled at the time of passage by Democratic governors and state legislatures. Oh, and the District of Columbia, with three Electoral College votes, is also in.
This plan, if implemented, would be a bonanza for vote fraudsters. To take a hypothetical: Today, creating a million fraudulent votes in Chicago would win a candidate only Illinois’ 20 Electoral College votes. Under the National Popular Vote, a candidate could steal 270 electoral votes or more through voter fraud in one city. Colorado’s electoral votes could be won in the counting rooms of Philadelphia or Los Angeles, cities in different time zones where no Colorado poll watchers will be present.
Now, this quiet revolution is fine by Democrats. They like this change. But the liberal establishment is in a huff about another. In an article last year, the leftist Mother Jones called it the “GOP’s Genius Plan” and ruefully added, “That’s not all. There’s no legal way for Democrats to stop them.”
Here’s the “unstoppable” scheme: Forty-eight states currently allocate their electoral votes using a winner-take-all system. The candidate who wins the state receives all of its electors, and the second-place candidate receives zero. But states needn’t keep this system. Among the 25 states currently controlled by Republican governors and legislatures, there are six states that President Obama has carried twice: Florida (29 electors), Pennsylvania (20), Ohio (18), Michigan (16), Virginia (13), and Wisconsin (10).
In each of the above states, the legislature could pass and the governor could sign a law that, for all future presidential elections, allocates Electoral College votes by congressional district. Two states already assign electoral votes this way. In Maine and Nebraska, the winner of each congressional district gains one electoral vote, and the winner of the state popular vote earns an additional two. (Hence how in 2008, John McCain won four of Nebraska’s five votes, and Obama won one because he carried its 2nd congressional district, which includes Omaha.)
If one assumes that the Republican presidential candidate would win every district held by a GOP congressman, that candidate would start with 17 votes from Florida, 13 from Pennsylvania, 12 from Ohio, nine from Michigan, eight from Virginia, and five from Wisconsin. That’s 64 electoral votes that Democrats won in 2008 and 2012.
One begins to understand why the Democrats are sweating bullets.
The Democratic Party and its allies in the media have expressed horror that other states would follow the same completely constitutional route that many states have taken throughout our history. Virginia originally allocated electoral votes just as Nebraska and Maine do now—but the state legislature switched to winner-take-all to help ensure Thomas Jefferson’s presidential election in 1800.
So why is the left objecting to this modest and healthy reform?
First, Democrats argue that this is a Republican partisan trick. But Nebraska made its change in 1991, and it was signed into law by Democratic governor Ben Nelson (who came to fame later by casting the expensive vote that enacted Obamacare). And Maine? The reform passed in 1969, targeting the 1972 election in which Democratic senator Ed Muskie was expected to be the nominee against Richard Nixon. Both houses of the legislature were controlled by Democrats, and the governor was Democrat Kenneth Curtis.
The Democrats made a play to change the rules in Florida in 1991, led by Florida’s Democratic governor, the hyper-partisan Lawton Chiles, who announced, “It’s just basically fairer.” The Associated Press reported that the proposal was “already drawing fire from legislative Republicans, who see it as a maneuver to break the GOP stranglehold on presidential elections in Florida.” Democrats had carried the state only twice in the previous 40 years.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?