While the massive union effort to overturn the Wisconsin state senate failed, in California the Left quietly moved its agenda forward this week when Governor Jerry Brown signed the “National Popular Vote” bill whose purpose is to award the state’s 55 electoral votes to the presidential candidate with the most popular votes nationally.
Why is this significant? California is the eighth state (along with the District of Columbia) to pass this legislation. It is written to take effect if and when states representing a majority of the 538 electoral votes have passed similar legislation. This means that if Candidate A wins the vote in your state, but Candidate B wins it nationally, your state’s electors would be required to vote for B.
The Electoral College is made up of delegates appointed by each party’s nominee in a number equal to the state’s representation in Congress. Historically, electors vote for their party’s nominee (with a few exceptions over the years). Thus, the candidate who wins the state gets its electoral votes.
This was part of the check-and-balance system built into the Constitution by its writers. James Madison argued in Federalist Paper No.39 that the Constitution was to be a mixture of state-based and population-based government. Congress would have two houses: the Senate would be state-based; the House population-based. The president would be elected by a mixture of the two.
California’s AB459 originally had some Republican sponsors until it was explained to them that its effect would be to make the 224-year-old electoral vote system irrelevant. They withdrew their names. The legislation passed the legislation without any Republican votes.
Thus far, only “blue” states have passed this legislation, such as Vermont, Massachusetts, Illinois and New Jersey, along with the District of Columbia. John Koza, a Silicon Valley computer scientist who founded the unit in 2006, was quoted in the Sacramento Bee this week as saying, “We just try to push the noodle along every year in every state where we can push it along.” He and his friends have succeeded in pushing “the noodle” to the point where they have 132 electoral votes cornered. That is 49 percent of what they need to reach a majority (270 votes).
The customary way to change the Constitution is to amend it. This, of course, requires passage by two-thirds of both houses of Congress, a presidential signature and ratification by 38 states.
It’s not easy to do, which was just what the Constitution’s writers intended.
The Left wants to do accomplish its goal by doing an end run around the Constitution. Why?
Given population trends of recent decades, if the NPVP were in effect the winner of the six or seven largest metropolitan areas would determine the outcome of the presidential election. And, who controls those areas? Democrats. Therein lies the purpose of this national campaign.
California proponents of the NPVP argue that its national passage would require candidates to actively campaign in states controlled by one party, such as California. This is window dressing.
In all the years in which there have been political parties, in only three elections have the electoral vote winners not also had the most popular votes: 1876, 1888 and 2000. Those electoral vote winners were all Republicans: Hayes, Benjamin Harrison and George W. Bush. Since Mr. Koza and his supporters were born long after Hayes and Harrison were around, it is hard to avoid concluding that they are still seeking revenge on Bush for ever becoming president.
Republican State Sen. Doug LaMalfa said of Brown’s signing the NPVP legislation that it rejects the “American tradition that protects the fabric of our country from fractionalization and mob rule.”
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