A plan, now stealthily making its way through state legislatures with astonishing speed, would junk the Electoral College and award the presidency to the winner of the popular vote.
The plan involves an interstate compact in which states would commit electors according to the national popular vote regardless of how the state itself voted. When enough states sign on — sufficient to cast 270 votes, a majority of the Electoral College — the plan will take effect.
The Electoral College will become a vestigial anachronism.
So far, nine states and D.C. have joined, casting 136 electoral votes, halfway to the 270 needed to put the compact into effect. The ratifying states are Maryland, New Jersey, Illinois, Hawaii, Washington, Massachusetts, Vermont, California and Rhode Island.
Both houses in New York have passed it, and it’s on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s desk. And it has already passed one house in Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina and Oregon. These states, plus New York, represent 107 votes.
Combined with the others, that’s 243 votes.
Who is pushing this?
All of the ratifying states voted for President Obama, as did eight of the 10 one-house states.
The movement is funded, in part, by the Center for Voting and Democracy, a George Soros-funded election group.
Essentially, it is an end run around the regular constitutional amending process. Rather than trying to get the approval of a two-thirds majority of each house of Congress and three-quarters of the states, this proposal would take effect with a simple majority.
Why are Democrats pushing this plan?
Democrats usually see a smaller percentage of their people go to the polls than Republicans do.
Under the electoral vote system, they figure why beat the drums to get a high turnout in New York City when the state will go Democratic anyway? But if it’s the popular vote that matters, the big-city machines can do their thing — with devastating impact.
And think of the chances for voter fraud! Right now, the biggest cities, the ones most firmly in Democratic control — Washington, D.C., New York City, Detroit, Chicago, San Francisco — are all solidly in blue states. Not only does this make it unnecessary to maximize turnouts there, but it also makes it unnecessary to promote double voting, fraudulent voting, and all the other tricks of the trade at which Democrats excel.
If the popular vote determines who will be the next president, we can bet that the machines will be out in force lining up voters, real and phony, to pad their statistics.
Some Republicans, particularly in non-swing states, are inclined to back the proposal simply so they can get their fair share of attention. They are tired of delegating to Ohio, Florida, Nevada, Virginia et al. the power to choose the president.
But don’t let our attention deficit disorder lead us to give away the store. The popular vote is what the Democrats do best. Fighting them on it is, in Winston Churchill’s words, “like going into the water to fight a shark.” Republicans need to kill this proposal and they better get busy doing it.
How can we stop the Democrats from ravaging our political system?
Key battles are coming up in Arkansas and North Carolina. In both states, one house has passed the compact. We need to stand firm in these two red states and block the compact from taking effect. Republicans in Minnesota and Wisconsin, both blue states, need to stop ratification in their states. And Republicans should focus on stopping the second house from ratifying it in those states where only one house has so far acted.
Our democracy depends on it.
Morris, who served as adviser to former Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and former President Clinton, is the author of 16 books, including his latest, Screwed and Here Come the Black Helicopters. To get all of his and Eileen McGann’s columns for free by email, go to dickmorris.com.