Defending the Electoral College since 2009
Usually, it’s Democrats claiming that the Electoral College hurts their party, but sometimes a Republican gets in on that game. Columnist Rachel Alexander recently regurgitated a series of National Popular Vote talking points in an article at Townhall.com. She begins by claiming that the Electoral College “isn’t going to allow Republicans to become president much longer.” She mentions “demographics” and claims “Republicans are losing ground in some of the swing states.”
First, suggestions that skin color determines political beliefs should be rejected by all Americans, but certainly by anyone who claims to be a conservative. More than two decades ago, I first heard the “demographics is destiny” argument made by liberal pollster Ruy Teixeira. I found it both insulting and unlikely at the time, and history is proving me right, and Teixeira and Alexander wrong, as minority voters—especially Hispanics—are trending more Republican.
Alexander goes on to make a variant of the Democrat’s old, disproven “Blue Wall” claim (a more elaborate story based on their demographic argument). She backs this up by cherry-picking three examples: Arizona, Colorado, and Virginia. But what about Florida, Michigan, and Wisconsin? Democrats (and Republican pessimists like Alexander) once claimed Florida would inevitably go blue, right before it became even redder. Hillary Clinton took Michigan and Wisconsin for granted and lost both, and almost Minnesota as well.
Donald Trump took a steamroller to the Blue Wall, which was never really there in the first place. Democrats themselves have sabotaged their coalition by taking positions that offend many working-class Americans, regardless of where they were born or what they look like. American politics is dynamic and often unpredictable. Like tired generals, some pundits and politicians can do no better than to fight the last war.
Alexander also makes a series of claims based on factual errors or analytical mistakes, presented here in the order in which they appear in her article.
Claim: Conservatives oppose NPV because they don’t understand it’s not a constitutional amendment.
Fact: This arrogant claim is doubly false. On the one hand, NPV was created by people who would have preferred to amend the Constitution to remove the Electoral College entirely, and glossing over that point is misleading at best. On the other, criticism of NPV often relates specifically to its form as an interstatecompact.
Claim: NPV “doesn’t even need congressional approval, since the Constitution allows for interstate compacts.”
Fact: The provision Alexander references begins with “No State shall….” In fact, the text of the Constitution allows interstate compacts only if they have “the Consent of Congress.”
Claim: “The 10 biggest cities in the U.S. contain only 8% of the U.S. population, so under a NPV they would no longer get as much of the attention.”
Fact: This claim starts out misleading and ends with a whopper. Consider that Los Angeles and Long Beach are two separate cities, but what matters in this debate is not whether someone lives on one or the other side of the city line, but that neither of them live in Iowa. The Census Bureau produces population figures for “Metropolitan Statistical Areas,” which are akin to media markets and thus more meaningful in considering NPV. The 10 biggest metros contain, not 8%, but 26% of the U.S. population—more than a quarter!
And what are these metros? The three largest are New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Alexander wants us to believe that these cities would receive less attention under NPV than they get today in presidential elections. As far as I recall, she’s the first person to ever suggest that about NPV, probably for the simple reason that it makes no sense.
Claim: Election fraud would be harder under NPV.
Fact: As Newt Gingrich and others have pointed out, vote fraud would become much easier in a nationalized election. Today, the proverbial Chicago cemetery can only influence the electoral votes of Illinois. If California tries to allow non-citizens to vote, that only affects California’s presidential electors. But under NPV, both scenarios could change who receives the electoral votes from all other compacting states and thus could change the outcome.
The NPV compact was created by Al Gore supporters who would have preferred to abolish the Electoral College but recognize how hard it is to amend the Constitution. The campaign is run and funded by the political left. Nearly all of their support on the right is paid for, sometimes with free luxury vacations. Buyer beware.
Time is running out
There is a real, immediate threat to the constitutional way we elect our president. National Popular Vote is 72% of the way to implementing their dangerous plan.