In the midst of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, many Americans have likely missed coverage of a growing storm in the world of politics. It’s a scheme recently promoted by the far left of the Democratic Party – including the New York Times and activist Michael Moore – to deny President Trump reelection in 2020.
Their plan? Cheat.
To understand how, we need to first remember a quirk of American democracy.
Most of us will recall that the U.S. constitution doesn’t allow its citizens to directly elect our president. Instead, an Electoral College assembles every four years and selects the nation’s leader. This unconventional College, with members from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, is technically free to vote for whomever it wants. However, in practice, these members – also called electors – almost always vote for the candidate that wins their home state.
Honest Democrats will admit that this proposal is being advanced only because we lost in 2016. Had it been Hillary Clinton who won the Electoral College while losing the popular vote, we wouldn’t be pushing for this “elegant” solution.
In other words, if Trump wins Michigan, the state’s electors will almost always vote for him in the Electoral College (even though they don’t have to).
The far left wants to abolish this system. Why? As Moore recently argued, Trump will probably win reelection if we keep the Electoral College (which he won 304-227 in 2016). If, however, the country were to replace it with a national popular vote, a Democrat would stand a much better chance of victory.
Indeed, Hillary Clinton beat Trump by nearly three million total votes in 2016.
In normal times, dumping the Electoral College would require a constitutional amendment. However, the far left is advocating for what it calls an “elegant” runaround – officially labeled the Interstate Compact – where states pool their electors for whichever candidate wins the national vote irrespective of their state’s vote.
Let’s take an example. Had the compact been in place in 2016, electors in states like Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania would have been forced to vote for Clinton even though Trump won their home states. Why? Clinton won more total national votes.
As of this writing, 11 states and their legislatures have signed on to the Interstate Compact. If the effort attracts a few more states that represent 105 Electoral College votes, the scheme goes into effect.
Not surprisingly, some of my fellow Democrats are tempted by this plan, including former Vice President Al Gore. However there are at least four reasons why the party and its sensible members must loudly and publicly reject this illicit compact.
We Lost. Move on. Honest Democrats will admit that this proposal is being advanced only because we lost in 2016. Had it been Hillary Clinton who won the Electoral College while losing the popular vote, we wouldn’t be pushing for this “elegant” solution. That hypocrisy should remind us that cooler heads must prevail. Our democracy and its constitution are not playthings to be discarded when a political party doesn’t get their way.
Bad Candidate: While supporters of the compact highlight that Clinton won more total votes than Trump, they fail to mention that 14 Democratic nominees before her have managed to win the Electoral College – and thus the presidency. That includes a biracial man named Barack Hussein Obama who won twice during the nation’s war on Islamic terror.
In other words, Democrats didn’t have an Electoral College problem in 2016. We had a candidate problem. Our constitution shouldn’t bear the burden of punishment for the mistake we Democrats made in nominating a deeply flawed individual.
It’s (Likely) Unconstitutional: The far left makes no mention that the Supreme Court would likely find the compact unconstitutional if it were adopted. Indeed, our founding documents specifically prohibit political compacts between states where it either erodes federal power or that of states not in agreement.
While the Supreme Court’s ultimate ruling is debatable, it’s clear that this particular compact is exclusively political in nature and would not have the support of all (or even most) states. Additionally, it’s wholly designed to be an end run around how Americans are supposed to change or abolish the Electoral College, namely through the constitutional amendment process.
And that leads us to the final and most important reason why patriotic Democrats and our elected leaders must dismiss this idea publicly and resolutely.
Follow the Rules: The nation’s founders purposefully made the constitution difficult to amend. They didn’t want hotheaded activists (or their favorite media outlets) changing the nation’s fate without rigorous dialogue and debate.
In other words, we can make changes to our electoral system but we must do it right. That means calling for either a constitutional convention or getting Congress to start the amendment process.
It’s clear, though, that extremists in the Democratic Party aren’t keen on doing things right. Why? They know that passing constitutional reforms is tough. Indeed, amendments almost always fail.
For them, that means there’s only one solution: cheating. They’re willing to treat the constitution like a downed tree to be cleared in order to secure the White House in 2020.
But if that’s what it takes to win, this Democrat would rather lose.