Saturday, January 21, 2012

Doing away with the Electoral College! One man, one vote and majority wins!

Update Saturday January 21: An article from Politicons "Surprise! NY Democrat: Voter Fraud Is One Of Our “Normal Political Tactics”

Could that possibly be a good idea? For the Democrat Party, expert in "voter" registration, the answer would most likely be a emphatic yes!

But is shelving the Electoral College for a system of presidential election winners chosen purely by popular vote the direction that our country should be heading?

This idea is being vigorously pursued by the organizers at a website called National Popular Vote and has been endorsed by publications including the New York Times, Minneapolis Star Tribune, San Jose Mercury News and the Los Angeles Times.

But, if you are a believer in the wisdom of the Founding Fathers and the strength of our Constitution, the answer to this question of the virtue of an election process by popular vote alone would seem to be a resounding no.

The Electoral College - "It is a process that began as part of the original design of the U.S. Constitution. The Electoral College was established by the founding fathers as a compromise between election of the president by Congress and election by popular vote. The people of the United States vote for the electors who then vote for the President..."

The process of selecting a president of the United States!

A system of choosing the president of the United States purely by popular vote would, at the very least, encourage an even greater attempt by some to attempt various degrees of voter fraud, by registering to vote anyone and everyone they thought would be sympathetic to their cause or in agreement with the ideology of their party.

That would be consistent with an old saying attributed to three Chicagoans, Al Capone, Richard J. Daley and William Hale Thompson, that goes something like "vote early and vote often."

An election by popular vote alone would bring the political discourse and the associated bending of the truth in political advertising, already considered by some to be at its worst levels of all time, even further into the gutter than most likely anyone would think possible.

This tactic of sending misleading and sometimes just plain dishonest messages would go along with the next thought that says...

"Ignorant votes rule," considered politically incorrect to say out loud but number one of the "Six Dirty Secrets of Presidential Politics."

These are the types of voters who do not necessarily take the time or have the interest to look at a politicians background and record themselves, but rely on the mainstream media to spoon feed them the "information."

They hear what they hear and believe what they hear which would make presidential politics and campaigning a process that allows he who has the most money and therefore speaks loudest and most often to rule the day.

This would benefit an incumbent of either party who is in full possession of the bully pulpit, allowing them to speak to the entire country basically at will.

And the Super PACs, now so prevalent and unrestricted by rules governing fundraising, would ensure that their desired message gets.

We will see that very clearly now that the Obama reelection campaign is getting geared up to take on the remaining Republicans.

What do you think?

I posed this question to a group of politically engaged, albeit mostly conservative, people from around the country.

These were just some of their thoughtful responses on the subject of the prudence of ending the Electoral College process and installing a one-man(woman)-one vote method for selecting the next president of the United States.

1) - This legislation is nothing but an attempt for the left to capitalize on the complete and utter ignorance of the American people. People who have limited education and absolutely NO sense of American history. They have dumbed the populace down to the point that the masses honestly think we are a democracy ... but we are not. The people honestly believe that the electoral college is a tool from a bygone era that no longer applies. They believe that as long as technology allows us to count everyone's vote, then every vote should count individually. It is an outrage and is as unAmerican as anything could be.

2) - How does the saying go? is two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner. A Republic is a well armed sheep... something or other. You get the idea.

- We are not a Democracy, we are a Representative Republic. The popular vote is a wonderful idea IF you are a liberal democrat. They (liberals and establishment types) love this idea because it pushes along the destruction of what America is supposed to be. The part that broke my heart about this legislation is what I heard on the radio ad that they were playing constantly a while back in support of this legislation. And that is that Fred Thompson is an avid supporter of this legislation. He was my guy in '08 and that sucked a lot that he could put his name to something like this.

This legislation is right up there with Obamacare and should be stopped at all costs. It is a travesty, plain and simple!

3) - I am opposed to this idea. This sets up a tyranny of the majority. The Democrats would love this. They would register every Tom, Richard and Harry in their urban centers to outvote the country folk. Can you imagine the vote totals from New York and California overwhelming the small states. This is a dangerous idea.

4) - So because voters are ignorant and can't be counted on for a good decision, I'm supposed to trust the willy boogers after they have been bought off by Pilesofcrapticians? ( politicians ) I'm supposed to believe the voters in Noo Yawk are better judges of what we need as as country, than I am? I may have been born at night, but it wasn't last night.

I would advocate a return to a poll tax, only property owners being able to vote, a citizenship test, repeal of the Seventeenth Amendment, and the outlawing of both all political parties.

5) - ...The National Popular Vote bill would not change the need for candidates to build a winning coalition across demographics. Candidates would have to appeal to a broad range of demographics, and perhaps even more so, because the election wouldn’t be capable of coming down to just one demographic, such as voters in Ohio.

We are a Republic and a Democracy. They are not necessarily mutually exclusive.
Unable to agree on any particular method, the Founding Fathers left the choice of method for selecting presidential electors exclusively to the states by adopting the language contained in section 1 of Article II of the U.S. Constitution-- "Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors . . ." The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly characterized the authority of the state legislatures over the manner of awarding their electoral votes as "plenary" and "exclusive."
The National Popular Vote bill preserves the Electoral College and state control of elections. It changes the way electoral votes are awarded in the Electoral College. 
The Republic is not in any danger from National Popular Vote. It has nothing to do with direct democracy.
With National Popular Vote, citizens would not rule directly but, instead, continue to elect the President by a majority of Electoral College votes, to represent us and conduct the business of government in the periods between elections.

6) - There's no way that I could support a national popular vote bill. It would give the populous states - the blue states - an even greater advantage then they already have and guarantee Democrat presidents ad infinitum.

7) - I guess one of my core questions would be, without pages of rhetoric, why be concerned with trying to alter the system?

In the history of the Electoral College, there have only been four instances where a presidential candidate has lost the popular vote yet won the election:

- John Q. Adams lost the popular vote to Andrew Jackson in 1824.

- Rutherford B. Hayes lost the popular vote to Samuel Tilden in 1876.

- Grover Cleveland lost the popular vote to Benjamin Harrison in 1888.

- George W. Bush lost the popular vote to Al Gore Jr. in 2000.

I question motivations. Nobody starts a major movement unless they feel there is something to gain from it. I find myself wondering who is in line to gain from this little piece of legislation ... and so help me God it is not the voters.

What do you think? Leave your comments below.

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  1. Under National Popular Vote, every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant
    and equal in every presidential election. Every vote would be included in the state
    counts and national count. The candidate with the most popular votes in all 50
    states and DC would get the 270+ ELECTORAL COLLEGE votes from the enacting states. That majority of ELECTORAL COLLEGE votes guarantees the candidate with the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC wins the presidency.

  2. The current state-by-state winner-take-all method of awarding electoral votes (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but since enacted by 48 states), under which all of a state's electoral votes are awarded to the candidate who gets the most votes in each separate state, ensures that the candidates, after the primaries, will not reach out to about 76% of the states and their voters. Candidates have no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize, campaign, or care about the voter concerns in the dozens of states where they are safely ahead or hopelessly behind.

    Presidential candidates concentrate their attention on only the current handful of closely divided "battleground" states and their voters. There is no incentive for them to bother to care about the majority of states where they are hopelessly behind or safely ahead to win. 9 of the original 13 states are considered “fly-over” now. In the 2012 election, pundits and campaign operatives agree already, that, at most, only 12 states and their voters will matter. They will decide the election. None of the 10 most rural states will matter, as usual. About 76% of the country will be ignored --including 19 of the 22 lowest population and medium-small states, and 17 medium and big states like CA, GA, NY, and TX. This will be more obscene than the 2008 campaign, when candidates concentrated over 2/3rds of their campaign events and ad money in just 6 states, and 98% in just 15 states (CO, FL, IN, IA, MI, MN, MO, NV, NH, NM, NC, OH, PA, VA, and WI). Over half (57%) of the events were in just 4 states (OH, FL, PA, and VA). In 2004, candidates concentrated over 2/3rds of their money and campaign visits in 5 states; over 80% in 9 states; and over 99% of their money in 16 states.

    More than 2/3rds of the states and people have been merely spectators to presidential elections. That's more than 85 million voters ignored. When and where voters are ignored, then so are the issues they care about most.

    The National Popular Vote bill would end the disproportionate attention and influence of the "mob" in the current handful of closely divided battleground states, such as Florida, while the "mobs" of the vast majority of states are ignored.

    Policies important to the citizens of ‘flyover’ states are not as highly prioritized as policies important to ‘battleground’ states when it comes to governing.

    Because of the state-by-state winner-take-all electoral votes laws (i.e., awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in each state) in 48 states, a candidate can win the Presidency without winning the most popular votes nationwide. This has occurred in 4 of the nation's 56 (1 in 14 = 7%) presidential elections. The precariousness of the current state-by-state winner-take-all system is highlighted by the fact that a shift of a few thousand voters in one or two states would have elected the second-place candidate in 4 of the 13 presidential elections since World War II. Near misses are now frequently common. There have been 6 consecutive non-landslide presidential elections (1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, and 2008). A shift of 60,000 voters in Ohio in 2004 would have defeated President Bush despite his nationwide lead of over 3 million votes.

  3. The Electoral College is now the set of dedicated party activists who vote as rubberstamps for presidential candidates. In the current presidential election system, 48 states award all of their electors to the winners of their state.

    The Founding Fathers in the Constitution did not require states to allow their citizens to vote for president, much less award all their electoral votes based upon the vote of their citizens.

    The presidential election system we have today is not in the Constitution. State-by-state winner-take-all laws to award Electoral College votes, were eventually enacted by states, using their exclusive power to do so, AFTER the Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution. Now our current system can be changed by state laws again.

    Unable to agree on any particular method for selecting presidential electors, the Founding Fathers left the choice of method exclusively to the states in section 1 of Article II of the U.S. Constitution.

    The constitution does not prohibit any of the methods that were debated and rejected. Indeed, a majority of the states appointed their presidential electors using two of the rejected methods in the nation's first presidential election in 1789 (i.e., appointment by the legislature and by the governor and his cabinet). Presidential electors were appointed by state legislatures for almost a century.

    Neither of the two most important features of the current system of electing the President (namely, universal suffrage, and the 48 state-by-state winner-take-all method) are in the U.S. Constitution. Neither was the choice of the Founders when they went back to their states to organize the nation's first presidential election.

    In 1789, in the nation's first election, the people had no vote for President in most states, only men who owned a substantial amount of property could vote, and only three states used the state-by-state winner-take-all method to award electoral votes.

    The current 48 state-by-state winner-take-all method (i.e., awarding all of a state's electoral votes to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in a particular state) is not entitled to any special deference based on history or the historical meaning of the words in the U.S. Constitution. It is not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, the debates of the Constitutional Convention, or the Federalist Papers. The actions taken by the Founding Fathers make it clear that they never gave their imprimatur to the winner-take-all method.

    The constitutional wording does not encourage, discourage, require, or prohibit the use of any particular method for awarding the state's electoral votes.

    As a result of changes in state laws enacted since 1789, the people have the right to vote for presidential electors in 100% of the states, there are no property requirements for voting in any state, and the state-by-state winner-take-all method is used by 48 of the 50 states. States can, and frequently have, changed their method of awarding electoral votes over the years.

  4. With the current state winner-take-all system of awarding electoral votes, winning a bare plurality of the popular vote in the 11 most populous states, containing 56% of the population, could win the Presidency with a mere 26% of the nation's votes.

    But the political reality is that the 11 largest states rarely agree on any political question. In terms of recent presidential elections, the 11 largest states include five "red states (Texas, Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, and Georgia) and six "blue" states (California, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and New Jersey). The fact is that the big states are just about as closely divided as the rest of the country. For example, among the four largest states, the two largest Republican states (Texas and Florida) generated a total margin of 2.1 million votes for Bush, while the two largest Democratic states generated a total margin of 2.1 million votes for Kerry.

    Moreover, the notion that any candidate could win 100% of the vote in one group of states and 0% in another group of states is far-fetched. Indeed, among the 11 most populous states in 2004, the highest levels of popular support, hardly overwhelming, were found in the following seven non-battleground states:
    * Texas (62% Republican),
    * New York (59% Democratic),
    * Georgia (58% Republican),
    * North Carolina (56% Republican),
    * Illinois (55% Democratic),
    * California (55% Democratic), and
    * New Jersey (53% Democratic).

    In addition, the margins generated by the nation's largest states are hardly overwhelming in relation to the 122,000,000 votes cast nationally. Among the 11 most populous states, the highest margins were the following seven non-battleground states:
    * Texas -- 1,691,267 Republican
    * New York -- 1,192,436 Democratic
    * Georgia -- 544,634 Republican
    * North Carolina -- 426,778 Republican
    * Illinois -- 513,342 Democratic
    * California -- 1,023,560 Democratic
    * New Jersey -- 211,826 Democratic

    To put these numbers in perspective, Oklahoma (7 electoral votes) alone generated a margin of 455,000 "wasted" votes for Bush in 2004 -- larger than the margin generated by the 9th and 10th largest states, namely New Jersey and North Carolina (each with 15 electoral votes). Utah (5 electoral votes) alone generated a margin of 385,000 "wasted" votes for Bush in 2004. 8 small western states, with less than a third of California’s population, provided Bush with a bigger margin (1,283,076) than California provided Kerry (1,235,659).

  5. The current state-by-state winner-take-all system of awarding electoral votes maximizes the incentive and opportunity for fraud. A very few people can change the national outcome by changing a small number of votes in one closely divided battleground state. With the current system all of a state's electoral votes are awarded to the candidate who receives a bare plurality of the votes in each state. The sheer magnitude of the national popular vote number, compared to individual state vote totals, is much more robust against manipulation.

    National Popular Vote would limit the benefits to be gained by fraud. One fraudulent vote would only win one vote in the return. In the current electoral system, one fraudulent vote could mean 55 electoral votes, or just enough electoral votes to win the presidency without having the most popular votes in the country.

    Hendrik Hertzberg wrote: "To steal the closest popular-vote election in American history, you'd have to steal more than a hundred thousand votes . . .To steal the closest electoral-vote election in American history, you'd have to steal around 500 votes, all in one state. . . .

    For a national popular vote election to be as easy to switch as 2000, it would have to be two hundred times closer than the 1960 election--and, in popular-vote terms, forty times closer than 2000 itself.

    Which, I ask you, is an easier mark for vote-stealers, the status quo or N.P.V.[National Popular Vote]? Which offers thieves a better shot at success for a smaller effort?"

  6. In 1969, The U.S. House of Representatives voted for a national popular vote by a 338–70 margin. It was endorsed by Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, George H.W. Bush, and Bob Dole.

    Jason Cabel Roe, a lifelong conservative activist and professional political consultant wrote in National Popular Vote is Good for Republicans: "I strongly support National Popular Vote. It is good for Republicans, it is good for conservatives . . . , and it is good for America. National Popular Vote is not a grand conspiracy hatched by the Left to manipulate the election outcome.
    It is a bipartisan effort of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents to allow every state – and every voter – to have a say in the selection of our President, and not just the 15 Battle Ground States.

    National Popular Vote is not a change that can be easily explained, nor the ramifications thought through in sound bites. It takes a keen political mind to understand just how much it can help . . . Republicans. . . . Opponents either have a knee-jerk reaction to the idea or don’t fully understand it. . . . We believe that the more exposure and discussion the reform has the more support that will build for it."

    Former Illinois Governor Jim Edgar (R) and former U.S. Representative Tom Tancredo (R-CO) are co-champions of National Popular Vote.

    National Popular Vote's National Advisory Board includes former Senators Jake Garn (R–UT) and David Durenberger (R–MN) and former congressmen John Anderson (R–IL, I), John Buchanan (R–AL), and Tom Campbell (R–CA).

    Rich Bolen, a Constitutional scholar, attorney at law, and Republican Party Chairman for Lexington County, South Carolina, wrote:"A Conservative Case for National Popular Vote: Why I support a state-based plan to reform the Electoral College."

    Some other supporters who wrote forewords to "Every Vote Equal: A State-Based Plan for Electing the President by National Popular Vote " include:

    Laura Brod served in the Minnesota House of Representatives from 2003 to 2010 and was the ranking Republican member of the Tax Committee. She is the Minnesota Public Sector Chair for ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) and active in the Council of State Governments.

    James Brulte served as Republican Leader of the California State Assembly from 1992 to 1996, California State Senator from 1996 to 2004, and Senate Republican leader from 2000 to 2004.

    Ray Haynes served as the National Chairman of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in 2000. He served in the California State Senate from 1994 to 2002 and was elected to the Assembly in 1992 and 2002

    Dean Murray is a member of the New York State Assembly. He was a Tea Party organizer before being elected to the Assembly as a Republican, Conservative Party member in February 2010. He was described by Fox News as the first Tea Party candidate elected to office in the United States.

    Thomas L. Pearce served as a Michigan State Representative from 2005–2010 and was appointed Dean of the Republican Caucus. He has led several faith-based initiatives in Lansing.

  7. This has to be oldgulph from Conservatives Forum am I right?

  8. It is. Colossus was spammed by oldgulph on this topic too.