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Why the “National Public Vote” scheme is unconstitutional

Why the “National Public Vote” scheme is unconstitutional

This article first appeared in the Daily Caller.

The U.S. Supreme Court says each state legislature has “plenary” (complete) power to decide how its state’s presidential electors are chosen.

But suppose a state legislature decided to raise cash by selling its electors to the highest bidder. Do you think the Supreme Court would uphold such a measure?

If your answer is “no,” then you intuitively grasp a basic principle of constitutional law—one overlooked by those proposing the “National Popular Vote Compact” (NPV).

NPV is a plan to change how we elect our president. Under the plan, each state signs a compact to award all its electoral votes to the presidential candidate who wins the national popular vote. The compact comes into effect when states with a majority of presidential electors sign on.

In assessing the constitutionality of NPV, you have to consider some of its central features. First, NPV abandons the idea that presidential electors represent the people of their own states. Second, it discards an election system balanced among interests and values in favor of one recognizing only national popularity. That popularity need not be high: A state joining the NPV compact agrees to assign its electors to even the winner of a tiny plurality in a multi-candidate election.

Third, because NPV states would have a majority of votes in the Electoral College, NPV would effectively repeal the Constitution’s provision for run-off elections in the House of Representatives.

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Constitutional Topic: The Electoral College

The Constitutional Topics pages at the USConstitution.nett site are presented to delve deeper into topics than can be provided on the Glossary Page or in the FAQ pages. This Topic Page concerns the Electoral College. The Electoral College is embodied in the Constitution in Article 2, Section 1, and in the 12th Amendment.


The Framers were wary of giving the people the power to directly elect the President — some felt the citizenry too beholden to local interests, too easily duped by promises or shenanigans, or simply because a national election, in the time of oil lamps and quill pens, was just impractical. Some proposals gave the power to the Congress, but this did not sit well with those who wanted to see true separation of the branches of the new government. Still others felt the state legislatures should decide, but this was thought to make the President too beholden to state interests. The Electoral College, proposed by James Wilson, was the compromise that the Constitutional Convention reached.

Though the term is never used in the Constitution itself, the electors that choose the President at each election are traditionally called a College. In the context of the Constitution, the meaning of college is not that of a school, but of a group of people organized toward a common goal.

The Electoral College insulates the election of the President from the people by having the people elect not the person of the President, but the person of an Elector who is pledged to vote for a specific person for President. Though the ballot may read “John McCain” or “Barack Obama,” you’re really voting for “John Smith” who is a McCain supporter or “Jack Jones” who is an Obama supporter. Continue reading

We’ve searched the Bill of Rights but can’t find anything where healthcare is a “right” contrary to what several presidential candidates say. In case you forgot, the Supreme Court ruled Obamacare was a “tax” not a “right”

Who’s Deplorable Now?

Democrats wonder if they still need the Midwest.

By James Freeman
Feb. 25, 2019 5:08 p.m. ET

Election night at the New York Hilton Midtown on November 8, 2016. PHOTO: SPENCER PLATT/GETTY IMAGES

It must be exhausting these days serving as a Democratic political operative. The party remains in a seemingly endless debate over how much to favor some demographic groups of American voters—and how much to punish others.

At one point there seemed to be a Democratic consensus that the party’s disappointing performance in 2016 had a lot to do with ignoring or deploring blue-collar voters in the Midwest. And at least some of the party’s current and potential 2020 presidential candidates still hold this view.

This week in the New York Times, Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns report from Iowa:
With polls indicating that electoral viability is as important to voters as any policy issue, a handful of the party’s prospects are already holding up their Midwestern credentials to make the case that they are the ones who can turn Big 10 country — Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin — blue again.

But the Timesmen add: Continue reading

The Reagan Club meets on the second Thursday of every month at CB & Potts, 1257 W 120th Avenue, Westminster, CO, 80234 from 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. with doors open at 6:00 p.m. Enter via CB & Potts main entrance and head to the back meeting room. Food and beverages are available from CB & Potts. We feature different programs and speakers as we honor the 40th President. The Reagan Club of Colorado seeks to promote the Constitution, smaller government, lower taxes, personal freedom, helping candidates, and educating the public about one of our greatest presidents, Ronald Wilson Reagan.

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