By Harold Pease, Ph. D
Those who have long contrived to destroy the rural influence in electing the president of the United States in favor of a permanent urban influence, largely of the east and west coasts and Chicago, are one state closer to achieving their goal. New York State recently became the 10th state (all highly urban) to come on board with the signature of Governor Andrew Cuomo. They favor a popularly elected president through stealth and a largely secret plan called the National Popular Vote Interstate Alliance, concocted in the shadows by proponents that are unwilling to make changes in the Constitution through the only two ways permitted in Amendment V of the Constitution. So silent has been the movement that most Americans will learn about it only after it has been implemented and too late to resist.
The Constitution requires an open national debate on change. It outlines a two-step process, one to propose a second to ratify. The propose process can come from either two thirds of both houses or when two thirds of the states request it. Ratifying requires state action alone. They could do so through their state legislatures or the state legislature could expand the vote base to a convention, but either way, it requires three-fourths of the states to make the change.
Opponents of the Electoral College seek to alter a process that has worked for two hundred and twenty-five years for both urban and rural populations. The Electoral College incentivizes candidates visiting rural states by increasing their electoral vote—the smallest states get at least three. This attracts presidential candidates to rural areas that would otherwise be ignored by candidates thirsty for only a popular vote, if that were all that counted. The Founders brilliant plan to adjust both interests would be destroyed by the new urban-only benefiting plan. Unable to get two-thirds of the states to consider altering this part of the Constitution as required, and openly convince Americans of their “better” plan, proponents seek a largely secret end run around the Constitution. In it participating states would allocate their electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote, rather than the winner of the popular vote in their state.
When enough states assign their electors to the popular vote winner, and that number exceeds 270, remaining states will be mandated to support as well. Wham!! Almost without any public debate outside state legislatures, and seemingly overnight, the popular vote will effectively replace the Electoral College as the means by which a president is elected. We would be back to a few highly populated states deciding for the rest of the country.
Proponents use a small portion of Article II, Section 1 to destroy the rest of the section. The part used reads, “Each State shall appoint, in such manner as the legislature thereof may direct, a number of electors, equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress.” This, they say, gives state legislatures the right to award their electors as they see fit. Actually, the phrase allows the state legislatures appointing powers only. To suggest that they should have influence over their voting once selected, nullifies the reason for their existence—the selection of a non-governmental entity to select the president.
Moreover, the National Popular Vote Interstate Alliance also violates Article I, Section 10. This prohibits states from entering into “alliances” with other states unless Congress gives its consent. Congress has not even been consulted. Certainly agreeing states have entered into an alliance with one another to nullify the effect of the Electoral College and to obliterate, once accomplished, the independent vote of states not in the alliance.
With New York the alliance has a combined electoral vote total of 165, more than half the 270 electoral votes needed to impose this upon the rest of the country and nullify a long-standing pillar of the Constitution. Other states voting to change the Constitution without amending it and to violate the Non-alliances Clause, as required by the document, are: New Jersey, Washington, Hawaii, Illinois, Vermont, Maryland, Massachusetts, District of Columbia, California and Rhode Island.
This scheme involves ignoring the House of Representatives and U.S. Senate who have essential roles in making changes in the Constitution as per Article V. It changes the Constitution without the three-fourths state consent requirement—potentially eleven states could make the remaining 39 bend to their choice for president. It essentially obliterates most of Article II, Section 1 and Amendment 12, and blatantly violates Article I, Section 10, Clause 3 of the Constitution. No person who values the Constitution, as understood for 225 years, could support this movement and plan.