by John Hawkins | September 23, 2019 3:21 pm
From George Washington to Donald Trump, there have been 45 American presidents and out of all the elections they have participated in, there have only been five times where the popular vote did not agree with the electoral college. However, because two of those elections have occurred within the last 20 years (Trump vs. Clinton, Bush vs. Gore), liberals believe we have a crisis on our hands that must be addressed.
Their plan to address this crisis is called the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. The idea is to get 270 electoral votes worth of states to sign up for it and then those states will promise to throw their electoral votes to the winner of the popular vote.
Democrats believe this will benefit them, but that is far from assured. Why? Because since the election isn’t decided on the popular vote, Republicans haven’t been competing to win the popular vote. For example, what sense would it have made for Donald Trump to spend major resources in California, New York, New Jersey, and Illinois in 2016? He wasn’t going to win those states and everyone knew it, including Republican voters, millions of whom undoubtedly didn’t bother turning out because of it.
If the popular vote were to become the standard, Republicans would start spending major amounts of time and money in big liberal states and once that happens, there’s no reason to think that Democrats would have an advantage. In fact, if and when Texas turns blue, it would undoubtedly be to the Republican Party’s advantage to have the election decided by the popular vote.
However, deciding our elections based on the popular vote is a dangerous proposition for a number of reasons.
The first is that some form of democracy has been around for 2,500 years, but our Republic is the oldest surviving democratic nation on the planet right now. Despite that, we’ve never had a president refuse to transfer power or a coup. In fact, most Americans simply take it for granted that the military isn’t going to take over the government or that whoever wins the presidency will actually get to take office. Meanwhile, during that same time period, more than half the nations on earth have suffered a coup or coup d’état attempt. Given the importance of this and the long-running success the system created by the Founding Fathers has had, do we really want to make controversial and potentially destabilizing changes?
Keep in mind that this whole state pact is clearly and unambiguously unconstitutional, although that hasn’t seemed to mean much in the past decade or two. Article I, Section 10 of the Constitution says that, “No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.”
Imagine the nightmare that would occur if the Supreme Court allowed the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact to determine the winner of the election without the approval of Congress and the “winner” won the popular vote while the “loser” won the electoral college? This is an unlikely, but not impossible scenario and it could lead to a significant percentage of the population considering the president to be “illegitimate.”
It’s one thing to have some partisan dead-enders screeching about whether Obama was born in the U.S. or the Russians somehow magically got Trump into office, but what would happen if a significant percentage of Americans really believed this? Riots in the streets? Terrorism? Assassination attempts against the “illegitimate” president? It seems entirely possible.
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