[This is a continuation of the previous article “It’s Not About Election Fraud.”]
No, it’s not the Democrats who are trying to steal this election. It’s Trump and Congressional Republicans who are screaming about voter fraud when they know damn well that there isn’t any. But they are doing more than that, I am sure. I can’t prove it, but I bet Trump and his gang have quietly reached out to the political leaders in states where he is losing, but the vote was close, trying to convince them that the legitimacy of the count is so much in doubt that they should not let it influence their decisions in selecting Electors. I’m sure there are a lot of Republicans in those state legislatures who are listening closely and making plans, talking to their colleagues and calculating how they can pull this off without causing a major public uprising in their state.
I hope that at least some of the Republicans in those state legislatures have some moral qualms about trying to subvert the popular vote in their own state. In the past, I would have been confident of that, but the last few years have lowered my expectations, as politics has become more confrontational and tribal. Now, it’s all about power, and it doesn’t matter what you have to do to get it…or keep it.
I get one message from this, loud and clear. The Electoral College (EC) has to go…or be neutered. Changing the Constitution to eliminate it is almost certainly a non-starter. Too many small-population red states covet their disproportionate representation in the EC, so the high hurdle that the Founders established for amending the Constitution cannot be cleared. But, there is another way, and it’s already in work. It’s called the National Popular Vote (NPV). Here’s a web site you can visit if you don’t know about it.
Briefly, it establishes a national network of states who commit to assigning their Electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote. Once enough states enact laws to commit to this, it will automatically go into effect. The number needed is, of course, 270 Electoral votes. Right now, they are up to 196. If they convince states controlling at least 74 more Electoral votes, then the Electoral College becomes irrelevant, a mere rubber stamp of the national popular vote.
Getting states to commit to this is not easy. What if the popular vote this year had gone for Trump, and California had to commit their huge block of votes to him, even though the vote in California was heavily for Biden? Imagine the outrage! That kind of outcome is not likely in the current political environment, but put yourself in the shoes of a voter in a deep-red state like Alabama or Mississippi. They ain’t nevah gonna join no National Popular Vote thingy, you can bet on that! The outrage that people would feel in that situation is understandable, but if the EC were eliminated, the result would be exactly the same as that caused by the NPV, and no one would have any reason to be outraged.
If, eventually, enough states sign on, then we can laugh at those red states and their worthless Electoral votes that they value so much. The golden nugget in their hand will suddenly turn into a turd.
And finally, I will give you a little thought experiment. This is an exaggeration of the flaws in our electoral system, a caricature. But I think it illustrates some of the problems in that system.
Imagine a city of about a million people. Let’s say the city is divided into twenty boroughs. Three inner-city boroughs each have about a hundred thousand residents. The rest of the boroughs vary between ten and fifty-thousand residents. Inner-city residents are mostly poor, nonwhite, and have limited higher education. The rest are mostly white and educated, ranging from middle class to wealthy, some living in condos, others in single-family homes, with the wealthiest in fancy estates.
The city charter, which was established a hundred and fifty years ago, defines the boroughs, and how the city government is organized. Each borough elects one councilperson, and the 20 of them elect a mayor from their number. The charter also defines the procedure for making changes to the charter: A 2/3 majority of the council members is required to enact any change.
Now, think about this system and ask yourself these questions: Are the citizens of this city treated fairly and equally? Is the 2/3 majority requirement a reasonable provision that prevents a slim majority from enacting unnecessary or harmful changes? Or is it a device to protect entrenched political power?
I await your answers.
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