Michael Swartz / March 22, 2019

Another Front in the War on the Electoral College

Now leftists are resorting to misquoting James Madison to undermine the system.

Ever since Donald Trump used campaigning to the electoral map to his advantage in 2016 — going to (and winning) states where Hillary Clinton couldn’t be bothered to show up — leftists have been doing their level best to negate the map’s effect for the 2020 election.

Certainly a fair share of Democrat presidential candidates have called for the elimination of the Electoral College, most recently Elizabeth Warren and new kid on the block Beto O'Rourke. But much of the Left’s effort has been spent behind the scenes convincing states to subvert the Electoral College by awarding their electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote, regardless of the wishes of their own voters. A proposition that dates back closer to the days of Bush v. Gore — it’s been around for over a decade, as Maryland was the first to adopt it back in 2007 — the National Popular Vote (NPV) effort has borne more fruit lately as Colorado recently joined the state-level agreement, with Delaware and New Mexico close on their heels. This means by month’s end the District of Columbia and 15 states representing 189 electoral votes will be part of the NPV compact.

However, as the NPV movement has only been successful to date in Democrat-dominated states, its opportunities for success are dwindling. Among states with a Democrat “trifecta,” meaning the party controls both houses of the legislature and the governor’s chair, only Maine, Nevada, and Oregon have not adopted the NPV legislation. Even gaining those electoral votes would leave the Left needing states representing 54 electoral votes to commit, though after the left-leaning states are all in, the ground is far less fertile in that respect.

The stakes are high. Sean Davis of The Federalist noted that eliminating the Electoral College would “officially eliminate state authority over the presidency.” Critics of the NPV movement claim that it would relegate small states to insignificance in the presidential election, allowing candidates to strictly pander to urban voters. It was how Clinton almost won the 2016 election. And leftists know her loss was also the loss of at least two Supreme Court seats, numerous jurists at the district and appellate levels, and maintaining “business as usual” in the Swamp.

Since the NPV compact may not become a reality before the 2020 campaign ends, the next step becomes misinformation to soften up the opposition. What better way to do so than CNN’s bogus claim that, in his later years, James Madison, the “Father of the Constitution” called the Electoral College “evil”?

Since then, the “reality check” has been swift and fierce. Rather than “#factsfirst,” CNN put out commentary that was “not a true or factual statement,” and the network has been accused of “at worst … an active attempt to mislead” voters. It was hit-and-run journalism that left out the entire context of Madison’s statements in order to create a phony narrative.

Pursuant to our Constitution’s Article II, Section 1, Clause 2, the legislature of each state determines the manner by which its electors are chosen. Alexander Hamilton, Madison’s Federalist Papers coauthor, explained this method in Federalist 68.

In his Pulitzer-prize-winning book, The Making of the President, 1960, Theodore White praised “the wisdom of the Constitutional Founders who, in their foresight, invented the device of the Electoral College, which, while preserving free citizen choice, prevents it from degenerating into the violence that can accompany the narrow act of head-counting.”

If it were up to CNN, we would be questioning that wisdom.

Fortunately, we can still cite the great wisdom behind the Electoral College in the first place and marvel at the miracle that gave us a republic — as long as we could keep it.

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