The Unending Dimness of the Sun Editorial Board
The Sun’s editorial page has had its fair share of loopy pronouncements over the years—you know like the one that pronounced “the deficit slain”. However, for some reason, in these heady days of progressive resurgence, the compunction to trumpet flighty progressive nostrums trumps reasoned argument and plain constitutional fact for that matter. Let’s pick apart this particular piece of editorial rubbish piece by piece.
The Electoral College is an institution enshrined in the Constitution. It also is an archaic threat to our democracy because the system disenfranchises many voters and sometimes results in the candidate who wins the most votes losing the presidency…
What other “archaic” institutions enshrined in the Constitution, does the Sun feel threaten democracy? Free speech, due process, trial by jury, the right to bear arms—well yes they do fear that. The only institutions the Sun editorial board thinks are worth preserving are of course, timeless. Those others negative liberties are merely archaic remnants of quaint past.
The winner of the popular vote has only lost in the Electoral College twice in the history of presidential elections. This is a good record to be sure, hence the progressive impetus to eliminate it: It is not perfect, founding principles be damned.
In many states, the Electoral College discourages potential voters who know the candidate they favor is likely to lose in a winner-take-all state election.
Implicit in this argument is that say for example, Maryland Republicans waste their votes because of the winner take all format in a solidly Democratic state. Tara Ross at the Heritage Foundation points out how disingenuous this line of thinking is:
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These votes were not wasted. They were simply cast on the losing side of a popular vote within the state. If the 2000 election had been conducted based on nationwide popular vote totals only, would people claim that any vote for George W. Bush was “wasted” because Al Gore won the popular vote? Of course not. The votes for Bush were cast in an effort to win. In the event of a loss, they would simply have been votes for the losing candidate–just as in any other election (such as an election for Governor or Senator).
Note the subtle nudge to the progressive will to power. Votes for the losing candidate are wasted, whereas only votes for the winner count.
And it favors small states because votes are based on the number of senators and representatives a state has, not its population…
This is nonsense on stilts.
Article 1 Section 2 of the constitution states “The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct. The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand…”
Article 2 Section 1 states “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 means that the bulk of a state’s representation in the Electoral College is…based on its population. How the constitutional scholars on the Sun editorial board bricked that layup is beyond me.
Maryland is on record supporting the end of the Electoral College. Gov. Martin O’Malley signed a law last year that would award Maryland’s electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote regardless of who wins in this state. But that law only takes effect if states with more than half the electoral votes (270) join the challenge.
Americans should recognize that the Electoral College is outdated and lobby their state lawmakers to adopt laws similar to Maryland’s. As more states follow Maryland’s lead, support for a constitutional amendment to abolish the current system should grow. That would be the right way to retire the Electoral College.
This last bit is an example of what Brian has accurately labeled the subversive effort to undermine the constitution. The Sun editorial board knows full well just how hard it is to enact an amendment to the constitution. For Sun editorialists, the path of least resistance is to get more states to join Maryland’s folly, which given the thrust of the editorial, is fine by them. The whole “right way to retire the Electoral College” line is nothing more than a too-clever-by-half rhetorical conceit. Given the opportunity to reach the 270 threshold don’t bet on the Sun urging restraint to alter the constitution “the right way.”