Unheralded national popular vote push to remedy ‘elitist’ Electoral College

You’d think today’s majority, rebuffed twice in 16 years with two wingnut, minority presidents, would rage against the non-democratic, distortion-laden Electoral College. You’d think that hapless, vision-less Democrats would crusade against what put dim Dubya, then crazed, scatter-gun Trump in power.


Exalting the popular vote dooms Trumpery

Are others here equally terrified, after his fundraiser this week, this pretend president could get re-elected while again losing the popular vote? Hardly impossible – unless the National Popular Vote (NPV) movement succeeds, and the best news: it’s all doable before 2020. Already, 75% of Americans (per NPV site), a myriad of politicians, and 11 jurisdictions agree the Electoral College (EC) must be displaced, not banished.

Even Trump and Clinton agree on this one. Is that because 94% of ’16 campaign events occurred in only 12 states? Undemocratically, every recent four-year circus shrinks all national elections to a dozen battleground states. That compaction hands the election to as few as 125K voters (or .01% of 125 million). Forget stupid tweets and calculated distractions: where’s the outrage at this subversive, double whammy against majority rule?

How many Nation of Changers know there’s a simple, nationwide solution underway, without amending the Constitution? The NPV simply insists every state deliver its entire EC share to the winner of the national popular vote. Simplicity itself, since the Constitution awards states wide authority how they distribute their presidential electors.

Without antiquated EC distortions, we’d have been saved from our two worst, recent presidents (count ‘em, two out of three). Right, Dubya in 2000 and what’s his name, just last year. Already, huge numbers (like 60%+) are mulling over how to neutralize, even replace this buffoonish, minority president who shockingly finagled the EC. Insisting on majority rule is a noble hill to die on.

Winner-take-all, nationalized

So far, 11 jurisdictions representing 165 electoral votes endorse committing their entire EC share to whoever tops the national popular election (contingent on a 270 vote threshold consensus). That’s the only way to equality, short of abolishing the College, thus guaranteeing equal weight to every vote, wherever you live. Think of the tens of billions fat cat PACs must spend to rig advertising across every urban and rural market.

Why this terrific (and simple) idea has not gained greater visibility is astonishing: this redemption of majority rules requires no new laws or legal decisions. Only zealots and tunnel-vision partisans object. Why not turn state winner-take-all mandates, already 99% in place, into national-winner-take-all outcomes?

True, until more people vote (40% don’t), we won’t have true majority decisions. But not voting is for most a choice (notwithstanding nasty GOP minority suppression). That aside, the NPV plan empowers all voters equally, and half of 60% (62 million or so) trumps the minuscule few across a fistful of states who now pick presidents.

The morass was certainly dramatized by last year’s deviant loser (by almost three million citizens) yet who still took the White House. Does majority rule not face another nightmare farce were Trump re-elected with only minority support? With 60% already disapproving, can Trump expect to outdraw any decent Democrat (failing badly even against a heavily-compromised Hillary)? Would Trump illegitimacy not grow (if possible) were he to lose, not by almost three million but double or triple that? When does our democratic system, already under siege thanks to billionaire payola, crack from its own internal contradictions?

Majority rule – or more chaos?

You’d think today’s majority, rebuffed twice in 16 years with two wing-nut, minority presidents, would rage against the non-democratic, distortion-laded Electoral College. You’d think that hapless, vision-less Democrats would crusade against what put dim Dubya, then crazed, scatter-gun Trump in power. Why wouldn’t desperate Democrats confront the outmoded, anti-populist Electoral College as fervently as they fight racial and gender discrimination, phony trickle-down economics, or fundamentalist folly on family planning?

After all, we managed to reverse the other original Constitutional sin (formalizing slaves as property). We changed election of senators to direct voting (vs. crony state favoritism). Yes, it could take years, but won’t fighting for undeniably democratic outcomes boost today’s wobbly “Democratic” party? Why not neuter the EC, a discredited “insurance policy” by rich colonials against the suspect vox populi? No other major democracy followed suit, for good reason.

Presidential disasters like Trump don’t just happen: they result from ill-conceived, dysfunctional, non-representative election systems. How many brilliant Founders would cringe at how two of our last three presidents were chosen? Across only 16 years, two clear, popular vote losers took the White House, both calamitous minority presidents. Dubya was bad enough – and who doubts eight, excruciating years of Trumpery would rewrite Bush-Cheney infamy.

No Fun in this fun house

On point, as confident rationalists in the Age of Enlightenment, what Founders wouldn’t gag at today’s addiction to willful ignorance, captured by USC Professor Marty Kaplan?

Trump wouldn’t recognize a contradiction if it bit him on the butt. A fact isn’t a fact to him; it’s just a gambit, an alternative to consider. “Believe me” means “true”; “false” means “true”; “fake” means “mean.” Welcome to the epistemological fun house.

Far beyond expedient lies or fabrications, the Trump fun house oozes fractured phoniness that abuses this core, western value: reason, thus rational decision-making. Was our revolution not against a seemingly irrational, out of touch monarch who oppressed our “self-evident,” innate rights for self-rule? Would Founders not rush to join today’s resistance against an irrational, delusional oligarch waging multiple Wars against Reason, buttressed by laughable surges of Orwellian doublespeak?

Trump “ideas” are an insult to reason. His lawless travel ban won’t keep terrorists out, only display intolerant, bull-headed toughness. His border wall folly won’t end undocumented immigration but panders to his frightened, anti-immigrant, white-nationalist crowd. Trump’s worst nonsense – guaranteeing cheaper, more available, better medical care for all – now explodes as the cruelest, most fraudulent joke (read: lie) of all. Where’s any “care’ in Trumpcare – nothing more than a massacre of Obamacare– and logically choking of late on its own hypocrisy.

After Trump, what deluge?

Failure to offset the EC is not only a body blow to majority rule. In the end, outlandish Trump/GOP wedge politics are bludgeoning the key, often tenuous linkages by which our melting pot accommodates differences of race, religion, and ethnicity. Naturally, this chaotic, “disruption at any price” president has worsened gridlock and squandered integrity and prestige abroad, substituting infantile theatrics for leadership.

In the end, I posit direct correlation between electing unfit, minority grandstanders and an undemocratic, divisive Electoral College system biased to reactionary minorities. Look at the hard lessons that accrue: minority rule and a minority president foster such open hostility they obliterate co-operation, problem-solving or progress. Multiple presidencies full of smoke and mirrors (Dubya plus Trump) encourage miscreants to violate clear-cut Constitutional thresholds – with Trump, obstruction of justice, nepotism, inviting Russian vote-tampering, and illegally profiting from high office.

Complex problem, simple solution

Could Founders have immunized us against Dubya’s serial blundering or today’s non-stop Lord of Misrule? Or saved us from criminal irresponsibility, as voiced by Trump (seconded by Cheney), “I don’t regret anything, because there is nothing you can do about it”? What better, fairer, more rational counter to indefensibly bad presidents than new, better election methods that honor the historic sanctity of majority rule?

Even double calamities need not be permanent: any system fashioned (or allowed) by people will be reformed when enough resistance protests align with enough courage and enough endurance. Trump only dramatizes the flaws of the EC, so painfully exposed in the ’00 Florida vote-counting fiasco. The National Popular Vote movement is the best, simplest, and cleanest solution to our biggest problem: fair presidential elections. Check out their site, full of short, yet enlightening videos. Talk it up: all that’s at stake is the future.


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For over a decade, Robert S. Becker's independent, rebel-rousing essays on politics and culture analyze overall trends, history, implications, messaging and frameworks. He has been published widely, aside from Nation of Change and RSN, with extensive credits from OpEdNews (as senior editor), Alternet, Salon, Truthdig, Smirking Chimp, Dandelion Salad, Beyond Chron, and the SF Chronicle. Educated at Rutgers College, N.J. (B.A. English) and U.C. Berkeley (Ph.D. English), Becker left university teaching (Northwestern, then U. Chicago) for business, founding SOTA Industries, a top American high end audio company he ran from '80 to '92. From '92-02, he was an anti-gravel mining activist while doing marketing, business and writing consulting. Since then, he seeks out insight, even wit in the shadows, without ideology or righteousness across the current mayhem of American politics.