The United States is not a democracy and there is no such thing as the popular vote.
The Electoral College (“EC”) gets no respect! Hillary’s 2016 loss whipped progressives into a frenzy, prompting much talk about abolishing the EC; there also has been action. A leftist, Soros-funded organization, National Popular Vote (“NPV”), aims to overthrow the EC. Thus far 16 (blue) states with 195 electoral votes have passed legislation to cast their votes for whoever wins the national popular vote. The NPV compact takes effect if and when states with 270 electoral votes ratify the pact.
It is past due for MLLG to provide a full-throated defense of the EC. Following are compelling reasons why the Electoral College is preferable to a popular vote.
The United States of America is Not a Democracy
The US is a constitutional republic; the word democracy is nowhere to be found (not even once) in either the Declaration or the Constitution. The EC is consistent with, and a popular vote is inconsistent with, a republican form of government. A national popular vote would destroy the carefully crafted constitutional architecture which is based on federalism, separation of powers and checks and balances. A direct popular vote would sever the election of the president from the rest of the constitutional forms and would create a myriad of new troubles including tyranny of the majority.
There is No Such Thing as a National Popular Vote
There are many things crucial to winning a presidential election: fund-raising, advertising, grass-roots organization and personal campaign appearances. Republican candidates would not waste precious and limited resources on New York or California. No democratic candidate would squander such resources on Texas or Wyoming. Moreover, if you were a democrat voter in Utah or a republican voter in Illinois, just how motivated would you be to vote, knowing your vote for president is meaningless?
The simple truth is that there never has been and there is not now a true popular vote in America. There is only a meaningless total of votes cast within the electoral college system. No one knows who would have won a popular vote since none existed. Therefore Hillary did not win the popular vote and, as shown infra, could have lost.
Hillary Probably Loses a True Popular Vote Election
Since 1824, when popular votes first were recorded, 19 presidents, or 40% out of the 48 elections since then, failed to receive over 50% of the vote. In a true popular vote election there would be a runoff if no candidate received 50%. In 2016 Hillary got 65,853,516 votes to Trump’s 62,984,825. In a runoff Hillary probably gets Jill Stein’s 1,457,216 Green Party votes and Trump gets Gary Johnson’s 4,489,221 Libertarian Party votes. Trump then wins with 67,474,046 votes to Hillary’s 67,310,732.
Not only would Hillary likely have lost the 2016 popular vote election, Bill also would have lost in 1992. Bill got 44,909,806 votes, Bush 39,104,550 and Perot 19,743,821. If Bush picks up 65% of the Perot vote, he wins and Bill loses and most observers believed Bush would have gotten a strong majority of the Perot vote.
Other Nations Don’t Conduct Popular Vote Elections
Few countries use popular vote; most advanced democracies use indirect systems. In the recent Canadian election, Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party won with 33.0% of the vote to the Conservative Party’s 34.4%. Parliamentary systems, ubiquitous throughout Europe, routinely elect minority leaders. In virtually no democratic system is the popular vote decisive. The measure of our system is how effective it is at bringing about just, free and stable government. A popular vote, like in the French Revolution, does a good job of actualizing the will of the people. How did that work out?
Our Constitution is the best and most enduring document ever created to define the relationship of man to the state. The Electoral College contains fraud within small jurisdictions, reduces federal power over elections and fosters the building of broad coalitions while discouraging regionalism. It has served us well for over 232 years. It is a foundational safeguard against the tyranny of the majority. We need to preserve it and importantly, we must help our fellow Americans understand why it is worth keeping and not to be discarded whenever there is a tough electoral loss.