National Popular Vote Movement Continues to Quietly Neutralize the Electoral College
The National Popular Vote movement is quietly trying to neutralize the Electoral College as it currently stands in our Constitution. What they are doing is perfectly legal, but short-sighted and damaging to our national election of a president every four years.
When one thinks of a "national popular vote" or "direct democracy," one thinks of simply eliminating the Electoral College and replacing it with a strict popular vote. In other words, whoever wins 50 percent of the vote, plus one more (thus making a majority), becomes president. Never mind all this fuss about getting 270 electoral votes to win. Of course, we have only had five elections in the past 200-plus years in which the candidate who won the most votes lost the Electoral College (1824, 1876, 1888, 2000, and 2016), so this is not an issue that affects presidential elections often.
Recently, however, the National Popular Vote movement is trying a different tactic. They now are trying to form a compact of states that will assign their electoral votes to whoever wins the popular vote nationally, thus basically eliminating the purpose and power of the Electoral College. Their votes will not go to whoever wins their state, but rather to whoever wins the national popular vote. Connecticut just voted this month to be the latest state to join this compact (making a total of 11 states and the District of Columbia).
Surprisingly, even some conservatives are buying into this idea!
Would this be a good idea? It's not just conservatives and libertarians who, in general, believe the Electoral College should not be messed with. Consider these articles from Slate and the Huffington Post.
What was the purpose of the Electoral College, and what could possibly go wrong if we eliminated it or neutralized it? In short the Electoral College was established in our Constitution so that the states would be the electing body for the president. We are the United STATES, after all, and not "the united provinces" or "united fiefdoms" existing as little subsidiaries with power emanating from the central government (although I often wonder if our country has devolved into that situation with an almighty federal government stripping power away from states). The founding fathers chose to let the states do the electing of our highest national officer.
Why? They wanted to spread out the national support for, and authority of, the president over all the different regional concerns and conflicts so that the president would not represent only one segment of the country. Virginia was the most populous state in 1787, and the framers of the Constitution did not believe that heavily populated states should have all the power. In the Electoral College, smaller states such as New Hampshire or Georgia would have a bigger percentage of an electoral vote than in a vote based only on their population.