The Constitution prescribes how we elect our presidents. It is a mirror image of the Great Compromise. Designed by the Constitutional Convention of 1787, the Great Compromise brought together the large and small states by means of a national Congress, with the House of Representatives based on population and the Senate based on state sovereignty.
Likewise, when the presidential electors meet in gatherings known as the Electoral College, each state's vote is equal to the sum of its House and Senate representation in Congress. Our Founding Fathers understood that America is a nation of both "we the people" and a federal system of states, so it allows all states, regardless of size, to be players in electing our president.
The plan to change this system is called the National Popular Vote. It obviously has a lot of money behind it because it is sending highly paid lobbyists around the country to persuade state legislatures to adopt the NPV plan.
NPV is an attempt to achieve the longtime liberal goal of getting rid of the Electoral College. Instead of proposing an amendment that would first need to be passed by Congress and then ratified by three-fourths of the states (38), NPV is a scheme to deviously bypass the grand design of our U.S. Constitution.
NPV lobbyists are trying to get state legislatures to enact identical bills requiring their own state's presidential electors to ignore the winner of their state's presidential election. Instead, all their state's votes go towards the candidate whom the politicians estimate received the most popular votes nationwide. That candidate would not need a majority or any certain threshold--just more votes than any other candidate (i.e., a plurality).
The NPV campaign lets people believe that NPV will elect presidents who win the majority of popular votes, but that is false. Because of third parties, we've had many elections (including three of the last five) when no presidential candidate received a popular-vote majority. Abraham Lincoln won with less than 40 percent of the popular vote, and only by our Electoral College system was he elected president.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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