A few months ago, this column discussed the recurring issue of the Electoral College (EC) in USA presidential elections. The EC is mandated by the U.S. Constitution; it has five times chosen the POTUS rather than the popular vote, and it is primarily responsible (accounting for a little over 70, 000 votes) for Donald Trump’s presidency with the aid of Russian elections hacking. Unresolved, the EC still offers a major fault line through which Russia, or other bad actors, can again hijack the USA 2020 presidential election.
Besides, for virtually every other democracy in the world, he or she who gets the most votes wins. Why are we so different?
The Electoral College can be changed by a constitutional amendment. That is, both houses of Congress would have to approve a bill by a two-thirds majority vote, the POTUS would have to sign it, and 75 percent of the states (essentially 38) would have to ratify it in their state legislatures. That is highly unlikely to happen in these overly politicized times. The last time the U.S. Constitution was amended was 1971, the 26th amendment, which legalized 18 year-olds to vote. Since then, every other attempt has failed and the pathway to success has only gotten harder.
The second effective way, and one still possible before the 2020 elections is the Net Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC), which is an agreement among states to grant all of their electoral votes to the candidate who wins the popular vote, no matter who wins the individual state votes. It takes the onus from state voters to national voters, and, according to most legal experts, fits right into the U.S. Constitution’s compact clause and thus does not initiate a constitutional battle royale.
The essence of the effort is to get enough states to agree to the compact whose electoral vote numbers collectively equal 270 or more. That number, 270, is the minimum to be elected POTUS (slightly more than one-half of the 538 members of Congress).
Thus far, 15 state legislatures have voted to join that compact, with electoral votes totaling 196, leaving 74 more to obtain. In 2019, the issue is still pending in nine more states which collectively represent 92 more electoral votes. Those states are Wisconsin, South Carolina, Ohio, Georgia, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Minnesota, Maine, and Kansas.
Young millennials can actually pressure their state legislators to go ahead and vote to support this effort, and voila, they could make a fundamental change in American democracy overnight.
This column is strongly advocating that approach. Let’s use social media for something politically positive for a change. Let’s get on it, young people. This is a big something for you all to do right now, and not wait around for common-sense gun control laws, Big Green climate control measures and other important issues that still must fight big money blockades before they pass. This is a doable thing right now using nothing more than one’s cell phone.
Those who live in the nine states named, you can do this and not even disturb your summer vacations. Inundate your state legislators with your point of view on the issue. C’mon ! This is real change in the USA that can be fairly easy to get done (unlike “trade wars’), and that is both an unusual and correct political thing to do.
Stand up, step up and fire those social media missives right now.
Professor David L. Horne is founder and executive director of PAPPEI, the Pan African Public Policy and Ethical Institute, which is a new 501(c)(3) pending community-based organization or non-governmental organization (NGO). It is the stepparent organization for the California Black Think Tank which still operates and which meets every fourth Friday.
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