October 27, 2017

‘Fact-Checkers’ AWOL as DNC Chair Perez Claims Electoral College Is Not in the Constitution

Three days on, the leftist “fact-checkers” haven’t gotten around to evaluating the following claim made by DNC Chair Tom Perez on Tuesday: “The Electoral College is not a creation of the Constitution.” Don’t sit by your computer waiting for it to happen.

As reported by Melissa Quinn at the Washington Examiner, Perez “made the comment while speaking at Indiana University Law School’s Sixth Annual Birch Bayh Lecture” (audio is at the link; bolds are mine throughout this post):

“The Electoral College is not a creation of the Constitution. It doesn’t have to be there,” he said. “There’s a national popular vote compact in which a number of states have passed a bill that says we will allocate our vote, our electoral votes, to the person who wins the national popular vote once other states totaling 270 electoral votes do the same.”

NationalPopularVote.com, which promotes the “compact” Perez mentioned, explains their scheme:

The National Popular Vote (NPV) bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. … It has been enacted into law in 11 states with 165 electoral votes (CA, DC, HI, IL, MA, MD, NJ, NY, RI, VT, WA). This interstate compact will take effect when enacted by states with 105 more electoral votes. It has passed at least one house in 12 additional states with 96 electoral votes.

The website pushes the NPV myth by focusing on the Constitution’s Article II. But the Examiner’s Quinn correctly notes that Article II really proves them wrong:

Contrary to Perez’s claim, the U.S. Constitution establishes the Electoral College in Article II, and the 12th Amendment details the process by which electors will meet and vote for president and vice president.

“Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector,” Article II states.

The NPV effort focuses on the following phrase in Article II: “in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct.” NPV proponents say this gives states the ability to agree among themselves how they will assign their electoral votes.

An NPV-supporting video attempts to build its case on the fact that (except in two small states) winner-take-all laws for assigning electors are individual state laws.

Because they are state laws, that supposedly opens the door to the NPV mischief, because, according to the video:

… the state laws (involved) aren’t part of the U.S. Constitution. They were never debated by the (1787) Constitutional Convention, and never mentioned in the Federalist Papers.

Nice try, but NPV proponents forget Article IV, Section 4:

Section. 4. The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government,  and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened), against domestic Violence.

The whole point of the Constitutional Convention was to forge an agreement between the states. The “Republican Form of Government” is what resulted. It’s set in stone, unless and until the Constitution is amended to change that. That’s why there was no debate; everyone there knew what they were agreeing to.

The NPV compact, if somehow applied, would automatically turn the nation into a democracy, and end its status a republic, despite the crystal clear Article 4, Section 4 declaration to which all states agreed in 1787.

The subversive nature of the NPV is threfore obvious. Citizens of states who voted overwhelmingly for one presidential candidate could and would see their votes nullified and become effectively disenfranchised by voters in other states if the majority of the popular vote went to another candidate. Hillary Clinton would be President today under an NPV regime, which explains why Perez loves the idea.

In 2011, in a lengthy report at the Heritage Foundation, Hans von Spakovsky, who was and still is a Legal Fellow at the think tank along with being a member of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity since late June, explained why the compact is subversive, unconstitutional, and nonsensical.

Here is that report’s abstract (paragraph breaks added by me):

The National Popular Vote (NPV) plan is the latest in a long line of schemes designed to replace the Electoral College. Imbued with the ideals of this nation’s Founders, the Electoral College has proved itself to be both effective in providing orderly elections for President and resilient in allowing a stable transfer of power of the leadership of the world’s greatest democracy.

Therefore, while it would be a mistake to replace the Electoral College, replacing this system with the NPV would be a disaster.

The NPV would devalue the minority interests that the Founders sought to protect, create electoral administrative problems, encourage voter fraud, and radicalize the U.S. political system.

It also would likely violate the U.S. Constitution’s Compact Clause while directly contravening the Founders’ view of federalism and a representative republic.

In an age of perceived political dysfunction, effective policies already in place—especially successful policies established by this nation’s Founders, such as the Electoral College—should be preserved.

Mr. von Spakovsky notes in the full report that if NPV proponents wish to properly get their way, they’ll need to amend the Constitution, requiring “the consent of two-thirds of Congress and three-fourths of the states.”

That won’t happen, but one never knows what leftist judges and and ultimately a  left-leaning Supreme Court will do if the NPV compact ever gets the support of states representing an electoral vote majority.

It’s totally predictable that dozens of center-right blogs and outlets have called out Perez for his folly. It’s also totally predictable that the so-called “fact-checking” sites have not:

This predictable lack of interest demonstrates that these “fact-checking” sites, which pretend to be objective arbiters of truth, are primarily in the business of going after claims made by center-right politicians, pundits, and bloggers, and are relatively nonchalant about exposing obvious falsehoods promoted by Democrats and leftists.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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