The political left and its mouthpiece, The New York Times, are still fuming over Hillary Clinton's election humiliation last year, and are nothing if not determined — even frantic — to rid this nation of the pesky Electoral College that installed Donald Trump as president.
Clinton is the fifth candidate in U.S. history to win the popular vote and tank in the Electoral College. The Times wonders how she could have been "thwarted by a 200-year-old constitutional anachronism designed in part to appease slaveholders and ratified when no one but white male landowners could vote."
In an editorial last week, "Let the people pick the president," it urged a popular vote to decide presidential and vice presidential contests.
"The winners of Tuesday's elections — Republican or Democrat, for governor, mayor or dogcatcher — all have one thing in common: They received more votes than their opponent," The Times harrumphed. "That seems like a pretty fair way to run an electoral race, which is why every election in America uses it — except the most important one of all."
The newspaper fails to mention that in those elections American voters and the process are protected by rules and district lines and boundaries created to level the playing field, to be inclusive. The Electoral College serves much the same purpose on a national scale, ensuring all voices, even in tiny communities across rural America, are heard.
One need only peek at a map showing the nation's liberal counties in blue and conservative counties in red in last year's election to see what would have happened if popular voting were in play.
The overwhelming majority of the nation's counties were drenched in red, while liberal counties, depicted in blue, were centered in rich, urban, highly populated liberal bastions. With a popular-vote system, anybody not living in voter-rich, major urban areas and along the coasts could simply have stayed home on election day. Candidates certainly would have ignored them. Their vote would have been worth zip — a reality not lost on liberals and The Times.
A popular vote would negate the need to court small states' votes, or to campaign in out-of-the-way locales and it would abandon the notion of putting together political coalitions across regions large and small. It would make all politics national.
Enter the Electoral College, proposed by James Wilson, and enshrined by the Constitutional Congress as Article 2, Section 1, of the U.S. Constitution, and an idea underpinning one of the world's most stable governments.
This cushioning, intermediate step in the election process — choosing electors who then elect the president — was born of the Founders' well-grounded fear of direct democracy, untouchably elitist monarchies and idiots who might, if unrestrained, elect one of their own — or worse. Admittedly, as with Trump, nothing is perfect.
Alexander Hamilton, writing as Publius in Federalist Papers No. 68, said the "sense of the people should operate in the choice," of a president, but it also was "desirable" that "the immediate election should be made by men most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the station, and acting under circumstances favorable to deliberation, and to a judicious combination of all the reasons and inducements which were proper to govern their choice."
Relentless efforts — nearly 600, The Times snorts — to amend the Electoral College have failed. But now, the left has seized on a new gambit to circumvent the Founders' vision: The National Popular Vote interstate compact, a winner-take-all scheme. It would have states agree to award all of their electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote — no matter the outcomes of their states' elections — disenfranchising wide swaths of voters.
This urban power grab — its constitutionality hotly debated — is the brainchild of John Koza, a former consulting professor at Stanford University who hit the jackpot when he patented the scratch-off lottery ticket. Its support comes from largely left-leaning organizations.
Ten states, all solidly Democratic, and the District, have signed on, representing 165 electoral votes. The agreement kicks in as soon as states with a total of 270 of 538 electoral votes sign on, ensuring a popular vote will always pick the president.
Liberals and The Times seem determined, even eager, to subject this nation to the tyranny of the majority; to pretend the Electoral College is a "disaster for a democracy." They are wrong.
"America's election systems have operated smoothly for more than 200 years because the Electoral College accomplishes its intended purposes," wrote Tara Ross, a retired Texas lawyer and author of "The indispensable Electoral College: How the Founders Plan Saves Our Country From Mob Rule." America's presidential election process preserves federalism, prevents chaos, grants definitive electoral outcomes, and prevents tyrannical or unreasonable rule. The Founding Fathers created a stable, well-planned, and carefully designed system — and it works."
That is what drives the left and its mouthpiece nuts.
Paul Jenkins is editor of the AnchorageDailyPlanet.com, a division of Porcaro Communications.
The views expressed here are the writer's and are not necessarily endorsed by Alaska Dispatch News, which welcomes a broad range of viewpoints. To submit a piece for consideration, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Send submissions shorter than 200 words to email@example.com.