Jeff Jacoby, a conservative columnist at the liberal Boston Globe, addresses the left's latest effort to subvert the republic that our founders so carefully constructed in his Sunday commentary:
IT IS Election Night, 2012. The polls have closed. State by state, the votes are being counted, and gradually it becomes clear, to the bottomless horror of some voters and the unbridled delight of others, that Sarah Palin, the Republican presidential nominee, has bested President Barack Obama in the popular vote nationwide.Read this Jeff Jacoby op-ed unabridged here.
In Massachusetts, where Obama crushed Palin in a 79 percent landslide — the most lopsidedly anti-Palin vote of any state — “bottomless horror’’ doesn’t begin to describe the political reaction. For in 2010, Massachusetts joined the National Popular Vote compact, making a commitment to cast all of its electoral votes for the presidential candidate receiving the most votes nationally, regardless of the results in Massachusetts. The compact took effect in December 2011, when California became the 15th state to join, thereby uniting enough states to control a majority of the Electoral College. Now Massachusetts, the bluest of the blue states, must award its presidential electors to a candidate Massachusetts voters overwhelmingly opposed.
. . .Well, that’s one scenario. Maybe it won’t be Sarah Palin, maybe it won’t be 2012, but sooner or later a Republican is going to win the largest number of votes in a presidential election, and that Republican probably isn’t going to carry Massachusetts. What will Bay State liberals and Democrats say when the National Popular Vote compact that so many of them endorsed requires Massachusetts electors to line up behind the Republican? Imagine if Massachusetts had been compelled to give its electoral votes in 1972 not to George McGovern, but to Richard Nixon. Or to the first George Bush in 1988, instead of Michael Dukakis. Or to George W. Bush, not John Kerry, in 2004.
As the National Popular Vote bill was making its way through the state Legislature last month, Senator Thomas Kennedy, chairman of the Election Laws Committee, warned opponents against trying to block it. “We’re committed to this,’’ he said. “It’s the will of the people.’’ The will of which people? Not the people of Massachusetts: The whole point of this scheme is to frustrate their will. From now on, anytime Massachusetts voters march to the beat of a different political drummer than most of their countrymen, the National Popular Vote compact will make sure their votes don’t count.
Massachusetts is the sixth state to approve this end run around the Constitution, following Illinois, New Jersey, Hawaii, Maryland, and Washington. It is no coincidence that all six are Democratic strongholds. The movement is fueled by lingering Democratic resentment of George W. Bush, and of the Electoral College system that made him president in 2000, even though Al Gore drew more popular votes. It is a comical irony that if the compact ever goes into effect, its only practical impact in these states will be to occasionally award their presidential electors to the Republican nominees their voters reject.But the national popular vote total has no constitutional significance and never has...
Democrats talk about 2000 as though it represented some colossal subversion of democracy. “Something happened in the 2000 presidential election that should never be permitted to happen again,’’ writes Michael Dukakis in the Salem News. “The candidate who failed to win the popular vote became president of the United States.’’
Related: Paul Greenberg explains why casting aside the electoral college is not only a bad idea, but a dangerous one:
Edmund Burke tried to tell us: "The Constitution of a State is not a problem of arithmetic." Rather, it is a way to take into account the many dimensions of an electorate and forge a consensus that is greater than all its parts. That's where the Electoral College comes in. It may be an antique piece of clockwork, but it performs a valuable function within all the gears and levels of our constitutional system. It needs to be saved, not sacrificed to an empty slogan.In our view, one of the best arguments against turning our backs on the wisdom of the founders is that so far, the only states to approve the compact are the bluest of blue states. If the left has its way, it will destroy this republic.