Don't Be Seduced by The False Promises of Prop. 113 the National Popular Vote
By Marie Cass
With the national spotlight on the highly-contentious, increasingly bizarre presidential election, Colorado citizens may not be aware of a critical issue on the ballot this Fall - Prop. 113 the National Popular Vote bill. This measure is so important it has the potential to affect the outcome of all future presidential elections in America. With so much at stake, we need to understand exactly what this bill entails, what its proponents claim, and what the true ramifications of its passing would be for Coloradoans.
First, you may have heard that a National Popular Vote bill was signed into law by Governor Polis in March of last year (SB19-042). Though it swiftly passed through the Democrat-controlled Senate and House, not a single Republican voted for it. The bill creates a significant departure from the way Colorado’s electoral votes have been allocated in presidential elections. Since the beginning of our state’s founding in 1876, the recipient of our nine electoral votes has always been the winner of the state popular vote. However, as its name suggests, this bill flips that and instead pledges our electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote- even if that candidate loses the popular vote in Colorado.
As of July 2020, this same bill has been passed by fourteen other states, as well as the District of Columbia, entering them into the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. The hope of these states, and those who support the compact, is that enough states will enter to comprise a majority of the nation’s electoral votes (at least 270). Those states then, theoretically, will be able to bypass the country’s Electoral College voting system by summarily giving all of their electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote (“theoretically” because there is dispute as to whether this process is even constitutional. But clearly enough people think it is try).
The most concerning characteristic of the Compact is that every single one of the states that have joined the Compact thus far is Democratic-controlled. Thankfully, because Colorado is one of 23 states that gives its voters the right to demand a referendum on laws passed by the legislature, our state’s conservative leadership quickly took action to ensure the issue was placed before the voters this Fall.
So what do the proponents of Prop. 113 claim would be the benefits of passing this bill? According to the website yesonnationalpopularvote.com, funded by the Democratic issue committee “Yes on National Popular Vote,” “One person, one vote should mean that everyone’s vote counts equally. Our system for electing the president is broken because it makes some people’s vote count more than others. The result is the president focuses more on issues important to just those voters and states, and not those of us in Colorado…Vote YES on Proposition 113, the National Popular Vote, to ensure that every vote is counted equally.”
But is our system for electing Presidents really broken, do some people’s votes count more than others, and would the National Popular Vote bill ensure presidential candidates actually focus on issues important to Coloradoans? Or is this simply a case of Leftists across the country reeling from the results of the 2016 election, with Trump securing the Electoral College victory even though Hillary won the popular vote? To answer these questions, we must first understand the reason why the Electoral College was established in the first place.
First, there is one fundamental truth about the founding of America that cannot be overstated, as emphasized by lawyer and Electoral College expert Tara Ross- that is, the Founding Fathers NEVER intended our country to function as a pure majority-led democracy. Why? Because the Fathers, having wisely studied democracies of the past, knew that pure democracies NEVER worked. They were always met with two fatal flaws: 1) it was too easy for the bare majority to tyrannize political minorities, and 2) pure democracies always imploded. Our country is touted as the world’s oldest existing democracy, but it is still in existence only because ours is not a democracy in its purest sense.
In fact, two of our most influential Founders had stern words of warning about pure democracies. John Adams asserted, “Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There was never a democracy that didn’t commit suicide.” Alexander Hamilton likewise argued, "[t]he ancient democracies, in which the people themselves deliberated, never possessed one feature of good government. Their very character was tyranny; their figure, deformity."
Ross explains that even though the Fathers desired to avoid the “tyranny of the majority” and the certain death of a pure democracy, they also believed in allowing the will of the people to be heard. So our country was established as a constitutional republic, organized on federalist principles, with a sense of democracy woven in. Each state self-governs and holds purely democratic elections on local and state matters, but also empowers citizens to vote for specific individuals to represent them in local, state, and national affairs. This system allows states, both large and small, to protect their sovereign rights and interests, and also be players at a federal level.
The intentionality of the Founders is also the reason each state has two State Senators but different numbers of House Representatives based on its population. It is also why there are three distinct branches of the federal and state level government (Legislative, Executive, and Judicial), and why it takes a supermajority in Congress and ¾ of the states to change the Constitution. Moreover, a government founded upon a written Constitution protects against overthrow by bare majorities whose political ideologies are antithetical to that of the Founders.
As you likely see, the Electoral College is a natural extension of this carefully laid out governmental system. It actually took months of tireless debate and discussion at the Congressional Congress of 1787 for delegates to arrive at our system for electing the president. Initially, some delegates proposed that Congress should simply select the new president. However, it was wisely argued that appointing the president this way would void the checks and balance between the federal branches. Finally, it was decided that the voting process would be entrusted to a designated number of electors, allocating one electoral vote per State Senator and one vote per House Representative in each state.
A unique feature of the College is the two-phase voting process. First, fifty-one purely democractic elections take place in the first week of November. Then the popular winner in each state is officially granted the state’s electoral votes in a second election held by the Electoral College in December. Two-hundred seventy of the nation’s 538 electoral votes are required for a candidate to win the presidency (50.2%). This two step process, as Ross notes, guards against the tyranny of the majority by “offering both a purely democratic vote and also one among electors.”
Ross also contends the Electoral College process ensures that “no political party can ignore any state for too long without experiencing the consequences. Every state, and therefore, every voter in every state, is important.” Indeed the data shows that the political landscape across quite a few states is subject to change. For instance, though New Hampshire and Vermont are swing states now, this wasn’t always the case. Additionally, California was a Republican state up until 1982 and Texas used to vote Democratic. Most people believe the 2000 presidential election was decided by voters in Florida, but it actually came down to West Virginia, which had traditionally voted blue and was therefore considered “safe” by Democrats. It’s four electoral votes unexpectedly went to the Republican nominee. Even Colorado has gone back and forth between voting for Republicans and Democrats.
So what exactly would happen if Prop. 113 passes? Colorado would re-enter the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, which would then have 196 of the 270 electoral votes needed to bypass the Electoral College. Again, every state to join thus far is Democrat-controlled: Maryland, New Jersey, Illinois, Hawaii, Washington, Massachusetts, Washington, D.C., Vermont, California, Rhode Island, New York, Connecticut, Delaware, New Mexico, and Oregon. Eleven of the fifteen most populous states in the nation are represented here, which is concerning because the data shows that highly dense populations consistently vote blue and will continue to do so. So Colorado would effectively be marrying itself to the Democratic party for presidential elections going forward.
Even more alarming is the fact that the Compact contains the three most populated cities in the nation- Los Angeles, Chicago and New York City. It doesn’t take much to see that issues important to Coloradoans, especially those living in rural and suburban areas, are often not important to those living in these Leftist-run mega-cities. Their support of extreme groups such as Antifa and Black Lives Matter, as well as radical agendas like defunding the police and opening our borders, should frighten us all.
At the end of the day, the National Popular Vote bill should be called the “End of the Conservative Vote” bill. Armed with the fallacious argument that “our system for electing the president is broken,” under the guise of making sure “every vote is counted equally,” Leftists are trying to pull the wool over the eyes of unsuspecting citizens, attempting to hoodwink us into abdicating our votes to Democrats with ever-increasing extreme agendas, claiming all the while that Prop.113 will provide some sort of equality we don’t currently have. Instead, the ultimate outcome of this bill will be to silence the voice all conservatives in presidential elections for the unforeseeable future.