Monday, May 16, 2011
By Tara Ross
In a shocking twist, ex-Senator Fred Thompson has joined the effort to abolish the Electoral College. He claims that the National Popular Vote movement is “totally consistent with our constitutional principles.”
I like Thompson. I voted for him in the 2008 presidential primaries. But his endorsement of NPV simply cannot be reconciled with the Constitution. It is a pity, because he has spent so much of his public life defending these important principles. It is puzzling that he has abandoned them now.
NPV is consistent with the Constitution?
The delegates to the Constitutional Convention explicitly rejected a nationwide popular vote for President. The small states would never have ratified the Constitution with such a system in place, for fear that they would be constantly outvoted by big states such as Virginia and New York. NPV implements the system that was rejected and pretends that it is somehow consistent with this constitutional history.
The Constitution requires approval from three-quarters (38) of the states before radical change can be made to constitutional processes. NPV is on track to change the method of electing a President with the approval of fewer than 20 states.
The Constitution implements a system that combines the best elements of federalism, republicanism, and democracy. The Founders understood from their study of history that a pure democracy “is one of the greatest of evils” that “soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself.” It is “very subject to caprice and the madness of popular rage.”
NPV shuns the lessons of history—so important to the Founders—and replaces America’s federalist, republican, democratic presidential election process with a purely democratic one.
There is more: NPV will likely cause Equal Protection, legal and logistical problems that I have discussed at length elsewhere. But even these few examples should show that Thompson and others need to more thoroughly study the history of our Constitution and the Electoral College before casually claiming that NPV is consistent with America’s founding principles.
Please visit and join the Freedom Foundation’s Save Our States Project dedicated to preserving our Constitution and Electoral College for the sake of our liberty, security, and prosperity.