Last year I wrote about how the state of Connecticut’s vote brought the nation one step closer to dismantling the Electoral College. More than a decade ago, states started passing the National Popular Vote compact. Each state agrees to ignore the votes of its citizens and cast their electoral votes for the winner of the popular vote. The compact only goes into effect when enough states holding 270 electoral votes approve the plan.
This attempt to dismantle the Electoral College is a bad idea. Just look at a few of the maps that have been created to illustrate the impact big states and big cities would have on the outcome. The framers from small states feared they would always be outvoted by the large states.
Apparently, the National Popular Vote initiatives aren’t moving fast enough, so various leftists are making historically dishonest claims. One CNN segment, for example, suggested that James Madison called the Electoral College “evil.” One op-ed suggests that the Electoral College was implemented to benefit slavery, particularly the state of Virginia and its slaveholders. A professor interviewed on PBS even recited his arguments for the proslavery origins of the Electoral College.
Jarrett Stepman cited historian Allen Guelzo who points out that the only mention of slavery even related to the Electoral College debate at the Constitutional Convention is an obscure and unclear quote from Madison. Historian Sean Wilentz reminds us that the one president most helped by a lack of a national popular vote was John Quincy Adams, who was anti-slavery and from a free state. He even says there may be good reasons to get rid of the Electoral College, but adds, “the myth that the Electoral College began as a slaveholder’s instrument needs debunking.”
Let’s have a debate about the Electoral College, but let’s set aside historically dishonest arguments against it.
- With gratitude for the art work of Michael P. Ramirez and The Daily Signal.