After the 2018 election, Colorado Democrats exploited their domination of the state legislature and control of the governorship to bind Coloradans to something called the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. This is a cynical scheme of leftists and partisan Democrats to ensure presidential election victories forever. It commits its member states to cast its electoral votes for the presidential candidate with the most popular votes nationally, even if that candidate loses that state’s election. The compact goes into effect when enough states join it to reach a total of 270 electoral votes, the number that clinches the election.
It’s a misconception that we have a national popular vote for president. Rather, we have independent elections in 50 states and Washington, D.C. It’s only out of curiosity that we tally those votes to produce a national total. It has no force of law. Our Constitution’s framers purposefully created a republic with a mixture of federalism and democracy, but most assuredly not a pure “democracy,” a word that appears nowhere in the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution. On the contrary, Article IV guarantees “every state in the union a republican form of government.”
The democratic principle of “one person one vote” was the model for the House of Representatives — the people’s house — where seats are apportioned by population; but not in the Senate — the states’ house — where each state gets two seats, regardless of population. The Electoral College and the apportionment of electoral votes for president by state were designed to temper the domination of high-population states and reflect a broader regional appeal. James Madison explained that, “The immediate election of the president is to be made by the states in their political characters.” Certainly not as members of any collective “compact.”
The honorable way to repeal an institution as fundamental as the Electoral College is with a Constitutional amendment. That requires ratification by three-quarters of the states, 38. Democrats and leftist activists know that won’t happen. Too many rural low-population states would resist. So, they came up with this devious NPV Compact to circumvent the Constitutional process.
To date, 15 states and DC with 196 combined electoral votes have signed up. All are Democrat strongholds. Just 74 more votes and they’ll reach that critical mass of 270. In essence, this means a small minority of states in the compact would have the power to decide the election. Let’s say, Candidate A carries Colorado taking him to 278 electoral votes. But candidate B wins the national popular vote. As a member of the compact, our 9 electoral votes would then be transferred to B who lost in Colorado, giving B a total of 270 and the election. We’d be disenfranchised.
Democrat voters are concentrated in highly populated cities and states like California, New York and Illinois. In 2016, Hillary Clinton got 3 million more popular votes than Donald Trump. That included a victory margin of more than 4 million in California. In other words, Trump got a larger popular vote total in the other 49 states, winning 30 of them outright. Under the NPV Compact, Californians would inordinately dictate the outcome of presidential elections, which is just fine with Democrats.
Another serious Constitutional issue involves Article I, Section 10, the interstate-compact clause, which reads, “No State shall, without the Consent of Congress…enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State.” Hmm. There’s nothing about that in the Compact’s wording. But with a Senate majority and the presidency, Democrats would likely approve it. And they’ll kill the filibuster rule to do that.
There’s also a big problem in the event of a razor-thin victory margin in the national popular vote. Today, that aggregate vote is irrelevant. In a close election, a few states might have razor thin margins, in which case automatic recounts would be triggered there. With the NPV Compact, a razor-thin margin in the national popular vote would lead to recounts in all 50 states and DC. This is a formula for all kinds of chicanery, a loss of public confidence in the election outcome and drawn-out law suits all the way to the Supreme Court. If the NPV Compact does actually materialize, it’s likely that its constitutional legitimacy will ultimately be rejected by the Supremes.
In November, Coloradans can override this legislative plot by voting “NO” on Proposition 113, withdrawing our state from the NPV Compact. Republicans, Independents and Democrats who value states’ rights and Constitutional integrity ought to save the nation a lot of trouble.
Longtime KOA radio talk host and columnist for the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News Mike Rosen now writes for CompleteColorado.com.