Submitted by: Matthew Howe
Michael Moore made a career out of making ignorant statements. (Remember his gushing, utterly debunked praise of health care in Castro’s Cuba?) So it’s not surprising that a recent Twitter pronouncement on the election falls into either the category of lies or ignorance. Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt, maybe all that cholesterol has finally gotten to his brain and he can’t remember what he learned in civics class as a grade schooler in Flint. (What’s that? He didn’t grow up in Flint? He lied about that, too?)
To quote Mr. Moore:
The majority have spoken? What he means is Hillary won the national popular vote, BUT she didn’t win the MAJORITY of the popular vote. Nearly 52% of voters voted for someone other than Hillary.
To which I say: So what?
Honestly, Clinton winning the national popular vote is irreverent. You might as well say that because sales of Cheerios fell on November 8, Hillary Clinton should be President. Seriously. That irrelevant.
Here’s Article II, Sections 2 and 3 of the Constitution where the method for electing the chief executive is described. Unless you’ve read our founding document lately, please don’t just skip down to the red meat below. You’re an American citizen, you’re supposed to know this stuff:
2: Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.
3: The Electors shall meet in their respective States, and vote by Ballot for two Persons, of whom one at least shall not be an Inhabitant of the same State with themselves. And they shall make a List of all the Persons voted for, and of the Number of Votes for each; which List they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the Seat of the Government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate. The President of the Senate shall, in the Presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the Certificates, and the Votes shall then be counted. The Person having the greatest Number of Votes shall be the President, if such Number be a Majority of the whole Number of Electors appointed; and if there be more than one who have such Majority, and have an equal Number of Votes, then the House of Representatives shall immediately chuse by Ballot one of them for President; and if no Person have a Majority, then from the five highest on the List the said House shall in like Manner chuse the President. But in chusing the President, the Votes shall be taken by States, the Representation from each State having one Vote; A quorum for this Purpose shall consist of a Member or Members from two thirds of the States, and a Majority of all the States shall be necessary to a Choice. In every Case, after the Choice of the President, the Person having the greatest Number of Votes of the Electors shall be the Vice President. But if there should remain two or more who have equal Votes, the Senate shall chuse from them by Ballot the Vice President.
The 12th Amendment slightly altered the above, but only to indicate that a separate President and Vice President should be voted on by the electors.
If Michael Moore can find the words “will of the people” or “majority of the national popular vote” in either Article II or the 12th Amendment, then I’ll send him a $100 gift certificate to Jack in the Box. But my money (and his triglycerides) are safe, because those words aren’t in there. We’ll get to why in a second.
Another argument being foisted upon us by people as corrupt or ignorant as Mikey Moore concerns scrapping the Electoral College system. The argument goes like this: since twice now, in only sixteen years (5 times in American History), the Electoral College has awarded the Presidency to the candidate who didn’t win the popular vote, it is obviously broken and needs to be replaced. More simply, “the Electoral College got it wrong.”
No, the Electoral College did not get it wrong. It got it right. Gloriously right. It got it right in 2000, and got it right again in 2016.
“Got it wrong.” Think about that statement for a moment. If the Electoral College got it wrong because its result didn’t ape the popular vote, then why in hell does the Electoral College even exist? If all it was there to do was to deliver the same result as the national popular vote, it’d be as useless a book entitled “The Wit and Wisdom of Tim Kaine.”
The fact that the electoral college has overridden the popular vote five times now is not a bug, it’s a feature. It’s the whole point.
Because the Founders didn’t trust you.
Or, to put it in a less self-esteem damaging way (and I can hear the thunder of footsteps as herds of special college snowflakes dash for their safe spaces) the Founders distrusted direct democracy. Direct democracy, rule by the pure majority, was, in their minds too close to mob rule. (This is one of the reasons why we have a Bill of Rights. So those natural rights are codified into law, a law which can’t be overturned by the Federal Government, so a majority of voters annoyed to the point of suicide by Hillary Clinton’s fake laugh can’t one day vote to ban free speech.)
Think about it. You have a room full of 1000 people. 501 one of them are a majority and can dictate whatever the hell they want to the other 499. That’s how a direct democracy works. The potential for ugliness and oppression is pretty high unless other safeguards are in place.
In the case of the 2016 Presidential election, California, one state, gave Hillary Clinton her entire popular vote advantage over Donald Trump.
Clinton won California by over 4 million votes. Take California out of the picture, and Trump won the popular vote in the rest of the nation, a nation that includes deep blue New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, Delaware, Rhode Island and on, by 1.5 million votes.
Put another way, in a direct popular vote contest for President, California would have dictated who won the Presidency to every other state in the union.
This is not what the Founders wanted and is the exact reason we have the Electoral College. To make sure that the flakes in California don’t get to foist a gun-hating, open-borders loving, tax-raising criminal on the rest of us simply because they’ve got a massive population that skews terrifyingly left.
In the original Constitution, only the House was elected by direct popular vote. Senators were chosen by state legislatures. (This was changed by the 17th Amendment, for good or ill, I’d argue pretty much all ill.) Each branch of government, by design, was to be chosen in a different manner with states as a unit, not the whole of the national population, in the driver’s seat.
Why? See above. Because in order to get everyone on board to ratify the Constitution, the Founders needed to include protections to ensure that smaller states didn’t get trampled by more populous states.
Go travel the country. Massachusetts is pretty darn different from South Carolina. Different traditions, different political philosophies, different demographics, different food, different cultures. Or California vs. Texas. One state favors top-down centralized government, high taxes, high regulation, and an almost comical, in a super-villainy sort of way, hostility toward the 2nd Amendment, while the other does not. Not to say one is right or one is wrong (California is wrong,) just that they’re different. The Constitution is there to protect California from domination by Texas, and vice-versa.
Using the results of the 2016 election (which is a futile exercise because if the candidates had been seeking the overall popular vote, their campaigns would have been quite different. Trump, who’s strategy was based on cracking the “blue wall” in the industrial heartland, would have run very differently, or might not even have run at all. But we’ll never know because that race didn’t happened and unless Rick Sanchez can find an alternate timeline where the Founders had all been dropped on their heads as babies, will never happen) we can see that if popular vote elected the President in 2016, then one state, the most progressive state in the union, a state with demographics and traditions like no other state in the union (thank God,) would have been able to impose it’s will on the nation as a whole. Great for the hippies and Marxists, not so great for the out of work hard hats in Pittsburgh, or people who like guns and freedom.
So, Mr. Moore and all the rest of the whiners moaning about the Electoral College, is that what you want? California choosing the President? What if the roles were reversed, what if Texas was the population and electoral powerhouse that California is? Would you want Texas to override all other states in electing the Chief Executive?
As tempting as that idea is, I’m going to decline.
The Founders didn’t trust you. And, in this instance, by “you” I mean Michael Moore and his fellow traveling sore losers.
Long live the Electoral College.