As an American citizen, you do not have the right to vote for the President of the United States.
Just ask the five right-wingers of the Supreme Court in 2000, who decided the infamous Bush v. Gore case.
In their decision, Justices Kennedy, O’Connor, Rehnquist, Scalia and Thomas said, right out loud in front of God and everybody, that, “the individual citizen has no federal constitutional right to vote for electors for the President of the United States…”
So how did that happen?
Well, unlike U.S. Representatives and Senators, the President of the United States is not directly elected by We the People. Instead, the Framers put it into the Constitution that the President is elected by the Electoral College, and the states can each decide how their electoral votes are divvied up.
In all but two states, whoever wins the majority of votes in a state wins all of that state’s electoral votes. Although there have been a few cases where one candidate got more votes nationally – like Al Gore getting a half-million more votes than George W. Bush – generally the winner of the national popular vote has also won the electoral college vote. And, of course, because the Constitution says that the Electoral College vote decides who’s our president, that’s pretty important.
Which is why now that the Republican Party has been hijacked by a small group of cranky billionaires, that Party is trying to rig the Electoral College in what have historically been Blue or Democratic-voting states.
In the first election after the Citizens United decision, hundreds of millions of dollars in outside spending by billionaires like the Koch Brothers put Republicans in control of those traditionally blue states that they’d targeted for years, including Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Michigan.
Once Republicans got charge of the state legislatures, they gerrymandered congressional districts to increase the number and safety of Republican seats. That’s why right now Republicans control the House of Representatives even though House Democratic candidates received more than a million votes more than House Republican candidates around the nation last November. Nationally the Republicans lost the House, but they still control it because of their election-rigging at the state level.
And now they want to rig the election for President of the United States.
They may well begin with Michigan.
Instead of the current winner-take-all system, Republicans want Michigan’s Electoral College votes doled out based on which presidential candidate won each congressional district, with an extra two votes going to the state’s popular vote winner. Republicans in Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia are considering similar changes. And, Republican Party officials, including RNC Chair Reince Priebus, have thrown their support behind the idea of rigging the presidential elections in Blue states.
If they can pull it off, it may be a long time before a Democrat is ever elected president again.
For example, President Obama swept the six main battleground states of Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin last election. And since it’s a winner-take-all system, the President got all of these battleground states’ 106 Electoral College votes, and Romney got zero.
But if this new election-rigging scheme had been in place last year, then President Obama would have only gotten 47 Electoral College votes from the battleground states, while Mitt Romney would have won those states with 59 votes, even though he got hammered in the popular vote in each of those states. And if all the states in the nation had gone along with this election-rigging scheme, then billionaire Mitt Romney would be our president today, even though he lost the national vote by millions.
Billionaires and Republicans know they’re a minority in America. Their hard-right bigotry toward gays and women turns off young voters. Their xenophobia and mistrust of non-whites have turned off the growing minority electorate. And their economic principles, including Reaganomics and devastating austerity, are slowing destroying our country.
We must do something to head off this billionaire takeover of our presidential elections. And the best way to do this is with more democracy.
There’s a way to eliminate the power of the Electoral College that doesn’t require amending the Constitution. It’s pretty straightforward: replace the Electoral College with a system of more democracy – a national popular vote that elects our President based on which candidate got the most votes nationwide, plain and simple, and more importantly, Republican rig-proof.
Nine states have already passed National Popular Vote laws, meaning that their electors will vote for whichever candidate wins the national popular vote, even if that candidate lost the state’s Electoral College vote. The nine states that have passed national popular vote laws, which include California, Illinois and Maryland, account for 132 electoral votes, nearly half of the 270 needed in the Electoral College to win the Presidency.
If the National Popular Vote movement continues to spread, and enough states sign up to bring their combined Electoral College votes to 270, then the Electoral College will be dead, along with Republican efforts to rig elections and corrupt our democracy.
This needs to be our game-plan from here on out. Hard-working middle-class Americans are the majority in America, not democracy-destroying billionaires and their Republican cronies. It’s up to us, the 99 percent, to push back against this nation’s corrupt Conservative minority and their billionaire backers, and stop them once and for all from rigging elections in America.
To join the movement, go to www.nationalpopularvote.com to see how you can get involved.