Today's Article
The truth? We are not
forever bound to read
the U.S. Constitution
as the Founding
Fathers intended it to
be read.
The American Spark
Why A Direct Vote Matters In Presidential Elections

By Cliff Montgomery - Nov. 30th, 2019

A fascinating study on the drive to create a direct popular election of the U.S. president was quietly released
last month by the Congressional Research Service (CRS).

Recently, a number of well-placed individuals have fought this drive to make the popular choice for U.S.
president the only legitimate choice. They routinely wax poetic about ‘the need to protect the original intent of
the Founding Fathers’ who formed the U.S. Constitution. We must read that document as they intended it to
be read, they say.

Yet ‘the original intent of the Founding Fathers’ included a tacit recognition of slavery as a valid institution. We
have felt no need to hold on to that intention for all time ...

Let’s be honest: The wealthy, white male landowners who wrote the U.S. Constitution, and created the intel-
lectual underpinnings for it, were chiefly interested in creating an exclusive and limited republic. A nation of
the few, by the few, and for the few. Most of them hated and feared democracy.

Alexander Hamilton, the principal writer of the
Federalist Papers - a collection of writings which served as
a philosophical basis for the U.S. Constitution - openly declared that the “turbulent and changing” majority
“seldom judge or determine right,” and fought hard to establish a “permanent” class of elites who would
“check the imprudence of democracy.”

Edmund Randolph boldly declared that the pains then being suffered by the new United States stemmed from
the “turbulence and follies of democracy.” Elbridge Gerry commonly railed about democracy as “the worst of
all political evils.”

A youthful Governeur Morris openly shared his fear of democratic rule, stating that “the mob begin to think
and reason, poor reptiles . . . They bask in the sun, and ere noon they will bite, depend on it.”

As an interesting opinion piece written by Louis René Beres and published by the
U.S. News and World
Report
put it, the U.S. Constitution’s “literal creators had displayed a deeply visceral distrust of all democratic
governance.

“Unsurprisingly, with no more than a half-dozen exceptions,” Beres continued, “the men of the Philadelphia
Convention were scions of conspicuous wealth and privilege.

“For them, quite naturally, any expectations of serious thought by the general population would have seemed
downright unfathomable, even ‘revolutionary,’ ” added Beres.

Luckily, our wealthy elites do not think this way today (ahem) ...

Remember all this as you
read the CRS study, or the report’s summary, which the American Spark publishes
below:


The National Popular Vote (NPV) initiative proposes an agreement among the states, an interstate compact
that would effectively achieve direct popular election of the President and Vice President without a
constitutional amendment.

“It relies on the Constitution’s grant of authority to the states in Article II, Section 1 to appoint presidential
electors ‘in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct.... ’ Any state that joins the NPV compact
pledges that if the compact comes into effect, its legislature will award all the state’s electoral votes to the
presidential ticket that wins the most popular votes nationwide, regardless of who wins in that particular state.

“The compact would, however, come into effect only if its success has been assured; that is, only if states
controlling a majority of electoral votes (270 or more) join the compact.

“At present, 15 states and the District of Columbia, jointly accounting for 196 electoral votes, have joined the
compact. Adoption of the compact in the states has been uneven: after approval by 8 states and the District
of Columbia between 2007 and 2011, the pace slowed; but since 2018, the compact has regained momentum
as 5 additional states with 31 electoral votes joined.

“As of October 2019, NPV legislation was pending in 2 states with a total of 25 electoral votes where the
legislature was in session. In 5 other states with 45 votes, NPV remained ‘live’ and eligible to be ‘carried over’
for consideration when their legislatures reconvene for their 2020 session.

“Opposition has emerged in some states. In Colorado opponents succeeded in placing a measure on the
ballot in 2020 as a referendum that would repeal that state’s membership in the NPV. In 6 other states—
Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Washington—measures to repeal NPV
legislation have been introduced in state legislatures, but to date, none of these has been successful.

“The NPV initiative emerged following the presidential election of 2000, in which one ticket gained an electoral
vote majority, winning the presidency, but received fewer popular votes than its opponents. NPV grew out of
subsequent discussions among scholars and activists about how to avoid similar outcomes in the future and
to achieve direct popular election.

“NPV proponents claim it would guarantee that (1) the presidential candidates who win the most popular
votes nationwide will always win the presidency; (2)NPV would end the alleged inequities of the general ticket/
winner-take-all system of awarding electoral votes; and (3)candidates would extend their focus beyond
winning the ‘battleground states,’ campaigning more widely and devoting greater attention to issues of
concern to other parts of the country.

“They further assert that NPV would accomplish this while avoiding the exacting standards set for
amendments by Article V of the Constitution.

“NPV opponents argue that (1) it would undermine the authority of states under the Constitution and the
Founders’ intention that presidential elections should be both national and federal contests; (2) it is an
admitted ‘end run’ around the Constitution that would circumvent the amendment process; and (3) it might
actually lead to more disputed presidential elections and politically contentious state recounts.

“The NPV has also been debated on legal grounds. Some observers maintain that it must be approved by
Congress, because it is an interstate compact that would affect key provisions of constitutional presidential
election procedures. NPV Inc., the organization managing the initiative’s advocacy campaign, responds that
congressional approval is not necessary because NPV concerns the appointment of electors, a subject that
falls within state constitutional authority, and that the Supreme Court has previously rejected arguments that
similar compacts would impair the rights of non-member states.

“Other critics claim that NPV might violate the Voting Rights Act by diluting minority voter influence and
avoiding the recently invalidated pre-clearance requirement for election procedure changes in covered
jurisdictions. NPV Inc. [however] counters by claiming that the compact is ‘entirely consistent with the goal of
the Voting Rights Act.’

“This report monitors the NPV’s progress in the states and will identify and analyze further developments as
warranted.”



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