House Democrats tackle Electoral College - Must Read Alaska
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Monday, September 27, 2021
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House Democrats tackle Electoral College

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The Alaska House of Representatives, having passed its no-more-cuts budget along caucus lines, turns its attention to other pressing matters this week — hiking oil taxes with HB 111, and taking down the Electoral College with HB 175.

HB 175, which has received scant attention to date, would have Alaska join an interstate compact to award all of its electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote in a presidential election. The bill is sponsored by Democrat Zach Fansler, with cosponsors Les Gara, Justin Parish, Harriet Drummond, Scott Kawasaki, and Geran Tarr, all Democrats.

It will be heard in House State Affairs Committee on Thursday. It has no fiscal impact on the state budget, except as the presidency can impact the state budget.

The interstate compact among participating states would go into effect after there are enough states to represent an absolute majority of votes, which is currently enough states to equal 270 Electoral College votes.

If passed, in the next presidential election, the joining states would award all of their electoral votes to the electors associated with the candidate winning the popular vote across all 50 states and the District of Columbia. In other words, if Hillary Clinton won the popular vote across all states, the compact members would award all their electoral votes to her.

In this way, the winner of the popular vote nationally would always win the presidency, because he or she would gain the majority of the Electoral College votes.

The “mob rule states” would be breaking-and-entering through the backdoor of the U.S. Constitution, Article II, Section 1, Clause 2, which lines out the rules by which the Electoral College operates.

The Constitution allows legislatures to choose how their states allocate electors. Currently, Alaska awards all of its votes to the candidate who wins the most votes statewide. This is how it is done in every state but Maine and Nebraska, which award them in a split fashion.

Today, Alaska has a House majority run by Democrats, and they are using it to their advantage to push through legislation that they feel will be favorable to Democrats in the next election — 2020.

Current signatories to the compact are the heavily Democrat majority states of California, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.

Unsurprisingly, Hillary Clinton won all those states’ popular votes:

  • California: 61.6 percent
  • District of Columbia: 92.8 percent
  • Hawaii: 62.3 percent
  • Illinois: 54.3 percent
  • Maryland: 60.5 percent
  • Massachusetts: 60.8 percent
  • New Jersey: 55 percent
  • New York: 58.8 percent
  • Rhode Island: 55.4 percent
  • Vermont: 61.1 percent
  • Washington: 54.4 percent

In Alaska, Donald Trump won 51.3 [corrected 03.24.17] percent of the vote. With HB 175, our votes would be awarded to Hillary Clinton.

WHY THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE MATTERS

The authors of the U.S. Constitution invented a system of Electoral College voting, in order to protect the rights of minority states like, for instance, Alaska, which has a small population. They rejected the simple majority vote because they are prone toward dictatorships and mob rule.

The system was designed by James Madison to protect citizens from the tyranny of direct democracy, where citizens could band together to form an absolute majority, and then strip the rights from the minority.

In Federalist Paper Number 10, Madison describes how, “By a faction, I understand a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or a minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.”

Madison wrote that “a well-constructed Union” must “break and control … the superior force of an…overbearing majority.”

Protecting smaller, less populous states from being overpowered by larger states was an equally strong concern at the time, which led to the Connecticut Compromise at the Founding Fathers’ Constitutional Convention of 1787. It established a bicameral — or two-body — Congress that allocated members of the House of Representatives according to population but allocated Senators in equal numbers (two per state).

Madison’s electoral college simply extended the Connecticut Compromise to the election of presidents.  Electoral votes are awarded by total House and Senate seats combined, thus guaranteeing small states like Alaska a meaningful say in presidential elections.  This stroke of remarkable statesmanship has protected small states from the tyranny of large states since the birth of the nation.

There are 538 electoral votes available, and it takes 270 to win the presidency. Some liken the process to the World Series: It’s not the overall number of runs that wins the series, but the team that wins the most games. A team could technically score more runs throughout a series and still lose the series.

(We are not an accomplished student of baseball, but that happened in the 1960 World Series, where the Pittsburgh Pirates won over the New York Yankees. The Yankees won three blowout games (16–3, 10–0, and 12–0), but the Pirates won four games (6–4, 3–2, 5–2, and 10–9).

In U.S. election history, five presidents have won the Electoral College without winning the popular vote:

  • John Quincy Adams, 1824
  • Rutherford B. Hayes, 1876
  • Benjamin Harrison, 1888
  • George W. Bush, 2000
  • 2016, Donald Trump

Today, with our nation’s cities heavily populated by racial minorities, the Electoral College makes sense as never before, as it actually gives minorities a bit of an edge. They influence the entire electoral vote of their states.

House State Affairs will hear HB 175 during its March 23 meeting at 3 pm in Room 120 of the Capitol. The meeting will be teleconferenced. Four Democrat majority caucus members dominate the committee — Chairman Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins, Gabrielle LeDoux, Chris Tuck, and Adam Wool. Republicans Chris Birch, DeLena Johnson, and Gary Knopp round out the committee.

As a clear case of “elections have consequences,” Alaska students of the Constitution should watch this legislation carefully.

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Written by

Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Voters in the biggest cities in the US are almost exactly balanced out by rural areas in terms of population and partisan composition.

    16% of the U.S. population lives outside the nation’s Metropolitan Statistical Areas. Rural America has voted 60% Republican. None of the 10 most rural states matter now.

    16% of the U.S. population lives in the top 100 cities. They voted 63% Democratic in 2004.
    The population of the top 50 cities (going as far down as Arlington, TX) is only 15% of the population of the United States.

    The rest of the U.S., in suburbs, divide almost exactly equally between Republicans and Democrats.

  • In the current system, battleground states are the only states that matter in presidential elections. Campaigns are tailored to address the issues that matter to voters in these states.

    Safe red-winning and blue-winning states are considered a waste of time, money and energy to candidates. These “spectator” states receive no campaign attention, polling, organizing, visits, or ads. Their concerns are utterly ignored.

    The influence of ethnic minority voters has decreased tremendously as the number of battleground states dwindles. For example, in 1976, 73% of blacks lived in battleground states. In 2004, that proportion fell to a mere 17%. Just 21% of African Americans and 18% of Latinos lived in the 12 closest battleground states. So, roughly 80% of non-white voters might as well have not existed when there were 12 battleground states..

    The National Popular Vote bill has been endorsed by organizations such as the League of Women Voters, Common Cause, FairVote, Sierra Club, NAACP, National Black Caucus of State Legislators, ACLU, the National Latino Congreso, Asian American Action Fund, DEMOS, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, Public Citizen, U.S. PIRG, and the Brennan Center for Justice.

  • Mob rule, how charming. The free shit army can vote themselves anything now . Can’t wait to see if this shit show gains traction. Hope they realize more invasions will be necessary to sieze natural resources form their rightful owners. as the continued printing of unbacked currency will accelerate its value closer to zero. Hope US bond holders are on board with unlimited Government largesse, or they may unload their holdings en masse in reaction. A Brave New World.

  • The Left can’t get their agenda through in a fair hearing because it doesn’t work in a free society. So they continually attempt to overthrow the very safeguards our Founders gave us to ensure we stay a free society. Before Hillary lost the election, the Democrats called the Electoral College the “Blue Wall”, because they thought they’d gamed the system to the point that no Republican could ever again win the Electoral College. Now that they’ve seen that they were wrong once again, they want to overthrow yet another of our Republic’s safeguards. Anyone in support of this measure is a domestic enemy of our Constitution and unqualified to hold public office because they want to change the very nature of our Republic into a democracy, which according to some is the worst form of government ever tried. “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.” – Winston Churchill. Read what Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and others have said about democracies. We don’t want to allow this to happen.

  • So basically, the voters in Alaska have no say in who gets elected. They just give their electoral votes to the majority I=from the other 49 states. People in Alaska should be outraged.

  • They are not going to get their Marxist utopia until they are successful in destroying our republic first, and this is their goal. Just go look at DSAUSA, REVCOM.US, Ect. Liberty and social justice cannot coexists. Its ether one or the other, and history points the way where this is all going.

    • Being a constitutional republic does not mean we should not and cannot guarantee the election of the presidential candidate with the most popular votes. The candidate with the most votes wins in every other election in the country.

      Guaranteeing the election of the presidential candidate with the most popular votes and the majority of Electoral College votes (as the National Popular Vote bill would) would not make us a “Marxist utopia.”

      • No, its just a very large stone paving the way there. Allowing the President to be elected by popular vote ensures that large metropolitan areas, which are pretty much exclusively liberal, will choose our President, and therefore just about every other Federal position of note, from now on. The Electoral College was founded to ensure that the entire country is represented in our Presidential elections, not just the most populated areas.

        • Refer to the actual urban/rural/suburban demographic facts presented above. The numbers don’t support your beliefs.

          Because of state-by-state winner-take-all laws, not mentioned, much less endorsed, in the Constitution. . .

          Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in 2015 was correct when he said
          “The nation as a whole is not going to elect the next president,”
          “The presidential election will not be decided by all states, but rather just 12 of them.

          Candidates have no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize, campaign, or care about the voter concerns in the dozens of states where they are safely ahead or hopelessly behind.

          With the end of the primaries, without the National Popular Vote bill in effect, the political relevance of 70% of all Americans was finished for the presidential election.

          In the 2016 general election campaign

          Over half (57%) of the campaign events were held in just 4 states (Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Ohio).

          Virtually all (94%) of the campaign events were in just 12 states (containing only 30% of the country’s population).

          In the 2012 general election campaign

          38 states (including 24 of the 27 smallest states) had no campaign events, and minuscule or no spending for TV ads.

          More than 99% of presidential campaign attention (ad spending and visits) was invested on voters in just the only ten competitive states..

          Two-thirds (176 of 253) of the general-election campaign events, and a similar fraction of campaign expenditures, were in just four states (Ohio, Florida, Virginia, and Iowa).

          Over 87% of both Romney and Obama campaign offices were in just the then 12 swing states. The few campaign offices in the 38 remaining states were for fund-raising, volunteer phone calls, and arranging travel to battleground states.

          Because of state-by-state winner-take-all laws, not mentioned, much less endorsed, in the Constitution. . .

          Issues of importance to non-battleground states are of so little interest to presidential candidates that they don’t even bother to poll them individually.

          Charlie Cook reported in 2004:
          “Senior Bush campaign strategist Matthew Dowd pointed out yesterday that the Bush campaign hadn’t taken a national poll in almost two years; instead, it has been polling [the then] 18 battleground states.”

          Bush White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer acknowledging the reality that [then] more than 2/3rds of Americans were ignored in the 2008 presidential campaign, said in the Washington Post on June 21, 2009:
          “If people don’t like it, they can move from a safe state to a swing state.”

          • Are you saying in your second paragraph above that the Electoral College is not mentioned in our Constitution? If so, please see the federal archives regarding the Electoral College at https://www.archives.gov/federal-register/electoral-college/faq.html#whyec for information to the contrary.

          • I believe I understand the point you’re making in your statement. Please disregard my previous reply. It does seem that presidential elections are decided solely by what are termed “battleground states”, but throwing out the Electoral College altogether in favor of deciding presidential elections by popular vote does not seem to me to be the correct answer to the problem. As has been done before, it may be time to revisit how the Electoral College works.

          • Kohler,

            You’ve just made the case for the electoral college. When roughly 2/3rds of the states are set in their decision, there is no decision. Thankfully there is still 1/3 of the country that can make a decision.

            Our government as designed is made up of equal parts executive, legislative, and judicial. Strange how that works out, our country is designed to protect the minority not to allow the tyranny of the majority.

  • Suzanne Downing wishes Trump earned 52.9 percent of the vote in Alaska. In reality, he earned 51.3 percent in Alaska.

    In 2008, McCain/Palin carried the Municipality of Anchorage by a margin of 57–41%

    In 2016, Trump/Pence carried the Municipality of Anchorage by a margin of 47–41%
    Long gone (about 8 years removed) are the days when Nonpartisan and Undeclared Alaska voters supported Republicans over Democrats by a 2:1 margin!!

    It won’t be long before a Democrat needs only 40% of the white vote to carry Alaska—Hillary probably won 33% of the white vote in AK.

    • No she didn’t
      Alaskans are not that stupid

  • Y’all need to refer to and read Federalist Paper 39 by Madison which lays out in wonderful detailed explanation exactly why and how our government was conceived in order to preserve liberty and order! Fed Paper 10 as referred to above is also worth the read!

  • Anyone calling themselves an Alaskan and voting for this travesty is giving away our electoral votes “FOREVER”. All Alaskans should hold anyone of any party responsible at the next election and turn them out of office.

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