Restoring States' Rights to Presidential Elections

Colorado has bought into the popular vote mythology in presidential elections and the need to nationalize the process of electing presidents.  Although wrong-headed, the right of the Colorado Legislature to make these changes is constitutional.  

Republicans ought to use the power of those state governments they control to enact real reform by providing that the electoral votes of the state be cast by the state Legislature directly and not by voters choosing those electors.  I proposed this in November 2016, and nothing has changed since then, except, unfortunately, the overwhelming majority that Republicans had in state governments was eroded somewhat by the 2018 midterm elections.

Control of both houses of the Legislature and the governor is required to pass a law reverting power to the state Legislature to cast the electoral votes of a state, but once that becomes the law, only control of the state Legislature would be required to cast the state's electoral votes in all future elections.

Republicans control both houses of the state Legislature and the governor in 23 states, counting unicameral Nebraska.  Democrats control both houses of the state Legislature and the governorship in 14 states.  Only three of those fourteen would ever conceivably vote for a Republican presidential candidate in the popular vote — Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico.  But consider some of the states that would go Republican if state legislatures cast electoral votes:  Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Ohio, and Texas.

There is not a single state the Democrat candidate in a presidential election would have won if this change had been implemented in the states in which Republicans held the power.  Prior to the 2016 election, in three states in which Republicans then controlled, but do not now control, the governorship — Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan — the Republican candidate would have won every single state that President Trump carried without any popular vote in those states at all.

But the reform would be about much more than simply Republicans winning a presidential election.  This change would make state legislative elections vitally important in national politics, and it would restore to state governments the powers intended for them in the Constitution.  Washington would become much less important, and our political pox, "Capitolism," would begin a long cure.

Moreover, this could serve as the springboard for re-asserting state power in amending the Constitution by convening and maintaining a Constitutional Convention.  The first amendment passed should be to provide for election of United States senators by the Legislature of the state.  The next amendment, perhaps, should be to take away from all federal courts the power to effectively bully state governments.

The beauty of having state legislatures regularly meet in an official capacity is that each state Legislature gains in power if power is taken from Washington and given back to the states.  State legislative members also must either stand for the rights of their states against an over-grasping Washington or face a crippling political position that would sound to their constituents something like this: "I and the other members of our state legislature know far less about how to solve our problems than distant and arrogant Washington insiders.  After all, we yahoos in the backwaters are not nearly as smart as the sophisticates of the Beltway."

Finally, this would expose those "conservatives" who profess to care about our values and the preservation of our republic but who are just as much "Capitolists" as the most lickspittle leftist, the "conservatives" who view America as a land in two parts, one of which stretches from Boston to Washington and the other from San Francisco to San Diego, with a vast stretch of colonial territories between these two — those "conservatives" whose  lives are politics or law or some career of prostitution,  who would have nothing to do if states governed themselves without the unwanted "help" of Washington.

Restoring the rights and powers of the sovereign states is the linchpin of everything we need to begin to solve our problems.  The power of state legislatures remains in the language of the Constitution, and those rights ought to be given life again.  If that happens, we can begin the peaceful revolution our nation needs.  It is doable and ought to be done.  Nothing keeps Republican state legislatures from beginning the process but the guts and grit of their own members — and there is no reason for delay at all.

Colorado has bought into the popular vote mythology in presidential elections and the need to nationalize the process of electing presidents.  Although wrong-headed, the right of the Colorado Legislature to make these changes is constitutional.  

Republicans ought to use the power of those state governments they control to enact real reform by providing that the electoral votes of the state be cast by the state Legislature directly and not by voters choosing those electors.  I proposed this in November 2016, and nothing has changed since then, except, unfortunately, the overwhelming majority that Republicans had in state governments was eroded somewhat by the 2018 midterm elections.

Control of both houses of the Legislature and the governor is required to pass a law reverting power to the state Legislature to cast the electoral votes of a state, but once that becomes the law, only control of the state Legislature would be required to cast the state's electoral votes in all future elections.

Republicans control both houses of the state Legislature and the governor in 23 states, counting unicameral Nebraska.  Democrats control both houses of the state Legislature and the governorship in 14 states.  Only three of those fourteen would ever conceivably vote for a Republican presidential candidate in the popular vote — Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico.  But consider some of the states that would go Republican if state legislatures cast electoral votes:  Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Ohio, and Texas.

There is not a single state the Democrat candidate in a presidential election would have won if this change had been implemented in the states in which Republicans held the power.  Prior to the 2016 election, in three states in which Republicans then controlled, but do not now control, the governorship — Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan — the Republican candidate would have won every single state that President Trump carried without any popular vote in those states at all.

But the reform would be about much more than simply Republicans winning a presidential election.  This change would make state legislative elections vitally important in national politics, and it would restore to state governments the powers intended for them in the Constitution.  Washington would become much less important, and our political pox, "Capitolism," would begin a long cure.

Moreover, this could serve as the springboard for re-asserting state power in amending the Constitution by convening and maintaining a Constitutional Convention.  The first amendment passed should be to provide for election of United States senators by the Legislature of the state.  The next amendment, perhaps, should be to take away from all federal courts the power to effectively bully state governments.

The beauty of having state legislatures regularly meet in an official capacity is that each state Legislature gains in power if power is taken from Washington and given back to the states.  State legislative members also must either stand for the rights of their states against an over-grasping Washington or face a crippling political position that would sound to their constituents something like this: "I and the other members of our state legislature know far less about how to solve our problems than distant and arrogant Washington insiders.  After all, we yahoos in the backwaters are not nearly as smart as the sophisticates of the Beltway."

Finally, this would expose those "conservatives" who profess to care about our values and the preservation of our republic but who are just as much "Capitolists" as the most lickspittle leftist, the "conservatives" who view America as a land in two parts, one of which stretches from Boston to Washington and the other from San Francisco to San Diego, with a vast stretch of colonial territories between these two — those "conservatives" whose  lives are politics or law or some career of prostitution,  who would have nothing to do if states governed themselves without the unwanted "help" of Washington.

Restoring the rights and powers of the sovereign states is the linchpin of everything we need to begin to solve our problems.  The power of state legislatures remains in the language of the Constitution, and those rights ought to be given life again.  If that happens, we can begin the peaceful revolution our nation needs.  It is doable and ought to be done.  Nothing keeps Republican state legislatures from beginning the process but the guts and grit of their own members — and there is no reason for delay at all.