Delaware is at risk of forever losing its voice in presidential elections.
On June 24th of this year, the Delaware House of Representatives passed House Bill 198 – a bill that essentially reduces Delaware’s minimal voice in national elections to a mere echo of the voice envisioned by our Founding Fathers.
Twenty-three legislators voted to join an interstate compact to subvert Delaware’s influence in the Electoral College, forcing Delaware to cast its vote for whichever presidential candidate might win the overall popular vote, nationwide. Delaware has but three electoral votes among a total of 538, a miniscule one half of one percent of all of the electoral votes. Under this compact, Delaware’s voice is further reduced to a fraction more than one quarter of one percent.
HB 198 is a fundamentally flawed and constitutionally suspect piece of legislation. If our Senate acts to pass HB 198 and this well-intentioned but-conceived measure actually goes into effect with its counterparts in other states, it will serve as the cornerstone for the destruction of the checks and balances our Founders wove into the fabric of the Republic; and ultimately become the loose thread that could unravel the fabric of Republic once and for all.
You may remember the Mel Gibson line from the movie The Patriot where Gibson’s character asks the rhetorical question (and we paraphrase) “Why trade the tyranny of one tyrant 3,000 miles away for that of 3,000 tyrants one mile away?” The Founding Fathers understood the danger of a “tyranny of the majority.” To avoid such “tyrannies,” the Founders created the Electoral College to balance the interests of the cities against those of the rural areas of America; the interests of the small states against those of the large states, and those of the agrarian South against those of the growing industrial north.
If this compact were to come to fruition, presidential campaigns would rapidly shift from numerous battleground states to a few large population centers. While some voters may now feel disadvantaged by the Electoral College, even more will be disenfranchised by the “national popular vote compact.” In brief, this misguided plan, of which HB 198 is an integral part, calls for entry into a contract with other states wherein Delaware will be forced to cast our electoral votes for someone who may not win a majority within our state. In the end, the rights of Delaware’s voters and millions of others similarly situated in other “compact states” will be greatly diminished.
Let us not forget that in forming the Republic, the power and sovereignty of the federal government was originally derived from a grant of power and authority from each of the individual states. The creation of the Electoral College is as much testimony to that fact as are the Ninth and Tenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.
Reasonable minds can disagree on whether the current system is indeed “broken.” If, in fact, reforms are needed, alternatives can be found to improve the system – without adopting a scheme that infringes upon states’ rights and silences the voice of untold millions of Americans. Indeed, other methods which are more pragmatic and less likely to infringe upon the Founders’ delicate balance of power must surely exist, if only we would search for them.
The checks and balances of big state versus small state; north versus south; east versus west; rural versus urban, are all the results and benefits of the Electoral College. HB 198 and its counterparts in the other states will most certainly result in our country being controlled by America’s 20 or so largest cities to the detriment of the rest of the country. And if this happens, Delaware’s voice will have been effectively silenced and you can bet your bottom dollar that our Republic and the traditional concept of the American dream are doomed.
Originally posted at CaesarRodney.org