Shawn Steel

A Dagger to the National Public Vote

Last Friday, the finale of the Republican National Committee Summer Meeting in humid Tampa was the utter repudiation of the National Popular Vote [NPV].  A resolution opposing the National Popular Vote Compact won support of every voting RNC member but one who voted “present” instead of “yes.” No one can recall when nearly all 168 members of the RNC agreed on anything. Critics warn that a national popular vote would be a backdoor way of amending the Constitution, while shifting the center of gravity in presidential elections from the Founding Fathers’ vision of an urban-rural, large-small states balance to one with a much more urban.

The NPV was given new life with renegade billionaire Tom Golisano took over the fledgling campaign, after the initial post Bush/Gore election drive faltered. Golisano is a seven figure donor to the Democrat Party and ran as an ‘independent’ not once, or twice but three times against moderate Republican governor George Pataki. Golisano then moved to Florida and adopted NPV.

National Popular Vote [see their web site here] seeks to sidestep the Electoral College by having states agree in a mutual compact that no matter how their individual state would vote, that their state’s electors would be required to cast that state’s electoral votes to the “national” vote winner.

Of course, this runs contrary to the Founder’s multiple safety valves in the Constitution to prevent an outright centralized national authority to select our Presidents. Moreover, NPV destroys our de-centralized federalist union. As the Delaware Senator Anthony J. DeLuca, President Pro Tempore, former business manager of the IBEW, stated, once the NPV passes Republicans will never again elect a President. Why would he say that?

Simple. If states no longer control who gets elected, then it’s a simple matter of massing votes from corrupt urban areas. No longer would 50 states matter, but only huge urban regions would control. New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago would push the vote. Chicago notorious fraudulent cemetery voters would no longer be confided to Illinois. Instead Chicago alone would bury the med-west. Fly over would have a whole new meaning. There are many other reasons for opposing NPV, which extend to moral, ideological, constitutional or practical. See Save our States for more information.

When I first heard of the NPV I dismissed this as a marginal fringe movement. Only when I was invited to meet Tom Golisano at the California Republican Party convention last February did I realize how fast his $25,000,000 could move a nutty idea. Golisano hired an army of Republican lobbyists thought-out the country, including the vulnerable Fred Thompson, to promote the NPV. Golisano did not hire many Democrats, because they get the joke. However, Republican legislators would listen only to Republicans to support NPV. Golisano’s army went to work. Scores of otherwise solid conservative republican legislators signed up. Including here in California. I wrote an urgent piece about this stealth movement in the Washington Examiner back on May 8th [read it here] which helped to light a fire to RNC members everywhere. At the RNC spring meeting I talked to dozens of RNC leaders to see how extensive the NPV effort was in their home states. The newly elected Western State Chairman told me he didn’t think there was much on a NPV effort in his home state and when I showed him that some of his Republican legislators were supporting NPV he was shocked. All I had to do was to open the NPV website and show him the NPV listed several prominent Republican legislators who formally supported the NPV.  He knew several of the legislators. The Chairman quickly got to work—and helped stop the NPV passing in his state.

Chairman Roger Villere of Louisiana, when he saw my article was also fighting a 5th column action in his home state at the same time.  Finally, Governor Bobby Jindal had to formally inform the Republican House controlled body that he would veto any such NPV legislation.

RNC members begin to note that in most states there existed a sophisticated under the radar lobbying effort.  To help stop the madness a joint letter was signed by Speaker Boehner, Senator McConnell and National Republican Governor Chairman, Rick Perry challenging the NPV [read it here].

As a member of the RNC Resolutions Committee, I had the pleasure to introduce the Resolution [reprinted at the bottom of this blog post] placing the RNC formally opposed to the NPV.  Something not seen in years — RNC Chairman Reince Preibus, authorized a one hour formal debate to take place Friday morning during the Resolutions Committee hearing.  At my invitation, Professor John Eastman was flown in to present the Proponent’s position. The NPV sponsored the former chairman of the Rhode Island Republican party, Gio Ciccione, who practices law in his home state. There was not much of a debate in this mismatch.

After the debate, the Resolutions Committee unanimously voted for the Resolution, sponsored by Debra Joslin, the National Committeewoman of Alaska.  After tge lengthy ‘debate’, no one spoke for the NPV, but several brilliant arguments were offered from every ideological faction of the party — a roll call was demanded to put everyone on record.

There is a consensus that that next year’s Republican National Platform will have language opposing the NPV. Most states are now ready to endorse similar resolutions. Because many states are now under Republican control, Golisano’s legions must be exposed and defeated before beguiling Republican state legislators for voting to compromise the Constitution. An Oklahoma State Senate committee, controlled by Republicans, voted the NPV out of committee. That damage was recently undone. California listed several outstanding conservative Republican legislators toward supporting the NPV, but after a little work all Republican abandoned the democrat NPV. It is important that even if NPV passes a liberal state, that NPV supporters cannot later claim it was with a bi-partisan vote.

Now the battle lines are bright. NPV is a liberal’s goal or marginalize the Electoral College. Republicans support the Electoral College as the best way to protect our democratic republic.

RNC Resolution Opposing “National Popular Vote Compact”

WHEREAS,  the Constitutional method of electing the President of the United States through the Electoral College was the method deemed best by the founding fathers of the United States of America for ensuring state sovereignty because all states, both large and small, are included in the presidential election process; and

WHEREAS, the Constitution preserves the balance of power and authority between the federal and state governments through the mechanism of the Electoral College; and

WHEREAS, the Electoral College has been tested and proven itself over 56 presidential elections as the method to best preserve our representative form of democracy, resulting in the election of a President by a majority of electoral votes not a mere plurality; and

WHEREAS, the “National Popular Vote Interstate Compact” if successfully implemented would eviscerate the constitutional Electoral College process of electing the President of the United States; and

WHEREAS, the “National Popular Vote Interstate Compact”  would radically change the way we elect our President through a questionable legal maneuver by changing the rules of presidential elections via a compact between as few as 12 states instead of the normal 38 states needed to amend the Constitution; and

WHEREAS, under the “National Popular Vote Interstate Compact,” a non-member state’s electoral votes are irrelevant  because member states electoral votes would number 270 or more and they would award their votes to the national popular voter winner, effectively destroying the Electoral College; and

WHEREAS, the “National Popular Vote Interstate Compact” would undermine state authority and give more populated media markets power over the voice of the states; therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the Republican National Committee opposes this attempt to undermine the U.S. Constitution and the Electoral College by way of the “National Popular Vote Interstate Compact;” and, further be it

RESOLVED, the Republican National Committee does fully endorse retaining the constitutionally approved and time-tested Electoral College method of awarding electoral votes to candidates to win the office of President United States of America; and be it further

RESOLVED, the Republican National Committee strongly encourages all state legislatures and Governors to reject the “National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.”

Prime Sponsor:  Debbie Joslin, NCW for Alaska

2 Responses to “A Dagger to the National Public Vote”

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    [...] Steele, former chairman of the California Republican Party, is leading Republican opposition to NPV. The RNC passed a unanimous 168-person resolution this summer [...]

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