This is Rob Richie, executive director of FairVote. We disagree with you on the National Popular Vote Plan (decide presidential elections by national popular vote instead of by the Electoral College). I suspect we’re on the right side of history. I want to correct a few things in your column (“Romney Wins MD? Nov. 2, 2012).
Maryland adopted the National Popular Vote Law in 2007, not 2009. The Founding Fathers did not opt for conducting elections state-by-state. Rather, they allocated electoral votes to states and let them determine how to choose them. Having differing numbers of electoral votes per capita (between large- and small-population states) was not a reason for why the Electoral College was adopted.
Large majorities of Americans support electing presidents, according to the national popular vote.
You are absolutely correct that Maryland’s legislature adopted the NPV plan in 2007, not 2009. My apologies.
However, you misread my column regarding “state by state” voting. What I clearly wrote was that the Founders “specifically rejected the idea of electing presidents by a nationwide popular vote.” So, we don’t disagree on that.
I do believe that giving the small-population states more electoral voting power (per capita) than the large states was a political compromise similar to giving the small states disproportionate power in the U.S. Senate.
And, yes, large majorities of Americans (56 percent in the Rasmussen Poll) prefer the popular vote to the Electoral College, just as they probably prefer a three-day workweek, no taxes and free beer. The Founders provided a means for future generations to switch from the Electoral College to a national popular vote; it’s called a constitutional amendment.
But, despite your majority polling support and self-proclaimed footing “on the right side of history,” you lack the votes to pass such an amendment. So instead, you’re getting state legislatures to pass laws committing each state’s electoral votes to the winner of the nationwide popular vote, regardless of which candidate is chosen by that state’s voters.
For instance, in 1960 JFK defeated Nixon in Maryland by 53 percent to 47 percent. But if Maryland’s new NPV law had been in effect in 1960, all of Maryland’s electoral votes would have gone to Nixon because he won the national popular vote. When enough states adopt your backdoor NPV plan, I expect it will go to the Supreme Court, which, I hope, will declare it unconstitutional.
Dear Mr. Lee,
It was painful to read your column analyzing winners and losers from the elections because I don’t like these conclusions even though I totally agree with them (including), “the politicians who run Maryland have grown so emboldened by their lopsided victories that they now believe they can revise democracy’s fundamental relationship between the people and their government. So far, Maryland’s voters have rubber-stamped whatever is put before them. Will they consent to being disenfranchised, as well?”
I fear that the answer to your penultimate question is “yes.”
Well, we’re about to find out. The Democrats in Annapolis are passing a bill crippling the people’s right to referendum, our ability to veto a bad law by petitioning it to a vote in the next general election.
This crippling legislation will, itself, be petitioned to referendum and put on the 2014 general election ballot, whereupon Maryland voters will decide whether to cede their sovereignty to the State House politicians.
I’m heterosexual, but I have a problem with your small-minded attitude. Something for you to consider is that your God created homosexuals — nobody would decide on their own that they wanted to be hated by small-minded people such as you.
As an aside, you might have noticed that organized religion is the cause of nearly all the world’s problems. During the 2,000 years you mentioned, your Roman Catholics struggled mightily to eliminate those of Muslim faith and, now, it’s payback time.
And you’re calling me “small-minded”?
Dear Mr. Lee,
I cannot let pass a slip-up that I am sure you will recognize when it is brought to your attention. In your column (“The write side of history,” Nov. 21, 2012) you state that “rights are not self-proclaimed, they come to us by law, not by wishful thinking. We get our rights from our constitutions (federal and state) and from the laws enacted by our legislators.”
I am afraid you are wrong. In the United States, we recognize that our rights come from our Creator, and We the People create governments to protect these rights.
Dear Mr. Flint,
I believe we’re on the same page, different paragraphs. Yes, we’re born free, but we give up some of our freedoms by subjecting ourselves to the rule of law as enacted by our elected governments.
Except for the liberties protected from majority rule by the Constitution, our elected governments decide our rights. So, when homosexuals claim they have a “right” to marry, the answer is “only when the law permits it.” That’s what I meant when I said that rights are not “self-proclaimed.”
I think you have understated the costs of rights when you say “rights are not self-proclaimed, they come to us by law.”
Rights come to us by blood as the 13th Amendment came to us at Gettysburg.
When democratic rule of law breaks down because a minority refuses to accept majority rule, conflict and bloodshed usually occur. So, yes, I agree. Our initial freedom in 1776 and the preservation of our union in 1860 were both won by military force.
Ironically, we honor the Americans who rebelled in 1776 but condemn the rebels of 1860, although the rebels, in both cases, claimed the “right” to exit tyrannical rule.
Blair Lee is CEO of the Lee Development Group in Silver Spring and a regular commentator for WBAL radio. His column appears Fridays in The Gazette. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.