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Kristol, Dershowitz Slam Effort to Rig Electoral College

By Todd Beamon   |   Saturday, 19 Apr 2014 07:37 PM

Conservatives and leading liberals slammed the campaign to effectively end the Electoral College's role in presidential elections, saying that the National Popular Vote Compact Law circumvents the Constitution, saying it resembled President Barack Obama's abuse of the law through his extensive use of executive orders.

"It is pretty startling," Bill Kristol, founder and editor of The Weekly Standard, told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV this week. "If they want to make the case for the popular election of presidents and a Constitutional amendment, they should make the case.

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"But the left these days doesn't make the case, and they don't go the normal route of changing the law if they don't like the law," Kristol added. "They think of gimmicks and evasions and ways to get around the normal popular debate.

"This is all happening kind of quietly. I'm really struck by the way they’re doing it."

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Under the National Popular Vote Compact, each state would award its electoral votes to the presidential candidate who wins the national popular vote. The effort has been quietly winding its way through state governments, needing 270 votes to take effect.

Once states with electoral votes totaling the magic 270 – the number a presidential candidate needs to becomes president – pass the law, it immediately takes effect. The new law would mandate that each of the states in the compact must cede their electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote, even if a particular state were to give a majority to the loser of the popular vote.

Put another way, if Florida has been a member of such a compact in the 2000 presidential year, it would have had to cede its electoral votes to Al Gore, making him president, since he won the popular vote nation-wide, though he lost in the state of Florida.

The compact has been attacked by Republican strategist Dick Morris, who charged in an exclusive Newsmax column that the effort is ripe for voter fraud and would guarantee that Democrats win the White House every four years.

This week, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo pledged the Empire State's 29 electoral votes to the effort, which now has 165 votes. New York is the 10th state to come aboard. The District of Columbia, with three electoral votes, has also signed the agreement.

The other states are Maryland, New Jersey, Illinois, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Vermont, California, Rhode Island, and Washington.

Morris said all of the jurisdictions supporting the compact backed President Barack Obama in the 2012 election.

It also has been approved by at least one legislative body in these states: Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Oregon.

The states total 78 electoral votes, and eight of them voted for Obama, Morris said.

Other conservatives echoed Morris, saying that "the stealth way" — going through the states — was doing an end-run around the Constitution.

"It's a serious discussion. It's a debate worth having," former Michigan Rep. Pete Hoekstra told Malzberg. "If we're going to change it, let's do it the appropriate way: get the super-majority votes in Congress, have the states ratify it, have a national debate.

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"This is again by the left an effort to circumvent the current electoral process, and through a stealth campaign, ensure their electoral dominance moving into the future."

Kevin Jackson, the radio talk-show host and author who was a panelist with Hoekstra, said the Electoral College effort comes as "we're dangerously close to the left having control of the Supreme Court" with the possible retirement of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, 81, and three others in their 70s.

They are Antonin Scalia, 78, and Anthony Kennedy, 77, who were appointed by President Ronald Reagan; and Stephen Breyer, 75, who — along with Ginsberg — were appointed by President Bill Clinton.

"It's definitely trying to get around the system," Jackson said of the vote compact.

Even such liberals as Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz and Democratic strategist Hank Sheinkopf blasted the campaign.

"It's nuts," Sheinkopf told Malzberg. "Here's a case of where they're trying to go around the Constitution, around the law, to do something that's patently illegal and wrong. It's the same way the Obama administration issues executive orders.

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"Our Constitution, that's worked very well for 200 years, is now being tampered with. A bad move.

"This system was put in place to ensure that crazy people couldn't get control of the government," Sheinkopf added. "And that's why it works.

"Don’t change something that shouldn’t be changed for the purpose of making some people happy."

Dershowitz said the compact "certainly violates the spirit of the Constitution. Plainly, the founders of the Constitution did not intend for there to be a conspiracy among certain states to essentially abolish the Electoral College."

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He, too, called for a Constitutional amendment. The Electoral College was established by the Founding Fathers during the Constitutional Convention in 1787.

"The amendment probably would not succeed, but to use this method of circumvention, it seems to me would encourage other states to use other methods of circumventing the Constitution when it came to racial equality or other things," Dershowitz told Malzberg.

"I think it is quite short-sighted," he added. "I do not support it."

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