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9 months ago

Is it Constitutional ignorance — or perhaps contempt — fueling movement to abolish Electoral College?



Hillary Clinton blamed the Electoral College for her stunning defeat in the 2016 presidential election in her latest memoirs, “What Happened?” Some have claimed that the Electoral College is one of the most dangerous institutions in American politics. Why? They say the Electoral College system, as opposed to a simple majority vote, distorts the one-person, one-vote principle of democracy because electoral votes are not distributed according to population.

To back up their claim, they point out that the Electoral College gives, for example, Wyoming citizens disproportionate weight in a presidential election. Put another way, Wyoming, a state with a population of about 600,000, has one member in the U.S. House of Representatives and two members in the U.S. Senate, which gives the citizens of Wyoming three electoral votes, or one electoral vote per 200,000 people. California, our most populous state, has more than 39 million people and 55 electoral votes, or approximately one vote per 715,000 people. Comparatively, individuals in Wyoming have nearly four times the power in the Electoral College as Californians.

Many people whine that using the Electoral College instead of the popular vote and majority rule is undemocratic. I’d say that they are absolutely right. Not deciding who will be the president by majority rule is not democracy. But the Founding Fathers went to great lengths to ensure that we were a republic and not a democracy. In fact, the word democracy does not appear in the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution or any other of our founding documents.

How about a few quotations expressed by the Founders about democracy? In Federalist Paper No. 10, James Madison wanted to prevent rule by majority faction, saying, “Measures are too often decided, not according to the rules of justice and the rights of the minor party, but by the superior force of an interested and overbearing majority.” John Adams warned in a letter, “Remember Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself. There never was a Democracy Yet, that did not commit suicide.” Edmund Randolph said, “That in tracing these evils to their origin, every man had found it in the turbulence and follies of democracy.” Then-Chief Justice John Marshall observed, “Between a balanced republic and a democracy, the difference is like that between order and chaos.”

The Founders expressed contempt for the tyranny of majority rule, and throughout our Constitution, they placed impediments to that tyranny. Two houses of Congress pose one obstacle to majority rule. That is, 51 senators can block the wishes of 435 representatives and 49 senators. The president can veto the wishes of 535 members of Congress. It takes two-thirds of both houses of Congress to override a presidential veto. To change the Constitution requires not a majority but a two-thirds vote of both houses, and if an amendment is approved, it requires ratification by three-fourths of state legislatures. Finally, the Electoral College is yet another measure that thwarts majority rule. It makes sure that the highly populated states — today, mainly 12 on the East and West coasts, cannot run roughshod over the rest of the nation. That forces a presidential candidate to take into consideration the wishes of the other 38 states.

Those Americans obsessed with rule by popular majorities might want to get rid of the U.S. Senate, where states, regardless of population, have two senators. Should we change representation in the House of Representatives to a system of proportional representation and eliminate the guarantee that each state gets at least one representative? Currently, seven states with populations of 1 million or fewer have one representative, thus giving them disproportionate influence in Congress. While we’re at it, should we make all congressional acts be majority rule? When we’re finished with establishing majority rule in Congress, should we then move to change our court system, which requires unanimity in jury decisions, to a simple majority rule?

My question is: Is it ignorance of or contempt for our Constitution that fuels the movement to abolish the Electoral College?

Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University. 


25 mins ago

Bradley Byrne strikes optimistic tone in Montgomery Chamber of Commerce speech

MONTGOMERY – Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-1) addressed a packed crowd at the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce’s Eggs and Issues Breakfast on Tuesday morning, striking a notably optimistic tone about his outlook for the state of Alabama and the nation as a whole.

Byrne began the substantive part of his speech by noting that the mainstream media largely ignores the real issues on both the federal and state levels, instead opting to cover divisive “wedge” issues and pour gas on partisan flames.

“The national news media makes its money off of doing things to get more eyeballs on the screen,” Byrne said. “In order to get more eyeballs on the screen, they like to generate controversy.”

He then gave an example of a roughly ten-minute segment CNN filmed this past spring at the annual reenactment of the Selma-to-Montgomery march of bipartisanship between himself and Democratic Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-7). The two talked about working together for the betterment of Alabamians, despite their different political leanings and demographic backgrounds. CNN never ran the footage.


“Because two people working together to make things better for people is not news,” Byrne explained. “Now, if she had called me a name or I had said something bad about her, yeah you would’ve seen that [on CNN]. But it’s sad to say, that America today, we can make great progress on things and you’ll never know it.”

The congressman from southwest Alabama then began listing accomplishments that have flown under the radar.

“The House of Representatives this Congress, the last two years, has passed over 1,000 bills. 80 percent of them – bipartisan. Some of them very strongly bipartisan,” Byrne advised.

Rebuilding the military

Byrne followed this statistic by highlighting the Senate’s historic success in approving President Donald Trump’s conservative judicial nominees, along with the actions taken to rebuild America’s military. For Byrne, both of these marked much-needed changes from the Obama Administration.

“When I got to Congress five years ago, I gotta tell you – I was shocked at the state of our military. Not a result of their lack of leadership, but as a result of [the federal government’s] lack of resourcing them,” he advised.

In the last two years, not only has the military been given the necessary resources and support, but members of the armed forces have been given consecutive pay raises, too.

The renewed support of the military, as Byrne said, is particularly impactful for Alabama, from Mobile to Montgomery and the Wiregrass to Anniston and Huntsville.

“[T]he fact that we have under-resourced them for all these years is a disgrace, and I’m glad we finally turned that around,” Byrne added.

Foreign affairs

His next topic was trade, with Byrne emphasizing that he is a “strong free-trader” and that Alabama relies heavily on foreign trade. However, while standing behind free trade’s important role, he also expressed his support for President Trump’s battle to ensure America is not being taken advantage of by its trading partners.

“Free trade is important, but fair trade is also important,” Byrne advised. “We need to have good deals when we cut these trade deals, and I’m pleased to see the trade deal that the president has cut [with South Korea] and the most recent announcement about the multilateral trade agreement that he’s reached with Canada and Mexico.”

On trade momentum, Byrne added, “We need to keep going.”

He is confident that the president can come to a deal with the European Union but explained that “China is a more difficult issue” because of their malicious behavior when it comes to intellectual property theft.

While he sees China as largely a competitor economically, Byrne said it was great to see the country work with the United States to de-escalate tensions with North Korea.

Tax and regulatory reform

Byrne then moved back to domestic economic issues.

“Let’s talk about tax reform,” he said, before criticizing the national news media for their slanted reporting following the passage of last year’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act – better known as the Trump Tax Cuts.

“[H]ere’s the way that I look at it: the average family in my district will see their tax bill will decrease this year by $2,187. Now, some people may call that peanuts, but in southwest Alabama we call that real money,” Byrne commented.

He said he is a supporter of pro-growth conservative economic policies and described how small business owners in his district have talked about giving out bonuses and investing back into their companies because of Republican tax reform.

Byrne also sees the tax bill as a driver of the national economy, which has seen a once struggling GDP growth leap to approximately four percent.

Because of this, Byrne said, Americans are seeing significant wage growth over the last few months. And now, the issue is finding enough qualified workers for the jobs currently available instead of not enough jobs being available.

“[I]t’s extremely important for our country that we continue that great growth and we believe that tax reform had a big part in it, as did regulatory reform,” Byrne added.

Byrne then touched on infrastructure, praising the recent passage of vital water infrastructure legislation that will benefit the Port of Mobile and the state in general. He also stressed the importance of getting a comprehensive infrastructure package passed at the federal level soon, including more money into the highway fund.

Closes with forward-looking optimism

Byrne then transitioned into his closing message, which painted a bright outlook for the future.

“You would think that our country is falling apart by what you see from the national news media – that’s not what I see every day in Washington,” Byrne emphasized.

[“D]espite what I call ‘the noise’ at the national level, our economy is booming, our military is strong again and getting stronger, our communities are indeed safer and the data shows that they are safer, and the American people are better off,” Byrne added.

He continued, “And I believe very strongly the people of Alabama are better off.  My family’s been here since before there was a state of Alabama, you know the bicentennial is coming up next year. And I can tell you … Alabama has never seen a point in time like we’re seeing right now.”

Yet, this current success is only a jumping off point, with exponential growth possible with continued strong leadership.

“Please don’t let ‘the noise’ and the naysayers make you doubt the state of Alabama or our potential. We need to embrace the future of our state and of our country. Despite what some people may believe, we don’t need to try and rewrite the past. The past is the past, we can learn from it, but we don’t have to be the prisoners of it. Instead, let’s use what we’ve learned from the past, from what we’re learning from the present, to chart a future for our state and our country that works well for our children and grandchildren,” Byrne remarked.

“I’m not just saying this because I’m up here on the stage in-front of you, but the best days are ahead for Montgomery, Alabama and this region,” Byrne concluded. “The best days of the state of Alabama are ahead of us, and, ladies and gentlemen, the best days for the United States of America are clearly ahead of us. We won’t get there divided as a country, we get there being united as a country.”

The bottom line

For Byrne, this was an event that previews his likely U.S. Senate run in 2020. The speech was out of his district, with a general focus on the state as a whole rather than just localized topics.

After the address, Byrne also held a media availability, in-which he was asked about the possibility of challenging Sen. Doug Jones (D-Mountain Brook).

Watch the full speech:

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

1 hour ago

Merrill urges prosecution of voter fraud: ‘If you want to straighten it up, you’ve got to straighten it up’

OZARK – Voter fraud is still a real thing in the state of Alabama according to Secretary of State John Merrill.

At a gathering of the Dale County GOP on Monday, Merrill cited the four convictions during his tenure as Alabama Secretary of State as proof but called for more to be done on the local and state levels.

“We’ve had four convictions on voter fraud,” Merrill said to attendees. “We’ve had three elections that have been overturned since I’ve been the secretary. We want some more of that to happen because we have identified people that have broken the law. We just got to have some prosecutors that are willing to step up and help us take it and make it happen at the district attorney level, as well as those that would be assigned by [Alabama Attorney General] Steve Marshall. So, we got to work together to get that done.”


Merrill said he was approached as recently as last week about instances of voter fraud, but added there was a reluctance by those making the allegations to pursue it further.

“I had 12 people come up to me last week in Selma when I spoke last Wednesday night at the Alabama-Tombigbee Regional Commission meeting,” he added. “They came up and said, ‘Look, we know we got voter fraud going on here, but we don’t know what to do.’ We’ll identify some people who can be witnesses, and they’ll say, ‘I don’t want anybody to go to jail.’ What do you want? I mean, if you want to straighten it up, you’ve got to straighten it up.”

“Now I’m not so sure that everybody who has committed voter fraud will go to jail. I do think we need to reevaluate what we’re doing because Sue Bell Cobb – if she ever said one thing that I thought was right when she was chief justice, and this is true – we need to quit putting people in jail that we’re mad at and just put the ones in jail that we’re afraid of, period,” he continued. “And that’s true. But we’ve got to make sure that the ones who have done wrong, that we are mad at, or that we are aggravated at because they’ve broken the law, are dealt with the way they should be. So, we’ve got to give that some attention.”

Following his speech at the event, Merrill told Yellowhammer News that without the willingness of those making voter fraud claims to pursue them further, it was just a conversation.

“What it seems like people like to do is just talk about how, ‘Well, we know this voter fraud is going on,’ and ‘that voter fraud is going on,’” Merrill explained. “Nothing is going on unless it’s been identified and investigated where it is warranted, and an indictment has occurred, and then you had somebody convicted. If that didn’t happen, then no matter what’s going on, it’s just a conversation. It’s just somebody talking. That’s why we’ve got to have people who are committed to making sure that those instances are reported whenever they occur.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and is the editor of Breitbart TV.

2 hours ago

SEC office in Birmingham fines LSU $100,000 for fans on field after win

The Southeastern Conference has fined fifth-ranked LSU $100,000 for fans rushing the field after the Tigers topped then-No. 2 Georgia 36-16 over the weekend.

The league announced the fine Monday.


It cited Saturday’s incident as a second violation of the SEC’s policy against fans on the field.

The same thing occurred against Mississippi in 2014.

The SEC said fines collected against school for violating the competition-area policy are deposited in the league’s post-graduate scholarship fund.

The league said a third violation could lead to a fine of up to $250,000.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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3 hours ago

Ivey reaffirms her support for pro-life amendment opposed by Maddox

Governor Kay Ivey on Monday reaffirmed her support for Alabama’s Constitutional Amendment Two, which recognizes and supports the rights of the unborn.

“Now, perhaps more than ever, is the time for Alabama to affirm the sanctity of unborn life,” Ivey said in a press release.

Her Democratic opponent, Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox, opposes the pro-life amendment, as does Planned Parenthood, the Feminist Majority Foundation, the ACLU and other out-of-state liberal groups.

“It’s unconscionable to me that Walt Maddox would join abortion rights activists from across the country in opposing this measure that simply recognizes the rights of our precious unborn babies,” Ivey emphasized.


The governor also rallied voters to support the amendment on Election Day.

Ivey concluded, “I urge Alabamians to join me in this important fight by showing up to the polls on November 6 and voting yes on Constitutional Amendment Two.”

Amendment Two, which was sponsored by state Rep. Matt Fridy (R-Montevallo), “would add language to the state constitution acknowledging the sanctity of unborn life and stipulating that the state constitution provides no right to abortion.”

You can read the objective Fair Ballot Commission’s entire write-up on the amendment here.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

4 hours ago

US Steel announces 4-year pact covering workers in Alabama and other states

Negotiators for US Steel Corp. and the United Steelworkers have announced an agreement on four-year contracts covering thousands of employees around the country.

Details weren’t announced Monday pending ratification meetings, which the union said would take place in coming weeks.


US Steel said the contracts cover about 14,000 union-represented employees.

The union said its figure of 16,000 workers covered includes members laid off, on sick leave or on disability.

Company officials said the contracts cover workers at its domestic flat-rolled and iron ore mining facilities as well as tubular operations in Fairfield, Alabama; Lorain, Ohio; and Lone Star, Texas.

The union says some workers in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Minnesota are also covered.

The contracts expired Sept. 1 but both sides agreed to extend talks that began in July.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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