Electoral College Reform – Let’s Get It Right

As a two-term member of the U.S. Electoral College, I am very much concerned about political attacks on the institution and threats to either repeal it or circumvent it. While Democrats are understandably upset… having won the national popular vote in 2000 and 2016, while losing both contests in the Electoral College… the only doable reform that is currently under discussion is the national popular vote proposal offered by the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC). But now that the 2020 campaign season is well under way, with President Trump and essentially all of the twenty or more Democratic candidates in favor of either Electoral College reform or Article V repeal, it is time to develop some real understanding of that critically important but little-understood institution.

The 2000 Bush-Cheney victory caused many Electoral College critics to search for ways in which to bypass the Electoral College. With the active support of Republicans such as former Illinois congressman John Anderson, the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact was created. The NPVIC actively seeks support among the legislatures of the fifty states in support of a rule requiring that all of a member state’s electoral votes be cast for the candidates for president and vice president who receive a majority of the national popular vote… regardless of the popular vote count in each of the Compact states. However, one wonders if they are aware of the potential unintended consequences if they are successful.

In the 2016 General Election, Democrat Hillary Clinton enjoyed a 2,868,686-vote advantage in the national popular vote, while her Republican opponent, Donald Trump, won a decisive 306 to 232 vote victory in the Electoral College. It was eerily reminiscent of the 2000 General Election in which Democrat Al Gore enjoyed a 543,900-vote plurality in the national popular vote, while George W. Bush won a razor-thin 271 to 266 vote majority in the Electoral College.

What NPVIC proponents have apparently overlooked is that, in the 2000 presidential election, a switch of just 271,951 votes (just one vote out of every 373 votes cast) would have given Bush-Cheney a narrow popular vote victory, along with a 271 to 266 vote victory in the Electoral College. That popular vote shortfall could have been overcome with just one more well-placed ad buy attacking carefully selected weaknesses in the Clinton-Gore record.

On April 3, 2019, New Mexico joined California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia as the newest member of the Compact. The addition of New Mexico brought 189 of the required 270 electoral votes under the popular vote umbrella. If, and when, states representing at least 270 electoral votes, a simple majority in the Electoral College, have joined the Compact, then and only then will those states be able to eliminate any possibility of ever again electing a president and vice president with less than a majority of the national popular vote.

However, if the supporters of the NPVIC would do their homework, they would understand that, had the NPVIC rule been in effect in 2000, in every blue state in the nation, and had Bush-Cheney been able to eke out a narrow victory in the national popular vote, the states of the NPVIC would have been required, by law, to cast all 270 of their electoral votes for George Bush and Dick Cheney, in spite of the fact that 21 of the 22 states in the NPVIC would have cast a majority of their popular votes for Gore-Lieberman. In that event, the Electoral College vote would have been an unprecedented 538-0 victory for Bush-Cheney over Gore-Lieberman… an outcome that the Framers could never have foreseen.

So, if the Electoral College and the winner-take-all approach utilized by 48 of our 50 states is causing so much political heartburn for so many Americans, what are our alternatives? Many critics suggest that we simply proceed with efforts to amend the U.S. Constitution by repealing all portions of Article II, Section 1 establishing the Electoral College.

To eliminate the Electoral College by constitutional amendment would require both Houses of Congress to approve a joint resolution by a 2/3 majority vote. The proposed amendment would then be sent to the governors of the fifty states who, in turn, would formally submit the amendment to their legislatures for ratification. A proposed amendment becomes effective only when it is ratified by three-fourths (38) of the 50 states.

While repeal by constitutional amendment may be the preferred solution by many in the political arena, it is unlikely that such a joint resolution could ever receive a 2/3 vote in both Houses of Congress, let alone win ratification by 38 of the 50 states.

A proposal that would be sure to attract broad support among conservatives and Republicans… a proposal that would bring the selection of presidents and vice presidents as close as possible to the will of the people, while retaining the Electoral College… is an electoral system based on the popular vote within each county in the nation. For example, in 2012, Barack Obama carried 653 of the 3,100 counties in the country, compared to Romney’s 2,447 counties. In 2016, Hillary Clinton carried just 568 counties, compared to Donald Trump’s 2,532 counties.

So, is there a reform that, while not satisfying every concern of every Electoral College critic, would: a) avoid the anguish of a prolonged constitutional amendment process, b) provide fairness to all candidates and political parties, c) avoid creating a system in which unanimous votes in the Electoral College are possible, d) eliminate the much-despised “winner-take-all” concept of the present system, and e) bring the selection of presidents and vice presidents much closer to the people?

If supporters of the NPVIC are truly interested in Electoral College reform that is far more democratic than the winner-take-all system now utilized by 48 states and the District of Columbia, they might want to consider adopting the allocation system now used by the states of Maine and Nebraska. Under that system, the winner of the statewide popular vote receives both of the state’s two at-large electoral votes. The remaining electoral votes are allocated based on the winner of the popular vote in each of the state’s congressional districts. For example, in 2016, Hillary Clinton won the statewide popular vote in the State of Maine. In doing so, she was awarded the state’s two at-large electoral votes. However, in Maine’s two congressional districts, Clinton won the popular vote in the 1st C.D. while Trump won the popular vote in the 2nd C.D. As a result, Clinton won three electoral votes in Maine, while Trump won one. In Nebraska, Trump won the popular vote in each of the state’s three congressional districts. As a result, he was awarded all five of Nebraska’s electoral votes.

The Maine-Nebraska electoral system would deemphasize the key battleground states such as Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, and Virginia and require candidates to campaign in all fifty states. As matters now stand, presidential candidates spend little time in states such as California, New York, Oklahoma, and Texas because the outcome of presidential voting in those states is almost always a foregone conclusion. Had the Maine-Nebraska system been in place for the 2012 General Election, Obama would have found it necessary to defend the 15 votes that Romney could have won in California and the 6 votes he could have won in New York, while Romney could not have ignored the 12 electoral votes that Obama might have captured in Texas.

In November 2016, Donald Trump could not have ignored the 14 electoral votes available to him in California or the 9 electoral votes available to him in New York. Conversely, Hillary Clinton could not have ignored the 11 electoral votes available to her in Texas or the 5 electoral votes available to her in Michigan. By assigning more importance to local elections under the Maine-Nebraska system, interest in local politics would be enhanced and much of the negative impact of the 17th Amendment would be reversed.

Under the Maine-Nebraska system, Hillary Clinton would have gained electoral votes in nineteen states and lost votes in twelve states. Under the winner-take-all system, Trump shut out Clinton in thirty-one states, while Clinton shut out Trump in nineteen states and the District of Columbia. Under the Maine-Nebraska system, Trump would have shut out Clinton in only eleven states, while Clinton would have shut out Trump in just eight states.

In 2016, essentially all of the campaigning took place in twelve states: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin. However, had all states used the Maine-Nebraska system, that intensity would have spread to six additional states: California, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Texas, and Washington… four of the six being among our most populous states.

Electoral College critics would be well advised to do a bit more research into the potential unintended consequence of scuttling the Electoral College in favor of the national popular vote. While it is understandable that they would see unfairness in presidential elections in which the candidates receiving a plurality of the national popular vote could lose the election in the Electoral College, they will be far more upset if, after convincing state legislatures to adopt the NPVIC formula, they find that their efforts have produced a system in which unanimous 538 to 0 votes in the Electoral College, for candidates who barely eked out a majority in the national popular vote, become a real possibility. Clearly, this is not what the Framers envisioned when they established the Electoral College.

Paul R. Hollrah is a retired government relations executive and a two-time member of the U.S. Electoral College. He currently lives and writes among the hills and lakes of northeast Oklahoma’s Green Country.

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The Ticking Florida Time Bomb

With the passage of Florida Constitutional Amendment 4 on November 6, the Democrat Party has taken one more giant step toward the establishment of a one-party political dictatorship in the United States, a goal that they have pursued relentlessly since the day our Constitution was ratified on June 21, 1788.

The amendment to Florida’s state constitution is a ticking political time bomb that promises to have a devastating effect on our two-party system… if not in the 2020 General Election, then soon thereafter. But that is exactly what was intended because the likely result will be precisely what Republicans have always known about the Democrats’ approach to politics. While Republicans have always viewed politics as simply the means by which we establish government… a competition of values and ideals… Democrats have always approached politics as a “blood sport” in which the winning and holding of power is the only worthy goal and where any and all tactics… fair or unfair, ethical or unethical, legal or illegal, violent or non-violent… are a necessary part of the game.

For example, On November 1, 1871, two years after the 15th Amendment gave blacks the right to vote, a Joint Select Committee of the U.S. Congress heard testimony on the question of voter intimidation by Democrats in the southern states. Senate Report No. 579 of the 48th Congress contains the testimony of John Childers, a black resident of Livingston, Alabama. When questioned about threats against the newly-enfranchised former slaves, Childers replied, “I have had threats that, if we all would vote the Democratic ticket, we would be well thought of and the white men of the county… the old citizens of the county… would protect us, and every struggle or trouble we got into we could apply to them for protection and they would assist us.”

When asked if he was afraid he would be harmed if he voted the Republican ticket, he explained, “I was, sir, because as I just stated to you, there was a man that told me he had a coffin already made for me. Yes, sir. I voted it and don’t pretend to deny it before nobody. When I was going to the polls there was a man standing in the door and (he) says, ‘Here comes you, God damn your soul. I have a coffin already made for you.’ I had two tickets in my pocket then… a Democratic ticket and a (Republican) ticket. I pulled out the Democratic ticket and showed it to him, and he says, ‘You are all right, go on.’ ”

In 1894, when Democrats had regained control of the Congress, they introduced the Repeal Act of 1894, which sought to repeal most, if not all, of the civil rights legislation passed by Republicans since the close of the Civil War. Just before senate Democrats passed the bill on February 7, 1894, the senators debated the question of whether or not it was still necessary to have U.S. Marshals stationed throughout the South to protect voting rights of blacks and white Republicans. Senator George Hoar (R-MA) described the Democrat Party as it was then, and as it has remained ever since. He said:

“Wherever there is a crevice in our protection of the freedom of the ballot there you will find the Democratic Party trying to break through. Wherever we have left open an opportunity to get possession of an office contrary to the true and constitutional will of the majority, there you will find that party pressing; there you will find that party exercising an ingenuity before which even the great inventive genius of American People, exerted in other directions, fails and is insignificant in the comparison…

“Mr. President, this is a question of fraud or no fraud. They tell us that there have been some Republican invasions of the elective franchise, and it is quite possible, but where can you find one well-authenticated case of a man who has been deprived or inconvenienced in the exercise of his franchise by these United States marshals or other officers, I will pledge myself to find ten thousand well established by evidence on record here where, without those securities, Republicans have been deprived of their votes by Democratic practices.   I incur no danger in making that challenge.   If you will produce me a citizen of the United States, a Democrat, who lost his honest vote in consequence of intimidation or impediment, created by these United States marshals, I will find on record here the proof of ten thousand Republicans who have lost their votes by Democratic practices….

 “Mr. President, the nation must protect its own. Every citizen whose right is imperiled, if he be but one, when it is a right of national citizenship and a right conferred and enjoyed under the Constitution of the United States, has the right to demand for its protection the entire force of the United States until the Army has spent its last man and the Navy fired its last gun. Most of us have nothing else than the right to vote…. The urn in which the American casts his ballot ought to be, aye, and it shall be, as sacred as a sacramental vessel.”  

The history of the Democrat Party in the intervening 125 years tells us that not much has changed in terms of their approach to winning and holding political power. In the 2016 General Election in Florida, some 9,420,039 Floridians voted in that year’s General Election. When all the votes were counted, Donald Trump had 4,617,886 votes (49.02%) and Hillary Clinton had 4,504,975 votes (47.82%). Trump’s 1.20% victory over Clinton gave him Florida’s 29 electoral votes. A switch of just 56,456 votes (0.6%) from the Trump side of the ballot to the Clinton side, would have given Clinton all 29 of Florida’s electoral votes, bringing her to within 14 electoral votes of the presidency.

The purpose of Florida’s Amendment 4 is to automatically restore voting rights to Florida residents who were previously convicted of felony crimes, with the exception of those convicted of murder or felony sexual offenses. The amendment becomes effective upon the completion of a convict’s sentence, including their period of incarceration, parole, and probation. Prior to the passage of Amendment 4, Florida was one of just four states in which felons did not have their voting rights restored unless they were restored by an executive clemency board. Under the Rick Scott administration, which ended in January 2019, those Florida felons wishing to have their voting rights restored were required to wait as long as seven years after completion of their sentences… depending on the severity of the crime for which they were convicted… before making application for restoration of voting rights.

According to a report by The Sentencing Project, as of 2016, around 6.1 million people, or about 2.5 percent of the U.S. voting age population, were disenfranchised due to a felony conviction. Florida was estimated to have 1,686,318 persons… 10.43 percent of the voting age population… disenfranchised due to felony convictions.

What is so significant about these numbers is the fact that the margin of victory in the 2010, 2014, and 2018 gubernatorial elections in Florida… all won by Republicans… was 1.2%, 1.0%, and 0.4%, respectively, while the margin of victory in the last two presidential elections in Florida was 0.9% in 2012 and 1.2% in 2016.

The effort to amend the Florida constitution to automatically restore voting rights to convicted felons began in the year 2000 in the wake of the disputed Bush v. Gore contest. In that election, the margin of victory for the Bush-Cheney ticket over the Gore-Lieberman ticket was just 537 votes out of 5,825,043 votes cast (0.009%). With more than 600,000 ex-felons barred from voting, is there any doubt whatsoever that… given the likelihood that the preponderance of newly enfranchised felons would have voted Democratic… the nation would have had to contend with President Al Gore and Vice President Joe Lieberman for the next eight years?

When Hillary Clinton stepped into the voting booth in Chappaqua, New York on the morning of November 6, she had every right to expect that the 22 reliably “blue” states would provide her with 260 of the 270 electoral votes she needed to become the first female president of the United States. She also knew that Donald Trump could count on no more than 197 electoral votes from 24 reliably “red” states and that, in order to be victorious, he would have to win at least 73 of the 81 electoral votes in the five remaining swing states (Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, and Virginia).

However, in spite of the fact that she needed only 10 of the 81swing state electoral votes, that’s not the way things worked out. She won a total of 19 electoral votes in Nevada and Virginia, but when she looked toward Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin… states that she had fully expected to win… she was devastated to learn that those three normally blue states had delivered their 46 electoral votes to Trump.

However, had Amendment 4 been in effect in 2016, giving Clinton all 29 of Florida’s electoral votes, she could have won the presidency by carrying either Pennsylvania or Michigan. She could have lost both Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, or Michigan and Wisconsin, and still won the presidency.

What is clear to almost every conservative and every Republican, except those in leadership positions in Washington, is that the Democrats have been playing a far different political game than Republicans. Democrats have been playing to win, while Republicans have been playing a game in which they’ve assumed that all the players in the game, on both sides, were good and honorable people… albeit with differing political views. That simply is not the case. Honor and decency are rare qualities in caucuses led by the likes of Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi.

If, and when, the ticking time bomb that is Florida sends the next Democratic nominee over the top before the first votes are counted in Dixville Notch, maybe that will get their attention. Unfortunately, by that time Florida will have joined the ranks of reliably blue states and Democrats will have achieved their ultimate goal… while Republicans will be left to wonder where they can go to replace the 29 hard-fought electoral votes that have always been available to them in the Sunshine State.   

Paul R. Hollrah is a retired government relations executive and a two-time member of the U.S. Electoral College. He currently lives and writes among the hills and lakes of northeast Oklahoma’s Green Country.



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Cockroaches in the U.S. Congress

In a 1991 document titled, “An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America,” the Muslim Brotherhood explains in clear and unambiguous terms exactly what Islam has in store for us. They tell us that the Brotherhood “must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and Allah’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.”

Should there be any doubt remaining what terrible fate awaits us if we fail to stem the Muslim tide during the early years of the 21st century? One would think not. If we in the West are to protect our children and grandchildren from spending the rest of this century contending with all the horrors of a brutal 7th century culture, it is imperative that we first dispense with the cruel fiction that Islam is just another religious denomination, subject to all of the legal protections afforded legitimate religious sects.

Islam is not a religion, subject to First Amendment protections, as we in western cultures understand the term. Rather, it is a complete political, legal, economic, military, social, and cultural system with a religious component. Wherever we find them, its adherents refuse to assimilate into host country cultures, insisting that they be allowed to exist as a separate culture within a culture, not subject to the laws of their host countries. In order to accomplish their ends, they rely on anti-western directives of the Quran to preach the overthrow of host governments, by force and violence, if necessary.

Islam made its first major thrust into U.S. politics in 1996 with the election of Keith Ellison in Minnesota’s 5th Cong. Dist. However, after narrowly losing a hard-fought contest to win control of the Democrat Party in 2016, Ellison served for two years as deputy chairman of the DNC before leaving Congress to run for Minnesota Attorney General.

However, following Ellison’s departure from Congress, Islam apparently adopted a more subtle approach to their goal of infiltrating and destroying America from within. Realizing that Islam would have difficulty winning friends and influencing people with fearsome visages such as those of Khalid Sheik Muhammad or Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi staring out at them from TV screens and campaign posters, the Imams recruited two relatively attractive young women, Rashida Tlaib, of Michigan’s 13th congressional district, and Ilhan Omar, of Minnesota’s 5th congressional district, to seek election to Congress, running on the Democrat ticket.

What the American people will soon learn is that, while the two Muslim women appear to be as non-threatening as their non-Muslim female counterparts, when it comes to furthering the cause of Islam in America they are as capable of putting a smile on their faces, while thrusting a dagger into our throats, as are their radicalized brethren. And while Omar’s unabashed verbal attacks on Israel are only a hint of the deep-seated hatred she holds for our most important Middle East ally, she has inadvertently accomplished something that Republicans have failed to accomplish since 1947.

By forcing the Congress to consider a resolution condemning anti-Semitism… a resolution which House Democrats failed to bring to the floor for consideration because they didn’t have the necessary 218 Democrat votes to pass it… Omar has shown Democrats to be the sunshine patriots and the false friends of Israel that they truly are.

But the question arises, how is it possible for any Muslim to be officially seated in the U.S. Congress? Upon taking their seats in Congress, all newly-elected members are required to take an Oath of Office, as prescribed in Title 5, Section 3331 of the U.S. Code. It reads as follows:

“I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion, and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”  

So how did our new Muslim congresswomen take that oath, given that their Islamic belief system is totally antithetical to U.S. constitutional principles? As practicing Muslims, they are dedicated to the ultimate overthrow of the U.S. government through any means necessary, including force or violence? Did they speak the words of the oath or did they simply “lip-sync” the oath with their fingers crossed behind their backs? And if they did speak the words, asking that God help them to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States,” are they not now guilty of apostacy in the eyes of the Muslim world?

As Rabbi Aryeh Spero stated in a February 14 article for American Thinker: “(Ms. Omar) and Ms. Tlaib have come to Congress with an unprecedented brazenness, defiance, and impropriety that go beyond mere difference of opinion. Right out of the gate, both women have overridden expected norms as single-minded propagandists eager to use their presence and committee positions as platforms to propagandize against Israel, and Jews who support Israel, by making the heretofore unacceptable now acceptable.”

Past Congresses have not been bashful or reticent in their efforts to protect the people of the United States from internal subversion by agents of foreign governments and foreign ideologies. For example, the McCarran-Walter Act, Section 212(a), provides no less than 31 criteria under which “classes of aliens shall be ineligible to receive visas and shall be excluded from admission into the United States.” The Act reads, in part, as follows:

“Except as otherwise provided in this Act, the following classes of aliens shall be ineligible to receive visas and shall be excluded from admission into the United States:… (28)(F) Aliens who advocate or teach or who are members of or affiliated with any organization that advocates or teaches (i) the overthrow by force, violence, or other unconstitutional means of the Government of the United States… (28)(G) Aliens who write or publish, or cause to be written or published, or who knowingly circulate, distribute, print, or display, or knowingly cause to be circulated, distributed, printed, published, or displayed, or who knowingly have in their possession for the purpose of circulation, publication, distribution, or display, any written or printed matter, advocating or teaching opposition to all organized government, or advocating or teaching (i) the overthrow by force, violence, or other unconstitutional means of the Government of the United States…”

Two years later, the Congress enacted 50 U.S. Code 842, the Communist Control Act of 1954, which denies to any and all subversive organizations “any of the rights, privileges, and immunities attendant upon legal bodies created under the jurisdiction of the laws of the United States or any political subdivision thereof; and whatever rights, privileges, and immunities which have heretofore been granted to said party or any subsidiary organization by reason of the laws of the United States or any political subdivision thereof, are terminated…”

Are our corrupted law enforcement agencies so consumed by the need to remove Donald Trump from office that they can’t find the time or the courage to enforce laws that are already on the books?   If we are to find a solution to the problem of Islamic expansionism in Europe and North America, we must begin by identifying Islam for what it is. Abandoning the political correctness of the political left, it is imperative that we begin by officially defining Islam, not as a religious denomination, but as a brutal 7th century culture totally foreign to and incompatible with 21st century Western values and cultures.

Accordingly, the first step in coming to grips with the Islamic threat is to officially declassify Islam as a protected religion in the hearts and minds of western populations. Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Baptists, and Presbyterians do not stone women to death; they do not behead those who are of a different faith; they do not throw homosexuals from tall buildings; they do not place their enemies in steel cages and lower them into tanks of water, or spray them with gasoline and burn them alive; they do not capture large numbers of women and young girls and sell them into sex slavery; and they do not sexually assault women and girls in public places because they think their style of dress is too suggestive. No, these are atrocities that are unique to the Muslim world. They are not, and can never be, protected religious practices by anyone’s standard.

Islam is the only “religious” movement on Earth that proposes to extend its dominion to every corner of the globe by rape, murder, terror, and oppression. And since the 95% of Muslims who are described as either “moderate” or “un-radicalized” appear unwilling to play an active role in keeping their radicalized brethren in check, we have no long-term alternative but to quarantine them… prohibiting them from residing anywhere within the civilized nations of the Earth.

The mass migration of Muslims from Africa and the Middle East to nearly every nation on the European continent has been likened to an infestation of cockroaches. With the election of the two Muslim congresswomen from Michigan and Minnesota, we can assume that the vanguard of the cockroach infestation has now arrived full force in our nation’s capital. Unless we defeat radical Islam in the deserts of the Middle East and in the streets of Europe in the months and years ahead, they will surely confront us full force at the Statue of Liberty, the Washington Monument, and in the streets of America. If the trend continues, western civilization will be lost forever. We cannot bequeath to our children and grandchildren the prospect of fighting a bloody battle that should have been fought and decided in our time.

Paul R. Hollrah is a retired government relations executive and a two-time member of the U.S. Electoral College. He currently lives and writes among the hills and lakes of northeast Oklahoma’s Green Country.









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