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April 17, 2014 3:23 PM The Conspiracy To Bypass the Electoral College

By Ed Kilgore

When I wrote earlier today about the heads-we-win, tails-you-lose tendency of conservatives to alternate between claims of large natural popular majorities and anti-democratic schemes to “constitutionalize” policies so that popular majorities cannot disturb them, I was not aware that one of the most outlandish proponents of the “center-right nation” hypothesis was now warning against the nefarious Power of the People.

That would be Dick Morris. At Salon, Digby has great fun with this charlatan’s latest crusade:

It is widely acknowledged that Dick Morris is the worst pundit in America. It’s truly not up for debate. He’s so bad that even Roger Ailes was embarrassed by his hilariously wrong predictions in the 2012 election and let him go. (Karl Rove was said to be similarly fired but turned back up on the network almost immediately. Morris did not have his contract renewed.) But Morris is the quintessential “wingnut welfare” king, a man so entrenched in the right-wing infrastructure that it literally doesn’t matter how wrong he is about everything, he will continue to be gainfully employed as a pundit by someone….
Take his latest offering in upside-downism: He claims that in their latest nefarious vote fraud scheme, George Soros and his Democratic minions are preparing to steal elections from Republicans by having states adopt the national popular vote to determine electors in the Electoral College.
Yes, you read that right. Using the national popular vote to determine who wins the presidency would be stealing elections. Let that sink in for a minute.
He’s talking about the Center for Voting and Democracy’s proposal for an Interstate Compact to abide by the national popular vote, a proposal that has been adopted by 10 states, many of them run by Republicans who foolishly have failed to see why this is a plot to only elect Democrats.

I’ve written about said Compact here, but did not view it as a partisan issue:

You’d have to figure the only hard-core opposition to this idea would be from small battleground states like New Hampshire (4 EVs), Iowa (6 EVs) and Nevada (6 EVs), who would no longer demand much presidential general election attention. But these states obviously have other ways to exert influence, as three of the four “privileged” jurisdictions (guaranteed an early start) in the presidential nominating process. Maybe the rest of us should insist they not get a second bite of the apple every four years.

But no, says Morris, in a sloppy piece of argumentation even for him: a national popular-vote system would enable Democrats to win an advantage via “big-city machines” that would roll up huge margins the virtuous burghers of suburban, exurban, small-town and rural America could not overcome. You half-expect him to start fulminating against Boss Tweed.

In any event, Morris seems to think Republicans absolutely have to have a thumb on the scales via the distorting effect of the Electoral College. That’s perfectly in line with the sense you get from many Republicans that it’s only fair they get other thumbs on the scales through restrictions on voting or the Senate filibuster or limitless corporate campaign contributions—or ideally, from courts that rule progressive legislation as unconstitutional. As is often the case, Morris provides a caricature—but still a reflection—of arguments other conservatives are embarrassed to make.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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