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Vote_12345LUMPENPROLETARIAT—In an encore broadcast from 2012, and in the context of the aftermath of the 2016 U.S. presidential election, in which (barring any hitherto undetected electoral fraud) the candidate who won the popular vote (Clinton) lost to the candidate who won the electoral college vote (Trump), free speech radio’s Making Contact discussed the pro-slavery origins of the Electoral College, which have nothing to do with balancing states’ power, as taught in school textbooks.

In this 2012 broadcast from Making Contact, American legal scholar and expert on constitutional law, Dr. Akhil Reed Amar seemed to downplay, however, the question of the faithless elector, who votes against the will of the people.  Back in 2012, he didn’t expect that anti-democratic phenomenon to happen.  But, of course, in 2016, that’s exactly what happened.  Dr. Amar states that he would prefer we, the people of the United States, joined the rest of the world by finally doing away with the electoral college and letting the people vote for the president not for electors, who may or may not respect the will of the people.  Partisans have argued that the electoral college is needed to prevent political parties from being hijacked by unruly mass opinion, which may deviate from party principles.  Trump’s election, then, would’ve spurred Republicans to push for the abolition of the Electoral College.  In this 2016 presidential election, the Electoral College went against the popular vote to aid an ostensibly insurgent candidate (Trump) going against the Republican establishment.  But we won’t see the Republican Party ever arguing against the Electoral College as an institution.  Arguments in favour of perpetuating the Electoral College function more to perpetuate the status quo of corporate-controlled politics, and to restrain popular will, which might inhibit corporate profits, than to protect party principles or balance state power.

Dr. Amar offers a proposal to do away with the electoral college, which does not require a constitutional amendment, a much more difficult task.  Dr. Amar was one of the first to call for the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC), which is an agreement among a group of U.S. states and the District of Columbia (D.C.) to award all their respective electoral votes to whichever presidential candidate wins the overall popular vote in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.  The compact is designed to ensure that the candidate who wins the most popular votes is elected president.  Had the NPVIC been in effect across the nation for this recent November General Election, we could’ve avoided the faithless electoral college, which gave the presidency to Trump against the (apparent) popular will of the nation, who seems to have voted for Clinton.  (Of course, it seems the leaked Podesta emails show, Clinton and the DNC cheated Bernie Sanders out of a fair primary contest. Debbie Wasserman Schultz was given a slap on the wrist by Obama.  And, both, Sanders and Clinton (not to mention Trump) cheated Dr. Jill Stein, Ajamu Baraka, and the Green Party by blocking them from democratic participation in the debates, the superbowl of the elections, and by blocking ranked-choice voting legislation, also known as instant run-off voting.)

Dr. Amar was also recently interviewed on free speech radio’s UpFront.  But that was before the November 4 Presidential Election.  It’d be interesting to see what he says now that the faithless elector issue has reared its ugly head again.  But this 2012 Making Contact interview is a very informative one, which helps us expand our understanding of this antidemocratic institution known as the Electoral College.  Listen (and/or download) here. [1]

Messina

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voter-suppression-hard-knock-radio-18-nov-2016MAKING CONTACT—[18 NOV 2016]  [transcript pending]

[snip]  (c. 29:29)

Learn more at MAKING CONTACT.

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[1]  Terrestrial radio transmission, 94.1 FM (KPFA, Berkeley, CA) with online simulcast and digital archiving:  Making Contact, hosted by host, Friday, 18 JUN 2016, 15:30 PST, half-hour broadcast.

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[19 NOV 2016]

[Last modified at 17:55 PST on 20 NOV 2016]

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