Virginia Republicans, responding to their silencing in last year's presidential election, seek to rewrite how their state assigns its electoral votes. Like 47 other states and the District of Columbia, Virginia gives all of its votes to the presidential candidate with the highest share of the statewide popular vote. The new plan would toss this method and assign votes based on results within congressional districts. The winner of the most districts would receive the last two electoral votes. Had this been in place last year, Barack Obama would have won four electoral votes to Mitt Romney's nine, rather than taking all thirteen. This is tragic. In George Allen's Real Virginia, Barack Obama got no support, and these legislators have offered only a middling correction that would still have let Obama walk with nearly one-third of Virginia's electoral votes.
Because Republicans in the state have been ineffective at decennial redrawing of congressional districts, Democrats still hold three of Virginia's eleven U.S. House seats. Because Republicans have been utterly cowardly in exercising the state legislature's Constitutionally granted authority to assign electoral votes, the Democratic candidate for president has won all of Virginia's electoral votes in consecutive elections. While they took for granted the apparent permanence of their rural/suburban coalition, the creeping in and crowding of liberal migrants in the state's tiny northern urban corner handed both U.S. Senate seats to Democrats.
Republicans are finally pushing back. In the state senate, they recently punished absentee Senator Henry Marsh by forcing through statewide redrawing of Senate districts. Sen. Marsh's desertion this week broke the gridlock in an otherwise 20-20 Senate, giving Republicans a temporary majority and the ability to pursue a conservative agenda. That spirit encourages, but falls short. Republicans who now redo the state's method of assigning its electoral votes should mind the history of the Electoral College as they proceed.
The College was devised by the Founders to separate the fickle populace from the reins of power. No office was further separated than the Presidency under the Constitution. While voters directly selected House members, they were not granted a vote for president. They selected state legislators, who then selected a slate of electors, who then selected a presidential candidate. Voters were two degrees removed from voting for president. It is only through liberal efforts to subvert the Founders' approach do Americans now nearly directly elect their presidents.
Another such effort continues. The National Popular Vote aims to assemble states constituting a majority of Electoral College votes. These states pledge through legislation to assign all their votes to the national popular vote winner. When such a coalition is complete, the compact will go into effect, and the winner of the most votes nationally will be elected president. Virginia must stand in the way of those who would sidestep the Constitution. It is no coincidence that the eight states to join, plus D.C., have all supported the Democratic candidate for president for at least the last twenty years. They could amend the Constitution, but these tyrants celebrate their guile in exploiting a rare loophole instead. That they operate in the shadows of the process shows the true character of their plan.
Virginia must buck the tide of liberal tyranny. The present proposal, which would secure only a slim majority, is a giveaway to Democrats. It is most notable not for the nudity of its power grab, but for its modesty. Taking back nine electoral votes while surrendering four is the sort of weak-kneed surrender liberals celebrate. Virginia must do no such thing. Its opponents are tireless in their quest to snuff its influence and nearly two and a half centuries of American electoral tradition. Virginia must be tireless in its quest to defend its influence. It must not waver; it must not retreat; it must not cede an inch to opponents of liberty, the Commonwealth and the Constitution.
The Constitution permits states to assign their electoral votes however they like. Direct presidential elections are a liberal invention to bypass the Founders' intent. Virginia should restore the Founders' will and permanently assign its electoral votes to the Republican candidate for president.