We need a national popular vote — before it’s too late

In States, Voting On
- Updated

ABC’s George Stephanopoulos welcomed Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “This Week” on Sunday to defend his state’s election process. Even after weeks of criticism from fellow Republicans for having the gall to preside over an election that a Democrat won, Raffensperger remained clear: “The people of Georgia spoke in this election. … I wish [Trump] would have won. I’m a conservative Republican and I’m disappointed, but those are the results.” It has been a consistent line from Raffensperger over recent weeks, but it never ceases to be refreshing to hear a GOP politician put country over party.

A far more typical Republican, however, was Stephanopoulos’s next guest, Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.). First, Braun constructed a straw man that allegations of fraud have been “reflexively dismissed.” When Stephanopoulos pointed out that the allegations have been investigated as part of states’ certification process, Braun revealed that he’d been paying attention to the claims but tuning out the debunkings. He pointed to “boxes of ballots coming out from underneath the table” in Georgia — something that has been shown to be false. He claimed that “a couple hundred-thousand absentee ballots” were improperly cast in Wisconsin — also false. And he questioned whether the legislatures in Arizona, Georgia and Wisconsin have taken the election seriously, when all three states have conducted audits.

The country is lucky that Raffensperger, not Braun, is in charge of counting Georgians’ votes. We’re lucky that Republicans would need to steal not just Georgia, but at least two other states for Trump to remain in the White House. And we’re lucky that this effort to rob the election takes its cues from a man who might as well be pictured in the dictionary next to the definition of incompetence.

. . .

The obvious answer is a national popular vote for president, whether through constitutional amendment or a state-by-state agreement like the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. But both will require Republican buy-in. In a sane world, Republicans would agree that the electoral college — already amended once before — has become almost the exact opposite of what the Founders intended, facilitating political factions’ ability to hold onto power. Less nobly, Republicans could also look at the way Texas is trending: If by midcentury, Democrats enter the starting gate with about 225 safe electoral votes — adding the Lone Star State to the West Coast, Hawaii, the Beltway, Illinois, and New York and most of its neighbors — maybe now is the time for Republicans to bail on the electoral college.

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