It Goes Back to the Days of the Founders

Image by Anthony Garand.

In a recent N“P”R interview on “the possible end of democracy as we know it,” a discussion in which he explained how the neofascist (my description, not his) Republican Party is preparing to constitutionally purloin the 2024 presidential election, the journalist Barton Gellman said something that made me stop and listen:

It goes back to the days of the founders. In the first years after the Constitution was written in the first elections, under Article 2 of the Constitution, electors for the presidency were selected, as the Constitution says, in the manner of their own choosing, referring to the legislators. So state legislatures were in charge of choosing electors. Now, for more than 150 years, every state has decided that it would choose electors by asking its voters to vote. So we are accustomed to choosing electors by the popular vote in each state. But that's not the way the Constitution required. And so what the legal strategy is is for the state legislators to take back their constitutional authority to directly choose electors. And so they can disregard what their voters choose or they can claim that the voters' choice has been irrevocably tainted by fraud and therefore the legislators can make the choice…. And the reason for this strategy is that there are a number of important swing states in a presidential election that went for Biden in 2020 but have all-Republican legislatures at home. And so the Republican legislatures could theoretically override the choice of the voters. And that's exactly what Trump asked them to do last time and will be asking them to do next time.”

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Paul Street’s new book is The Hollow Resistance: Obama, Trump, and Politics of Appeasement.

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