Stanislawski recants National Popular Vote support
Oklahoma State Senator Gary Stanislawski (R-Tulsa) has issued a statement recanting his support for SB 906, and expressing regret for his vote for the bill that would add Oklahoma to the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.
The last several years I have always been against the National Popular Vote. This year though two people from the National Popular Vote group visited me and provided me with some information that I had not previously considered. Primarily that because we are a "fly over" state that we do not have a voice in setting national policy. It seems that a lot of national policies are being set by swing states. For instance, we have Ethanol because the farmers in Iowa wanted it. We have Part D Medicare because of the seniors in Florida. There are steel tariffs because of the steel mills in Pennsylvania. In addition, when I arrived at my desk on the Senate floor before the vote the attached letter from Newt Gingrich was there which just confirmed our situation. Out of frustration and anger that our nation is being controlled by only a handful of states I decided to vote for the NPV.
The next day I had a phone call from a friend who questioned my vote, and as we discussed it I realized that voting for the NPV is really giving up our state sovereignty to a group of states and could very well mean that the majority of Oklahoman's recorded vote could go for the opposite candidate. While I knew that the previous day I was just too frustrated in the way Washington really works and just desperately wanted to see a change. The other thing my friend brought up that I had not considered before was the risk of voter fraud in other states. That unregistered or even deceased people could be cancelling out votes from within Oklahoma. That is when I knew I had made a serious error in judgment.
I sincerely apologize for my mistake and can only hope that the bill is defeated in the House. I will try to not be influenced by my emotions in the future, but I will admit that I am still human.
It's tough to admit you made a mistake, and I commend Sen. Stanislawski for making this statement. The other 15 Republicans who voted for SB 906 would be wise to follow suit.
But there's another step that needs to be taken. This bill passed because it was rushed to a vote. It was the only bill to come before the Senate that day for passage. (Here is the Senate Journal for February 12, 2014.) Sen. Rob Johnson's unanimous consent request to suspend Rule 12-4 was granted, allowing a floor amendment to restore the title to the bill. If the rules had not been suspended, if just one senator had objected to the unanimous consent request, the vote would have been delayed to the following day, and there would have been time for the grassroots to know the vote was happening and to remind senators why this is a bad idea.
A conservative's instinct ought to be to conserve America's constitutional arrangements. When presented with a bill to turn change some fundamental aspect of our system of government -- how we elect a president -- a conservative ought either to dismiss it out of hand or at least slow the process down long enough to consult constituents and seek out the other side of the argument. Chesterton's rule of fences and gates ought to apply. And the fact that someone was willing to hire lobbyists to push this ought to have set off alarm bells loud enough to wake the dead. You can understand a regulated company thinking it worth the cost of lobbying for or against legislation that affects their bottom line. But who stands to gain financially if this bill passes? George Soros, maybe?
When I told my two older children, separately, about the National Popular Vote concept, I got about two sentences into the explanation before each exploded with incredulity. We had never discussed the idea before, but they instantly recognized that it would violate the principle of federalism and would be to Oklahoma's disadvantage.
A mistake is forgivable, but when the consequences are this grave, the cause of the mistake needs to be analyzed and corrective action taken to keep it from happening again.
MORE: Lori L. Hendricks has a different view of Sen. Stanislawski's change of heart:
@BatesLine Stanislawski was called before the vote on 906. His recant is due to outcry not remorse.— Lori Hendricks (@LoriLHendricks) February 16, 2014
Hendricks, a Republican, serves as Wagoner County Clerk. She spoke to KFAQ the morning after SB 906 passed the Senate.
And Chris Medlock, a Stanislawski constituent who supported his election, isn't soothed by Stansilawski's mea culpa:
Let's see. He admitted that he made a decision based on emotions, rather than reason. He admitted that he held no principle, one way or the other, on the issue, because he was so easily influenced by lobbyists. Either way, I'm still deeply concerned.
As a constituent of Gary's who helped get him elected, I can not promise that when and if a primary occurs in this district, I can give him my support.
I have NEVER had one of my elected representatives cast a vote that so angered me. I was actually screaming, "What was he thinking?"
I thought my wife was going to get a hose out.
MORE conservative voices against NPV:
Morton Blackwell, founder of the Leadership Institute and long-time Republican National Committeeman from Virginia, writing in June 2011. Based on the 2008 results, Blackwell calculated that Oklahoma's influence on the national result would have been cut by over 14% under NPV:
State legislators should consider carefully the disruption NPV would bring to the electoral college system, which was a part of the grand compromise enacted at the 1787 Constitutional Convention to protect states' rights and balance the power of the small states against the larger states.
In many ways, the constitutional separation of powers between the states and the federal government is being eroded. The Founders never intended that the states should become merely administrative appendages of the federal government, much less that the United States become a unitary, centralized, plebiscitary democracy. NPV would push America along that dangerous and originally unintended path.
Beyond preserving federalism, there are other powerful reasons to oppose the NPV plan...
For example, NPV would greatly incentivize vote-stealing because big-city political machines would realize that massive numbers of fraudulent votes they could engender could swing the electoral votes beyond their states and be counted toward a national popular vote plurality victory for their presidential candidate.
The plan to change this system is called the National Popular Vote. It obviously has a lot of money behind it because it is sending highly paid lobbyists around the country to persuade state legislatures to adopt the NPV plan.
NPV is an attempt to achieve the longtime liberal goal of getting rid of the Electoral College. Instead of proposing an amendment that would first need to be passed by Congress and then ratified by three-fourths of the states (38), NPV is a scheme to deviously bypass the grand design of our U.S. Constitution....
The NPV campaign lets people believe that NPV will elect presidents who win the majority of popular votes, but that is false. Because of third parties, we've had many elections (including three of the last five) when no presidential candidate received a popular-vote majority. Abraham Lincoln won with less than 40 percent of the popular vote, and only by our Electoral College system was he elected president....
It's a mystery how any Republican could support NPV, and it's no surprise that the Republican National Committee voted unanimously to oppose NPV because members saw it as unconstitutional and unworkable.
Remember our national trauma as we suffered through recounts in Florida where the margin between Bush and Gore was only about 500 votes? If the election is based on the national popular vote and it's close, NPV would induce recounts in many or most of the 50 states.
Mexico uses a national popular vote system, and it's a good illustration of why we don't want it here. In Mexico's last presidential election, the candidate with the "most votes" received 35.89 percent, while his closest rival got 35.31 percent -- a margin of just one-half of one percent. In the months that followed, Mexico was on the verge of civil war as the runner-up held mass rallies attracting millions of his angry supporters.
People who pretend that the Electoral College system is undemocratic are not only ignorant of the history and purposes of the U.S. Constitution, but they probably don't even understand baseball. Basing the election on a plurality of the popular vote while ignoring the states would be like the New York Yankees claiming they won the 1960 World Series because they outscored the Pirates in runs 55-27 and in hits 91-60. Yet, the Pirates fairly won that World Series, 4 games to 3, and no one challenges their victory.
John Ryder, Republican National Committeeman from Tennessee, writing about National Popular Vote in June 2011:
On a practical level, the Constitution requires a successful candidate to assemble a winning coalition across a broad geographic spectrum, embracing both large and small states, rather than a narrow concentration of votes.
A popular vote, in contrast, does not require the candidate to have broad appeal. It would make it possible for a candidate to win without any majority but merely a plurality of the popular vote. The compact would require the states to determine the candidate with the "largest national popular vote" - not a majority. Thus, in a multicandidate race, the "largest national popular vote" could be obtained by a regional candidate with just 35 percent or 40 percent of the popular vote.
Under such an arrangement, presidential candidates would have no incentive to campaign anywhere except the major media markets in a few states. The country would, in essence, cede our presidential elections to the largest metropolitan areas, whose concerns are different from those of other areas of the country.
NPV would maximize the rewards of vote fraud in those large metropolitan areas. Under the Electoral College, an illegal vote only affects the outcome in one state; under the popular vote compact, an illegal vote would affect the national outcome.
On the other side of the aisle, leftist blogger Kevin Drum thinks NPV is an excellent idea, referring to it as "a system even less favorable to [Republicans] than the current Electoral College."
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