This essay explains how lawmakers in swing states can contain local corruption in presidential elections: by changing how their states choose presidential electors.
This is the fourth in a five-part series on how to cleanse our presidential contests from the kind of irregularities we saw in 2020.
There is a long history of big-city Democratic Party machines corrupting American elections. When the political stars are aligned correctly, those machines can award the presidency to a candidate who really lost.
Meanwhile, alleged corruption in South Texas (home of Kennedy’s running mate, Lyndon Johnson), secured all the Texas electors for Kennedy. Flipping Illinois and Texas proved enough to put the likely loser, Kennedy, in the White House.
This had enormous consequences. Kennedy proposed—and after Kennedy’s death Johnson pushed through—the massive “Great Society” programs that have proven such spectacular failures. These were the programs that rendered the federal government nearly omnipotent and now threaten to bankrupt the country.
Although Chicago is legendary for electoral corruption, the 2020 presidential election showed that Chicago is not alone: Dubious vote totals generated by big-city Democrat machines allegedly swung enough states to take the presidency away from Donald Trump and hand it to Joe Biden.
The Constitution doesn't require that presidential electors be chosen statewide. Each state’s legislature decides that. The decision may be by law or simple resolution. A law generally requires the governor’s signature, but a resolution doesn't.
The court’s opinion in McPherson contains a lot of valuable guidance. But its specific ruling was that a state legislature may allow voters to choose electors by district. Maine and Nebraska do this now: Currently the people of Maine and Nebraska choose only two electors at large and elect the rest by congressional district.
Moreover, a state legislature doesn't have to align presidential-elector districts with congressional districts. In the early republic, state legislatures sometimes drew them differently.
Why, therefore, do 48 states choose presidential electors at large? The usual reason is a belief that at-large election increases a state’s influence in the Electoral College. That’s fine for states such as Oklahoma, Idaho, or Hawaii. But it’s not fine for states with big-city machines able to smother the rest of the state’s voters.
Suppose, however, the Georgia legislature had adopted the Maine–Nebraska electoral system. Biden would have won the two at-large electors and electors in a handful of congressional districts. But the rest of Georgia’s citizens would have awarded most of Georgia’s electors to Trump.
In the 2020 presidential election, six other swing states reportedly suffered from big-city vote inflation as well. They were Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
In North Carolina, support for Trump was so strong that he overcame the irregularities and won the state. But the other six swing states reported Biden victories, generally by very narrow margins. Those margins were produced by big-city Democrat machines and university towns, and they delivered each state’s entire slate of presidential electors to Biden. If Trump had won any three of those states, he would have won the Electoral College. In a fully honest election, he may have taken all six.
Significantly, all of these swing states except Nevada have Republican legislatures. (This is another reason to suspect the Biden victories were fabricated.) Hopefully, their legislatures are motivated to correct the problem.
- It would isolate corruption to particular electoral districts;
- It would reduce the incentives for corruption; and
- It would even the odds in the Electoral College.
In fact, Trump’s 2020 total might well have been more. If people know corruption can't sway an election for them, they're less likely to engage in it. That’s why in 2020 we didn't witness serious irregularities in states such as California or Texas, where the results were known beforehand. Vote inflation and other irregularities occurred only in states where they made a difference.