Vox.com has published an “analysis” claiming that Republican-run states could legally just abolish the popular vote in presidential elections. It is obvious from the fact that this was actually published, and has not been corrected three days later, that neither the author, Vox Executive Editor Matthew Yglesias, nor anybody else in the site’s editorial chain has read the Fourteenth Amendment.
Yglesias starts out his post, alarmistly entitled “A totally legal, totally shady way that Republicans could ensure Hillary Clinton’s defeat,” by warning darkly:
Democrats have been consoling themselves with the idea that the 2016 election is likely to look a lot more favorable to them than 2014 did. And that’s true. Unless Republicans use their unprecedented sweep of state legislatures to change the rules and guarantee a victory for the GOP.
After a desultory whack at the perennial discussion of the (perfectly Constitutional, but flawed in other ways) possibility of having states give out electoral votes by Congressional District (as is done in Nebraska and Maine), Yglesias concedes that this is unlikely to happen. But at this point, with a post consisting of little over 300 words, a few charts, and a threat that doesn’t live up to the post title’s grim warning, Yglesias goes off the rails (screenshotted because you always screenshot Vox before they re-edit their posts):
[T]here’s nothing requiring Michigan (or any other state) from holding a presidential election at all. The state legislature could simply allocate its electoral votes to Mike Pence (or whomever) and tell angry liberals they should have thought about that when they decided not to turn out for the midterms.
Now first of all, “requiring…from holding”?
But that quibble aside, if you’re not familiar with the Constitution, you’re probably wondering right now why nobody has tried this before, in the long, dark history of partisan shenanigans. Actually, before about 1828, several states handed out electors this way, and South Carolina did so until the Civil War – so hey, why did that stop? Anyone who has read Section 2 of the Fourteenth Amendment can tell you the answer, because it is right there in black and white:
Representatives shall be apportioned among the several states according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each state, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote …read more