The left has had a love-hate relationship with the Electoral College for decades.  When it looks like the Electoral College will help or has helped them, they champion it, and when it looks like it has “stolen” an election from their popular-vote winning candidate, they want it dismantled.

In the wake of the resounding 2016 Electoral College win for President Trump (304-227), current DNC chair Tom Perez is taking the Democratic Party into uncharted territory with his declaration that the Electoral College “is not a creation of the Constitution.”  He made this bizarre pronouncement before a group of law students at Indiana University Law School.

It’s one thing to argue for the dissolution or replacement of the Electoral College, and it’s quite another to be either ignorant of the United States Constitution or to fabricate its contents to push a political agenda.

Fox News reports:

Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez incorrectly stated “the Electoral College is not a creation of the Constitution” during a Tuesday night speech.

“The Electoral College is not a creation of the Constitution,” Perez said during a lecture at Indiana University Law School. “It doesn’t have to be there.”

The Electoral College, a mechanism for indirect election of the president created by the Founding Fathers as a compromise between smaller states and larger states, is clearly laid out in Article II of the Constitution: “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress.”

Perez has previously stated that President Donald Trump “didn’t win” last November’s election because Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, but he has never denied the fact that it is part of the Constitution.

The DNC did not respond to an inquiry into whether Perez truly thinks the “Electoral College is not a creation of the Constitution.”

Perez appears to be conflating the Constitution and the National Popular Vote (NPV) initiative.

The Washington Examiner reports:

Perez made the comment while speaking at Indiana University Law School’s Sixth Annual Birch Bayh Lecture.

“The Electoral College is not a creation of the Constitution. It doesn’t have to be there,” he said. “There’s a national popular vote compact in which a number of states have passed a bill that says we will allocate our vote, our electoral votes, to the person who wins the national popular vote once other states totaling 270 electoral votes do the same.”

“The Electoral College is not a creation of the Constitution” and “it doesn’t have to be there” are two completely different points, the latter acknowledging the former as true.

Perez, not the most articulate man on the planet, is clumsily shilling for the NPV initiative that the prof first wrote about back in 2011.  In that post, he laid out his arguments against the NPV.

I am against the NPV initiative.

While states can decide for themselves how their electors are to vote, this initiative — which bypasses the usual constitutional amendment process — has disaster and uncertainty written all over it. Here are some reasons, in no particular order:

1. The NPV compact prejudices large population centers over the rest of the country. One of the beauties of the current system is that it forces candidates to compete nationwide, not just on the coasts and industrial Midwest. This is not a partisan issue. I think one could make a good argument that the current system usually favors Democrats, because Democrats are guaranteed a large bloc of electoral votes (all of the states which have signed on so far are heavily Democratic). Nonetheless, our national cohesiveness is served by candidates having to compete in Nevada, Arizona, the Carolinas and elsewhere trying to pick up electoral votes which have more significance than the mere number of votes. So on the merits, regardless of the procedure, I’m not convinced that the current system is broken and needs fixing.

2. If successful, the constitution will have been usurped not because states cannot choose this method (they can), but because the method effectively eliminates the electoral system through a voting compact among the states holding an electoral majority rather than through the Congressional vote and the three-fourths of states needed to amend the constitution. If we want a popular vote (and there are good arguments for and against), then let’s change the constitution to do away with the electoral system, rather than through this tortured hybrid in which states still vote electors but undermine that system through a block voting agreement.

3. Recounts will be a disaster. While the advocates say that statistically a recount would be less likely, if such an event took place, the following mess would result: “In event of a tie for the national popular vote winner, the presidential elector certifying official of each member state shall certify the appointment of the elector slate nominated in association with the presidential slate receiving the largest number of popular votes within that official’s own state.”

4. The NPV compact moves the vote fraud issue nationwide; right now, frankly, vote fraud only matters in swing states, which can be more carefully monitored. Under the NPV compact, vote fraud anywhere could be a tiebreaker in a close national popular vote.

5. What is to prevent a state from backing out if it doesn’t like the person elected by the popular vote? The compact provides as follows: “Any member state may withdraw from this agreement, except that a withdrawal occurring six months or less before the end of a President’s term shall not become effective until a President or Vice President shall have been qualified to serve the next term.” How will this agreement be enforced?

6. This movement has taken place under the radar. I had not heard about this until recently, even though it apparently has passed the legislature in my home state of Rhode Island. A constitutional amendment requires a national debate, including a vote in Congress and a super-majority of states.

7. There is at least superficial national support for a popular vote mechanism according to Gallup, so if the arguments in favor are so strong, proponents should go about it the right way. But support for a popular vote mechanism is not the same thing as support for the NPV block voting compact.

I did a follow-up post on the NPV in May of this year, noting that according to their website, the NPV claimed to have secured 165 of the 270 Electoral votes needed to promote the popular vote above the Electoral College provided in the Constitution.

Perez may or may not believe that the Electoral College is a creation of the Constitution, but he absolutely believes that there is a way around it via the National Popular Vote initiative.