The story goes that, as he exited Independence Hall following the Constitutional Convention in 1787, someone shouted to Benjamin Franklin, “Doctor, what have we got? A republic or a monarchy?” Franklin’s legendary response: “A republic, if you can keep it.”
Fortunately, the very system of government provided by the Framers enables we the people to address infirmities in the system when they arise.
There is an organized nationwide movement to get states to pledge their Electoral College votes to the winner of the national popular vote. The governing movement is the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC), first drafted in January 2006 and which has as of February 2021 been adopted by 15 states plus the District of Columbia. While great progress has been made, it has far to go. But momentum can be on our side.
Meanwhile, though it increasingly has earned derision, senators continue to use the filibuster with impunity. Eliminating it can be accomplished with a simple majority vote in the Senate. But political will is a different matter. Shining a brighter light on the filibuster and its abuses can affect real change.
The task is before us: Defeating the abuses of the Electoral College and the filibuster. We believe a fresh, comprehensive, coordinated and cohesive communications campaign – the likes of which has yet to be undertaken specifically to address these two growing threats to democracy — is essential for making voters increasingly aware of the changes in recent decades that are undercutting their voices. Only such a campaign can effectively help persuade voters to hold their senators, and the voting process, truly accountable.
These changes, if successful, would let the majority rule — a foundational principle in our democratic republic.
It’s time to end the games – the games increasingly being played with the Electoral College system and the filibuster.
A timeless, oft-used phrase throughout our nation’s history is “The Center Holds.” It is this nation’s relatively vast political center that may not receive the most amplification in talk media and social media but which we believe is best served by a system that ensures majority rules.
We can keep our republic. The framers have given us the tools.