Yet the mere mention of allowing the president to be chosen according to the will of the people launched Republican state Sen. Mike Folmer into an unhinged rant about the Weimar Republic, the constitutional amendment process, eliminating the 50 states, and Adolf Hitler:
The changes to the Constitution should be and only be through the amendment process. If you don’t do it through the amendment process, then you are usurping the will of the people, and that’s my point. You’re right [the framers] weren’t saying the Constitution is closed. Do you know why the Weimar Republic failed, sir? And Adolf Hitler and the Nazis were able to take over? Because their constitution was closed, and Adolf Hitler and the Nazis were able to use their constitution on the German people and get the support of the German people that way, and they used the law against them. My point in this is this: if we go to a national popular vote, then we might as well get rid of the 50 individual states, we might as well get rid of it and go to a…
At this point in Folmer’s rant, he was cut off by the committee’s Republican chairman.
It’s difficult to count all the problems with Folmer’s rant, but one of his most glaring errors is his weak grasp of the U.S. Constitution. Contrary to Folmer’s suggestion that national popular vote would require a constitutional amendment, the NPV compact works by getting a bloc of states equal to the number of electoral votes necessary to elect a president to all agree that they will give their support to whoever the American people as a whole choose to lead them. This compact is constitutional because the Constitution expressly allows states to join together into multi-state agreements just so long as Congress approves the agreement.
It’s little surprise that Folmer doesn’t understand how the Constitution works, since he is a big supporter of efforts to write a time bomb directly into our founding document. Folmer recently proposed a federal constitutional amendment that would “give the citizens of the United States a direct vote on Federal borrowing and indebtedness through national referenda.” If Folmer’s amendment every became law, it would lead to routine national votes on whether or not the United States should have a catastrophic default on its national debt.
In other words, Folmer thinks its a grand idea to have regular elections on whether or not American should commit suicide, but he is utterly outraged by the suggestion that a majority of the American people should be able to choose the president.