However, there is a devastating truth that all Americans must face up to: there is little hope of wresting the Presidency from the Republicans in 2020 with the Electoral College still in place.
Well, that’s grim. :-)
I generally lean GOP, but I don’t believe that the EC makes the Presidency a slam-dunk for the GOP for a moment. Consider that gerrymandering was supposed to prevent the House from turning Democrat. That prediction didn’t really work out, now, did it?
Impeachment may be a pipe dream and wouldn’t correct the deeper problem of how undemocratic our current process for electing the American President is.
It’s perfectly democratic. It’s just that you personally have decided on a very strict definition of “democratic”, that being “popular vote”.
That’s entirely up to you, but let’s not make the mistake of thinking that that’s the only possible definition.
The Electoral College is an outdate institution that undermines the people’s choice, and in recent disputes, has favored conservative candidates.
False. All during the Obama period, commentator after commentator believed that the EC would insure that there could very well never again be a Republican president. The term “blue wall” comes to mind. There were even data-based books written by actual scholars assuring the Democrats of this, that “Demographics were to be Destiny.”
That belief did in fact end 25 months ago only. It’s well too early to be moving on to our next hyperbolic prediction of a coming dystopia.
The Electoral College did not side with democracy in the 2016 election.
It didn’t side with YOUR definition of democracy. Which differs from the one in our Constitution.
But why have we not critically discussed the single greatest enabler of the Trump Presidency: the Electoral College?
We’ve discussed it ad nauseum. For nearly two years now.
(Snips long sections of prose which insist/assume that the author’s definition of “democracy” is not the only one in existence.)
Firstly, Hamilton ….
Now you know why conservatives dislike Hamilton. He was an elitist big-government snob. And wrong about a lot of things. So, if you dislike Hamilton…..welcome to the Tea Party.
The founding fathers put too much stock in the cleverness of the checks and balances of the federalist government for protecting the electorate from authoritarianism. We are seeing now that this design has been corrupted and is failing.
I disagree. Please list at least three (3) ways that the design is failing. I see it has holding up quite well.
Tyranny is a quickly escalating threat, not from without, as was the fear of colonial Americans, but from within.
I agree that the risk is rising, that the far-left could rise up and impose their perverse ideologies and policies on the majority of Americans, who generally are of the center-right. What do you propose we do about it?
When revolution is an option that is always on the table
It would take a generation to restore the economy after all the corporations moved out to more stable climes. Revolution is a ticket to disaster. It would result in the USA breaking apart into several regional nations; standards of living in all of them would fall, some more precipitously than others.
The weaker the ability for the public to engage in “tumult and disorder”, the stronger the control that political elites have over our democracy.
Revolution comes from the stomach. We are a population where the primary health problems of our poorest people are obesity-related. Doesn’t bode well for a revolution.
If the EC was functioning as it should to prevent populist candidates from becoming President, then Andrew Jackson, Ronald Reagan, and Donald Trump would never have been elected.
Reagan was not a populist. However, an EC functioning the way you envision probably would have blocked Obama, on the grounds of his lack of experience.
Let’s review how the EC actually works. On Election Day, voters are not actually choosing the President but electing a group of state Electors who previously pledged their allegiance to the Presidential candidate supported by their party.
Let’s not forget to mention here that the number of electors in each state are determined, basically, by population. Ergo, it cannot be said that the number of electors is out of line with the popular vote in each state.
That’s why it is still democratic.
If electoral transparency was an American value, all ballots would list the Electors’ names.
Since it’s very rare that an elector actually attempts to subvert the will of the people by voting contrary to the popular vote, that’s not really necessary.
Remember, party politics is stronger now than in the beginning of this country’s history.
Hmmmm. I wouldn’t agree with that statement, but…..whatever. When the party system started to evolve, it was pretty……nasty. And the entire Civil War came from what was essentially a party politics disagreement.
It also could not have been anticipated that political parties would be so beholden to corporate interests as a result of the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission Supreme Court case and liberalized FEC regulations.
Hm. Citizens United was decided on solid Constitutional and precedential laws. Corporate interests were a beneficiary, but that was after the fact. The decision did not come because anyone was “beholden” to anyone else.
(If you want to argue toxic corporate interests affecting the judiciary, you’re on more solid grounds with the Kelo decision.)
Obviously, this kind of summation of votes skews the results of the election greatly away from the will of the people.
It can. However, if the Electors were to be chosen proportionally with the popular vote in a state, they no longer have a purpose whatsoever. Currently, the EC acts to buffer tyranny of the majority, where a large state (like CA) can wield it’s power at the expense of, say, Wyoming.
If Wyoming was a blue state, you wouldn’t bother making this argument. :-)
This situation made it abundantly clear how voter suppression can significantly impact even national elections
There was no serious evidence of voter suppression in Bush v Gore.
and explains why Republicans have invested so much in suppressing the vote and spreading false rumors of voter fraud.
The linked article is nonsense. It alleges, without any evidence at all, that Voter ID is an impediment to voting, and ignores the fact that not only has the SCOTUS ruled otherwise, but that what we call Voter ID is an international standard for free and fair elections as defined by the United Nations.
Further, data also shows that when voter “scrubbing” of roles is done, > 90% of those votes “scrubbed” are people who are, well, DEAD, and therefore not expected to vote in the next election anyways.
Any fair-minded argument alleging voter suppression MUST include lists of sworn depositions from individuals who were unfairly denied their vote. Without that, you are making allegations without evidence.
(It amuses me that the same people who state that there is “no evidence of voter fraud”, then go on to make allegations of systemic voter suppression, which there is ALSO no evidence of.)
Fortunately, Florida’s recent decision to re-enfranchise at least 1.4 million people could help prevent extreme situations like Bush v. Gore from happening in the future.
This is, of course, lacks context. For 98% of our history, it was taken for granted that felons lose the right to vote. The national tenor on this matter is changing, but your phraseology ignores the fact that for most of our history, this was not viewed as “disenfranchisement”, but that a felony conviction was a legitimate disqualifier for voting.
Furthermore, the EC has several unintended consequences, such as causing parties to focus their resources on a handful of “battleground” states.
That’s true. However, WITHOUT the EC, the parties would focus their resources on the 20 largest metro areas, and ignore the people who, well, grow our food.
Multi-party republics are much more democratic as they can more accurately represent the needs of a diverse populace and can help prevent one or two parties from having a strangle-hold on political discourse.
On that we agree. However, the thing holding back a multiparty environment in the US is not the EC, but the “don’t waste your vote” mentality of the sheeple.
But where is the frustration? Why is there not more momentum to abolish the Electoral College at this point?
Because it works reasonable well, at this point, to prevent urban/metro voters from controlling our elections.
This compact proposes that once this National Popular Vote bill is passed in enough states to secure at least 270 electoral votes (that is, the minimum number needed to win the EC), these states will constitute a compact that will agree to allocate all of their EC votes to the candidate chosen by the national popular vote. The compact does not go into effect until the 270 vote mark is reached. So far, 12 states (including DC) have passed the bill, constituting 172 electoral votes.
That’s loony. Seriously. A state can vote one party, and once the other candidate hits 270, the state’s DC votes the other way?
The cure should not be worse than the disease.
Firstly, we should do all that we can to put pressure on our state legislators to vote to join the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact as soon as possible.
Maybe it should be renamed. How about the “National Dictatorship Interstate Compact?” Or something more social media friendly, like “1PartyRule4Me”?
Can there be a big national push to dismantle the EC before November 2020?
We can no longer rely on the checks and balances set forth in the Constitution to protect the American public from creeping authoritarianism.
Yes, we can.
The checks and balances have not prevented a person unelected by the public from taking the Presidency.
The system is working fine.
The checks and balances have not protected us from Trump ramming through two partisan conservative Supreme Court justices.
The question is not if they are partisan or not; all judges are. The question is if they ignore the Constitution and rule in a partisan manner.
You may feel free to provide your evidence of this. Keep in mind that while on the DC Circuit, Kavanaugh voted with Merrick Garland 93% of the time. They are, in many ways, the same judge.
The checks and balances have not prevented Trump from an extraordinary number of executive decisions and bureaucratic changes that have denied millions of Americans rights and have begun to dismantle government programs that protect human and environmental health.
The problem of unitary power didn’t start with Trump; Obama governed in this fashion for the six years after the Dems frittered away their majorities by focusing on health care when America was in recession and people were out of jobs. MANY of Obama’s executive orders were not overturned by Trump, but by the Courts, ruling that he had overreached.
Seems like our checks and balances are working just fine.
Americans must do whatever we can to reverse the consolidation of power in the executive branch that has occurred over the last several generations, no matter what President has control of it.
I agree with that, but there is nothing in your article that indicates that you are a dependable partner in democracy. You want “change” if it benefits the Blue Party; you don’t want it if it doesn’t.
The American people are capable of engaging in more direct democracy. It’s time that we make our governance systems up to date with contemporary society and dismantle structures that no longer serve us.
Perhaps. Convince me you have a plan that protects minority and rural rights. Ask the San Fernando farmers what happens when urban majorities start to de prioritize agricultural priorities, such as access to water supplies.