Barton, Blackwell, Voting Rights and Tribalism


Former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell went on the Wallbuilders radio show with David Barton and Rick Green and they made quite possibly the dumbest argument imaginable on the subject of the many Republican plans to pass out presidential electoral votes by congressional district.

Blackwell: There’s an old farmer’s tale that if you throw a brick at a pack of pigs, the one that squeals is the one you hit. Well, when we put this out there, the Left started squealing, the New York Times started squealing, so we must be on to something.

Green: You must be on to something. No doubt about that. I haven’t had a chance to look, I don’t if anyone has done a map, I’d be real curious to know if every state did this, how would the last few elections [have gone]? Have you had a chance to look?

Blackwell: I already know. If every state did it, Romney would have won the election. And so that’s another reason that the Left just instinctively dislikes it…

Barton: This actually is a way to give the people a greater voice rather than just having the majority slap it to the minority every time you turn around. And I really like what he’s proposed here with reverting back out of the winner-take-all philosophy of the states, going back to congressional district take all, which is a good way to do it.

Let’s unpack those two arguments. The first is just unmistakable tribalism — if the left doesn’t like it, it must be the right thing to do. That is, to put it kindly, utterly moronic. But Barton’s argument is even dumber. If every state did that, Mitt Romney would have won the election in 2012 despite getting five million fewer votes than Obama. And by Barton’s twisted reasoning, that would “give the people a greater voice.” Seriously, saying something that stupid should cause physical pain. Your brain should slam against the inside of your skull so hard in an attempt to get the hell away from you that it should knock you out.

Comments

  1. Synfandel says

    If Romney would have won under the electoral-votes-by-Congressional-district scheme with five million fewer popular votes, it proves how badly gerrymandered the Congressional districts are.

  2. pHred says

    Well throwing bricks at pigs would explain some of their policies. Also WTF? I have never met any farmers that would say anything that completely dumb. If you start chucking bricks at pigs they are smart enough to get the hell away from you. I could not even get the point of unwinding this nonsense.

  3. scienceavenger says

    “This actually is a way to give the [white] people a greater voice rather than just having the [n*gg*rs] slap it to the [whites] every time you turn around”

    FIFY.

  4. cottonnero says

    Well, if we take his argument to its logical conclusion, the proper way to do this is to have one-person districts, with each district having one vote.

  5. says

    The electoral vote scheme is just another way to give so much more voice to those in rural regions while drowning out the voices of the urban regions. People living in or around cities get less of a vote while people living far out in the country get more of a vote.

    It’s totally designed to rig the system against democratic voters – who are largely located in or around cities.

  6. Trebuchet says

    @2, Synfandel:

    Exactly. I’ve long thought that apportionment of electoral votes by congressional district is a good idea, and in fact still think so. The problem is, as you say, gerrymandering. And of course, the current gerrymandered situation is a result of the Republican landslide in the 2010 elections, which was in turn a result of President Obama’s somewhat-too-hasty push for health care legislation. Morally, Obama’s push for health care was the right thing to do. Politically, it was a disaster. Hillary Clinton, having experienced a very similar disaster in 1994, would probably have been a little more careful.

    Unfortunately, the results of the 2010 gerrymandering will be with us until 2020. It’ll probably take a constitutional amendment or SCOTUS decision on a par with “one man, one vote” to fix it. Neither is remotely likely.

  7. Chiroptera says

    If they want to rig the vote so much, I would think it’d be a lot easier and cheaper to just have the state legislatures choose the electors.

  8. thisisaturingtest says

    This actually is a way to give the people a greater voice rather than just having the majority slap it to the minority every time you turn around.

    Aside from the whining about being the minority that lost this time…isn’t the majority winning an election pretty much the whole purpose of a democratic system based on the vote?
    (Cue the right-wing all-purpose “but we’re not a democracy, we’re a republic!” nonsense.)

  9. says

    It’s weird that the Republicans are the “pro-gun” party considering how hard they seem to be working to bring about the conditions to spark a revolution.

  10. Randomfactor says

    Mitt Romney would have won the election in 2012 despite getting five million fewer votes than Obama.

    But you forget, that advantage goes away if you count black votes at 3/5, the way the Founders intended…

  11. Jordan Genso says

    So if you hit a pig with a brick, and the pig squeals, then your abuse of the pig was justified, because it squealed, and it’s a pig, so of course you should be hitting it with bricks?

    Whereas if the pig didn’t squeal, you were justified in abusing the pig, because the pig obviously doesn’t mind it. And it’s a pig, so of course you should be hitting it with bricks?

    What the fuck is wrong with some people, that when they hear about farmers throwing bricks at pigs, they identify with the farmer as being the “good guy”, and think hitting a pig with a brick is a moral action.

    But of course, President Obama one time said that “you can put lipstick on a pig…”, so I’m sure these conservatives would argue that both sides are equally guilty of abusing pigs.

  12. some bastard on the net says

    So, Blackwell’s proposal is as dumb as a brick? I think that’s what he’s getting at.

  13. baal says

    “Barton: This actually is a way to give the people a greater voice rather than just having the majority slap it to the minority every time you turn around.”

    heh /agree with #5

    If you wanted the people* to have a greater voice, you’d stop suppressing the votes of minorities and poor folks.

    *unless you’re Barton & Blackwell in which case POC or poor aren’t persons.

  14. iariese says

    “The electoral vote scheme is just another way to give so much more voice to those in rural regions while drowning out the voices of the urban regions. People living in or around cities get less of a vote while people living far out in the country get more of a vote.

    It’s totally designed to rig the system against democratic voters – who are largely located in or around cities.”

    An American History FAIL! The Electoral College system was set up to entice the smaller states to support the new proposed Constitution. It is part of the House/Senate “Great Compromise” (see Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution). The Constitutional Convention also did not trust in direct elections nor having state legislatures pick the President – two options that weren’t selected.

  15. Doug Little says

    If Romney would have won under the electoral-votes-by-Congressional-district scheme with five million fewer popular votes, it proves how badly gerrymandered the Congressional districts are.

    Can’t argue with that it’s an absolute disgrace.

  16. Nemo says

    @7, Trebuchet:

    There’s no reason that redistricting can only happen at the time of a census.Tom DeLay showed us that.

  17. ambulocetacean says

    How have the Republicans been able to gerrymander congressional districts so badly? And why can the Democrats not undo them?

    Can the Democrats ever win the House as things stand at the moment? They won the popular congressional vote by a decent margin but are 234-201 in the house. Total votes don’t necessarily translate into seats, but that is pretty breathtaking.

  18. cgilder says

    And Tom Delay’s gerrymandering was so blatant that he got convicted of money laundering, YET THE DISTRICTS STAYED THE SAME! Only one of the districts that they fucked with (mine, fortunately) got fixed. And even then, it only got fixed until 2010 when they divided neon blue Austin into 5 districts in order to dilute the blue with sufficient outlying rural reds. It worked too. I am now in Lamar Fucking Smith’s districts, despite South Austin having voted something like 70% dem. I used to be in Lloyd Dogget’s, so talk about whiplash…

  19. tubi says

    @16

    An American History FAIL! …

    I think the “electoral vote scheme” in Katherine Lorraine, etc, etc’s earlier comment (#6) was a reference to the attempts to change how electoral votes are apportioned by basing on congressional districts rather than statewide. And those plans are indeed designed to overwhelm Democratic voters in the cities.

  20. D. C. Sessions says

    The problem is, as you say, gerrymandering. And of course, the current gerrymandered situation is a result of the Republican landslide in the 2010 elections, which was in turn a result of President Obama’s somewhat-too-hasty

    production of melanin.

    Hate to break the news, but the foaming-at-the-mouth backlash against Obama started before all of the votes were counted, and the official policy of the elected representatives of the Republican Party had locked in “no compromise, no concessions, no cooperation, no truce” before he was inaugurated.

  21. lofgren says

    President Obama’s somewhat-too-hasty push for health care legislation.

    If only Obama had sat back and waited patiently, Republicans would have done the right thing eventually! They were totally on-board with healthcare reform, they were just biding their time until the moment was right to strike. Because that scenario describes the course of historical progress never.

  22. jameshanley says

    An American History FAIL! The Electoral College system was set up to entice the smaller states to support the new proposed Constitution. It is part of the House/Senate “Great Compromise” (see Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution). The Constitutional Convention also did not trust in direct elections nor having state legislatures pick the President – two options that weren’t selected.

    Ironically, this itself is an American history fail. The Great Compromise refers solely to representation in Congress. The electoral college relates to that only in that when the convention later took up the issue of how to select the executive, they used each state’s congressional delegation to set the number of electors per state.

    But they did in fact trust the state legislatures to choose the president, because the Constitution says that electors shall be chosen as each state’s legislature determines. Early on, most of them determined that they would do it themselves. This fairly quickly gave way to public demands that they be allowed to do the selection, and the last state to do the selecting by the legislature was South Carolina, up to the Civil War.

    But it is still perfectly constitutional for a state legislature to not allow a public presidential vote, and select the electors themselves. It’s just not likely to be politically acceptable.

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