Oooh, McConnell is threatening us


Mitch McConnell really doesn’t want the Democrats to change the rules to enable laws to pass with a simple majority. He’s making threats that are simultaneously revealing and dishonest.

He knows that with a unified Democratic caucus and Harris wielding the gavel, his mouth is writing a check that he lacks votes to cash. McConnell, self-advertised master of intricate Senate rules, at best can make himself a nuisance by gumming up the legislative process.

McConnell is even trying to intimidate Democrats with warnings of what Republicans will do if they regain the Senate — for instance, imposing a nationwide right-to-work law, defunding Planned Parenthood and sanctuary cities, passing sweeping right-to-life legislation, authorizing concealed-carry firearms reciprocity in all 50 states and the District, and hardening southern border security.

What empty threats. The guy who happily defied senate rules and tradition to block the nomination of Merrick Garland is now trying to tell us he’s been gracious and deferential for the last four years, but he’s willing to get mean if we prevent his shenanigans from continuing? Yeah, right. Pull the other one.

Most interesting, though, is that he’s openly stating what he wants to do if he weren’t restrained by the Democrats: bust unions, shut down women’s health clinics, ban all abortions, gut even the mildest gun control laws, and crack down on immigrants. This bozo is dangerous and bad for the country: do everything you can to frustrate the Republicans, Democrats!

Comments

  1. William George says

    Oh no! Mitch and the Qpublicans are going to keep doing the same thing they’ve been doing since Obama got elected. Better let them do what they want so they won’t do what they want.

  2. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    Not being a member of the Legislature (IANAL) It sounded to me that #MoscowMitch is saying that the only tool Democrats have, to stop the Rethuglicons, is the filibuster. That eliminating the filibuster will leave Democrats powerless to stop them from ruining everything.

    Deflecting us from seeing his speech as total projection: that the filibuster is the tool he uses to stop everything productive the Democrats propose.

    oh no, I see a poor analogy.
    Like saying taking away guns loses the tool to stop mass shootings.
    You know the stupid aphorism of gun fondlers [the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun]

  3. hemidactylus says

    Getting rid of the filibuster would be great until it isn’t anymore. A scary move with short term gains.

  4. Rich Woods says

    bust unions, shut down women’s health clinics, ban all abortions, gut even the mildest gun control laws, and crack down on immigrants … do everything you can to frustrate the Republicans, Democrats!

    Aren’t there four or five Dem senators (or caucusing Independents) who think like the Republicans on at least one of these subjects?

  5. komarov says

    All of those threats / proposals don’t sound like the small government championed by the GOP. Firm believers in that better get rid of this guy before he does more damage. Anyway, I may not be American but my fleeting familiarity with McC leads me to believe he’s lying which is basically synonymous with him making promises. I’ll even be so bold as to make predictions: He will do what suits him most at the time he’s doing it.

  6. drew says

    They’re just empty threats to rile up his base. Similar to Democrat threats to provide health care to all Americans or legally enforce a living wage.

  7. Artor says

    Moscow Mitch makes it abundantly clear that he despises most Americans and does everything he can to damage the country. He is an enemy of America and it’s citizens.

  8. microraptor says

    hemidactylus @3: The filibuster was something that was created in order to block civil rights legislation. It has no purpose other than to be used to prevent the government from being able to govern. The nation did just fine before it existed and it’s being used as a means of stopping the government from actually doing its job. Republicans want to keep it because as they’ve actually admitted they can’t compete with Democrats on a level playing field.

  9. consciousness razor says

    We really don’t need anything like the Senate at all. I’d be perfectly happy with trashing the entire fucking thing, not just one or two of their bullshit rules.

  10. says

    We really don’t need anything like the Senate at all. I’d be perfectly happy with trashing the entire fucking thing, not just one or two of their bullshit rules.

    It was, at the beginning, a crucial tool for encouraging states to actually sign up to the rules of the constitution. Among the original 13 colonies there was great concern that the most populous states would rule the least populous states. There was no national unity at that time, and it was thought (perhaps rightly, I wouldn’t know) that states’ populations might vote to promote their state’s interests at the expense of other states’ interests and national interests. The senate made every state equal, and so in a world where democracy was an untested form of government, it could sound like a democratic proposal (each state gets the same # of votes), but as it was state by state rather than person by person, it managed to achieve the exact opposite: halting popular democracy.

    It was designed to be obstructionist and anti-democratic, with the founders thinking that although the nature of the institution might be those things, that they could probably use the longer terms in the senate (6 years instead of 2) to build relationships of trust between senators such that they could occasionally convince each other to vote for things using reason and appeals to common good.

    It is what we needed it to be in 1789, and in 1789 we desperately needed some semblance of national unity because the European powers were going to make war on the new US. And that prediction wasn’t wrong. Wars with European powers fought on North American soil didn’t go on hiatus until damn near 1820, and even then flared up now and again (Spanish Mexico, for instance) for decades longer before finally ending.

    But even if we needed it to be that in 1789, the fact that it was necessary as a tool to unite the then-fractious colonies doesn’t make it some how pro-democratic. Whether or not there was what we might call “a good reason” for constructing such an anti-democratic institution, it remains an anti-democratic institution. I want the senate in Canada and the senate in the USA both wiped out. In the USA you might or might not replace it with something else, but in the Parliamentary democracy of Canada, there is no reason to replace it with anything. It should die the ignoble death it deserves. (Indeed Canada’s senate has even poorer original justification than that of the USA, which at least played a role in making joining the union more attractive to a number of states that otherwise would have been tempted to declare themselves their own countries.)

    So, yes. We needed an anti-democratic senate at one point to create the unity that allowed the nascent USA to militarily defend its sovereignty. But the time where we needed it is long past. If we can’t kill it dead, we can at least transform it into an institution that looks little like its current incarnation.

  11. PaulBC says

    consciousness razor@9 Fine, but how would you do that without a new constitution? What would be the risks of a constitutional convention right now (assuming contrary to all reasonable expectation it could happen)? I think it’s more likely than not that we’d wind up with something much worse than what we have, potentially a theocracy, and possibly a nativist constitution with much stricter rules on citizenship. Those are the loudest voices right now.

    The allocation of Senate seats without regard to state size is completely nonsensical, and I would like to see that changed, though I am not sure of dumping the chamber entirely. Both are completely unrealistic options though.

  12. hemidactylus says

    @8- microraptor

    I would distinguish historic origin from current (dis)utility. Sure it sucks now in the hands of Senate minority and perhaps should be scrapped to give the current Senate an effective majority. But in the not too distant future when the Republicans will inevitably hold the majority could the Democrats regret losing that weapon of minority nuisance making? I guess the upshot is reducing gridlock somewhat.

  13. Tethys says

    This man is an utter waste of skin, as is his grifter wife.

    The senate is not supposed to be a rubber stamp on the executive branch. I don’t see abolishing the senate as a workable solution to partisan gridlock.
    Abolishing the filibuster could help, as would imposing term limits on Senators.

    Mitch is a sexist dinosaur, and clearly a fascist. He personally enabled cheetolini to kill over 500,000 Americans with covid, so I don’t want to hear any of his hypocritical ‘right to life’ rhetoric.

  14. PaulBC says

    hemidactylus@12 I would abolish the filibuster simply because it makes no sense and has resulted in a sclerotic legislature for decades. Yes, there are risks, but it will eventually have to be eliminated if we ever want a congress that can initiate at the level of, say, the New Deal and not just slap on band-aids. It’s a broken system and the most we get by holding onto it is a delay.

    Calling elimination the “nuclear option” makes it sound destructive. It ls more like removing shackles, and if we distrust the Senate so much it needs to be shackled, then maybe we ought to vote in one we can trust.

  15. garnetstar says

    Not confirming Merrick Garland: that was it, the move that determined forever that Moscow Mitch’s credibility and/or reputation and/or whatever, was set in stone, fixed for all time. That’s when Mitch crossed the Rubicon, to use a curretly-in-vogue metaphor. He doesn’t seem to realize that he has already lost everything, in terms of making the senate work, and lost it forever. (And, in the trope-determining incident, when Caesar did cross the Rubicon and thus decide to overthrow the republic and make himself emperor, how did that work out for him? Huh, Mitch? Here’s hoping that history repeats itself.)

    Also, Mitch apparently had already determined before the 2016 election that he would never allow a confirmation hearing on any judge during the entire HRC presidency. None, not one.

    So, this threat is completely empty: he claims he’ll go “scorched-earth”, but, how is that in any way different from what he’s doing now? From what he’s been doing ever since he refused to confirm Garland? Not to mention, before, but after Garland, everyone knew for certain that he would never come back.

    Too late to play that card, Moscow M. They’re going, at the very least, back to the all-talking-all-the-time, on only relevant subjects (no Green Eggs and Ham) filibuster. All 50 of the democratic senators are agreed on that, and it’ll happen soon.

    Then, in 2022, winning the senate majority or even maintaining the current 50-50, doesn’t look so good for Mitch. And, as soon as the democrats get a majority of more than two (so that Sinema and Manchin can vote against it), the filibuster is gone. They cleverly made all the benefits to middle and working class people in the recent COVID/stimulus bill, to expire in 2022. So, if people like those, they’ll need to vote in democrats to keep them. Biden’s about to go on a publicity tour to tell the masses how much they’re getting from the bill, and how much they’ll lose if it expires in 2022.

    I’m afraid that, in the battle between two old corporate white guy political houses, House Biden and House McConnell, House Biden has shown themselves to be better players this time. House McConnell’s feet have long been set on a path from which there is no return, and which is not sustainable. Bye-bye. Mitch himself already has his escape-route planned: he’s already designated his successor if he should “leave before his term is up”, aka, be beheaded.

  16. Tethys says

    I see it as a solution to the problem of anti-democratic institutions giving individual citizens in some states more power than citizens in other states, because fuck that shit.

    In theory, it gives less populous states an equal voice with more populous states.

    Pragmatically, there is no support for abolishing the Senate, but limiting the filibuster is a real possibility. (Especially if Mitch keeps making threats to hold the country hostage to his outdated ideology)
    I also would like to see all of the U.S. Territories given full voting rights and elected positions in both houses of the legislative branch.

  17. garnetstar says

    CripDyke @10, so right about the the historical need for anti-democratic institutions, like the senate and electoral college.

    Also, in the formation of both, one way in which southern states feared that other states’ larger white populations might vote at the expense southern states’ interest was, they might vote to abolish slavery. Yes, even then, they knew that democracy would be dangerous to their institutionalized racism/slow-motion genocide. And, plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

  18. anat says

    Umm, why should less populous states have an equal voice with more populous ones? The things the senate votes on affect people’s lives. If they vote the way that more people want they are more likely to get things right than if they vote the way people on more bits of arbitrarily divided territory want.

  19. says

    @#17, Tethys:

    In theory, it gives less populous states an equal voice with more populous states.

    Why do you say this as though this is a good, or even a reasonable, thing? We like to claim we are a democracy. Like it or not, if our government is not controlled by a majority of the population, we are Doing It Wrong. The Senate has already become, by definition, not just non-democratic but anti-democratic: according to Wikipedia, in 2019 the top 10 most populous states have, together, more than 50% of the population, but only 20% of the Senatorial votes, while the 26 least-populous states hold more than 50% of the Senatorial votes — an automatic majority for anything they might like to pass together — but only about a sixth of the population. Trends in population migration and growth show that this is only going to get worse. Why on earth would anybody think this is a good thing, unless you are arguing that democracy is actually bad? You might argue, as I see Crip Dyke does @#10 above, that it was at one time necessary, but that’s the extent.

  20. consciousness razor says

    Fine, but how would you do that without a new constitution?

    I wouldn’t.

    What would be the risks of a constitutional convention right now (assuming contrary to all reasonable expectation it could happen)?

    You don’t even have to tell me at this point: I know it’s never “the right time” to do anything worthwhile….

    Why don’t you consider the risks of not changing our system?

  21. felixmagister says

    It should be noted that modifying the constitution to change the nature of the senate would not be unprecedented. Originally, the senate was an even more anti-democratic institution, with senators chosen by the legislature of each state rather than elected by a state’s citizens. By the late 19th century, this was seen as contrary to the nation’s principles, and, in 1913, the 17th amendment to the Constitution of the United States was ratified, mandating that senators be elected directly.

  22. Tethys says

    Every state has equal power in the senate, which is offset by the house of reps. I don’t have an issue with the votes of less populous states like Minnesota and North Dakota having equality with enormous places like Texas or California.

    I think limiting senate terms, procedural BS like the filibuster, and extending representation to the 3.5 million Americans who currently have zero senators would be far a more realistic update.

    Abolishing the senate because of this particular toad is never going to happen.

  23. answersingenitals says

    Living in California (thank you Lord), my representation in the senate is 1/60 (!!!) that of someone living in Wyoming. My influence on the College of Electors is ~1/4. But the answer is simple: we have to get 80,000 Democrats (less than 1% of California’s registered Democrats) to move to and take up residency in Wyoming, turning that state a nice shade of blue. We’ll wear chaps and spurs so we won’t be noticed.

  24. consciousness razor says

    in 2019 the top 10 most populous states have, together, more than 50% of the population, but only 20% of the Senatorial votes, while the 26 least-populous states hold more than 50% of the Senatorial votes — an automatic majority for anything they might like to pass together — but only about a sixth of the population.

    Another fun fact: Puerto Rico’s population (~3.4 million) is larger than 21 states as well as D.C. — many of those same states, obviously.

    Our current system is the one which has kept things this way, ever since our empire gobbled it up (along with Cuba, the Philippines, and Guam) after the Spanish-American War.

  25. felixmagister says

    I agree it’s not likely to happen. Even if it were desirable, such a change would require the consent of three quarters of the states- which would necessarily include many of those states which benefit from having outsized representation in the senate. In terms of changes within the realm of the possibility, I agree with you- abolish or severely curtail the filibuster, grant statehood or its equivalent to D.C. and maybe Puerto Rico, and, I would add, pass legislation keeping states from denying their citizens the ability to vote.

    One small but consequential change I’d like to see would be reigning in the presidential primary process so that every potential candidate doesn’t need to grovel before the Iowans if he wants to have a chance.

  26. consciousness razor says

    Every state has equal power in the senate, which is offset by the house of reps. I don’t have an issue with the votes of less populous states like Minnesota and North Dakota having equality with enormous places like Texas or California.

    You know that states are political fabrications and are not human beings … right?

  27. raven says

    The Democrats in the Senate represent …“the Democratic half of the Senate represents 41,549,808 more people than the GOP half.

    Election 2020: Democratic counties represent 70% of U.S. GDPwww.cnbc.com › 2020/11/10 › election-2020-democra…

    Nov 10, 2020 — Trump carried 2497 counties that together generate 29% of the American economy; Biden took 477 counties that generate 70% of U.S. GDP.

    The Blue areas also represent 70% of the US GDP.
    We have given way more power to land area than either people or economic output.

  28. hemidactylus says

    @28 consciousness razor
    As social constructions with collective intentionality and institutional factuality, states are far more than mere imaginary fabrications. They have a meshy hierarchy that answers to the federal level above and sets some context for local governments below. Ontologically speaking states are things. Fail to pay state tax or renew your driver license and see how long the state remains a fabrication for you.

  29. Tethys says

    States rights are real in the law, and enshrined in the constitution.

    No state is going to vote itself LESS senators, which would be required under the same laws.
    Expanding the same voting rights as a state to the various territories of the U.S. would be far easier, and serve to rectify a long standing racial injustice within our current system. Guam, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, and DC are all citizens who currently lack equal representation and votes within Congress.

  30. anat says

    Tethys @24: Re: term limits – bad idea. All it does is make people serving such term-limited positions more beholden to lobbyists -those who can ‘show them the ropes’ early in their term and those who can give them jobs after the end of their term.

  31. consciousness razor says

    Tethys:

    States rights are real in the law, and enshrined in the constitution.

    I already said that I wanted to replace the dumbass shrine with something else, because it is not working for us as it should, no matter how hard you may pray to it or which offerings you give.

    Anyway, you said that you “don’t have an issue,” and now all you can say is that states won’t do it to themselves. So … do you not actually see the arguments we’re making here, or what’s the fucking deal?

    ~~~~~~

    hemidactylus:

    In fairness I may have taken the connotations to mean something other than consciousness razor intended.

    Oh, you “may have,” eh? You think?

    Yes, those are rhetorical questions.

  32. Tethys says

    CR

    So … do you not actually see the arguments we’re making here, or what’s the fucking deal?

    I’ve no idea what your fucking deal might be. I saw your arguments and dismissed them as unrealistic. Your snide attitude of superiority is pointless wanking over a pointless argument.

    Wyoming has a lot of cattle because it’s full of cattle ranches. It’s citizens are just as entitled to representation as those of every other state. Claiming that those who live in densely populated states should get priority over rural states because majority rules, is not a convincing argument to abolish the senate.

    I’ve made several constructive and realistic suggestions for methods to make the senate better reflect the citizens. You’ve ignored them for unknown reasons.
    Sneering about my praying to shrines is pure assholery.

  33. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    felixmagister in 23
    Actually, I think they got rid of appointment of senators by state legislatures not because of some generic pro-Democracy principles. Rather, they got rid of it because it was common practice for interest groups to bribe state legislatures regarding the selection of federal senators.

    felixmagister in 27
    Actually, changing the number of senators per state would practically require universal consent of the states because the constitution says that the number of senators per state cannot be amended by amendment. It would require a constitutional convention.

  34. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    Claiming that those who live in densely populated states should get priority over rural states because majority rules, is not a convincing argument to abolish the senate.

    That’s kind of the point of democracy, the idea that the majority should rule over the minority. Then, we throw on a constitution for protection of individual rights against a tyrannical majority.

    The idea that a minority of people should be able to rule over the majority, which is almost what we have now in the US, is much more perverse than the idea of a majority ruling over a minority.

  35. consciousness razor says

    It’s [sic] citizens are just as entitled to representation as those of every other state.

    Yeah, people should be. Not states. Not land. Not higher or lower densities. Not dollars from corporate lobbyists. None of those are things are entitled to representation. People are.

  36. PaulBC says

    There is such a thing as tyranny of the majority, and a well-functioning representative democracy should be able to address it (not with the way the Senate is determined which is just nuts). A minority with a specific interest should have a right to self-determination except when the harm would be too great. Some of the worst human rights violations consistent of a dominant “majority” culture imposing its standards on a “minority.” The obvious case concerns racial or religious subgroups (e.g. Uighurs in China), but language is another one. It could even be architectural styles–these are often regulated through zoning.

    (I agree btw that that tyranny of the minority is even worse.)

    To use a trivial analogy (sorry, can’t think of anything better now) if 49 out of 100 people want vanilla ice cream and 51 out of a 100 want chocolate ice cream, should you just vote and serve chocolate every single time? In case of party planning, you could just serve individuals what they want. Or if you have to have it all the same (maybe the caterers hand-make it as a small batch) you could alternate. In a less even case, you could work out a proportionate balance or even determine it randomly.

    in fact, “winner take all” is just pretty absurd to begin with. If there are two constituencies, only marginally different in size, it is not equitable to have only the slight majority ever represented. That could again be handled probabilistically. If it was more like an 80/20 split, you could do that too. “Democratic” or not, it is coercive to say that 20% of the population has their interest represented 0% of the time.

    As a counterargument, sometimes a coercive majority is needed to promote human rights. We should not have maintained segregation in the South just because it had a constituency. But in that case, it’s less a question of the nation doing what a majority wants, than the enactment of specific national values (an end to legally sanctioned racism) and dragging the recalcitrant kicking and screaming. Sometimes you just have to say, yes the social contract is intrinsically coercive. But that doesn’t mean that the majority just has a right to tell a minority what to do all the time.

    The Senate fails simply because it is poorly designed for the purpose we expect of it now. Some other form of proportionate representation might be equitable. Simply saying “We’re the majority, so do what we want.” may be “democracy” but it is also inequitable.

  37. Ishikiri says

    The current structure of the Senate would be acceptable if it weren’t legislatively coequal with the House of Representatives and responsible for approving bureaucratic and judiciary appointments and ratifying treaties. Make treaties and appointments the job of the House and make it so the Senate can modify or delay legislation but not kill it outright, and you would have something similar to the upper houses of legislatures in more democratic countries.

  38. hemidactylus says

    @38- GerrardOfTitanServer

    Well that’s a limited notion of democracy we USians get from historical entrenchment into a two party mentality. In parliamentary setups parties may never achieve a majority. I think plurality is what happens. Too weird for ‘Merkins. But they horsetrade into coalitions to form a government until some ‘no confidence’ establishing event.

    The Knesset setup is weird:
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2013/01/23/the-secret-behind-israels-dysfunctional-political-system/

  39. John Morales says

    PaulBC:

    in fact, “winner take all” is just pretty absurd to begin with.

    Bad metaphor.
    Bills are either passed or not passed, either signed into law or not.

    To take a recent and specific example, the CARES Act was passed and signed.

    So, if a bill is passed, its proponents win and take all, if not, its opponents win and take all. There is no middle ground.

    And that’s what the legislature does: legislate.

  40. John Morales says

    CR:

    Yeah, people should be. Not states. Not land. Not higher or lower densities. Not dollars from corporate lobbyists. None of those are things are entitled to representation. People are.

    So, in short, you want direct democracy instead of representative democracy.

    (Everything to be decided by referendum, right?)

  41. publicola says

    What it all really comes down to is who gets elected to these bodies.If you want political power, you have to offer the voters something they can get behind, and to convince them that they should get behind it. You have work harder and campaign more vigorously than the other guy in order to sell your ideas. Now, the Dems should get rid of the filibuster in order to push through their agenda, even if the VP has to break a tie on every bill, because they need to show voters all the good things they can do for them. Then, you campaign like hell for 2022 on what you’ve accomplished in two years, reminding voters what will happen if the Dems lose the majority. If the Dems can’t make their case after that then they don’t deserve to be in control. There is no need to abolish the Senate or modify its make-up. Eliminating the Electoral College will perform the same function since it is a redundancy. Both the Senate (by means of equal representation for each state,) and the EC serve to protect the minority against the majority, and so getting rid of the EC is the better and easier choice. We don’t need to take a machete to our govt., but a carefully-wielded scalpel .

  42. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    hemidactylus in 42
    Oh, of course. I’ve been a loud advocate of party-list election systems for the US for a long time now.

  43. consciousness razor says

    John Morales, #44:

    So, in short, you want direct democracy instead of representative democracy.

    (Everything to be decided by referendum, right?)

    Don’t know how you got that, since it doesn’t follow from what I said. I was very clearly talking about representation (from those in Congress, to be specific) and how it should be apportioned.

    For the record, I want a combination of both.

  44. DanDare says

    Change the number of senators per state by state population using an algorithm based on the least populous state.
    Or use some other proportional system. Its not a big technical or legal change.

  45. PaulBC says

    DanDare@48

    Or use some other proportional system. Its not a big technical or legal change.

    Maybe not, but at the very least it’s a constitutional change requiring an amendment. There are also clear losers in such a change, such as the people of Wyoming (or Delaware, just to be fair here).

    Sure, I’d love to see it happen, but beyond that, I do not see how it will ever happen.

  46. says

    Its not a big technical or legal change.

    It’s a huge legal change. It’s easy to come up with wording that works, but there’ no doubt it’s vastly different than the system we have now.

    Additionally, if the senate provides for representation proportional to population, it’s hard to figure out what role they play not already served by the House of Reps. And abolishing the Senate, which would make more sense than making it a copy of the House of Reps because why have 2 of them, is also a huge change.

    There’s no getting around it: the solutions are big solutions that require huge amounts of work.

  47. PaulBC says

    …and sorry, just to complete that thought @49, eliminating the filibuster is something the Senate can go ahead and do. I believe they should because it just doesn’t make much sense to start with, and it has been shown to result in gridlock. It may sometimes work to the advantage of the side I’m against. On the other hand, that’s not clear at all, and what we have now is just broken. It’s not a functioning legislative body.

  48. consciousness razor says

    There is no need to abolish the Senate or modify its make-up. Eliminating the Electoral College will perform the same function since it is a redundancy.

    Not the same at all. You’re talking about elections for different offices which play different roles in the government (legislative and executive), and fixing the one certainly doesn’t fix the other.

  49. unclefrogy says

    incremental change is unsatisfactory but I suspect that we will have to settle for that.
    We will not be able to make any kind of agreement on how to re-form a representative body to take the place of the senate any time soon. Some reforming of the filibuster may be accomplished I will be surprised if it is eliminated .Maybe sometime later we might do away with the electoral college it is mostly ceremonial anyway , though there’s nothing wrong with ceremony .
    uncle frogy

  50. John Morales says

    CR @47:

    Don’t know how you got that, since it doesn’t follow from what I said.

    Yeah, it does. If the candidate for whom I vote does not get elected, then whoever is elected instead doesn’t represent me, other than de jure.

    That is to say, every elected candidate supposedly represents every person in their electorate (whether that be a state or a district), whether or not they voted for them or even if that person loathes and repudiates the policies their elected representative advocates.

    That’s the price paid for representative democracy; one get a say in who is elected, but not in what policies are advocated or what laws are passed.

    (And, of course, those who are cluey and sensible are typically in a minority)

  51. publicola says

    CR @52: I think I get what your saying, but I was referring to the reason for the Senate’s make-up and for the EC, which is to protect the interests of the minority. That’s where I see the redundancy. I think that the effect of the EC is to amplify the effect of non-proportional representation in the Senate, and by eliminating the EC you reduce that effect. Then again, maybe I’m splitting hairs that aren’t there.

  52. says

    Maybe sometime later we might do away with the electoral college it is mostly ceremonial anyway , though there’s nothing wrong with ceremony .

    Well, in 4 of the last 8 elections the eventual president won less than 50% of the presidential vote, and in 2 of the last 8 elections the eventual president did not even win a plurality.

    If the EC was ceremonial, that would be one thing, but if it’s determining the outcome of the election half the time, and getting it wrong half the time that it’s determinative, then I’d say it’s more than ceremonial. And it’s nothing good.

  53. PaulBC says

    CD@56 The process of picking electors and so forth is ceremonial, and maybe there is a widespread misconception that the problem with the electoral college is having an intermediary vote. That’s not the big problem, as I assume you know, and I thought the understanding would be more widespread since 2000.

    The problem is not even unequal electoral vote representation, though that exists, since the smallest states get disproportionate electoral votes (3 for two senators and a house member, no matter how few people live there).

    The main problem is purely the division of a national vote into separate winner-take-all contests. Even if you had fifty equal-population states with an equal number of electoral votes each, you could potentially have massive distortion. In the extreme, one candidate could have 100% of the vote in just under half the states. The other candidate could have just over half the vote in the other states. Then a candidate with only marginally more than 25% of the vote would win the election over one with nearly 75% of the vote, effectively removing representation from half the states and half the people in other states (and I often consider that in “red states” there are still a lot of people who vote for candidates I support at a national level; who represents them in Washington, DC?).

    There are no easy solutions to creating an equitable democracy, but the EC as currently constituted isn’t even close. It’s a fucking joke and a cruel one. There is a ceremonial component, but that’s just not the real problem.

  54. unclefrogy says

    the problem is really related to scale. Is the US getting to big for popular elections I started to say but on second thought it has little to do with what people want in general. The political process has been taken over at least significant portion of the elected officials by commercial interests and care little for the common good and only use hot button issues to distract the people and manipulate the voters to maintain power for themselves and the interests that support them. What ever reforms or dramatic changes the time wont be long before those forces of class and wealth and greed for personal power regain what ever they might forfeit in the change

Leave a Reply