Sore Loser Theater: Washington Post Pushes To End Electoral College

They just can’t move on. Can’t let go. Though, let’s face it, the Washington Post’s EJ Dionne is a bit late to this pity party. On the other hand, Democrats will surely be whining about the Electoral College for years to come. If they can still whine about Al Gore losing to George Bush legally in Florida 2000, well, they can whine about Hillary losing the election fair and square for at least till the next election

The electoral college is the worst of both worlds. It’s time for it to go.

It’s important for those who favor the popular election of our presidents to separate their arguments for direct democracy from the outcome of a particular contest.

That’ll never happen, and doesn’t happen in Dionne’s piece.

My colleague George F. Will’s recent column in defense of the electoral college offers an excellent opportunity to make a case that has nothing to do with the election of Donald Trump.

After all, Will, admirably and eloquently, insisted that Trump was unworthy of nomination or election. So our disagreement relates entirely to his insistence that we should stick with an approach to choosing presidents that, twice in the past 16 years, overrode the wishes of Americans, as measured by the popular vote.

Will brushes aside these outcomes. “Two is 40 percent of five elections, which scandalizes only those who make a fetish of simpleminded majoritarianism.”

But when is a belief in majoritarian democracy a “fetish” or “simpleminded,” and when is it just a belief in democracy? The current system makes a fetish of majoritarianism (or, to coin an awkward but more accurate word, pluralitarianism) at the state level, but it’s held meaningless nationally. Who is fetishizing what?

Of course, we do not have “majoritarian democracy” when it comes to election the president, we have federalism majoritarian, which is rather supposed to apply to the Senate, except for the passage of the odious 17th Amendment. At the state level, Democrats are whining incessantly about what the GOP majorities are doing, particularly here in North Carolina. They have a big problem when the majority runs roughshod over the minority.

Part of the answer, of course, is that majoritarianism or pluralitarianism are not fetishes at all. They are how we run just about every other election in our country. If the people get to choose the state treasurer or the county recorder of deeds by popular vote, why should they be deprived of a direct say in who will occupy the country’s most important office?

You can see where this is going. Dionne either has no idea how the Constitution works, or is intentionally being obtuse. And these whines continue for a while till we end with

But the question of how a democratic republic should work is not a game. Will says that the electoral college has “evolved” since the 18th century. Well, yes, we now have the worst of both worlds: The electoral college is no longer the deliberative body envisioned by the founders, but it still thwarts the wishes of the majority. Will does not explain why only “political hypochondriacs” think that the winner of the most votes should prevail. In the absence of one, we should complete our evolution toward democracy and elect our presidents directly.

At the end of the day, this is just Sore Loser Symphony. Had Hillary won the Electoral College but Trump won the popular vote, achieving the majority of that extra from, say, Texas, people like EJ would be extolling the virtues of the EC, telling us how great it is, and how the system worked to give States their votes. If Trump won and Hillary hadn’t gotten all those extra votes out of California, Democrats would have a different meme to Complainstorm. It’s what they do.

Crossed at Right Wing News.

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5 Responses to “Sore Loser Theater: Washington Post Pushes To End Electoral College”

  1. Jeffery says:

    Teach typed:

    Had Hillary won the Electoral College but Trump won the popular vote, achieving the majority of that extra from, say, Texas, people like EJ would be extolling the virtues of the EC, telling us how great it is, and how the system worked to give States their votes.

    Perhaps. But what is certain in the improbable event that a Republican won a plurality of national votes but lost two EC votes is that the Republicans would be working overtime to eliminate the EC.

    BTW, conservative fascists might not regard Californian voters as real Americans, but the vote of an Apple Inc engineer from Cupertino CA should count for just as much as the vote of an unemployed high school drop out from Altoona PA.

    Rural folks (not to mention inner city folks) have been given the shit end of the stick by corporate America and their DC lackeys. Every piece of legislation, every policy has been a sop to the capitalists at the expense of American workers. The disdain of education by rural whites and inner city Blacks hasn’t helped either. Our trade balance is nearly half a trillion USD each year. Manufacturing these goods in Altoona, Lebanon, Flint and Tiffen rather than Shanghai, Indonesia or Mexico would add millions of jobs in the US. The jobs lost were just the ones that kept the undereducated afloat, hence, wages of high school grads DROPPED 13% from 1970 to 2000. Trump has not explained how his proposals will reverse these trends.

  2. Dana says:

    Jeffrey wrote:

    Rural folks (not to mention inner city folks) have been given the shit end of the stick by corporate America and their DC lackeys. Every piece of legislation, every policy has been a sop to the capitalists at the expense of American workers. The disdain of education by rural whites and inner city Blacks hasn’t helped either. Our trade balance is nearly half a trillion USD each year. Manufacturing these goods in Altoona, Lebanon, Flint and Tiffen rather than Shanghai, Indonesia or Mexico would add millions of jobs in the US. The jobs lost were just the ones that kept the undereducated afloat, hence, wages of high school grads DROPPED 13% from 1970 to 2000. Trump has not explained how his proposals will reverse these trends.

    Now, if we didn’t know that these comments came from Jeffrey, I’d think that they were written by one of the Trumpinistae, because that was his argument all along. Yet Jeffrey was supporting Hillary Clinton, she who sold access bland speeches to Wall Street millionaires for a couple hundred thousand a pop, she who supported — before she opposed — the TransPacific Partnership and NAFTA and GATT, she who supported the ?status quo which has allowed so many American companies to ‘outsource’ production, and she who would have continued policies and regulations which hurt the economy.

    Will our next President be able to do what he has said he would? Well, who knows, though I at least have confidence that he’ll try. Jeffrey ought to support him in his attempts to do what he has promised to do, since it’s clear that Jeffrey supports his goals.

  3. Dana says:

    As for EJ Dionne, I lost all respect for him due to his writings in Commonweal. Commonweal is, purportedly, an intellectual journal for Catholics published by lay Catholics, but not only is it hard left in orientation, Mr Dionne individually, and the magazine in general, are both dismissive and contemptuous of Catholic moral doctrine.

  4. Jeffery says:

    Dana,

    Thanks for the advice. Unfortunately, nothing in Trump’s (or the GOP’s) toolbox will benefit working class Americans. Tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans? Cuts to SS and Medicare? Union busting? Tax breaks to outsourcing corporations? Pay for play? Goldman-Sachs running (ruining) the economy again?

    You likely trust Trump more than I do.

    Bernie Sanders was my favorite, not Sec Clinton, although in the general election she was a much better choice than the volatile and mercurial Trump. Why prefer Sanders? Because he understood what had been inflicted on the working classes for the past 40 years. Union busting, unfair taxation, fiscal and monetary policies that throw Americans out of work, “trade” deals that reward capitalists not workers, etc. His policy prescriptions were indeed radical compared to business as usual in DC, but they are what is needed to restore the middle class.

  5. Jl says:

    The engineer from Cupertino is counted as one person as far as the census is concerned. The number of people in a state determines its representatives in congress and hence it’s number of electoral votes. The unemployed drop out from Altoona counts the same one person in Pennsylvania.

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