There’s no conspiracy when we just have lots of ballots to count

Look, conspiracy-minded conservatives:

Liberals knew you guys would try to steal the election, so many of them voted in advance, to make sure there was a paper trail. They mailed in ballots.161108_EX_ballots.jpg.CROP.promo-xlarge2

Honestly, those ballots often aren’t counted unless the election is close. And that’s what has happened. In many races across the country, the counting is still going on. And there are sure to be challenges from the losers.

We could solve this kind of thing from happening, you know, if we just gave everyone automatic voter registration and had paper trails of every election. Then you wouldn’t have to worry about this sort of thing happening.

Oh, right, you’re the ones against that. That might mean the majority of Americans would vote, and then you’d lose almost every time.

Good news about election 2018

We didn’t get everything we wanted, true, but only the most naive thought we would. Admittedly, I thought we’d do better than we did in the Senate, but there’s plenty of good news about yesterday’s election:make america normal

We took the House by a pretty big margin. This means there is finally a check on the President’s power. You know, how it is supposed to be no matter which party is in charge.

Colorado elected the first openly gay governor.

In Kansas and Wisconsin, conservative Republican governors wop had ruined the economies with their stupid “trickle down” policies were rejected as both went Democratic. Kansas also flipped a House seat, with the first Native American woman being elected (who is also a lesbian).

We also elected two Muslim congresswomen, the first black congresswoman in Massachusetts, the first female senators in Arizona and Tennessee, and over 100 women to various offices.

Utah will never elect a Democrat, but new Senator Mitt Romney isn’t a crazy Trump guy, so that’s a half win and probably the best we can expect from Utah.

The bigot Kim Davis — the woman who refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples — lost her seat.

Florida voted to restore felons’ voting rights. Everyone should have the right to vote, and with minor crimes now being categorized as felonies, this was a major prohibition. And it’s especially important in states where blacks are arrested with more frequency.

In Michigan, voters passed a referendum to end gerrymandering in their state by requiring an impartial committee to redraw districts.

Here in Pennsylvania, state-wide Democrats held their seats by really big margins. We made major gains in the gerrymandered state House and Senate (gaining 10 House seats and 5 Senate seats). We added four more Democrats to Congress (including flipping a seat in my district so now I have a Democrat representing me in Washington), going from 13 Republicans and 5 Democrats to 9 and 9.

Yes, Beto in Texas didn’t win, but he was never really expected to. He did much better than almost anyone thought, and he, along with other Democrats who did better than expected, show that the way to do well in red states is not to just be a “Republican lite.” After all, as it’s been said, if given a choice between a Republican and a Republican, voters will choose the Republican every time.

Florida and Georgia governor races were extremely close, and progressive black candidates did very well in these southern states. In Georgia, the person running the election was also the person running for Governor (this is like a judge deciding a case where he is the defendant). He’s a crook who cheated as much as he could to win, and the Democrat has yet to concede because the votes are very close.

So overall, a good night and a repudiation of Republicans and Trump. Not as huge as we had hoped, but still good.

 

Republicans are anti-democracy

The history of the United States is all about how those in power have done everything they can to keep the rest of us out of power.

While we are indeed a democratic country, we’re way behind other democratic countries when it comes to truly representing everyone.

The Constitution is part of the problem. The Electoral College and the way the Senate works means that property is more powerful than people, since the states are not evenly represented.  And the fact that we haven’t changed the number of members of the House of Representatives in almost 100 years also hurts.

But the people in power — here, the Republicans — have done everything they can to make sure that we, the people, are not represented. Through gerrymandering, voter suppression, ridiculous voter registration requirements, voter purges, limiting voter access and polling places, and otherwise making the most basic right in a democracy into a burden, they using every tool they have to prevent us from using our voices.wasserman2

And it’s tremendously hard for us to fight them. Thanks to the Republican-led Supreme Court, secret money can be channeled to candidates. Thanks to Republican judges in lower courts, voters can be denied their rights for things like having a PO Box instead of a street address in North Dakota even though it’s plain as day where you live and where it doesn’t even matter in a state-wide election.  And whenever there is a movement to make sure there is no voter tampering or Russian interference, the Republicans vote to do nothing and to shut down investigations.

And they’re cheating in other ways too, such as having the Georgia candidate for Governor oversee the election in which he is the candidate, which is like having a judge oversee a trial where he is the defendant.

Because they know their views are in the minority. They know that if everyone had an equal vote, they’d always lose. Our views are the majority views.

The only way we can be represented by doing what they don’t want us to do: vote. They can’t suppress everyone.

Republicans will do everything they can to win an election except get the most votes.

A partial fix to the Electoral College: The Wyoming Rule

We currently have 435 members of the House of Representatives.

Nowhere in the Constitution is there a mention of how many members of the House there should be. The number grew over the years as the population increased and then, in 1929, Congress set the limit at 435 and there it has stayed.

Just a quick primer: Every ten years there is a census and the country is then divided up into 435 districts of as equal a population as possible. Every ten years, some states get new House members (California, Texas and Florida mostly) and some states lose them (Ohio and Pennsylvania among them) as the population grows and moves to warmer climates.

wyoming-welcome-sign

This sign has more representation than a voter in California

Here’s the big problem: You can’t divide across state lines, and you can’t have less than one representative per state. So we end up with some states with only one House member in a district much smaller than the average district.

Wyoming is the least populous state. There are more people living in Washington, DC than in all of Wyoming. Wyoming gets one representative who represents all 500,000 or so of their residents. Meanwhile, the rest of the country divides up the best it can.

It gets worse when you consider the Electoral College. Each state gets one elector for each representative they have in Congress plus two for each Senator. This means Wyoming’s three electors represent about 188,000 people but each elector in California has to represent 677,000. Why should one state’s elector have more power than another state’s?

Well, the easiest solution is just to get rid of the Electoral College (of course) but that requires a Constitutional amendment needing 75% of the states to approve, and guess which states would be against that? Yep. The smaller states who also, not coincidentally, are mostly all Republican. They like the Electoral College because it’s helped them get two popular-vote-losing Presidents into the White House within the past 16 years.

So many are now arguing for Congress to change the number of representatives using the “Wyoming Plan.”

Basically, you would take the smallest district (which is currently Wyoming) and use that as a bottom, meaning all other districts in the country would need to be as close to that size as possible.

This would add an extra 13 seats to California (the largest gainer). Texas would get 9, New York 7 and Pennsylvania 5. 

We’d end up with a House membership of 546 instead of 435, and that’s not unreasonable for a country with a population as large as ours. And you wouldn’t need an amendment — just a majority of Congress to pass the law.

Just one more reason for you to vote Democratic in November.

They don’t want you to vote

Republicans spend an inordinate amount of time and money trying to take away your most basic right in a democracy: The right to vote.i-vote-sticker

They use illegal voter purges. They make registration extremely difficult if not impossible. They move voting precincts around randomly. They block efforts to allow for early voting or mail-in ballots. They try their best to make people ineligible. And, of course, they use gerrymandering and the electoral college.

And you know why. Because they know there are more of us than there are of them, and when we vote in equal numbers, we win.

So the only way they can keep power is to cheat — to do everything they can to keep us from using the power we have.

Don’t let them.

Vote.

 

The latest anti-Hillary lies about that DNC lawsuit

First, a disclaimer: I supported Bernie in the primaries, and believe that had he won the nomination, he may very well be President today. But that’s an issue for another day.

Some rabid Bernie people (perhaps spurred on by Trump people behind the scenes who troll liberal pages and try to get us fighting each other) are making absurd claims about the recent lawsuit against the Democratic National Committee.

Basically, the lawsuit was filed by some Sanders supporters.  I’ll summarize their argument here:  “Waah! The Democrats were mean to us!”bernie-and-hillary

Okay, it’s a bit more complicated than that. What they said was that the leaders of the Democratic party were biased against Bernie and were doing what they could to make sure he didn’t get the nomination. The lawsuit complained that the DNC worked behind the scenes to schedule debates in a way that helped Clinton; that the people in charge supported her; that they planned events in ways that harmed Sanders. (The lawsuit did not claim — nor could it — that any laws were broken.)

Oh noes! Whoever thought there would be politics in politics!

Setting aside the problem of an outsider suddenly joining a group and demanding to be in charge of it and how that group would react, the lawsuit faced its first challenge that all lawsuits face: A Motion for Summary Judgment.

This is where the defendant in the case (the DNC) tries to get the case thrown out. The law requires the judge to say “assuming the plaintiff’s recitation of the facts is true, is there a claim for action here?” In other words, just because you may claim to be hurt doesn’t mean the law provides a remedy.

The judge rightly concluded that there was no case here and threw it out. Instantly, memes and blog posts started popping claiming that the judge found that everything the plaintiffs claimed was true. That’s not how it works.

The Democratic party is a private organization. They can set whatever rules they want for picking their candidate. The don’t have to have primaries (and in fact, many states have a caucus instead). They don’t have to sponsor debates. They can go back to the old days of choosing candidates in smoke-filled rooms (although being Democrats, it would be in a “smoking not permitted, have some latte and a croissant” room).

Don’t like it? Join the party and work to have the rules changed, instead of, you know, being an independent for your entire political career, joining the party just in time to run for office, and then quitting the party again as soon as you lose.

Did the DNC violate its own internal rules? Very likely. But that’s an internal problem they need to deal with — it’s not subject to a lawsuit.

So if you see someone claiming that the judge found that everything in the plaintiff’s lawsuit was true, they’re either completely unaware of how lawsuits work or else they are aware and are lying to you.

How Democrats Lose Elections

Despite being in the majority (and technically winning 6 of the last 7 Presidential elections), we Democrats do a good job of losing when we could have won. Some of it is due to the left’s refusal to support a candidate who isn’t liberal enough for them.

This meme brought that to mind recently:

20727981_1573613746032645_3381458737393579423_n

Ignoring the insult that compares liberals to dogs eating vomit, the underlying point makes sense.

“But no,” some reply, “Even if you add the 3rd party votes to the Democratic side, they still wouldn’t have won in some of these races.”

The problem with that argument is that it ignores how elections really are won.

It ignores the donations given to the other candidates that could have gone to the Democrat. It ignores  the volunteers who worked for the other candidate that could have been working for the Democrat. It ignores the people talking about their candidate instead of the Democrat.

An election is won before election day, by the work and investments made by a campaign. Splitting those resources that could have been used to convince even more people to get out and vote for the Democrat could have made the difference in each of these elections.

At the same time, better candidates would have made a difference. Humphrey, Carter, Mondale and Hillary Clinton just weren’t candidates that inspired people in the way that Obama and Bill Clinton did. But when you don’t have that better candidate, splitting the resources only gets Republicans elected.

Dedication to purity may be noble, but it ain’t politics. Politics is about winning and about getting as much of what you want as possible, as I’ve said quite a bit recently (while making some of my more “pure” liberal friends angry).