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.

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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:

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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).

 

How Democrats can lose again: The litmus test

The GOP is doing its damnest to rip itself apart, fighting among themselves, looking like fools, and with the lowest approval rating for a President in his first few months ever.  So Democrats can be optimistic, right?

Nah. This is kind of what we had over the last year and we still lost, didn’t we?  Oh, sure, you can argue that technically we won because we got more votes, but this is America, and we’re still doing things stupidly simply because a bunch of rich white men 225 years ago thought it was a good idea.

We Democrats will screw it up again. We’re already seeing that. Democratic Representative Ben Ray Luján said there will be no litmus tests for candidates as the party looks to get a majority in 2020. Roe-v-Wade-protest

Liberals are already screaming, because we don’t want anti-abortionists taking away our rights. How dare we support a candidate like that!

Well, while in a perfect world, I’d agree with that, the bottom line is that we need to win in places where we usually don’t if we want our majority back (especially given GOP dirty tricks involving gerrymandering and voter suppression — without those two things, we’d probably already have a majority).

So we can be absolute purists and then whine about how perfect we are while the GOP keeps its majority and destroys everything we stand for — or we can face the real world and understand that it’s better to support a candidate you agree with only 70% of the time in order to keep out one you agree with 0% of the time.download (5)

“As we look at candidates across the country, you need to make sure you have candidates that fit the district, that can win in these districts across America,” said Luján. Does that mean we may end up with candidates who aren’t perfect?

Well, sure. But it’s better than ending up with elected representatives who are sworn enemies.

We, the People, rejected you. Stop lying about it.

Look, Trump people. We rejected you. We rejected you by a large amount — almost 3 million votes. On the chart of “winners” of our elections, Trump is the Biggest Loser. The next on the chart is George W. Bush, who lost by half a million.

The people said loudly and clearly that they don’t want you or your policies. loser

You only won because of an ancient loophole we’re stuck with — something that should have been removed long ago.  This is like a baseball team getting the most runs but losing the game because of a 100 year old rule that says that the team who has the best uniform wins, decided after the game by a group of people who are biased in favor of one team.

That is nothing to be proud of, and it is certainly not cause for you to lie and claim that you have a mandate to destroy everything the majority of Americans specifically voted against you not to destroy.

If there is a mandate, it is for the exact opposite of what you claim.

But then again, look at your leader — a lying ass who only cares about himself, who has spent his entire life cheating the system to get what he wants, by declaring bankruptcy as a business strategy and by suing everyone until he gets his way. What did we expect, huh? Of course you have no problem with abusing the system to serve yourself.

And the saddest thing is this:  You don’t give a damn. You’re proud of your dishonesty. You’re more than happy to screw over the majority of Americans as long as you get what you want. Hell, that’s basically the platform you ran on.

So don’t act all surprised that we say “Screw you, we didn’t choose you.” And don’t act all pure and innocent when we point out that America rejected you.

We’re not poor losers — we’re the winners. You got off on a loophole, you weaselly bastards, and there’s no way to spin that into support.

The Electoral College and the Founder’s Intent

There is a movement now to encourage the electors to choose Clinton over Trump when they meet next week. “It’s what the Founders wanted,” supporters say, with backing to support it. “The whole idea of the Electoral College was to prevent mob democracy, where the people could elect someone completely unqualified.”make-america

While I agree that “completely unqualified” accurately describes our current President-elect, I have to reiterate what I have said here many times:  I don’t care what the Founding Fathers wanted. We shouldn’t be tied to the past simply because of what a bunch of rich white men thought about a world that no longer exists.

My dislike of the Electoral College could not be stronger. My blog post about it a few years ago has generated the largest comment section of anything I’ve posted here, and it still generates lots of hits. And it’s not like the Electoral College hasn’t already changed since its original inception.

If you are in favor of democracy then sure, the electors should choose the person who actually won the popular vote.

But ironically, that’s not what the people calling for the Electoral College to choose Clinton are saying. They want the electors to choose the popular vote winner but that this is the exact opposite of the will of the Founders. The Founders set up the Electoral College to stop the democratically elected winner from becoming President if he was unqualified.

Even if you accept the argument that the electors should choose who they want no matter what the vote was, that’s not the reason the electors should choose Clinton. They should do it to send a message that we’re sick and tired of an anti-democratic provision in our Constitution and that we reject the Founding Father’s idea that the will of the people can be thwarted by an elite group of electors, following an arcane procedure that rewards states over citizens.