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December 12, 2016

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I hadn't seen that, Davebo. That made me so happy. Thanks so much! My dad died several years ago, but I miss him. I worry that people don't understand what happened then.

By the time he was old, many of his friends had much more conservative views than he did, and he didn't have much patience for that. He wasn't perfect, but was an incredibly good guy. I have to say that I still agree with his politics. He absorbed what he saw and read, and had an incredibly accurate read on current events. He loved the possibility that our country could stand for justice. I wish he had lived to see Obama as President. Am glad he didn't see this Trump thing.

sapient your Dad was a Thunderbolt driver and hence, a hero.

That said, beyond his service it's obvious he was also a rational thoughtful person and more importantly, passed that on.

Keep fighting the good fight but pace yourself and most importantly, take care of yourself so you may live to fight another day. Just as we needed him America needs you! ;0)

Sapient, I said a vacation, not a ban. Here in Japan that's a day, but where you are, I think a week is a general unit of measure. Content free comments like "So do lurk, and try to keep on topic, Donald." are going to earn you that.

I've said this before and I'll say it again, I'm actually a lot closer to your position than Donald's. Maybe because of that I'm holding you to a higher standard than I'm holding him. I don't think so, but that's a possibility. But Donald doesn't have to answer questions, and he can post his private thoughts. You can disagree with him. But you are crossing a line, and if you don't know what that line is, I'll give you a week to figure it out.

Emphatically what Davebo said at 1.22.

Thanks, folks. I should take a vacation. I'm still distraught.

Hi Sapient, I really understand your feelings and understand how it can impinge on what you want to say. That's why I said vacation rather than ban, and I'd really prefer not to have to do even that.

I mentioned earlier that this is the absolute first time I'm happy that my mom and dad are not around, cause they would be worried about the kind of world that we would have to raise their grandchildren. I think the majority of people here have the same kind of feeling that you have and it is hard to deal with. But please, don't take it out on people here, even if you strongly disagree with them, cause I don't see how that can help anything. Thanks.

Marty,

The reason your comments about states sound wrong to me is that there seems to be an underlying idea that states are somehow sentient, apart from their residents, that they have feelings, opinions, policy preferences, and so on.

They don't. They are arbitrary closed curves drawn on a map of the US. The people who live inside these curves undoubtedly have feelings, opinions, rights, etc, but, first of all, these are not uniform within even the most partisan state. Second, no one is proposing to disregard them, or value the residents of one state any differently than those of another. Well, no one except people who go on about states rights and not wanting to "live under the rule of California."

You will not live under the rule of California. You will live under the rule of the majority of voters in the US, subject to the various protections and limits on the government as a whole.

Now, it is true that, taken as a whole voters in CA and NY and TX will have more influence than those in OK and KS, for example. But that's because there are more of them. If they prefer policies that voters in other states tend to dislike, that is just a natural outcome of democratic procedures. Given a choice between two policies at the national level it makes no sense - none - to say that individual voters in OK and KS should have more influence - more, because that is what you are arguing for - than those in more populous states.

Frankly, these arguments about some states dominating others are nuts, IMO.

Yeah, it sure sounded like Marty was complaining about a group of states with 270+ electoral votes TOTALLY JAMMING A PRESIDENT down his throat.

I, for one, feel his pain.

we have had over 200 years of mostly stable, mostly peaceful governance and transfers of power. that's actually quite unusual. I think we take it for granted.

it's also relatively fragile, and to a larger extent than we might think depends on mutual agreement to respect and abide by certain norms.

many of which are, in fact, at risk, now.

so, it may be useful to know how other folks have dealt with negative situations.

Milosovic/Trump and the Balkans/US are light years apart. I agree that respecting and abiding by certain norms is important to maintaining the body politic. Living with the consequences of the Electoral College--which people have been discussing and questioning forever--is part of that respect.

Those who want to change the rules should make that case prospectively.

I get the majority vote thing. It has resonance. But Marty has a point too. We may be one country, but we are diverse geographically in a number of ways (although, I think it is less geographical in many respects and more urban v suburban, but that's beyond my current point). What works for very comfortable majorities on the West Coast and the Northeast is problematic for more or less equal comfortable majorities elsewhere.


The beauty of the electoral college is that it gives smaller states a bit more of a vote, which means that national candidates have to pay attention to smaller states. It may be inconsistent with pure democracy, but it isn't per se wrong or even anti-democratic.

Which means national candidates have to be 'national' and not regional. There is nothing wrong with that.

Also, a lot of what drives the current discussion is Donald J. Trump. If Mitch Romney or someone like MR had won, the intensity level would be a lot lower.

So, rewriting the rules because of DJT seems a bit premature. The world as we know it has not ended.

What's entirely odd about this notion of states entering into the popular-vote compact forcing everyone else to live under their rule is that it's the opposite. They're all agreeing to live according the rule of the country as whole, at least as far as electing presidents goes. I'd still like to know how a state whose popular vote goes one way while the national popular vote goes the other is forcing anything on anyone else by assigning its electors to the opposite candidate it would have absent the compact.

They aren't agreeing simply to assign their electors the same way collectively according to their own collective decision. They're subject to the vote, however it happens to go.

Indeed. If they were forcing their opinion down the other states' throats - or were really aggressive about pressuring other states to join - they'd make the compact require their votes be given to the winner of the popular vote strictly according to votes cast within the compact states. They are, simply put, not doing that.

The beauty of the electoral college is that it gives smaller states a bit more of a vote, which means that national candidates have to pay attention to smaller states.

Aren't the House and Senate enough?

And, of course, if we wake up in a week or so to find that the Electoral college voted 270-268 in favor of Hillary she will just slide into no problemo because, well, that's the way the electoral college works?

Aren't the House and Senate enough?

And, of course, if we wake up in a week or so to find that the Electoral college voted 270-268 in favor of Hillary she will just slide into no problemo because, well, that's the way the electoral college works?

The House is proportional to population; the Senate is not. The Senate concept emanates from the same principle as the EC. I'm not saying it's great or perfect, just that it's been there forever and it isn't irrational. It's all in the Constitution, i.e. that common ground we all agree to be on, yes?

If the EC votes for HRC, I think that will be a much bigger thing than anyone here expects. But, I'm not going to borrow trouble between now and then.

Putting the compact aside for the moment, is it safe to assume, then, McKinney, that you would have no problem with proportional assignment of electors instead of winner-take-all assignment? Someone in Wyoming would still be worth 3.6X someone in California.

In practical terms, the two proposals are almost the same. The possibility of the electoral college going the opposite way of the popular vote would be miniscule with proportional elector assignment and every state would matter, not just the swing states.

McK,

The beauty of the electoral college is that it gives smaller states a bit more of a vote, which means that national candidates have to pay attention to smaller states.

I think that, like Marty, you are confusing states with people, assigning them qualities they just don't have.

It may be inconsistent with pure democracy, but it isn't per se wrong or even anti-democratic.

I think it is plainly anti-democratic.

Which means national candidates have to be 'national' and not regional. There is nothing wrong with that.

Our four most populous states are CA, TX, NY, and FL. Not exactly a regional bloc, is it? The next six are IL, PA, OH, GA, NC, and MI.

Let's look at a bunch of southern states, AL, AR, GA, LA, NC, SC, and MS. Their combined population, at 41 million, is 4% bigger than CA, and they have a combined 55 House seats to CA's 53. OK. That makes sense. But they have 14 Senators to CA's two, and hence 69 EV's to CA's 55.

How is that not wildly undemocratic? Would a system that chose the President by popular vote cause candidates to ignore the very similar political interests of these states, of that region? Wouldn't they in fact pay more attention than they do now?

The house is not proportional to population - CA house districts average 723,000 per district, the entire population of VT is 626k and WY 584k. This could be fixed by adding more House members, as it is, even the House is out of wack. (numbers per wiki for 2014).

Yes there is essentially zero chance that enough Electors will defect from Trump that anyone else will win the electoral vote and thus not worth worrying. If that did happen it would be chaos. Perhaps if the number is 15 or 20 it will spur reform. But I doubt it.

The beauty of the electoral college is that it gives smaller states a bit more of a vote, which means that national candidates have to pay attention to smaller states.

I missed this part. This isn't true. National candidates have to pay attention to the states that are up for grabs because it's winner take all. Size isn't the issue.

a lot of what drives the current discussion is Donald J. Trump. If Mitch Romney or someone like MR had won, the intensity level would be a lot lower.

I think this is very much on point. I would go further and point out that in 2000, with a result even more fraught (thanks to the Supreme Court) and a President elect that a lot of folks had serious reservations about, the level of emotion was a lot lower. High, but a lot lower.

I think that is indeed specific to Mr Trump. Not even so much to the sort of pandering he did to the basest emotions of his followers, but to the personal characteristics that he brings to the position. Characteristics such that a substantial number of those who voted for him say that he is not qualified and/or not suited to the job.

McKinney, isn't there some legal aphorism about hard cases making bad law?

"Aren't the House and Senate enough?"

Uh, no. With the continuous expansion of executive power and the power of the veto it ensures that the best Republicans will ever hope for is divided government with ultimate authority in Democrats hands. See CA. The only limitation of Congress continuing to cede power to the executive is that the next executive might be from the other party. When you take away that real possibility then you have an autocracy.

Historically autocracies, even voted in one's, are suboptimal governments.

With the continuous expansion of executive power and the power of the veto it ensures that the best Republicans will ever hope for is divided government with ultimate authority in Democrats hands. See CA.

I think that is a pretty serious misstatement of the actual situation in California. Yes, the Republican Party has been an irrelevance in California for the past couple of decades. But that is entirely a self-inflicted wound.

The range of political opinion in California today is not much different from what it was in the days when Ronald Reagan was elected (and re-elected) Governor. What happened is that the Republican Party chose to go off the deep end to the right. Nobody forced them to do so. Nobody, outside the GOP, prevents them from moving back towards the center. NOT, note, to become a center-left party; just back towards the center.

And, in fact, we are seeing (at least I think I am seeing) the beginnings of exactly that. We have Republicans as mayors of some of our biggest cities. Mildly (as opposed to extremely) conservative Republicans are getting elected to the legislature -- even from districts, such as mine, where Democrats are a substantial majority of registered voters.

My personal expectation is that, in the future, we will again see Republicans in statewide offices. They will be people who are too moderate to have a good shot at winning a Republican primary today (or would if we still had partisan primaries, rather than top-two primaries). But they won't be liberals by any stretch of the imagination.

I think the same applies to the Republican Party nationally. The GOP could, without even changing most of its positions on the issues, be an easy majority party. A great number of blacks, and a substantial majority of Hispanics, are quite conservative on social issues. If they did not have the (justified) feeling that they are being deliberately rejected by the GOP, their home would be there. In short, for conservatives being an electoral minority is a choice. If we decide that you can be conservative without being a racist or a xenophobe, that you can be a conservative politician without pandering to them, then we are back winning elections across the country.

I believe it is important to point out that California voted for Clinton 8.5M to 4.3M. Outside California Trump won by over 2M votes. NY 4.5 to 2.5. These are not the same kind [email protected] l

No question but that the California GOP has succeeded, to a remarkable degree, in making "Republican" a toxic label in California. Which doubtless contributed to Trump's showing here.

All I'm saying is that the wound is self-inflicted. And that it looks like it is (finally!) being reversed. It's not something set in stone for the indefinite future.

Reminds me of a recent poll where a large percentage of Trump voters claimed that it was a pro Trump lanslisde since all those excess Clinton voters were from California (and therefore illegitimate).

Milosovic/Trump and the Balkans/US are light years apart.

Yes. Let's keep it that way.

Less jocularly (haha!) I shared the CANVAS link because I'm a proponent of non-violent political and social activity. In the context of DJT plus the current flavor of (R)'s with a majority of the House and Senate, and god knows what on the way in the SCOTUS (are there any ExxonMobil or Goldman Sachs alums left, or have they all been nominated to the Cabinet?), it may be that folks who don't like how things are going will need to resort to extra-electoral action to have a voice.

So, protest, civil disobedience, etc.

I'm not saying we live in the Balkans, I am saying that direct action may be on the menu. There is nothing more in the American tradition. Some forms of direct action are effective, some aren't. If you're gonna play, best be effective.

Regarding the EC issue, it is absolutely related to the election of DJT. Many people, myself included, see that as a freaking calamity.

I will add in the fact that we have had the lost-the-popular-won-the-electoral thing happen twice in less than 20 years. Which gets my attention.

And I will add in the fact that yes, it is primarily an urban/rural divide, and that divide is going to increase if current trends continue and more and more people live in cities.

I don't really have a problem with either the Senate or the EC as a way of giving less-populous areas a slightly larger voice in things. I don't mind measures to make sure minority interests aren't steamrollered.

What I do have a problem with is that, due to the winner-take-all way in which electoral votes are allocated, the electoral vote can end up diverging from the popular vote to a degree that renders it unrecognizable as the will of the people.

I think that is equally as dangerous as neglecting minority interests. More so, probably.

The winner take all strategy is not mandated by the Constitution, was not the original practice, and in fact was viewed by alarm by many of the folks who actually wrote the constitution. For all of the reasons discussed throughout this thread.

There is no reason that it has to persist.

Is "fear of California" in the DSM?

The house is not proportional to population - CA house districts average 723,000 per district, the entire population of VT is 626k and WY 584k. This could be fixed by adding more House members, as it is, even the House is out of wack. (numbers per wiki for 2014).

Or Montana, with over a million people for one seat. Or DC and PR, with 700K and 3.5M respectively, and no (voting) House seats at all.

Of course, even 584K is an awful lot of people for one person to fairly represent. If we kept to the more manageable 35K or so per seat we had in 1792*, we should have something more like 9,000 House seats.

I think that's an idea worth considering.

It'd make it a lot easier to run for a seat, for one, which would bring in new and different sorts of people. And it'd be a lot easier for the winners to actually stay in touch with and faithfully represent their constituents.

Smaller districts should also be harder to gerrymander.

And of course it would fix some or most of that proportionality problem, just by virtue of having smaller units to deal with. And, speaking of, also make the electoral college more representative (because the senator count doesn't change).

---
* The apportionment of 1792 created 105 seats, spread over a population of just under 4 million (that 3/5s nastiness notwithstanding). That's only about 36,000 people per. The fixed 435 number wasn't settled on until 1911, which meant about 212K to a seat at the time. And now we're up to 730K odd and counting.

I am in favor of embracing the Republican mantra, and stripping the right to vote from welfare recipients.

If your state gets more money from the federal government than it pays in, it loses its electoral votes.

Drug test, too.

I believe it is important to point out that California voted for Clinton 8.5M to 4.3M. Outside California Trump won by over 2M votes. NY 4.5 to 2.5.

I'm not sure why this is important to point out. Unless the implication is that Californians aren't Americans...?

If the EC votes for HRC, I think that will be a much bigger thing than anyone here expects.

I agree with this, and neither expect nor wish for the EC to install HRC rather than Trump.

I'm with Ugh, IMO it would be appropriate and completely within the scope of their responsibility for electors who do not want Trump as POTUS to decline to vote for him.

Whatever flowed from that, would flow from that.

Man, we could have fun expanding on jack lecou's comment.

Here's my proposal: The least-populated state in the country shall have 2 representatives in the house. Each of the other states shall have a number of representatives in the same relative proportion to its population as does the least-populated state.

Not even so much to the sort of pandering he did to the basest emotions of his followers, but to the personal characteristics that he brings to the position.

It's also worth pointing to just how nasty of a campaign we just sat through, to include explicit exhortations that the current outcome was not akin to a Nazi winning, but WAS a Nazi winning... and all the "we'll see" talk on the other side about accepting results. The rhetoric utilized in the campaign in both camps pretty much assured us that we were going to have a contentious holiday season.

In other news, Trump has just named Rick Perry as his pick for Secretary of Energy.

Careful readers will remember that the Dept of Energy is the department that he couldn't remember he wanted to eliminate back in 2012.

Is this all a prank?

Is this all a prank?

So long as the outrage machine continues to focus on his most recent outrage, we all get fatigued. I think this happened on the other side when we got tired of arguing about the false allegations of Obama/Clinton. While in this case they may be true, it is still fatigue.

Well, then DoE is safe, provided we can keep Perry from remembering that he wanted to eliminate it.
On the other hand, aren't the US nukes under DoE (instead of DoD)?

Here's my proposal: The least-populated state in the country shall have 2 representatives in the house. Each of the other states shall have a number of representatives in the same relative proportion to its population as does the least-populated state.

I just made a spreadsheet.

Anchoring to a manageable number of reps in the smallest state is interesting. (You have a constitutional hiccup if there's ever a state with fewer than 60,000 people, but that could be dealt with.)

By my reckoning, this scheme would give you a total of either 1069 or 1095 reps, I think, depending on whether you allow rounding up. Which stands to reason - you basically double the seats in the smallest state and the whole system follows suite.

Still seems like a lot of people for one Congresscritter to represent -- it varies between 246K in Alaska and 378K in ND in the rounding up model.

BTW, using a fixed divisor of 35K, you get a House with 8,780 or 8,804 members (depending on rounding). I think it'd be fun!

Speaking of nukes....

Our POTUS, Calamity Donald.

HSH, that was my immediate reaction, too. Give the least populous state two House seats. Give every other state a number of House seats which would correspond to how many multiples of that number of people it has.

A far smaller, and therefore more workable, House than the 9000 JL suggested. But a lot more reasonable representation.

I suspect it is easier to keep in touch with 300k constituents today than it was to keep in touch with him 35000 in the 1700's

Pushback from the DOE.

I suspect it is easier to keep in touch with 300k constituents today than it was to keep in touch with him 35000 in the 1700's

What about represent?

HSH, that was my immediate reaction, too.

Great minds think alike. And so do we!

On my off topic posts, I apologize if they are a distraction.I started to explain my reasoning and just deleted it. Too long. One suggestion--maybe there should be an open thread once a week for off topic links, nasty insults, accusations of fascist collaboration, and personally I could use a sort of drop point for my secret messages to Putin.

Uh, no. With the continuous expansion of executive power and the power of the veto it ensures that the best Republicans will ever hope for is divided government with ultimate authority in Democrats hands.

Or, you know, the GOP could change its policy positions so they have a chance of winning the popular vote. Like a political party or something.

Like a political party or something.

So Republicans and Democrats aren't bound to their positions by natural law? It's always something on this damned blog, I tell ya.

One suggestion--maybe there should be an open thread once a week

We traditionally had a weekend open thread every week. But I have been remiss the past few. Sorry.

Yes, Republicans could make sure that Republicans have no one to represent them. Problem solved.

Yes, Republicans could make sure that Republicans have no one to represent them. Problem solved.

And who represents the Illinois Nazis?!!? What about them?!!?

I think you are unclear on the difference between "have a voice in government" and "have the ability to prevent anything we don't like from happening".

One is reasonable, the other is not.

Nobody gets everything they want.

Are all Republican voters perfectly represented by all Republicans in office now, Marty? Or is it that some Republicans in office line up on some things with some Republican voters, and other things with other Republican voters, and maybe even with some Democratic voters on a few things?

How is it, for instance, that Dixiecrats became Republicans? What about Reagan Democrats? Did those people wake up one day suddenly believing different things that they did when they went to be the night before?

..than they did when they went to bed...

To put it another way:

If the (R)'s endorse policies that don't attract the support of the majority of people in the country, then it's reasonable for them to occupy the position of minority party.

Rural people, specifically, have a voice in government that is larger than their numbers. If that isn't sufficient for them to prevail on a particular issue or set of issues, then that's the way the cookie crumbles.

They won't be the only ones in that position, trust me.

Consider the number of votes cast for Democratic candidates versus the number cast for Republican candidates at all levels of government in this country as compared to the numbers of Democratic and Republican office-holders at all levels of government in this country. Then tell me who should be complaining about not being represented.

On the other hand, aren't the US nukes under DoE (instead of DoD)?

The National Nuclear Security Administration, a semi-autonomous agency within DoE, is responsible for design, construction, maintenance, and storage of non-deployed nuclear warheads. Also reactors for the Navy. IIRC, another part of DoE manages WIPP, the geologic storage facility for waste from the nuclear weapons program.

To be honest, DoE's history of handling nuclear things isn't particularly good, especially at locations in western states. Carry-over from that is a good part of why western states generally dislike commercial nuclear power.

I suspect it is easier to keep in touch with 300k constituents today than it was to keep in touch with him 35000 in the 1700's

Yes and no. Communication and travel is easier, what with automobiles and airplanes and telephones and emails and whatnot.

But that goes only so far. If we assume that one way email blasts and robocalls aren't what we mean by "keep in touch", than most of the benefit amounts to effectively reducing travel time - rather than making a circuit of the county seats on horseback or whatever to talk to people, a candidate can sit in their office and answer the phone.

But you do still have a finite amount of time to talk, and the time you gained by ditching the horse travel isn't necessarily exponential. Three hundred thousand (or whatever fraction is actually doing the talking) is a lot if you mean to actually listen to them, even via email and phone calls.

Plus you can't remove all the travel and logistics either. For example, a good representative should be holding lots of local meetings and townhalls where people can come out and have a chat. Ten times as many people means 10 times as many meetings, over 10 times the area.

Ten times as many people means at least 10 times as many local issues (demographic groups, industries and employment centers, specific environmental, transportation and energy supply issues, etc., etc.) to mentally track as well.

There are major tipping points with all of these - for example, there's going to be a big drop in participation and engagement when you pass the point between where you can manage to hold completely regular meetings (same place every Wednesday night) which everyone knows about vs. having to maintain a complicated variable calendar which people have to look up and may not even know exists. And there's a point where a district gets large enough that one person just can't simultaneously mentally juggle all of the relevant issues and events and constituencies going on. (Thirty or forty thousand is super manageable. That's a city neighborhood, or a small town and a bit of farmland around it, etc.; three hundred is an entire mid-size city, or more likely, a big, probably diverse corner of a state.)

Relatedly, there's some point where people "feel" like you are actually approachable, vs. feel like you are a distant, too-important functionary, and thus don't even bother to try and reach out (even if they technically could, and you were eager and able to listen).

I think there's something to be said for keeping the number down to where personal contact with everyone is possible, if that's remotely feasible. Both campaign-wise and representation-wise.

So how much is too much? I don't know. Three hundred thousand might be fine. Finding out where those tipping points actually are would be an interesting line of research to start finding out.

Yes, Republicans could make sure that Republicans have no one to represent them. Problem solved.

Oh, hi, Marty, welcome to my world! It's not so bad here once you manage to replace your sense of entitlement and belonging with thick-skinned cynicism or amnesiac optimism.

Which is to say, for as long as this country has existed, there's been large blocs of people in this country who have been living with the unthinkable state of affairs you can't imagine being subjected to. It's not like a more centerist Republican party would become Portland Greens - they'd still hold more closely to your particular position nationally than other parties, and in very red regions, they'd presumably hold even closer locally. Having a political party that perfectly matches your ideology AND controls the levers of power in the federal government is not a citizen's right. You can have one of those, or the other. If you get lucky, you can sometimes have both. But having been lucky at any given moment doesn't mean you're now entitled to be lucky in perpetuity.

Uh, no. With the continuous expansion of executive power and the power of the veto it ensures that the best Republicans will ever hope for is divided government with ultimate authority in Democrats hands.

Or, you know, the GOP could change its policy positions so they have a chance of winning the popular vote. Like a political party or something.

Heresy!

Speaking of, I demand that the Federalist party be returned to a majority in the halls of power. Or at least granted a veto over everything.

It's divisive and unfair that all these Republicans and Democrats and other populist hooligans keep ramming their policies down our throats just because they win elections!

What have you got against Whigs?

One contravailing issue, JL. A part (perhaps even a big part) of the rise in partisan rancor in national politics seems to be this: travel has become sufficiently easy that a lot of members of Congress now live and keep their families in their home district. As opposed to moving with the family to Washington.

Arguably, this makes it easier to keep in touch with the folks who elected them. But it removes the informal social ties that used to exist between members of Congress. As one memorably put it, "it's hard to demonize the other guy when you spend Saturday watching your kids play soccer together."

Also, it's harder to get things done when you only work 3 days a week on your job in Congress, because Monday and Friday are travel days so you can see your family back home. We need, perhaps, to have a discussion on the proper balance between keeping in touch and doing the actual legislating that you were elected to do.

Arguably, this makes it easier to keep in touch with the folks who elected them. But it removes the informal social ties that used to exist between members of Congress.

That's probably true.

I wonder if there are even enough airplane seats leaving DC for 10,000 reps to fly every week...

Seriously though, that's definitely a discussion worth having. Mandatory attendance?

The sheer logistics while in session of a chamber 5, 10 or 20 times as large would need some working out too. Obviously a lot of work already gets parceled out to committees and smaller working groups. That'd have to get dialed up to 11, I suppose, which might or might not be all to the good.

I admit to being of many minds on this subject.

One that hasn't appeared much here is that if we are going to decide that states are nothing but administrative regions for implementing federal policy, then we ought to have a Constitutional Convention and make that explicit. While we're about that, it would be good to draw the boundaries based on some other principle -- population, or watersheds, or something less arbitrary than "from 37°N to 41°N latitude and from 102°03'W to 109°03'W longitude" (Colorado's official boundaries, with deviations for early surveying errors).

Absent that, then under the 230-year-old rules, states do matter, and that has to be reflected in national politics in some fashion or another. Sure, Wyoming is over-represented. OTOH, 40% of the coal used for electricity in the US is mined in Wyoming, the vast majority on federal lands, the large majority of that to benefit Midwestern and Eastern states, and Wyoming is denied the kind of taxing authority that, eg, Texas has on its petroleum and natural gas resources. No one is ever going to convince the political class in Wyoming that they're getting a fair shake, even with two senators. (For the record, I'm a long-time coal opponent and not just because of CO2. It's an example.)

Lots of people talk about urban vs rural. Of late, I've been inclined to think that the fundamental difference in the political classes is "states matter" and "no they don't".

MC: Wyoming and other Western States made that deal to join the Union. Texas was more powerful and could negotiate. With Art of the Deal Trump as President, surely those leaders will learn this is what a contract is?

While we're about that, it would be good to draw the boundaries based on some other principle -- population, or watersheds, or something less arbitrary

Wouldn't that be nice.

I think there's actually a lot of dysfunction coming from the fact that regions like metro NYC/NNJ or metro DC/NoVA/MD are essentially fractured, with much policy being set by state capitols hundreds of miles distant.

This recent work on deriving economically linked megaregions from commute data is interesting on that line: http://www.citylab.com/commute/2016/12/how-4-million-commutes-shape-americas-megaregions/509483/

I can probably think of about 50 things wrong with using those as political division right off the bat, though. There's almost certainly no perfect way to divide things up.

Absent that, then under the 230-year-old rules, states do matter, and that has to be reflected in national politics in some fashion or another. Sure, Wyoming is over-represented.

What's perverse about the electoral college though is that even though Wyoming technically has a disproportionate number of electors, it has exactly zero influence on the outcome of the election. It is red, therefore ignored utterly, while the concerns of, e.g., rural Ohioans are pandered to endlessly.

A national popular vote wouldn't be as good for Wyoming as, say, letting the Senate pick, but it'd still be better than status quo.

"Oh, hi, Marty, welcome to my world!"

I'm smiling at this, because there certainly not any party that approaches my ideal. However, The somewhat cavalier notion that it is a good thing if parties simply change their positions so they can win elections is not really how it happens, nor would it be a good thing.

I keep missing the explanation of how the fact that there are 8 million blue voters in California should translate to Texans not being able to own a gun. The questions are that simple.

All based on Michael Cain's ultimate question in his 5:25, I believe that states matter. States formed a union, states were added, some were territories until they got to be states, some didn't join until they were assured of certain rights.

States matter and it is absolutely the bedrock of my point, and failure of your critique, that everything that comes back is a way of saying states don't matter. In more than one place in the Constitution the states were specifically recognized to have certain rights, unless specifically granted to the federal government. To call the understanding of the Constitution as recognizing that states matter, as a whole or in its parts, is specious.

Marty,

No one is saying Texas can't have guns. If the guns stay in Texas, no one cares. When guns cross state lines, it becomes a federal issue. Figure out how to keep your guns there, and you can regulate them.

Wyoming and other Western States made that deal to join the Union.

No, they didn't. When Congress added them, the states had the expectation that they would get the same deal earlier states got -- federal lands would be transferred fairly quickly into local private and/or state hands (eg, Nebraska). Much of what did go into private hands was to large eastern business concerns, who bought elections to serve their interests -- driving the entire ballot initiative and recall movement across the West. Federal policy towards the lands changed drastically (but still unofficially) around 1905, and the final nail was the 1976 Federal Land Policy and Management Act, which said the western states would never gain control of the public lands in those states, and which passed Congress against an almost unanimous western vote.

I keep missing the explanation of how the fact that there are 8 million blue voters in California should translate to Texans not being able to own a gun. The questions are that simple.

Well, it goes like this.

California and Texas are states in a union which has a thing called a federal government, and is in the whole constitutes a "nation". The respective authority of the states and the federal government to make policy within that nation are spelled out (or in some cases, vaguely gestured at) in a document we call the Constitution.

Policy at the federal level is made by a legislature elected at varying degrees of representation by all the states, and an executive branch led by a president and vice president, who are appointed by electors chosen by the states, with each state having electors equal to the number of its federal legislative delegation.

California, as a populous state, has a large delegation, and a large number of electors, though not enough by itself to determine anything. It chooses its presidential electors according to the winner of the popular vote in California.

Texas does likewise, though being less populous, it has somewhat fewer electors to choose.

If California and other states holding at least 270 electoral votes between them should decide instead to nominate their electors in a block based on the outcome of the national vote rather than the votes in their individual states, this is within their rights. And should Texas or other states elect not to participate in this coalition and continue to appoint their electors based on the vote within the state, it would also their right.

Either way, every four years, California and Texas and the other several states will appoint electors according to the method selected by their state government, and if at least 270 of those electors thus appointed choose the same candidate, that person will become president.

The president, once sworn in, signs laws sent to it by the congressional delegations of the states, and administers laws previously passed (as well as conducting diplomacy and war, nominating judges, and other functions).

If the congressional representatives appointed by the states should pass a bill restricting gun ownership, and if the president -- elected by the electors appointed by the states in their due proportions -- should sign it, and if the court officials appointed and consented to by this and previous presidents and congresses should decide that the law does not contradict certain notorious clauses in that Constitution we mentioned, then gun ownership will be lawfully restricted in Texas (as well as the other states, presumably).

Simple!

Mexico, on the other hand, not being a member of the union, chooses its own laws, and is not subject (at least directly) to the votes of US citizens in California or Texas. See how that works?

Likewise an explanation of why Californians can't ban guns in California, should they so choose, would be nice.

The latest long piece by TNC (which is to my mind a tremendous read), is also to the point:
https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/01/my-president-was-black/508793/

“And so I’m careful not to attribute any particular resistance or slight or opposition to race. But what I do believe is that if somebody didn’t have a problem with their daddy being employed by the federal government, and didn’t have a problem with the Tennessee Valley Authority electrifying certain communities, and didn’t have a problem with the interstate highway system being built, and didn’t have a problem with the GI Bill, and didn’t have a problem with the [Federal Housing Administration] subsidizing the suburbanization of America, and that all helped you build wealth and create a middle class—and then suddenly as soon as African Americans or Latinos are interested in availing themselves of those same mechanisms as ladders into the middle class, you now have a violent opposition to them—then I think you at least have to ask yourself the question of how consistent you are, and what’s different, and what’s changed.”

'expectation' has a lot to unpack. I am not an expert on this and would love to know more. If my understanding is misguided I can change my opinion.

I keep missing the explanation of how the fact that there are 8 million blue voters in California should translate to Texans not being able to own a gun.

I didn't know Texans couldn't own guns.

But I do keep missing the explanation of how the fact that Republican Senators represent many fewer people than Democratic ones should translate to a whole boatload of Republican nonsense, and [fill in rant about Trump appointees].

OTOH, 40% of the coal used for electricity in the US is mined in Wyoming, the vast majority on federal lands, the large majority of that to benefit Midwestern and Eastern states,

Let's start by not pretending that Wyoming mining activities are altruistic efforts to help Midwestern and Eastern states. My understanding is that the coal is sold, at market prices, not shipped out for free.

Also, that Wyoming mines a lot of coal is no more basis for privileges than the fact that Michigan makes a lot of cars ought to give it privileges. It's a normal business activity.

and Wyoming is denied the kind of taxing authority that, eg, Texas has on its petroleum and natural gas resources.

I assume you are talking about severance taxes. OK, but why can't Wyoming simply tax the mining companies. Per Wikipedia, the state is one of the few with no corporate income tax.

No one is ever going to convince the political class in Wyoming that they're getting a fair shake, even with two senators.

A little arithmetic might help, but in any case, this tends to be true of the political class in most states.

In more than one place in the Constitution the states were specifically recognized to have certain rights, unless specifically granted to the federal government.

...so we come back to you not actually objecting to the interstate voting compact, right?

Look. States can matter all they like. The federal government is not the states, though, and I might possibly be able to find some deviant reading of the Constitution that could kinda-sorta suggest the federal government matters, too. So unless you're pointing to specific Constitutional text forbidding a given solution to the electoral Charlie Fox that the states exercising their rights to reduce each others' relevance in presidential elections by implementing the current trainwreck of winner-takes-all electoral vote allocation (which was not the intent of the framers), I'm not seeing how that's a Constitutional issue, nor that denying states rights you don't like is actually a way of increasing states' rights. States' rights are explicitly their rights to self-govern, not their rights to impose their will on other states. So if states want to change how they carry out their federal elections in accordance with the Constitution, states' rights says they should. That you want to invoke a third-or-fourth-order negative consequence for some states by that happening doesn't change that - or at least it certainly doesn't on other topics.

And if you want to argue that we mustn't contemplate amendments that would change this because of the role of states in the Constitution... the document was written for a world that no longer exists. We as a nation have changed, and our subnational government's relationships to each other have changed. We've updated the Constitution accordingly; no more slaves, universal suffrage, direct election of Senators despite that taking power away from the states... It may be that there are magnificent reasons to maintain every scrap of the current federal-state balance in place, but if we're willing to broach the subject of going beyond merely legislative solutions "founder's intent" isn't one of them, as evinced by their adding to the Constitution provisions for amendment...

If CA *really* wanted to get Marty's knickers in a twist, all they have to do is allow non-citizens resident in CA to vote in state legislative elections PLUS federal elections.

It's completely constitutional. It's how that hotbed of commie liberalism, Wyoming, gave women the vote before the suffrage amendment.

Art I, Sec 2: "Section. 2.
"The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature."

And the Federales cannot interfere. Suck it, Texas.

ETA: the previous comment was NOT directed at our friend McTx, but rather the state.

It could be done by proposition in CA, for extra fun. I, for one, would gladly support such a measure.

"All persons, resident in CA for more than one year, and at least eighteen years of age, are eligible to vote for state legislators, and other local, county and federal offices. GOPers that attempt to bar them from the polls may be shot without penalty."

Okay, that last part is a bit over the top. A bit.


For the record, there aren't 8m blue voters in CA. Hillary Clinton won Orange freakin' County by 5% during this election - the first time that the county has gone blue since 1936.

In any other campaign year with any other candidate that difference would be much smaller.

It's not that CA is so much more blue, it's that CA is so much less white.

How fortunate tor residents in those southern rural states that my personal vote counts 20% less than theirs do. But at least I count as more than 3/5 of a person for representational accounting...

"Lots of people talk about urban vs rural. Of late, I've been inclined to think that the fundamental difference in the political classes is "states matter" and "no they don't"."

that's an interesting point. my take on it is that the folks who have strong feelings about states' rights are pretty much the same folks who live in rural areas.

all of that said I'm fine with states having authority in any area that isn't in the purview of the feds.

and there's the rub. right?

as far as guns go, there are 6 states which offer completely unrestricted permission to carry a firearm, 35 that allow it as long as you meet some basic criteria which is typically to pass a background check and maybe take a class, and 9 that reserve the right to deny you permission to carry. and even in those 9 you can get a firearm for hunting or home defense.

TX is shall issue, so if taking a freaking class and having to demonstrate an understanding of which end the bullets come out is too high a bar, you still have 6 other states you can move to.

I'm fine with states. I don't want them electing presidents. presidents should be elected by people.

"direct election of Senators despite that taking power away from the states..."

yes, away from the states, and to the people who live in them.

Unsurprisingly, I'm with Russell.

It's fine for local/state issues to be decided by local/state governments. In fact, it makes sense to do that.

But when we come to national policies the whole notion of states makes no sense. Policies need to be chosen by the people affected by them. Let Montanans set the speed limit in Montana. But don't let Montanans have a disproportionate influence over questions of war and peace, or national budgets, or whatever.

However, The somewhat cavalier notion that it is a good thing if parties simply change their positions so they can win elections is not really how it happens, nor would it be a good thing.

It is kind of how it works, though.

There have been 30 presidential elections since 1900, but, excepting the Roosevelt/Truman years, no party has managed to win the popular vote for more than 3 times running.

In the same period, the makeup of the country, and the views, platform and makeup of the people voting for those parties have changed almost totally. (A time travelling voter from 1900 probably wouldn't recognize either party today, and I suspect knowing which party they came from then would only give you about a 50/50 chance of guessing which one they'd join today.)

The obvious conclusion is that the parties - or at least the coalitions of people that form them - adjust pretty rapidly in order to stay relevant. The mechanisms are probably complex, but it clearly happens.

And on the whole, that adaptation a good thing.

That it's good seems like a necessary conclusion given that a) a permanent single party state probably isn't healthy, and b) lots of wins by technicality by a party that's steadfast to its principles, but increasingly in the minority and out of touch with the nation probably isn't much better.

There have been 30 presidential elections since 1900, but, excepting the Roosevelt/Truman years, no party has managed to win the popular vote for more than 3 times running.

It may be worth noting that moving the starting date back to 1896 gives a second stretch of more than three consecutive wins.

(No objection to the main point, to be sure, but basepoints do matter.)

" But don't let Montanans have a disproportionate influence over questions of war and peace, or national budgets, or whatever."

I don't know anyone who disagrees with this. My experience is that Democrats think everything is a national issue, and if it's not it should be, so whatever is exactly the problem.

States matter and it is absolutely the bedrock of my point, and failure of your critique, that everything that comes back is a way of saying states don't matter. In more than one place in the Constitution the states were specifically recognized to have certain rights, unless specifically granted to the federal government.

I'm really not sure what this is even directed at anymore. If it's an argument against something like the NPVIC we've been talking about, or other changes to the appointment of electors, it's not a cogent one. It's sort of not even wrong.

Assuming that's it, I'll just point out, for the umpteenth time, that appointing presidential electors in a manner of their own choosing (with virtually no restriction) is exactly one of the rights specifically granted to states by the Constitution.

Jack, I struggle to even respond after the 5 paragraph completely unnecessary civics lecture, but I am pretty sure i havent commented on the NPVIC specifically, as it seems it is completely within the rights of the state's, it's just a bad idea. If we were discussing simple proportional allocation of electors based on the voters within a state, I'm not sure I would even object. Proportional allocation of electors in a state based on the national vote strikes me as just slipping one by the voters, and a fraudulent bypass of the intent of the framers and 230 years of history.

So in the end, if all the blue states adopt it, they do exist by the common definition, then I would be thrilled in the short term because the GOP would pick up electoral votes. If they forced everyone to do that,( obviously the intent of the movement, it would just be a tricky way to move to the popular vote Democrats want so they can bypass the states.

The history of different parties certainly shows the changes back and forth but that doesn't predict the future.

If Democrats didn't believe it would help them win they wouldn't be for it. All the rest is rationalization to the voters whose vote wouldn't matter anymore.

Is there any right granted* to the states to conspire to achieve a goal? No! And that of course makes any voluntary 'compact' between states a no-no (as opposed to e.g. a national party leadership blackmailing the representatives of states to vote a certain way or face consequences).

*of course 'granted to the states' is a heretical phrase all by itself. All granting is done BY the states (or to be precise: the rulers of each).

[/snark]

My experience is that Democrats think everything is a national issue, and if it's not it should be, so whatever is exactly the problem...

Really ?...
http://www.vox.com/the-big-idea/2016/12/12/13915990/federalism-trump-progressive-uncooperative

Proportional allocation of electors in a state based on the national vote strikes me as just slipping one by the voters, and a fraudulent bypass of the intent of the framers and 230 years of history.

Doesn't sound like you read the link in the OP, among other things. Popular vote and proportional allocation were both on the table in the early days of the republic (the latter was, in fact, common for a while). There were reasons that neither became part of the Constitution or otherwise mandatory, but -- like the reasons for the 3/5s compromise -- they weren't especially noble ones. And they aren't relevant today, either way.

...If they forced everyone to do that,( obviously the intent of the movement...

This part doesn't make sense.

Part of my confusion might stem from the willy-nilly switching between the NPVIC -- a concrete (if possibly quixotic) proposal with some actual legislative success -- and the (currently) more academic proposal of some kind of intrastate proportional allocation, which might take several forms.

In neither case is this characterization really accurate, though.

If you're speaking of the NPVIC, than no, forcing everyone is not the intent or end goal of the movement. No state will ever be forced to pass anything it doesn't want to, and *everyone* certainly does not need to sign on. Only states sufficient to form a block with at least 270 electoral votes. The same kind of block of states which has determined the outcome of *every* presidential election since at least 1824.

If you're aiming that remark at proportional appointment, it's a better fit, but only slightly:

There's currently no organized movement for proportional apportionment AFAICT, so it's hard to talk of any specific intent, but I do see three potential approaches if anyone does give it a try: incremental adoption; constitutional amendment; and finally, supreme court decision -- perhaps along the lines of the equal protection argument someone linked to previously.

The first is clearly not forcing any state to do anything it doesn't want to, same as NPVIC. Neither is the second, unless you consider the constitutional amendment process itself to always be an unethical "forcing" of the majority's views on abstainers. (Perhaps you do.)

Which takes us to the last one. I suppose it *is* probably fair to say the 14th amendment *was* forced on a reluctant state or two back in good old 1866. But characterizing the amendment itself as "forcing" states to treat their citizens equitably seems a lot like characterizing detention as "forcing" school bullies not to steal their weaker classmates' lunch money.

It might be force, but it's not necessarily unjust.

..it would just be a tricky way to move to the popular vote Democrats want so they can bypass the states

I won't deny that there's a bit more...interest on the issue from the D side in recent days, but it's absurd to claim that there aren't plenty of non-partisan reasons to favor a popular vote, or at least some fixes to the existing system. The electoral college as it stands is objectively pretty awful.

For me, it has always had a lot more to do with loathing the ways electoral politics circumscribe presidential campaigns in almost ritualistic ways, and genuinely bypass the voices and concerns of a majority of states and people, from California to Mississippi...

Maybe try to look at it from a Rawlsian perspective.

Say I offer to send you on a one way trip 120 years into the future, in my many-possible-worlds quantum-time-teleporter.

Everything's pretty different in the future, but I assure you that the one I've found for you has an electorally competitive political party that you will find very congenial. In fact, I offer you the choice of *two* such futures: both have the same political parties, but there's one where the electoral college persists in essentially its current form, and one where a popular vote is used instead.

I won't tell you anything else about the choices. In particular, I won't tell you whether conditions in the future mean that your party would tend to be more helped or hindered by a popular vote in presidential contests.

Which do you choose, and on what basis?

Jack,

There is some of the jumping back and forth in my thought process, so, I don't like NPVIC but the states have a right to try and use their electoral college votes however they see fit. The states that have passed are all blue, the repeal process has already been tried in a few states and given a really strong Republican candidate this year more of them might have considered it. I suspect many people in the states where it has passed don't have a clue that is how their votes might be counted, or not counted at all in a few cases.

I do see this and some other ideas as trying to get to a national direct vote through the back door so my reaction to it is based on my reaction to that.

The electoral college in its current form is certainly my choice. The primary objections to it seem contrived or as self interested as my support.

The self interested part is simple, many on the left believe that direct elections will favor them demographically over time. Which I agree with, so I am against it.

I believe it would marginalize anyone who doesn't live within 30 miles of a huge population center and I think that ultimately the concerns for those people matter. While people say "land doesn't count people do", the reality is that the system we have at least seeks to ensure that people who don't want to live in those metro centers have some voice in their government.

The contrived ones, one person one vote etc. are just ways to make the desire more noble than "we should change the system to ensure we win more".

I believe that the founders, and early advocates of the electoral college, created a mechanism that allows a country as large and diverse as ours to last past the time when it could have otherwise.

It makes sense to me that the Presidential election would end up focused on a few swing states as the issues that impact those states become both a microcosm of national issues and they, like the Rust Belt this year, have issues that may require the federal government to provide policy solutions.

It also makes sense that proportional allocation within states is a means to provide the minority in both red and blue states a voice and moves toward the basic goals of the one person one vote contingent without undoing the ability to change that if the results had unintended consequences.

Both national direct election and the NPVIC fundamentally change the nature of our political system, which I do not agree is objectively awful, it is subjectively awful to you. It is my opinion that the fact that we can go from Obama to Trump, and likely someone more moderate next, is a strength of the system not a weakness.

Despite the accolades heaped on him Obama pushed the boundaries of executive power and the swing to Trump is likely to undo some of that. Some of Obamas overreach will be undone and it is likely the Republican Congress will actually take some power back from the Executive.

There is no mandate or even broad Republican support to accomplish the worst outcomes, we will not be installing a permanent fascist state because no one is actually for that. The Republicans themselves are likely to reject a few of Trumps appointments just to make sure he knows that he requires their support.

There is a valid argument that a third term with Clinton at the head was a more risky proposition in terms of creating a permanent ruling class.

All to say that the electoral college hasn't provided the doom of our country and direct election might have created a worse long term outcome.

"My experience is that Democrats think everything is a national issue, and if it's not it should be, so whatever is exactly the problem."

Funny, but my experience is that (R)'s think exactly the same thing, and "states's rights" is something they roll out whenever they don't get their way.

"If Democrats didn't believe it would help them win they wouldn't be for it"

and again, if (R)'s thought it would help them, they'd be all over it.

see also, for instance, voter registration laws.

your argument overall seems to be thar (D)'s want to impose their will on everyone else. well so do (R)'s. so do the greens for that matter, and the libertarians.

we live in a big Country with lots of different people in it. we're going to bug each other. we either need to accept that and deal with it, or go our separate ways. what we're doing now ain't working.

Marty,

Me: But don't let Montanans have a disproportionate influence over questions of war and peace, or national budgets, or whatever.

You: I don't know anyone who disagrees with this. My experience is that Democrats think everything is a national issue, and if it's not it should be, so whatever is exactly the problem.

ISTM that anyone who thinks the Senate is just a lovely institution disagrees with my point. The Constitution itself disagrees with it.

And yes, in a 21st century country, as opposed to an 18th century one, a great many issues are national, or at least interstate, in scope.

Marty,

I believe [a national popular vote system] would marginalize anyone who doesn't live within 30 miles of a huge population center and I think that ultimately the concerns for those people matter.

I really don't understand this at all, and it seems completely backwards. Right now California Republicans, rural or urban, are completely marginalized in Presidential elections. Their votes are meaningless.

Under a popular vote system that would not be so. Their votes would every bit as important as those in FL or PA.

"There is no mandate or even broad Republican support to accomplish the worst outcomes, we will not be installing a permanent fascist state because no one is actually for that"

I basically agree with this, with the caveat that for 'no one' we should read 'no one in a position to make it happen'. the concepts themselves were major applause lines throughout trumps campaign, which is a cap that his supporters can expect to wear indefinitely.

I know it's not something I will forget anytime soon. it's right up their with the hearty cheers for the guy who died because he had no health insurance.

maybe the social conservatives are right. maybe shame is undervalued as a social force.

what we can expect from trump is abuse of his office for his own personal gain and that of his cronies, significant federal support for extracting fossil fuels, privatization of public lands and infrastructure, and tax breaks and other goodies for the very wealthy.

and a shredding of what minimal social safety nets we have now.

not fascism, but a kleptocratic banana republic.

Trump is not a rebalancing back from excessive executive power. he is the reinstatement and normalization of teapot-dome style corruption.

all the folks in the "fuck your feelings" shirts are going to learn exactly what that phrase means. but they will never have the self awareness to see the connection between trump and their immiseration, they'll just blame obama.

or maybe I'm wrong, and there will be some of epiphany.

in either case, it's actually kind of tragic.

I'd be fine with proportional allocation. it ain't gonna happen, but it should.

"I really don't understand this at all, and it seems completely backwards. Right now California Republicans, rural or urban, are completely marginalized in Presidential elections. Their votes are meaningless. "

And they would remain meaningless in a national direct vote system. As would Massachusetts Republicans, and every other Republican in every state. Here is an exercise, figure out how many states it would take to add up to the 6 million vote margin from NY and CA, plus a million from Massachusetts. 7 million, that's the margin.

At least some Republican votes matter now.

Proportional allocation of electors in a state based on the national vote strikes me as just slipping one by the voters, and a fraudulent bypass of the intent of the framers and 230 years of history.

Who has suggested this, and why would anyone suggest it? Am I misunderstanding what you wrote here, Marty?

At least some Republican votes matter now.

Considering that they'll hold all three branches of the federal government and a solid majority of governorships and state legislatures, "some" might be an understatement.

hsh,

No you are not misunderstanding what I wrote.

It was my mashing of all these discussions into a single thought sitting in an airport on my phone. It should have said allocation rather than proportional, it was my unclear, (perhaps even to me),response to NPVIC. NPVIC is worse because it isn't even proportional.

Gotcha. I was thinking, "Who the hell came up with that one?"

And they would remain meaningless in a national direct vote system. As would Massachusetts Republicans, and every other Republican in every state. Here is an exercise, figure out how many states it would take to add up to the 6 million vote margin from NY and CA, plus a million from Massachusetts. 7 million, that's the margin.

Again, I just don't understand. You seem to be complaining that there are more Democrats than Republicans in the country, and that it is unfair that Democrats should win national elections because of that. Sorry, but that seems like a completely bizarre complaint.

All of this feels, to me, like the same arguments the federalists and anti-federalists had in the 1780's.

We want to be part of the nation, but not too much.

We want to be part, but only if we don't have to give up too many things.

There isn't a half-way. You're in or you're out. If you're in, you live with the fact that everything isn't going to go your way.

This is broader than the discussion of the EC. The emergence of voter registration laws which, somehow, selectively target people who vote (D) is another case of the same effort to hold on to an advantage that is not supported by numbers.

I don't mind that the Senate and the EC give rural states disproportionately high representation. I do mind that that is not enough, that there has to be disproportionate representation, *and* discriminatory voter registration, *and* winner-take-all electoral voting allocation.

If you can't win with the advantages that are built in to the system, then you don't deserve to win. You either have to change, or get out of the way. You can't dig your heels in and break the whole f***ing system for everyone else.

To the degree that Trump's support is based on his claims to revive the economy for working folks, I'm sympathetic. I don't think he's going to deliver that, in fact the opposite. But I understand the wish for it to be so.

To the degree that it's flipping the bird to snotty coastal elitists because you think they're going to impose their horrid lifestyle on everyone, I'm not really that sympathetic. We put up with you all, you need to get a grip and figure out how to live with us.

Otherwise it ain't gonna work, because nobody's going away.

So NPVIC is worse, since it "isn't even proportional".

I, for one, join Marty in welcoming Pres. Clinton with her 56% of the electoral votes, then.

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