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Posted by on Nov 16, 2016 in Politics | 19 comments

Democrats Needing Cheese With Their Whine?

Democratic Party

The Hill is reporting that outgoing Democrat senator Barbara Boxer will introduce legislation to get rid of the Electoral College.

Boxer’s quest is so quixotic that not even Don Quixote himself would pursue it.


Because . . .

. . . what Boxer wants is fraught with problems as the USA Today editorial board mentions in its editorial “Keep the Electoral College”.

. . . being that the USA is a nation of states, the states decide who will be the POTUS. The Electoral College levels the playing field for the states. An elimination of the Electoral College would result in the disenfranchisement of the individual states. A New Hampshire Union Leader editorial states, “The Electoral College ensures that small states, and rural areas in large states, are not completely ignored in presidential campaigns. Replacing the Electoral College with a national referendum would turn most of America into Flyover Country.”

. . . 3/4th of the states have to ratify any constitutional amendment in order for it to take effect. Even a Democrat should figure out that 3/4 of the states won’t relinquish a right belonging to each state.

. . . the USA Today editorial board says it best: “The way to win is to run better campaigns and better candidates under the existing rules, not try to change the rules after a painful loss.”

In a commentary for the Wall Street Journal, Hillsdale College president Larry P. Arnn explains the reason for the Electoral College:

“The Constitution is paradoxical most of all about power, which it grants and withholds, bestows and limits, aggregates and divides, liberates and restrains. Elections are staggered, so as to distribute them across time. The founding document also divides power across space; the people grant a share of their natural authority to the federal government, but another share to the states where they live.

This innovation is most directly responsible for the greatness of the United States. Think what the Founders achieved: They invented a way of governing, and they extended it without benefit of kings or colonies across a vast continent, bigger than they could imagine, until they got to the other side 30 years later. The magnificent Northwest Ordinance granted free government to the territories, then representative and independent state government thereafter. Ruled from Washington, the nation could never have settled this land in freedom nor made it so strong.

The practical political equality that the American people have achieved depends entirely upon their ability to spread political authority across a vast area. In American political life, it matters how many people are in favor of a given thing. It also matters where they live.

Mr. Trump joins John Quincy Adams, Rutherford B. Hayes, Benjamin Harrison and George W. Bush as the only presidents who won without the popular vote. After 2000, this is the second time in recent years — a product of the deep and wide division in America between the urban and the rural, the sophisticated and the rustic, the cosmopolitan and the local.

It is a shame that the winner this year, Mr. Trump, lost the popular vote by a whisker. But it would be as much or more a shame if Mrs. Clinton had prevailed despite massively losing the geographic vote, the vote across space, the vote that reflects the different ways that Americans live.

We forget that it is a historical rarity to have an executive strong enough to do the job but still responsible to the people he governs. The laws in the U.S. have worked that miracle for longer than anywhere else. Remember that the Electoral College helps establish the ground upon which the American people must talk with each other, while ensuring that they are not ruled as colonies from a bunch of blue capitals, nor from a bunch of red ones.”

This talk about eliminating the Electoral College is nonsense. As that New Hampshire Union Leader editorial says, “There have been some longtime critics of the Electoral College, but the newfound fervor to replace it is mostly sour grapes.”

Barack Obama was elected POTUS twice via the Electoral College. The same also goes for Bill Clinton.

The Electoral College didn’t prevent Hillary Clinton from winning on 11/8/16. Hillary Clinton prevented Hillary Clinton from winning on 11/8/16.

If Democrats are going to whine about the Electoral College, then they need to include cheese with their meals.

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  • Shannon Lee


    • JSpencer

      BIngo. Use plenty of disinfectant!

  • dduck

    Remember, rich white, land-owning guys set this whole deal up. It is still great but the EC should go, why they don’t even have a Parcheesi team or a multi-billion dollar endowment fund for goodness sake..

    • JSpencer

      No water polo either, dammit!

    • KP

      I am confused. It was worse in 1970.

      So, those of us who are not rich, white, landowners should not have cheese with our wine? I have the feeling I can’t please anyone as a white man unless I age and die.

      • dduck

        Box wine is OK and remember the cheese blocks.

        • KP

          Box wine can be great. Screw tops too. I’ll let you know about the cheese blocks as I slide into poverty in California.

          Progressives; the rich and the poor are welcome.

          The middle class … who work and pay taxes, need not apply.

          Like “The Band” sang “The Weight”.

          • KP

            Some men an women worked their butts off and mortgaged lives to be like Dobey Gillis.

            We all knew some Maynard G Krebs’.


            Maynard learned how to game the system.

            Dobey has been paying for Maynard.

            <Maybe a new generation of shawl collar wearinhg Dobey's just wake up.

            My two cents. Millennial's are not happy with the Maynard G. Krebs types walking the street.

          • KP

            This a mature audience here at TMV.

            My two cents, Teach young that hard works, works.

            They already have enough input about what to wear and which bathroom to use.


            Hard work … works.

  • The Ohioan

    No, what the Democrats may have to whine about is the worry that the Republicans, who now control enough federal and state offices to call a Constitutional Convention, will do so and pass some amendments to wrest control from the federal government to state governments. This will lead to dissolving the glue that has held us together for 240 years and give states more authority to crush their citizens civil rights that are guaranteed by the Constitution.

    If the electoral system was replaced with a parliamentary system, it would eliminate the smaller states being able to overrule the larger states’ votes which has led to the popular vote being negated by the electoral votes. Of course this could be the election that the electoral college was devised to address, but has never had to before. We will see what they come up with.

    In the meantime:

    In “It’s Even Worse Than It Looks,” Washington-based scholar/pundits Norm Ornstein and Tom Mann remark several times that the way to look at the dysfunction and gridlock of recent years is that the U.S. political parties are behaving more and more like parties in a parliamentary system, but the American system does not work with that style of partisan behavior.

    Because of their structures, parliamentary systems are relatively gridlock-proof. Our system — absent the grease of partisan cooperation and compromise — is particularly gridlock-prone.

    • JSpencer

      Amen Ohio.

    • bookworm914

      @The Ohioan: Is the Ornstein/Mann piece available online? That is a very interesting observation, I would be interested in reading further.

      The author remains reflexive rather than reflective. He states obvious inductions and baseless whimseys without distinction or analysis. Obvious points stated: Obviously the electoral college is not ‘responsible’ for anything; obviously a constitutional amendment to replace it with another mechanism is not imminent (amendments to that effect have been failing for a very long time already); obviously all presidents, good or bad, were elected by the electoral college (though most were elected by the NPV as well!). Statements that merit reflection: could NH newspapers possibly have a bias toward the electoral college(?!) NH is a swing state, but VT, WY, UT, MS, etc don’t see a lot of campaign, maybe most small states aren’t so well served; incoherence of the ‘geographic vote’ as a concept – as there is a divide b/w urban and rural, what would it mean for any candidate to either win or lose the ‘geographic vote’, other than to privilege voting based on land ownership?; he criticizes the NPV proposal without actually considering the philosophical purpose (small-d democracy).
      It boggles the mind that a column about this year’s presidential election and the electoral college can overlook the question of demagoguery. The original purpose of the electoral college was to insulate the presidency from direct election of a demagogue (see Federalist #68, Anti-Federalist #72; the quoted analysis by Arnn misunderstands the history – aggregating votes by state was a mechanism, not the purpose). Ironically and painfully, the popular vote this year would have prevented that, whereas the electoral college is unlikely to do so.

  • Christopher Wolf

    Personally I think most Americans care more about PEOPLE being disenfranchised then states. Also, in these national elections most of the states already ARE fly over country. I live in California, and if a candidate was here it was to fund raise, not to try to get votes.

    That being said I don’t see a groundswell of support to eliminate the electoral college and its probably going to be around for a long time.

    • KP


  • Slamfu

    While it is pretty absurd to think, especially right now when just over half the country is still working through the 5 stages of grief, that we are going to repeal or even form a serious movement to repeal the Electoral College anytime soon. The party that has benefitted most from it is in power for starters.

    But it is a stupid, outdated system. I’m really not sure what the author meant by Clinton ” massively losing the geographic vote”, because as far as I know rocks, trees, and rivers don’t get a vote, people do, so I’m not sure what the “geographic vote” means. You can play some seriously wierd games by moving excess voters around and have a major electoral win using less than 40% of the popular vote, without even changing who people voted for just by moving where they live. The fact is in every state the only votes that count are 50% of the total voters plus 1. All the votes for the losing team PLUS all the votes past 50% +1 are pretty much a waste. Those extra votes in CA for instance, worthless to the final outcome.

    They could at least proportion them more accurately. WY for instance gets 3 votes with a population just under 600k, meaning they get one EC representaive per 194,718 people, while CA get one per 705,000 people. WY has more than 3.5 times the electoral clout as CA, or TX. While I’m a big fan of the wisdom of the Founding Fathers and the amazing document they put together to guide future generations, let’s not pretend it was perfect. As written black people only counted as 3/5ths of a person and couldn’t vote, and neither could most citizens unless they owned land. Times have changed somewhat to fix some of the initial issues.

    So while I agree the Democrats are freaking out and this is not something that is even remotely possible to do anytime soon, that doesn’t mean that it’s not something we should eventually be looking into. The last time we ignored the popular vote we ended up with the most damaging administration since Hoover, and looks like we are hopping on that same merry go round again.

    • Dorian de Wind, Military Affairs Columnist

      Well stated, Slamfu.

      Another “weird game” being played (albeit at the state level) is the infamous gerrymandering, played with perfection and abandon in the past in my home state.

      • Slamfu

        Frankly considering the billions spent on the election, the fact that as few as 105k voters swung 3 states that could have changed the outcome, I wonder how long it is before political parties just starting paying committed voters to move to the states they need just a few thousand more reliable votes in. I can see it now.

        Are YOU a solid Democratic vote? Ever thought about living in Ohio, Pennsylvania, or Michigan? Sign up today!


        • KP

          Born and raised here in Cali.

          Come on out.

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