Friday, March 22, 2019


We know the Republicans cwant to dominate our political system much more than they want to preserve democracy -- gerrymandering, vote suppression, and eleventh-hour efforts meant to thwart the will of any Democrats who manage to get elected in purple states all make that clear. But now we see that Republicans are prepared to keep winning presidential elections in perpetuity without ever winning the popular vote

The Washington Examiner David Drucker reports:
Senior Republicans are resigned to President Trump losing the popular vote in 2020, conceding the limits of the flamboyant incumbent’s political appeal and revealing just how central the Electoral College has become to the party’s White House prospects.

Some Republicans say the problem is Trump's populist brand of partisan grievance. It's an attitude tailor-made for the Electoral College in the current era of regionally Balkanized politics, but anathema to attracting a broad, national coalition that can win the most votes, as past presidents did when seeking re-election amid a booming economy. Others argue that neither Trump, nor possibly any Republican, could win the popular vote when most big states are overwhelmingly liberal.

“California, Illinois, and New York, make it very, very difficult for anybody on our side to ever again to win the popular vote,” said David Carney, a Republican strategist in New Hampshire. Asked if he expects Trump to defy the odds next year, Carney said flatly, “No,” but added, “the president shouldn’t worry about it. Two hundred seventy — that’s what people remember.”
I've read a lot of high-minded defenses of the Electoral College; many liberal writers, most recently New York magazine's Eric Levitz and Jamelle Bouie of The New York Times, have thoroughly rebutted those defenses.

But I want to direct your attention to the wording of right-wing rhetoric on the Electoral College. Above, a GOP strategist warns that “California, Illinois, and New York, make it very, very difficult for anybody on our side to ever again to win the popular vote.” (Never mind the fact that the second most populous state is Texas. Purple Florida is third, followed by New York, purple Pennsylvania, and then Illinois.)

Recently, President Trump tweeted this:

Levitz, Bouie, and others make clear that you can't win the popular vote in a presidential election just by winning big states or big cities. I think most of the Electoral College's defenders know that, though I'm sure Trump doesn't.

But these aren't just arguments meant to seem logical. At the risk of stating the obvious, they're meant to suggest that the invasion of the "real America" -- "Smaller States & the entire Midwest," in Trump's words -- could come to our presidential elections as well, if Democrats get their way. The right already rejects the notion that city dwellers and residents of big states are Americans, because we vote liberal and many of us are non-white. The Electoral College argument is the standard argument made by right-wing fearmongers -- drug-addled urban criminals will lay siege to suburbs and rural communities, an immigrant "invasion" is coming over the border -- extended to the processes of democracy. "They" will have too much power unless the Electoral College remains in force. "They" will take over.

We won't win this argument with logic. It's going straight to the fear centers of the conservative brain.

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