Tuesday, September 08, 2020


The Daily Beast has a report on efforts by liberal groups to game out possible responses to a disputed election. Most of the scenarios involve outright attempts by President Trump to steal an election he's legitimately lost, but the planners also consider what they might do if, once again, Trump wins the Electoral College while losing the popular vote.
... the Transition Integrity Project noted that there would be immense pressure on Biden to fight it out if, for the third time in 20 years, the Democratic candidate won the popular vote but didn’t take office. In a simulation they ran, Team Biden “encouraged Western states, particularly California but also Oregon and Washington, and collectively known as ‘Cascadia,’ to secede from the Union” unless structural reforms were made. In exchange for Trump getting the presidency, for instance, Republicans would need to agree to abolish the Electoral College, give Puerto Rico and D.C. statehood, and divide California into five states for better Senate representation.
Whether or not you agree that liberal groups should fight the results under these circumstances -- I'd reluctantly say that an Electoral College win is a win, and some groups involved in this project agree -- why would anyone believe that Republicans would take this deal?

Do we think it's the 1860s and the Republican Party cares about preserving the Union? Republicans have made clear for at least forty years that they don't believe Democrats are Americans. They'd be happy to let these states go.

The most obvious reason is that the Senate would immediately be down six Democratic senators -- and the House, which is now Democratic by a 232-198 margin (there's also one Libertarian in the House, Justin Amash, along with four vacancies), would lose 56 Democrats and only 11 Republicans, leaving the GOP with a 187-176 advantage.

But wouldn't Republicans want to preserve the economic might of the Pacific Coast states? Microsoft? Apple? Amazon? The film industry? California alone provides nearly 15% of U.S. GDP.

Well, where's the evidence that Republicans care about the health of the U.S. economy? Republicans hamstrung the recovery from the Great Recession during Barack Obama's presidency. They seem not to care whether there's another round of coronavirus relief. They support finding the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional and depriving millions of Americans of health insurance. They care about the economic health of the wealthy, not the country.

Republican politicians would be happy to see the West Coast go, and their voters, who've been told that California is an unlivable hellhole for years, and are now hearing the same message about Portland, would be delighted by coastal secession. If Democrats want to take a tough negotiating stance in the event of a muddied election result, they'll have to do better than this.

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