Thursday, December 22, 2016

Response to White Blues

(See: Just Above Sunset: White Blues)

"Some conservative publications have taken to arguing this week that the President-elect did much better on Election Day than his nearly 3 million-vote deficit suggests – if only certain liberal cities and states were completely discounted from the popular vote total."

That’s according to Matt Shuham, of Talking Points Memo, under the headline, "Conservatives' Special Revisionist Math: Trump Won Popular Vote If You Nix CA!”. And with not dissimilar math, one could argue that “Clinton Won Presidency If Only You Discount All Those Votes For Trump!”

As for the conservative claim that California accounts for all the votes that gave Hillary her popular vote victory?
By far, the most popular target for wholesale disenfranchisement in these thought-experiments is California. Clinton won the state’s popular vote by more than 4.2 million, according to a tally by the Cook Political Report, which is an even larger margin than her nationwide popular vote lead, which was nearly 2.9 million.
Okay, but I could argue that maybe those votes actually weren’t from California after all — maybe they were, for example, in Texas, a state where, at last count, 3,877,868 votes were cast for Clinton, also well over her 2.9-million national margin.

Why Texas? Good question! Maybe we could make that New York, a state Hillary won with 4,547,218 votes, of which about 2,900,000 were the surplus we’ve been looking for.

But what we’re forgetting here is, when you're talking about the popular vote, you're talking about a national vote, so it doesn’t matter what state (or combination of states) the votes come from, since, with the popular vote, states would be irrelevant!

With a national popular vote, the distinguishing element is that it actually hurts or helps no group in particular.

Back in the 1990s, when I first started looking into this idea of us abolishing the indirect vote, I was told that Democrats would never go for it because of a belief that the electoral system helped inflate the power of urban minorities, who otherwise would just get lost in the crowd. These days, the argument has swung back to helping protect small states who tend to vote Republican, and so switching to the popular vote would wipe out this protection, and thus, would be seen as “hurting” the Republicans.

Think of it this way:

Suppose we had neither an electoral or popular vote system; suppose we had a plutocracy, in which, instead of casting votes at the polls, we bought political offices with money, deposited directly into the treasury. As you can imagine, in a country where the candidate who put up the most money wins, the billionaires always get their way, and any attempt to change to a democracy would be met with complaints that such a change would unfairly punish billionaires.

And Americans, being a fair-minded people, wouldn't want to see anyone be disadvantaged, so they'd hesitate before improving the way they pick their presidents, at least until they had more time to think about what to do — sort of like today.

Absurd thinking? Hey, you said it, not me!

So to beat a dead horse:

The electoral college system is always, arguably, biased in favor of some group or another, which means that, at the same time, it is biased against some other group. We somehow need to stop allowing our election system to be biased for and against people. The way to fix that is to go to a system that has no built-in bias, and that’s one that gives one person one vote.

But then, there's Bill O’Reilly, jumping in with his own theory of what’s behind the movement to abolish the electoral college:
“Summing up,” he said, “[the] left wants power taken away from the white establishment. They want a profound change in the way America is run.”
Fair enough — and he is to be applauded for his candor! — but doesn’t that imply that the right wants to keep the electoral college because they don’t want power taken away from the so-called "white establishment”?

(Here’s a hint: The answer is, yes, it does imply that!)

And by the way, O’Reilly went on to also observe this:
“Very few commentators will tell you that the heart of liberalism in America today is based on race,” O’Reilly said. “It permeates almost every issue. That white men have set up a system of oppression. … So-called white privilege bad. Diversity good.”
I’d argue that “commentators” who think that way are probably “conservative commentators”, since many of those tend to see the difference between the parties as having almost everything to do with race. In fact, in my experience as a white transplanted Yankee living in Georgia who often finds himself chatting with Republicans, they are usually puzzled to discover that I myself am not a Republican, since when they think of a Democrat, they picture someone who is not all that white.

But no, the treatment of minorities by Republicans is only one of the many reasons I call myself a Democrat, others being a belief that Keynesianism makes the most sense on what to do about the economy, since the best way to get people to spend money is to let them get their hands on some; and that we, as a nation, should do what we can, no matter how much it costs, to improve the opportunities of those not born into rich families — and that includes universal healthcare; and a belief that illegal immigration does very little, if any, harm to this country; and a belief in freedom of religion, the take-away of which being that Christians should be allowed to fully celebrate their faith in ways that don’t trample on the rights of the rest of us; and that our best foreign policy would not be to try to intimidate the rest of the world, since that’s something the Nazis tried to do, and look what that got them!

We could go on and on, but let's not.

All this nonsense reminds me of something I heard back in the late 1960s while sitting in the back seat of a Triumph TR-somethng that was being driven the seven miles from Newark, Ohio, to Granville, Ohio, when the driver blurted out, seemingly apropos of nothing, “Imagine what a different world this would be had Barbra Streisand been born without a nose!” In this particular instance, for example, had Barbra Streisand been born schnozless — and given the famous “butterfly effect” — who’s to say that Hillary might not have won Pennsylvania?

And hey, for all we know, maybe in that world that knew no Streisand schnozzola, maybe her noselessness could have caused some butterfly to take a left instead of a right-turn, which, through a series of unforeseen events, somehow got rid of the electoral college?

Sure! Why not! It’s been a strange year anyway.

No comments:

Post a Comment

(No trolls, please! As a rule of thumb, don't get any nastier in your comments than I do in my posts. Thanks.)