Thursday, November 17, 2016

On Electoral College, Be Careful What You Wish For Liberals

Every time a party wins the popular vote but loses in the Electoral College it starts thinking of ways to eliminate the Electoral College.

Of course, there's a bit of a problem with that. The Electoral College is right there in the constitution. See, it's right there, as Lina Lamont might say.

Not that some liberal Supreme Court might not vote one day to eliminate the Electoral College because of some penumbra in the Constitution that clearly establishes a right to a popular vote for President.

Failing that, as Paul Waldman writes, we can implement the National Popular Vote plan.
This idea utilizes the fact that the Constitution gives each state permission to allot its electors any way it pleases. States that join in make a pledge to allot their electoral vote to whoever wins the national popular vote. Once you have states that combine to exceed 270 electoral votes, the measure can take effect and then the popular vote winner will automatically win.
I would think that any sane person would be able to see the problem with this. What if a state backs out at the last minute? What about skullduggery? After all, I wouldn't think that a Hillary Clinton, based on her peerless record for political shenanigans, would hesitate for a minute to bribe a state delegation to vote the other way, and have the entire mainstream media and the Washington establishment behind her.

Anyway, based on my understanding of Buchanan and Tullock's The Calculus of Consent, which is an eyewatering analysis of voting systems, I would estimate that whatever system we have for electing a president it would still involve bribing the fence-sitters to make up a majority. Because that is what Buchanan and Tullock asset. Every voting system comes down to bribing the fence-sitters. We call it "log-rolling."

That is how it is today in presidential elections. The candidates take the deep-blue and deep-red states for granted and campaign almost exclusively in the so-called toss-up states. They are, in effect bribing the fence-sitters.

In 2016, as we know, Donald Trump either by luck or design centered his campaign around an appeal to the white working class and, low and behold, he turned the white working class Rust Belt states -- Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennslyvania -- from blue to red. Was that genius or dumb luck?

Here is something else to consider, liberals. It issues from the words of Lee Kuan Yew, once Prime Minister of Singapore. He remarked that in a multiracial country the voters vote by race.

So let us think, what would candidates do if they were running national campaigns that focused completely on the national popular vote. I'd say that sooner or later they would run campaigns based solely on identity politics: in other words, race. They would find that basing a campaign on anything more fine-grained than that just wouldn't work on a national scale.

Of course, the Electoral College, like the Senate, is one of the concessions that the Founders had to make to the small states to get them to sign onto the Constitution. The Electoral College and the Senate both over-represent the small states in the affairs of the nation.

The question is: Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Obviously a president elected on a pure national popular vote would not care too much about small states, and without a Senate a small-state Senator Reed (D-NV) would not be able to hold up the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste site.

Here's another idea. What about diversity and inclusion, liberals? Surely, without the Senate and the Electoral College we would have much less diversity and inclusion in the nation, because the big states would just outvote the small states and impose their big-state agenda on the little guys.

It all comes down to this. Who do you trust? Do you trust modern liberals that backed the most corrupt presidential candidate since Lyndon Baines Johnson, or do you trust the Founders like Madison and Hamilton, who had read, learned and understood the great books about political philosophy that had been coming out in the previous century or so. They had read their Locke, their Montesquieu, and the result was the US Constitution. Then they wrote the Federalist Papers, perhaps the finest disquisition on politics and constitutions ever written. The basic argument of the Federalist Papers was to justify how much government was enough. How much was needed to keep a nation safe in a world of predators and yet keep government small enough so it would not oppress its people.

In my lifetime I haven't seen liberals rise above a tactical mindset that seeks to queer the system to benefit liberals next time out. So I'll stay with the Constitution and the Electoral College as written, until the day dawns when the nation boasts another Madison and another Hamilton in its front rank.

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