All This Silliness about Abolishing the Electoral College
“How could this have happened?” the media pundit bemoans, as he looks over the foolproof election data that he disseminated prior to the election. “How do I tell my daughter that America elected a racist, sexist bully?” the self-loathing, white-privileged mother cries, as she glances at her previous article about how a state law prohibiting confused men from entering what may be a little girls’ bathroom is somehow tantamount to misogyny. “Love trumps hate!” reads a banner among the rioters in the street, as they visit violence and destruction upon innocent people and businesses in their community.
Perhaps sillier than all of that, however, is the incessant mantra amongst all of these people about how Hillary may have actually won the election because she garnered more of the popular vote than Trump. By now, you’ve heard the disgruntled leftists parroting the sentiment that the Electoral College is an archaic relic that is either racist (what else?), or has obviously outlived any usefulness it may have once had. Therefore, in the interest of progress, it must be abolished.
Outgoing California Senator Barbara Boxer has recently introduced a doomed-to-fail bill meant to do just that.
This argument is, of course, painfully dim and tiresome. The Electoral College is one of many safeguards against what de Tocqueville would later describe as the “tyranny of the majority” that our Founders feared, or more specifically, the threat of a concentrated majority in a state that happened to be more populous than another. After all, it’s doubtful that Rhode Island would have chosen to ratify the Constitution and join these United States if they believed that their state’s unique desires at the federal level would be perpetually overruled by the much more populous New York, for instance.
In the simplest terms, the United States was conceived as a voluntary union of sovereign states which were unified under the limited federal government which bound them -- one which could only act within the very strict guidelines enumerated in our Constitution. It is very much by design that the prerogative of each sovereign state is influential in the election of our president, and the Electoral College helps to ensure that.
But I won’t beat that dead horse. There is ample reading material to inform interested parties about the wisdom of the Electoral College, in contrast to a strictly popular vote where highly-populated urban strongholds located in a minority of states might disenfranchise the will of the large majority of other states in presidential elections. But the truth is, Democrats are throwing this tantrum not because they believe that reason backs their argument. They’re throwing this tantrum because the recent actions of the Democratic Party have resulted in its absolute repudiation by the people of the United States, and they’re in denial as to how or why it’s happened.
To say that the last eight years have culminated in the neutering Democrats in terms of federal power is an obvious statement, given the loss of both chambers of Congress and the presidency that they held in 2009. But it’s also a massive understatement about just how much power the Democrats have truly lost in the context of federalism and the form of our constitutional republic.
This election was a whirlwind and a shock to many, to be sure. But the trend of the American people rejecting the ultra-left agenda of the Democratic Party and its imperial president is not isolated to 2016. By the time the dust had settled on the 2014 midterm elections, Democrats had already lost 70 seats in Congress, the largest Party sweep in over 60 years and a massive shift in federal power which gave Republicans control of the federal legislature. But going far less noticed is the fact that by that time, Democrats had also lost over 910 seats in state legislatures nationwide since 2009.
This latter statistic, in a country where power is designed to be leased upward from citizen to state to federal government rather than vice versa, is perhaps the more salient one. Sure, Democrats had continued dominance in their prized, highly-populated urban strongholds like D.C., New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. But even prior to the 2016 election, the vast majority of Democrats’ numerous political outposts in flyover country had already been razed, overtaken by a groundswell of popular dissent unlike anything seen in the last 38 years.
The Republican Party has never in that time owned a majority among state legislatures to the extent that it does today. In January of 2008, just prior to Barack Obama’s election, Democrats held 27 state legislatures to Republicans’14, with 8 split. As of April, 2016, Republicans controlled the legislatures of 31 states to Democrats’ 11, with 7 split. (Data courtesy of the National Conference of State Legislatures, and which excludes Nebraska.)
For reference, in January of 1980, just prior to Reagan’s landslide victory, Democrats held 28 state legislatures to Republicans’ 15, with 6 split. We’ve not seen Republican command of state legislatures like this in over four decades at least, if ever.
The point is, it is only too obvious that the American people have turned on the Democratic Party, and that the actions of the Party for the last eight years are the reason for it. It’s happening to a glaring extent at both the state and federal level, and yet the elite thinkers of the left refuse to believe this. Therefore, it’s maddening for any thinking person to hear arguments that, even though several formerly blue states voted for Trump in this election, because the margin of victory for Hillary was bigger in states like California and New York, Hillary actually should have won the election. (In the weeks before the election, I also remember Democrat pundits happily arguing that though Trump might potentially win the popular vote, Hillary held the Electoral College advantage -- the Blue Wall, which makes the recent hubbub about the Electoral College all the more curious…)
It should have been obvious that the actions during Obama’s imperial presidency had reshaped the political map in Republicans’ favor, even prior to this election. Don’t get me wrong, I admit to having been skeptical about Trump’s chances in the presidential election. But with the benefit of hindsight and logic, one can only conclude that Democrats’ continued inability to see the reason for their descent into irrelevance at all levels signifies their profound ineptitude.
I have news for you, progressives. The canaries have been tweeting furiously these last eight years, signaling for you to get the hell out of the deep, dark mine that Democrats have been manufacturing. You just haven’t heard them because you love the sound of your own voices so much that you began shouting over one another to see who could be the loudest to crow about your disdain for Americans who don’t share your vision for the country.
So, Barbara Boxer, Bill Maher, et al, just keep shouting amongst yourselves. I mean, sure, it must’ve been the Electoral College what did it, right? Just keep telling the American people that they’re ignorant, racist hicks for disagreeing with you. Keep crowing that your gal actually should have won, and that open borders and Obamacare should be the law of the land absent the consent of the governed, as you’ve been doing.
Seems to be a winning strategy thus far. For Republicans, anyway.
William Sullivan blogs at Political Palaver, and can be followed on Twitter.