Category Archives: Elections

What needs to be done about the Electoral College

So once again there is, as always a call to end the Electoral College and replace it with just a national vote.

As if replacing one broken system with an even more broken system is a solution. Yes, the current system gives a bizarrely huge advantage to small states that have effectively zero population like Wyoming and the
Dakotas. But going to a pure popular vote will make all elections just pandering to the wants of the 10 largest cities in the country and will be just as off-kilter, possibly even more so, than the current situation. Both systems give too much power to one group or another and neither is a viable solution. Let’s not forget that the Founding Fathers recognized that there are supreme problems with democracy and the tyranny of the majority and that the more democratic you make a system the more likely you will have demagogues like Trump and Obama, not less.

But clearly, the system has given us hollow men with cults of personality for the last twelve years so it is clear that something is off and needs to be fixed. But complete democracy is not the answer.

To find a solution we need to go back to why it’s the way it is. Like so much of the Constitution’s creation, it was designed to allow for majority rule but allow for the minority rights to be protected. At the time of the first census, the smallest state was Delaware which had 1.5% of the population and 2.3% of the electoral votes. Now Wyoming has 0.17% of the population but .55% of the electoral college (from having the smallest state have 1.5 advantage over their population to now our smallest state having a 3.2 times advantage over what a pure democracy would give them).

We have too many states with next to no population and therefore a huge advantage in the electoral college.

On the other hand, we have a handful of massive states like Florida that make their swing state status make them disproportionately important.

So we need a system that both ensures states with smaller populations are not powerful and that huge swing states don’t control everything. The point is to force candidates to care about the largest swatch of the country if they want to get elected and reelected not just worry about their states and a couple of swing states (seen by Trump not caring if people die in blue states, and Obama foolishly dismiss the people who cling to their guns and Bibles). The point is to make sure that the President must care about the most states as possible. To do this we must have no bizarrely small states that one side can ignore, and no huge states that get all the attention.

And, while I know this is not popular (but one of the jobs of leadership is to explain to the public why the right solution should be popular—it is only unethical demagogues that pander to what is popular) by any means there is a way to solve this, here is what we need to do:

A constitutional amendment that states any state over 20 electoral votes has to split apart and any state under 6 votes has one census cycle to either get their population up or have to join with the lowest state that they’re next to…failure to do so will have their electoral college votes annulled.

The Dakotas become one state because it’s simply preposterous to think that a whole lot of nothing requires two full state governments. Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming the same. As with everything north of Massachusetts. Rhode Island and Delaware serve no conceivable purpose and we all know it. But California would be broken up into three states, one probably blue one red, and one swing, New York would be NYC and everything else. Florida two states because no single government should be responsible for that much crazy, and Texas would thankfully be broken up because I think we can all agree that shithole excuse for a state deserves to be knocked down a peg (also, as a Dodgers fan, I need to point out that every member of the Houston Astros needs to be publicly executed).

By doing this states will now be in a nice 6-20 vote margin which means that now middle red states are important enough for democrats to care and the huge bastions of liberalism are broken into areas that become an attractive target for conservatives…i.e. the candidates will have to moderate their view and policies and actually be president for ALL OF AMERICA, no longer will strategies that just focus the parts of the country they want to pander to and two or three swing states. A conservative will finally have to care about things that happen on the West coast, a liberal will have to look into the concerns of the people in the middle part of the country who are afraid of the fact that their ways of life will be done away with by technology in another generation.

The only other thing that probably needs to occur in every state should probably reserve two of their votes for statesmen chosen for their common sense before the primaries even begin with the right to vote their conscience. How many godforsaken presidents might we have been spared if that check existed?

Finally, these laws that some states are putting in that force electors to vote with the state vote have to be eliminated also by Constitutional Amendment (because the Supreme Court recently made the dumbest error in thinking that electors, not representative who are elected to use their best judgment, which they are). If a presidential candidate picks John Doe to be their elector in the electoral college and come the day of the election John Doe feels that he can’t vote for the candidate that choose him…there is probably a damn good reason, and forcing them to vote against their conscience is just endangering the nation.

…Oh, and while we’re on the issue of the size of states, every state should take a long hard look at the size of their counties. Most counties were set up with the idea that a person could reach a county seat within less than a day at the time they were founded. For most of the history of the country that was the distance a horse and carriage could go in a day. And in modern terms, that’s about 20-50 miles. There are places in the country where if you’re just driving a legal speed of 65mph you can cross four or five counties in a single hour. This was a practical size when your governance was limited by the speed of a horse…it is no longer necessary to have that. Every country has swaths of redundant public officials and corrupt officers who like to keep their own fiefdoms and do so because they are able to control such a small area with a small level of corruption. Two-thirds of the number of counties in America do not need to exist because a single county seat for four or five existing counties would probably be able to offer the same level of service for a fraction of the overhead price. The government should be local in many cases, but that is what cities are for.

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Filed under Election 2020, Elections, Government is useless

Why Harry Reid’s attacks on the First Amendment are wrong and vile

So while liberals have been throwing hissy fits for years about the Citizen’s United they seem to have come back to this idea with their impending doom in 2014 coming. (Really the creation of Super PACS owes a lot to various relegation and legislative changes and to just Citizens United v. the Federal Election Committee, but Democrats know their base doesn’t do well with complex ideas, so they just pick on Citizens United, and I always try and play in the opposition’s ballpark, so we’ll just refer to Citizens United). But now their hatred for free speech has found a new target, in Harry Reid’s unhinged attack on the Koch brothers and his statement that he will seek a Constitutional Amendment to overturn Citizen’s United (and the First Amendment) with a Constitutional amendment.

You know personally my first inclination is to slap the little loser Harry Reid and tell him that it will be a cold day in hell that his stupid fascist amendment even gets out of his Senate let alone meeting the requirements in the House and three-quarters of the states. But that would do no good. Harry Reid is simply too stupid to benefit from any attempt of slapping sense into him (although perhaps every member of the Senate should get a baseball bat and try knocking some intelligence into him just to see if it might work…I mean what’s the worst that could happen?)

Now we could get into the minutia of how Democrats are still outspending Republicans, or how the Democrats the biggest beneficiaries of group donations (mainly from unions) but let’s ignore that for just a moment. But let’s ignore the minutia and get to the heart of the matter.

 

SCOTUS

Every so often they get something right as they did in Citizen’s United…now to overturn Kelo and S.D. v Dole

The central liberal argument is that Citizens United v. Federal Election Committee was wrong—that money is not speech and therefore cannot be protected under the First Amendment—that whoever has the most money always wins. The first point is just obviously stupid, but this is an argument from people who don’t get why we have to have the legal fiction of corporate personhood. They also don’t understand that your property rights are sacrosanct and under the theory of natural rights (which is kind of the basis of our entire legal system); that your property, including money, and what you do with it is an extension of your person legally, ergo spending money is speech if you choose it to be. And the minute you separate what you do with your money from free speech there is a very dangerous slippery slope. If you money can be regulated, then so can your time and limits can be placed on how much time you can donate to a campaign. And then you could limit how many organizations you can donate time. And then all the government would have to do is declare this charity or that church function a political issue and soon think about how much of you public life is being regulated.   And if your statement through money can be regulated because its of a political nature can you only make a certain number of Facebook, tumblr, and Twitter posts about a candidate or issue? A government with the spying power of the NSA*, the bullying ethics of the IRS and a free hand to limit political speech can do some very frightening things.

 

But let’s ignore the unspeakable idiocy of the argument that money isn’t speech. Let’s focus on what they’re saying about democracy in a democratic-republic like the US, because that is even more laughable (or frightening).

 

The argument against Citizens United is based on the argument that who has the most money wins.

Let’s look at this argument.

 

Certainly if I have half a trillion dollars and my opposition has $10 I will probably win. But seldom in American politics are things so lopsided. And do you really think that if the Klan or the American Nazi Party had a trillion dollars they could actually get any real power in this nation? Logic tells us that at a certain point you can spend all the money you want and if the people hate you, you’re screwed. You just have to look at advertising…Hollywood occasionally spends the GNP of third world nations hyping some piece of crap that almost no one goes to see…if the logic of Citizen’s United opponents were applied then everyone should just follow the hype.

 

But let’s look at some extremes. On the one side did we forget that a felon in West Virginia and a challenger in Arkansas, both with no money to speak of, gave a sitting president a run for his money in the last presidential election cycle? Or on the other side let’s look at a man like George Soros. Now I don’t have to believe that Soros is some evil mastermind on the level of Lex Luthor or Ernst Stavro Blofeld to admit that (A) his politics are somewhere to left of the current French president’s and (B) through direct contributions and contributions to PACs like Moveon the man has dumped an obscene amount of money into U.S. elections. I don’t buy the conspiracy theories, but the fact is the man is very progressive and very giving of money to causes he believes in. As is his right. But here’s the funny thing…if the people who oppose Citizen’s United were right, then all the money he has spent combined with all the money unions have spent over the years then it should never have even been close in 2000 or 2004, and the country should already be so far left that Obama would look like Reagan right now. Strangely I failed to see the retirement age lowered to 50 or minimum wage raised to $20 an hour, universal public health care, or a 70% tax on income above $100,000 here in Sorosandia.

 

Money helps. No doubt about that. If you can get your message out it certainly is more effective. However in a day and age of twitter, blogs, and YouTube, it’s not just money that matters. It’s having a message that resonates with people…even if that message is the mentally retarded statements of “Yes we can” and “we are the ones we have been waiting for.”

 

But there’s a deeper problem than the common sense issue that money can’t buy everything in politics. It’s the implications of human nature.

 

Notice what is implicit in the argument that money is all that matters to democracy. Notice what is says if you believe that the person with the most money, not the better argument, always wins. It means that all people don’t have stupid and shortsighted moments, as I believe it means that people are incapable of rational thought. That they will follow the shiniest piece of polished metal provided by the person with the most money—that there is no rational thought, that no matter how extreme an idea, if it has money backing it, it will win. Ummm…if people are actually that dumb, then why do we have any democratic elements in our government? Democracy is based on the idea that the majority of the people, when put together will more often than not make the right choice, not because they believe the shiniest lie, but because reason will win the day with the majority of people more often than not. It is a premise based on the idea that a human being and human reason has value. If your argument is that money drives everything, then you must state you believe that humans on a whole have no ability to reason. Now is human reason perfect? Hell, no. That’s why we have always been a republic that limits the momentary whims of the masses and forces compromise and slow deliberation.

Now I will admit that human reason is not perfect, but taking money out of the equation will not solve the problem of imperfect reason being a driving force in our elections.

 

Now if you actually wanted a functioning democratic election, as the critics of Citizen United claim they want, what should they be arguing for?

 

Well, how about Voter ID check or clearing the voter rolls in every state every two years and making everyone re-register. You know to prevent fraud, and felons, and illegal immigrants from voting in mass numbers and making sure that the democratic principle of one man, one vote was actually allowed. As for making everyone re-register, if going down to the post office or going to a web site to pick up a form and sending it in is too much work for you, then dear God, you are not qualified to be deciding the future of this nation.

 

Or how about this one I know would never pass, but you would have to admit would get rid of the majority of influence of money in elections…require people to earn a high school diploma before they can vote. Okay liberals, get all the insults out now…I’m a racist, I’m a bigot, I’m closed minded, I don’t know anything about democracy, blah, blah, blah…I teach high school, I have been working in schools for nearly 16 years, and have been working consistently in alternative education with at risk youth for the last nine…do you have any idea how easy it is to get a high school diploma? Or a GED? I’m sorry but you seriously have to try to not pass high school. And I’m sorry given how much the income difference is between a high school diploma and having nothing, you’re an idiot’s idiot to not get a high school diploma. And when you put those two sentences together you realize that high school dropouts are actively trying to be an idiot’s idiot. I can’t imagine why I would want these losers voting. Ever. Under any circustances. I mean who do you think falls most easily for flashy ads, the person with a bare bones education or the person who actively tried to remain ignorant. And if voting is really that important to you, getting a GED is not that difficult—really it’s not. If we were to institute this, you would find pandering by politicians drop quite a bit, and low and behold you might see better legislation.

 

Or you might go back to what the Founders correctly envisioned for the Senate: State legislatures and governors working together to nominate and elect the most qualified in the state (as opposed to the most popular) to the upper house of Congress. It would completely eliminate money’s influence on Senators themselves…and if people are so worried about SuperPAC money influencing federal elections…right now to influence the Senate you have to influence maybe 40 statewide elections (I figure about 60 seats are safe Republican or safe Democratic seats) going back to pre 17th Amendment republican ideals you would have to influence the same 40 state wide elections but this time for governors, plus influencing one to two houses of the state legislature. Even the most well funded SuperPacs would go bust before being able to make a dent in the long term. But to do that you would actually want to try and take out the influence of money…instead of say, hypocritically just wanting your traditional sources of money to be the only ones that counted.

Or how about this one: Get the government out of the economy. If you placed legitimate restrictions on how far the government can get into the economy, then guess what, all those businesses and business people wouldn’t care about elections. As long as the government has the power to pick winners and losers, you’d be a bit of an idiot to not do everything in your power to make sure you’re not the loser…but if you got the government out of the economy you get rid of the incentive to be so involved in elections…at which point why would business waste their hard earned profits on silly things like elections.

But the people who bitch about Citizens United don’t care about any of that…they’re just unhappy that now other people have a chance to fight their endless union coffers.

***
One last note on a pragmatic side issue. I’ve heard that nearly a trillion dollars will be spent on the 2012 election (when you count all the elections at all levels). Given how crappy the Obama economy is (and yes it is his fault, if it wasn’t for him we’d be in a full recovery by now) I want you to think how bad it would be if you took out a trillion dollars. Yes that trillion is going to a limited sector in the advertising business…but those people who get the money then spend it on other things and it moves through the economy…I want you to imagine what the economy would look like if you took yet another trillion out of GDP. Just a pragmatic consideration to keep in mind.

 

 

*I would like to note that I know of no instances where the NSA has actually used their information against a private citizen, and of all the branches of government I’m actually less worried about them…but only so long as we have the First Amendment in place and the IRS stripped of all it’s powers…so long as those others restrictions are kept in place I have little to fear from the NSA…it is only if the other restrictions are removed that a government becomes fascist.

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Filed under Civil Liberties, Election 2014, Elections, First Amendment, Government is corrupt, Long Term Thinking, Natural Rights, People Are Stupid

Oh god, Ricky Santorum is back. Why?

Rick Santorum is like something to walk out of a Richard Condon novel. He claims to be a conservative, but then never misses a chance to praise his Marxist family members for people of principle. He claims to want to revitalize the economy, but advocates for trade barriers and economic models that are now a century out of date. He claims to be moral and horseeye santorumclearly cares only for himself and his own accumulation of wealth and power at the expense of others.   He is a walking version of liberal lies about conservatives. So when this man who views America as only a vessel for propagating religious extremism and collectivism came back into the lime light you can imagine the groan of exasperation I made.
Then I heard some of the unspeakably imbecilic things that Ricky actually started saying.

 

Let’s start with what is not his most egregious argument, but at least the one that hits the closest to home. This idiot is so delusional he claims that if he had won the nomination he would have won. So let’s just ignore the fact that Romney got the largest portion of general public of any Republican in the last few decades , let’s ignore that if Romney, a man who doesn’t have a racist or sexist bone in his body could fall victim to false claims of a bullying and a war on women that a lunatic who almost used the N word on film and who views women in such high regard that he said he would not allow his adult daughter have an abortion (because, in Ricky’s mind women are just property) would have been a very easy target. Let’s ignore that he with only 2 exceptions, the only states he won in the primary were open primary states where Democrats voted en masse to get the weakest candidate in. Let’s ignore that moderates loathed this man (and rightfully so).  No, Ricky says that Obama’s minions told him they were afraid of him and Rick is just dumb enough to have believed them…no Rick they loved you, they loved that you had no class, were willing to repeat any lie, smear any Republican, and drag your party down if you couldn’t get the White House.   You’re a Democrat’s dream. Ricky they wanted you as the candidate so badly I can only conclude they have something on you that would make you the easiest person in the universe to defeat…now my imagination goes to compromising photos of you and someone else, maybe in some way related to Ricky’s fashion sense, his constant flamboyant hand gestures, his clear overcompensation in the number of children he has, and the rampant homophobia (you know the kind that only comes from someone who has trouble admitting something)…but I don’t know for sure. That or they’ve spent five minutes looking at you put your foot in your mouth more than a drunken Joe Biden…either way, you are a liberal’s dream candidate. Completely un-electable, a stain on the Republican party with moderates, and even if by some act of Satan you actually got in then they would still have all their big government plans put into place by you.

 

 

But he continues to declare things like “Republicans needed to connect with Americans who did not like President Barack Obama during the 2012 election but could not bring themselves to vote for Mitt Romney.” Really Ricky? Who was that? I have never seen any statistical proof of all the voters that idiots like Levin claim to have stayed home…and of the people who voted for Obama even though if they were dissatisfied with his job, ignoring the fact that there are always people who give contradictory answers (when talking about Rick Santorum logic, you have to ignore a lot of facts), that would have switched the vote by only about 2%…and Obama still would have won. If you’re going to comment on things, Rick learn to read at any level because your gross ignorance of, well, everything under the sun is getting really old.

 

The fact of the matter is that only one thing exceeds Rick Santorum’s complete uselessness as a human being when it comes to understanding elections…and that would be his understanding of economics…which we’ll deal with over on Elementary Politics

 

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Filed under Economics, Election 2012, Elections, People Are Stupid, Problems with the GOP, Rick Santorum