Electoral affirmative action for…?

The Electoral College supposedly forces candidates to take more interest in the needs of people in rural areas.

There are cities in Wyoming and Montana and there are rural areas in New York and California, but never mind that. The Electoral College, we’re told, makes it so rural folks don’t get ignored by Presidential candidates.

What really happens, though? Is the candidates are all obsessed with a handful of “battleground states” that alternate between Dem and Rep votes and whose Electoral counts are big enough to tilt the balance. It’s not about rural folks versus city folks. It’s about Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Florida versus everyone else.

And anyway, I don’t buy into the premise that rural areas warrant a bigger share of electoral power. Lots of populations are vulnerable to the tyranny of the majority. That’s how it feels when you’re queer and your state is putting same-sex marriage up for a popular vote. We LGBTs are much, much more outnumbered by cis-hets than rural folks by city folks. It’s scary to know there are a lot more of them than you, isn’t it? Doesn’t mean the bigger states should be diminished.

No, that’s not how this works.

An argument we sometimes hear in favor of the Electoral College is that if we had a popular vote, each election would be decided by a handful of high-population states, and that wouldn’t be fair to the rest of the country.

No. The more-populous states would not decide an election with the popular vote. You’re describing what would happen if we tweaked the Electoral College so that each state’s number of votes reflected its actual percentage of the population.

We’re so used to seeing the Presidential election in terms of states, rather than people, we forget that there’s no state in which 100% of the voting population votes the same way. In each “blue state” there are plenty of folks who vote Republican and in each “red state” there are plenty of folks who vote for Democrats. The Electoral College makes it so those people’s votes don’t count. A popular-vote election would make it so that all of those votes would count.

I think the real complaint is that the more-populated states tend to vote more for Democrats, and that wouldn’t be fair to conservatives.

To which I say: this is my country just as much as yours. You have no moral right to having your vote count for more than mine.

Republicans are the party of voter suppression. Vote for Democrats in November.

A few hot takes

Hot Take #1: The Electoral College is still evil even if we buy into the idea that it was designed to give the less-populous states better representation in government. Honestly, IDGAF if the rural folk get outvoted by the metro folk. Lots of populations are vulnerable to the tyranny of the majority. Sexual minorities get outvoted. Religious minorities get outvoted. Scientists are only a tiny percentage of the population, and we’d generally be better off if we got the policies they recommended, but the system isn’t built around multiplying their votes. If the less-populous states don’t get to have presidential candidates prioritize them as much as they would like, that’s not our problem.

Hot Take #2: Families who are adopting migrant children are basically participating in genocide. If you’ve recently adopted or are in the process of adopting a kid who may or may not have been gathered from an immigration detention facility, it’s your responsibility to find out where the kid came from. If it turns out the kid was taken away from their parents at the border, you should make every effort to find the parents and when the parents are found, return the kid to the family. Until the parents are found, love and care for that kid as best you can. That’s a way to do good in the world.

Hot Take #3: Also I honestly DGAF if most of the current crop of Democrats are at the beck and call of Wall Street. I mean, I GAF to the extent that we don’t want our elected officials to be building their policies around enabling money-hoarding, but that’s no reason to give up on voting. (Also, for the purposes of the current situation, voting for third-party candidates is effectively the same thing as not voting.) There’s no route to getting the money-hoarders’ grubby mitts off our elected officials that doesn’t go through voting blue. I’m not saying the Democrats are perfect, I’m saying they’re the ones who actually want to govern and they’re the ones who benefit from ending voter suppression.

Hot Take #4: Bern-outs can take a fucking seat for all eternity. Still bleating “Bernie would’ve won” and acting like the DNC fucked everything up by not handing the nomination to Sanders on a silver platter? What’s more likely: that the DNC actively sold the nomination to the less-effective candidate, or that more primary voters liked Hillary than Bernie? Bern-outs ain’t the political majority they think they deserve, and they can fucking own that, or they can fucking move to Russia. The troll-runners who hacked our election will be so happy to see them.

The Electoral College is worse than useless.

One of the tall tales we were told in Civics class is that the Electoral College was created as a sort of escape switch in case a clearly unfit candidate manages to win the popular vote.

Which is malarkey. The EC was developed for the benefit of slaveowners, by emphasizing the number of residents per state over the number of votes per state. Basically, it allowed slaveowners’ votes to count for themselves and for all the human beings they owned. Post-slavery, it accommodates low voter turnout and thus incentivizes voter suppression.

But anyway, what they told us in school was that we needed the Electoral College to protect us from ourselves in case we voted for a Presidential candidate who had absolutely no business in the Oval Office. The people get hoodwinked by a dumpster fire in a suit, and the Electoral College says nah, we’re going with someone who isn’t terrible. That’s what we’re supposed to believe about the EC.

And what happened to us in 2016?

The popular vote went to the candidate who would have made a totally decent President, and the Electoral College went to the incompetent fascist puppet of a hostile foreign power. There were even some faithless EC voters who added to the incompetent fascist puppet’s electoral count. They were expected to vote for Hillary, and instead they chose Trumpty Numpty.

So…more than half the voters said, “We want the smart lady who knows her way around and knows what she’s talking about.”

And the Electoral College said, “Nah, you’re getting the crooked racist/rapist who talks about his dick on stage, picks schoolyard fights with North Korea on Twitter, and has all his strings attached to the Russian government.”

The EC is anti-democratic AND untrustworthy. Time to let it go.