Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Something to Know - 26 March

Michael Andrew Comic Strip for March 26, 2019

Picking up pieces and making sense is difficult at times.  Personally, I am waiting for the SDNY to move now.

Here are The Economist's conclusions on the summary of the Mueller Report.

"But (Democrats) should not feel bruised. The notion that the special counsel was about to take down Mr Trump has long owed more to feverish Democratic imaginations than reality. The reams of evidence the special counsel has already made public, in hundreds of pages of court filings, did not point to a grand conspiracy between the Trump team and Russian agents. The obstruction case looked hard to prove.

"If anything, the heavy burden of proof the special counsel was labouring under made his investigation look like a distraction from the more salient political questions surrounding Mr Trump's dealings with Russia. For example: do American voters think it acceptable that their president continues to deny the existence of an attack on their democracy by a hostile power, which he has consistently lied about his links to, may owe his job to, and which he has done hardly anything to deter from continuing its assault?

"Democrats might also feel Mr Mueller has done them a tactical favour. A more damning report on Mr Trump, including a clear allegation of criminality, would have made it hard for them to avoid impeaching him. Yet that course of action has always looked like a hiding to nothing. Protected by his party, Mr Trump almost certainly could not be removed by impeachment proceedings, and might well be strengthened by a failed effort. Democratic leaders know this perfectly well. Despite well-publicised calls for Mr Trump's impeachment from a few hotheads, most Democrats in Congress are against it.

"The best they could have hoped for from Mr Mueller was therefore a report that justified their continuing oversight operations against Mr Trump, without forcing them to impeach him. The special counsel appears to have delivered something close to that.

"In a more abstract sense, indeed, his report appears almost as a rebuke to those who look to the law to solve political problems. Mr Mueller would not put it like this: the celebrated prosecutor is too fastidious and discreet. Yet his conclusions, in so far as Mr Barr has represented them accurately, appear to have added a few important embellishments to the Trump saga, and then kicked it back into the political realm where it belongs. Voters, not prosecutors, will ultimately decide whether Mr Trump is fit to occupy the White House. That is as it should be."


"Yes, yes, but I bring that out in people. I do. I'm not saying that's an asset or a liability, but I do bring that out. ...I bring rage out. I do bring rage out. I always have."
- Candidate Donald J. Trump in April, 2016

Andy Borowitz

Photograph by Alex Wroblewski / Bloomberg / Getty

William Barr Reads "Moby-Dick," Finds No Evidence of Whales

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—Attorney General William Barr has just read the classic American novel "Moby-Dick," by Herman Melville, and found that the book contains "no evidence whatsoever of whales," Barr stated on Tuesday.

The Attorney General issued his statement on the absence of whales in the Melville classic in a two-paragraph book report released to the news media.

"Those who read 'Moby-Dick' looking for whales will be sorely disappointed," Barr wrote. "There are no whales here."

To illustrate his point, Barr quoted the book's first sentence: "Call me Ishmael."

"As you can clearly see, that sentence does not have a whale in it," Barr wrote.

The Attorney General indicated that he hoped his report would put an end to "reckless speculation" about the existence of whales in "Moby-Dick." "It's time to move on," he wrote.

Barr disclosed that, after waiting years to read "Moby-Dick," he was able to finish reading it in approximately fifteen minutes.


"Yes, yes, but I bring that out in people. I do. I'm not saying that's an asset or a liability, but I do bring that out. ...I bring rage out. I do bring rage out. I always have."
- Candidate Donald J. Trump in April, 2016

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Something to Know - 17 March

Tim Eagan Comic Strip for March 14, 2019
 Roger Cohen is one of my favorite NY Times contributors, and I hope you read this.   The Democrats are off the the races and are tripping over each other for the top job.   The Republicans have begun to immediately demonize the Dems as "Socialists" and will package all of their future memes and aspersions on their opponent(s) with Socialism.  This replaces the old Nixonian game of "Pink" and "Commies" of the last century.   Republicans are hopeful that ignorance is on their side.   To that end, we need to really understand what the terms "Capitalism, Free Market, Regulation, Progressive, Democratic, and Democratic Socialism" all mean.   I, for one, am dismayed that candidates are jumping on board as saying that they are Capitalists, just so they don't get stuck with being called Socialists.  I, for one, believe that Capitalism and Free Markets, in their purest forms are total failures, and are responsible for human behavior that breed corruption, economic disasters and rampant inequality.  Without Socialism, we would not have roads, public schools, public health programs, interstate highway systems, or any large public ventures or infrastructure projects.   So, let's do our part in encouraging education on the terms of our existence as a nation.  I like to point out that many of the problems we have  are the result of the "underbelly of Capitalism".  One other thing, someone pointed out that we need more Dems to be in the Senate than Senators who want to be president.   

Socialism and the 2020 American Election

In Europe, socialism carries no red-scare potency. It's part of life, and Europe is not Venezuela.

Roger Cohen

By Roger Cohen

Opinion Columnist

Two of my children were born in socialist France. They survived. In fact, their births were great experiences: excellent medical care, wonderful postnatal follow-up, near-zero cost. My son's bris, in a Paris deserted through the August exodus, was another story, but I won't get into that.

France has one of the world's most elaborate social protection systems. The ratio of tax revenue to gross domestic product, at 46.2 percent, is the highest of all Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries. In the United States, that ratio is 27.1 percent. Look no further to grasp Franco-American differences.

This French tax revenue is spent on programs — universal health care, lengthy paid maternity leave, unemployment benefits — designed to render society more cohesive and capitalism less cutthroat. Of the French Revolution's three-pronged cry — "Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité" — the first has proved most problematic, freedom being but a short step, in the French view, from the "Anglo-Saxon" free-market jungle. Socialist presidents have governed France for half of the past 38 years.

The country has paid a price for its social solidarity, particularly in high unemployment. But France has prospered. It has a vibrant private sector. It is a capitalist economy, among the world's seven largest. Its socialism is no European exception. The Continent decided after World War II that cushioning capitalism was a price worth paying to avoid the social fragmentation that had fed violence.


The parties that produced Europe's welfare states had different names, but they all embraced the balances — of the free market and the public sector, of enterprise and equity, of profit and protection — that socialism or its cousin social democracy (as opposed to communism) stood for. Socialism, a word reborn, has none of the Red Scare potency in Europe that it carries in the United States. It's part of life. It's not Venezuelan misery.

A 21st-century American election is about to be fought over socialism. Amazing! When the Berlin Wall fell beneath communism's weight three decades ago, capitalism unbridled strode forth over the rubble in search of global opportunity. Ideological struggle seemed over.

But growing inequality and marginalization — byproducts of financial globalization — have thrust socialism center stage. Grace Blakeley, an economist and self-styled democratic socialist in London, told me, "For most people today, socialism is freedom from a lousy warehouse job or working 80 hours a week in a job you detest for people you detest."

Right. The charismatic voice of such sentiment in the United States is the Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the lightning rod of a new American politics.

"The definition of democratic socialism to me, again, is the fact that in a modern, moral and wealthy society, no American should be too poor to live," Ocasio-Cortez tells NBC's Chuck Todd. Like Britain's leftist Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, she favors significant state intervention in the economy. Trump, unerring in his instinct for the jugular, declares, "We believe in the American dream, not the socialist nightmare."

Europe demonstrates, however, that socialism and the free market are compatible. The basic issue before the Democratic Party now is how far left to go. Bernie Sanders calls himself a socialist. Kamala Harris calls herself a progressive. John Hickenlooper, conciliator, says he can "get stuff done."

The notion that American elections are won in the center was buried by Trump. The energy in the Democratic Party lies in the progressive camp. It stems from anger at a skewed economy and millennial disgust at the elitist turn that cost the Democrats their working-class base and much of small-town America. This opened the way for Trump. My own inclinations are centrist, but not a "centrism" that cares more for Goldman Sachs than the opioid crisis. I don't see how the Democrats can eschew a new era's left-leaning energy and win.

A word of caution: The United States was founded in contradistinction to, not as an extension of, Europe. Self-reliance is to America what fraternity is to France: part of its core. American space — so immense, so un-European — conjures in Americans a bristling independence of spirit that wants government out of their lives.

Nations do not cast off their cultural essence. I don't think soaking the rich — Ocasio-Cortez's proposed 70 percent wealth tax — is going to get a Democrat to the Oval Office. Nor are the accusations of "worker exploitation" that chased Amazon and 25,000 jobs out of New York — a stupid waste.

The dirty secret of European welfare states is that they tend to be business-friendly. As Monica Prasad, a sociology professor at Northwestern University has pointed out, Sweden has a lower corporate tax rate than the United States. The sweet spot for Democrats is getting business to buy in to progressive reform. America can be nudged in a French direction without losing its self-renewing essence.

France is also home to the yellow-vest protests from the marginalized. So much for social cohesion, you might say. But there's a lesson. As James McAuley observed in The New York Review of Books, those vests reflect, above all, a "material demand to be seen." Socialism is no silver bullet. The basic requirement of any Democratic candidate is to make the forgotten, the struggling and the invisible of American society feel visible again.


"Yes, yes, but I bring that out in people. I do. I'm not saying that's an asset or a liability, but I do bring that out. ...I bring rage out. I do bring rage out. I always have."
- Candidate Donald J. Trump in April, 2016

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Something to Know - 13 March

Very Quick -  Individual One was pushed off the front page by this story.   If you are unable to access this via this NY Times link - let me know and I will attempt to craft a cut-and-paste reading for you:


"Yes, yes, but I bring that out in people. I do. I'm not saying that's an asset or a liability, but I do bring that out. ...I bring rage out. I do bring rage out. I always have."
- Candidate Donald J. Trump in April, 2016

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Andy Borowitz

God Offers People of Alabama New Bibles to Replace Ones Trump Signed

Carolyn Kaster

MONTGOMERY, Alabama (The Borowitz Report)—God has offered to give the people of Alabama brand new Bibles to replace the ones that Donald J. Trump signed during his visit to the state on Friday.

In a rare public statement from the famously mysterious deity, God said that He was furious at Trump "for defacing My book," calling Trump's signature "a wanton act of vandalism."

"Where was Mike Pence in all of this?" God asked. "These people can't do anything right."

God added that He was "dumbfounded" that Trump had taken it upon himself to sign his name on a book to which he had "no relationship whatsoever."

"I've got news for Trump: the Bible is not 'The Art of the Deal,' " God said. "Of course, he didn't write that book, either.


"Yes, yes, but I bring that out in people. I do. I'm not saying that's an asset or a liability, but I do bring that out. ...I bring rage out. I do bring rage out. I always have."
- Candidate Donald J. Trump in April, 2016

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Andy Borowitz

Obama Demands to See Trump's Elementary-School Diploma

Photograph by Mark Makela / Getty

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—Former President Barack Obama ignited a firestorm of controversy on Wednesday by demanding to see President Donald Trump's elementary-school diploma.

Speaking to reporters in Washington, Obama called on Trump to prove "once and for all" that he had completed a K-through-five program.

"While the U.S. Constitution does not require the President to have graduated from fifth grade, it would still be nice to know that he had done so," Obama said.

By insisting on the release of Trump's diploma, Obama joined a growing movement of so-called schoolers, who contend that Trump never attended school.

Schoolers' demands to see documentation of Trump's elementary-school attendance have yet to sway the White House, which has released only a short version of Trump's second-grade report card, with the grades completely redacted.

Obama revealed that he had hired forensic detectives to study Trump's utterances and tweets to determine the extent of his verifiable schooling, but, so far, they had found "no proof" of a fifth-grade education.

"Donald Trump claims that he attended elementary school," Obama said. "All I'm asking is, where's the evidence?"


"Yes, yes, but I bring that out in people. I do. I'm not saying that's an asset or a liability, but I do bring that out. ...I bring rage out. I do bring rage out. I always have."
- Candidate Donald J. Trump in April, 2016

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Something to Know - 5 March

After Cohen, Republicans Are Now Trump's Fixers

G.O.P. lawmakers who started by making excuses for the president's most repulsive personal traits have now moved on to bedrock principles. They are headed for a reckoning.

Timothy Egan

By Timothy Egan

Contributing Opinion Writer

I am just getting around to read this article, and it is worthy of your reading.   Mr. Eagan puts the description of Individual One, through the perspective and testimony to Congress by Michael Cohen.  It is an indictment of the GOP in Congress and the reality of the Republican Party collusion in the amoral, immoral, and unethical conduct of governance.

The character sketch of Donald Trump by the keeper of his secrets was no surprise to anyone who has given a passing glance at the hulk of malevolence in the Oval Office. He cheats. He defrauds. He lies by way of respiration.

He thinks his son is an idiot, and that only suckers served in Vietnam. He believes blacks are incapable of governing. He acts like a gangster. He stiffs contractors and pays off porn stars. We knew all of that. Getting it under oath from a man who was once executive vice president and special counsel to Trump just gave historians a formality for the obvious.

But if Michael D. Cohen's description of a president who morphed into "the worst version of himself" was not news, certainly the way Republicans took the baton from the ex-loyalist was. They have now become Trump's fixers, doing his dirty work, issuing threats and ditching long-held principles like so many empty beer bottles thrown from a car.

Cohen's portrayal of the fraud in the White House, and the details of a Trump Organization run like a criminal enterprise, are not disqualifying to Republicans. Just the opposite. Trump is a racist, a con, a cheat, in Cohen's words — but those are among the reasons people voted for him. Proving it only strengthens his standing with a large sector of the electorate and many members of Congress.

When Cohen described how Trump would fail to pay people who'd done work for him, or weaseled his way out of his share of taxes, or inflated his assets for what sounds like insurance and bank fraud — well, those are marks of a good businessman who knows how to game the system.

And when Cohen recounted Trump's belief that he couldn't name a country run by a black that wasn't a "shithole," he was also trashing the United States under President Barack Obama. But it's an insult that has found a home in right-wing media.

"Every day, most of us knew we were coming in and we were going to lie for him," Cohen said of a typical shift at Trump Tower. Professional prevarication on behalf of Trump "was normalized," he said. "And no one around him questioned it. In fairness, no one around him today questions it, either."

The hearing before the House committee proved his point. Did one Republican stand up and decry Cohen's litany of presidential lies? They blasted Cohen the liar, but not the man he lied for. Did one Republican decry the $35,000 check — proof, as Cohen said, that "The president of the United States thus wrote a personal check for the payment of hush money as part of a criminal scheme to violate campaign finance laws"?

It's been clear, ever since the last of the never-Trumpers were rooted out of the party, that the G.O.P. would be an extension of the grime and grift of Trump's personal brand. But now the enablers are willing to do what Cohen said he once did for Trump — take a bullet for him.

Among Cohen's duties as Trump fixer was to threaten people; he did this maybe 500 times, by his recounting. That job has been taken over by Republican elected officials like Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida. He threatened Cohen on the eve of his testimony, mentioning his family in an ominous tweet.

Initially, Gaetz compared witness intimidation to the "marketplace of ideas." Sure. In the same way that pushing someone in a wheelchair down a flight of stairs is like a sled ride. Gaetz has taken his tweet back, but his crude attempt at thuggery stands out for how loathsome his party has become.

The creepy criminal world that surrounds Trump is not off-putting to many Republicans. It was R. Alexander Acosta who helped to negotiate the deal that gave a ridiculously low sentence to Trump's billionaire buddy Jeffrey E. Epstein, accused of trafficking children for sex. Acosta is now Trump's labor secretary, approved by the Republican Senate.

Trump had called Epstein, who pled guilty to soliciting prostitution, "a terrific guy," adding that, "It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the young side." This is disgusting.

Republicans who started down this road by making excuses for Trump's most repulsive personal traits have moved on to bedrock principles. The party of deficit hawks didn't blink at the trillion-dollar hole in the budget that came with the tax cut, so long as it gave Trump a "win." They were fine with a president who sided with Vladimir Putin in a traitorous exchange in Helsinki. And the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, who has fashioned himself as an institutional guardian of the Constitution, threw that document in a dumpster after he backed Trump's brazen violation of the separation of powers.

They are headed for a reckoning. In years to come, people will ask, "What did we do to make sure our democracy is intact?" as Representative Elijah Cummings, the committee chairman, put it. For Trump's new fixers, Cohen gave them an answer: "I did the same thing you're doing now."


"Yes, yes, but I bring that out in people. I do. I'm not saying that's an asset or a liability, but I do bring that out. ...I bring rage out. I do bring rage out. I always have."
- Candidate Donald J. Trump in April, 2016

Sunday, March 3, 2019


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Friday, March 1, 2019

Something to Know - 1 March

Stuart Carlson Comic Strip for February 27, 2019

In the execution of our Constitution a problem arose when the Congress determined that neither the Senate nor the House could nominate and install a president.  The work-around was to create the Electoral College to maintain the separation of powers between the Legislative and Executive branches of our government.   That's how it started.  This was back in the days when the voting public was nothing like what it is now.   The states kind of ruled the roost on elections, and people who owned property might be able to vote for their senators and congressmen, and that body could figure out who to put in as president.   Today, all ballots indicate your preference for president and vice president, but we are still not directly voting for them.   We continue to vote or a slate of delegates to cast our votes in the Electoral College.   The Will of the People needs to vote directly for our preferences, and to eliminate an appendage to our suffrage that serves no useful purpose but to occasionally cause a losing candidate to prevail as president.   Now is the time.

The Electoral College Is the Greatest Threat to Our Democracy

It has not stood the test of time.

Jamelle Bouie

By Jamelle Bouie

Opinion Columnist

It's still well under the radar, but the movement to circumvent the Electoral College gained ground this week. On Sunday, Jared Polis, the governor of Colorado, said he would sign a bill to join the National Popular Vote interstate compact, whose members have pledged to give their electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote. The Maine Legislature, likewise, is mulling membership and will hold hearings to discuss the issue.

Attacking those lawmakers, Paul LePage, the former governor of Maine — who still calls into conservative radio shows from his retirement home in Florida — dismissed the proposal as an attack on the political rights of white people. "Actually what would happen if they do what they say they're going to do is white people will not have anything to say," he said. "It's only going to be the minorities that would elect. It would be California, Texas, Florida."

That is racist nonsense. But it's useful to think about, in a way, because beneath LePage's objection is an unintentionally keen observation about the electoral status quo. If direct election of the president would give equal weight to all votes, then the Electoral College works to give outsize weight to a narrow group of voters in a handful of states. That bias is why Donald Trump is president. A healthy plurality chose his opponent, but his supporters dominated key "swing" states.

It could happen again. A 2018 report on America's future political demography found four realistic scenarios in which Democrats win the national popular vote but lose the Electoral College because of the geography of the electorate. The 2020 election could be the third time in six elections that the White House went to the loser of the popular vote.That is why Electoral College reform deserves a prominent place in the national conversation, especially as the Democratic Party champions a host of pro-democracy reforms, such as public financing of elections and an end to gerrymandering.

As it stands, the most visible Democrat speaking against it is the former Attorney General Eric Holder, who on Tuesday called for its abolition. "Time to make Electoral College a vestige of the past," he said on Twitter. "It's undemocratic, forces candidates to ignore majority of the voters and campaign in a small number of states. The presidency is our one national office and should be decided — directly — by the voters."

Of course, there are not enough votes in Congress or the states to pass and ratify an amendment abolishing the Electoral College. Beyond partisan politics — Republicans currently benefit from its distortions — there's sentimental attachment to the institution, tied to popular mythology about the Constitution. In this view, the Electoral College is one of the great compromises of the Constitutional Convention, part of the wisdom and genius of the "founding fathers" who sought a middle path between pure democracy on the one hand and anti-majoritarianism on the other.

The truth is less noble. The Electoral College was actually a workaround meant to satisfy a divided Constitutional Convention at the cost of actual functionality. The framers considered three ways to elect a president.

Roger Sherman of Connecticut proposed election by Congress, to make the executive "absolutely dependent on that body, as it was the will of that which was to be executed."

Gouverneur Morris of Pennsylvania proposed popular election. "If the people should elect," Morris said, "they will never fail to prefer some man of distinguished character, or services; some man, if he might so speak, of continental reputation."

Objections came from George Mason of Virginia, who thought "the extent of the Country renders it impossible that the people can have the requisite capacity to judge of the respective pretensions of the Candidates"— and other Southern delegates who feared domination by the largest states. "The most populous States by combining in favor of the same individual will be able to carry their points," said Charles Pinckney of South Carolina.

Southern opposition came with obvious subtext. By population, South Carolina was the seventh largest of 13 states. Maryland was the sixth. North Carolina was the third. And Virginia was a colossus — the largest state in the incipient union. But large minorities of their residents were enslaved. In Virginia, it was roughly 40 percent, giving the state a smaller voting population than its more populous neighbors to the north.

Hugh Williamson of North Carolina made this point explicit in his objection: Because there won't always be "distinguished characters" with national recognition who could win a majority of votes, "the people will be sure to vote for some man in their own State, and the largest State will be sure to succeed." But this will not be Virginia, "since her slaves will have no suffrage."

James Madison, another Virginian, actually favored popular election of the president but saw the writing on the wall. "The right of suffrage was much more diffusive in the Northern than the Southern states," he said a few days later as discussion continued, "and the latter could have no influence in the election on the score of the Negroes."

Debate over executive election began in mid-July. It resumed in late August, and the framers settled on a solution in early September, less than two weeks before the convention would adjourn. Their compromise centered on an idea introduced at the start of the discussion: Instead of direct election or election by legislature, states would choose electors who would then elect the president and vice president from a group of candidates. To preserve an element of popular election, each state would receive electors equal to its congressional delegation, which would also account for states with large enslaved populations, since the convention had already reached agreement on how to count slaves for legislative apportionment. If no candidate received a majority, the election would go to Congress.

The historian Jack Rakove notes how few of the framers "expected the electors to do anything more than nominate candidates." They would winnow the field, and then elected representatives would actually choose the president.

The system worked as intended in two elections: 1789, when George Washington won his first time, and 1792, when he won again. Its flaws were apparent by 1796, when John Adams became president with the runner-up Thomas Jefferson as his vice president, despite being opponents who had running mates aligned with their political factions. The following year, in response to this fiasco, a South Carolina congressman introduced an amendment requiring each elector to cast separate votes for president and vice president.

It would take deadlock to force action. In 1800, Jefferson ran again against Adams with Aaron Burr as his running mate. Their party, the Democratic-Republicans, won a majority of voters (a scant 67,282 ballots out of a free white male population of roughly one million and a total adult population of more than two million) and electors. But those electors cast an equal number of votes for Jefferson and Burr, forcing the election into the House of Representatives, where a lame-duck Federalist majority saw its chance to stymie Jefferson.

Burr was poised to become president despite not actually standing for the office. It took months of heated political conflict — with Alexander Hamilton, a Federalist, lobbying the House to choose Jefferson — to resolve the standoff. After dozens of ballots, Jefferson was elected president. To keep another such crisis from blowing up the political system, Congress passed the 12th Amendment to the Constitution, ratified in 1804, which distinguished clearly between votes for president and vice president and streamlined other elements of the process.

The history of the Electoral College from this point is of Americans working around the institution, grafting majoritarian norms and procedures onto the political process and hoping, every four years, for a sensible outcome. And on an almost regular schedule, it has done just the opposite. The presidency went to the popular-vote loser in 1824 (John Quincy Adams; his opponent, Andrew Jackson, also won the most electoral votes), 1876 and 1888. In the 20th century, Americans had close calls in the elections of 1948, 1960, 1968 and 1976, with near splits in the popular and electoral vote. Despite winning the popular vote in six of the past seven presidential elections, Democrats have held the presidency for only four of those terms, under Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

This obvious dysfunction is why the Electoral College has been a source of persistent dissatisfaction, with generations of lawmakers introducing new proposals for modifying or abolishing the system outright. Indeed, after the 1968 election, a commission of the American Bar Association recommended "direct popular election of the president," calling the "Electoral College method of electing a president of the United States archaic, undemocratic, complex, ambiguous, indirect, and dangerous."

None of this has changed. The Electoral College routinely threatens or produces perverse outcomes, where the will of the voters is thwarted by an ill-considered 18th-century electoral device. It has no place in a democracy that strives for a standard of "one person, one vote." And most Americans still don't like it. In a 2018 survey from the Public Religion Research Institute, 65 percent said presidents should be elected by popular vote.

The simplest solution for circumventing the Electoral College is the National Popular Vote interstate compact I mentioned earlier, which would take effect once the member states made up a majority of electoral votes.

Americans worried about disadvantaging small states and rural areas in presidential elections should consider how our current system gives presidential candidates few reasons to campaign in states where the outcome is a foregone conclusion. For example, more people live in rural counties in California, New York and Illinois that are solidly red than live in Wyoming, Montana, Alaska and the Dakotas, which haven't voted for a Democratic presidential candidate in decades. In a national contest for votes, Republicans have every reason to mobilize and build turnout in these areas. But in a fight for states, these rural minorities are irrelevant. The same is true of blue cities in red states, where Democratic votes are essentially wasted.

Candidates would campaign everywhere they might win votes, the way politicians already do in statewide races. Political parties would seek out supporters regardless of region. A Republican might seek votes in New England (more than a million Massachusetts voters backed Donald Trump in 2016) while a Democrat might do the same in the Deep South (twice as many people voted for Hillary Clinton in Louisiana as in New Mexico). This, in turn, might give nonvoters a reason to care about the process since in a truly national election, votes count.

If nothing else, our quadrennial game of political hot potato can finally come to an end. We can close off this glaring flaw in our political system and stop worrying about another president who lost the popular vote by millions and the anger, rancor and mistrust that comes with that.

But the inertia behind the Electoral College is strong, which is why it needs vocal opponents making their case as loudly and often as possible. That includes Democratic politicians, including the group running for president. A primary campaign is the perfect forum for raising the issue, giving it high-profile support and wide attention. That, in turn, might move Americans from passive dissatisfaction with the status quo to action against it. Eventually — and really it can't come too soon — Americans could at least vote as though they live in a modern democracy.


"Yes, yes, but I bring that out in people. I do. I'm not saying that's an asset or a liability, but I do bring that out. ...I bring rage out. I do bring rage out. I always have."
- Candidate Donald J. Trump in April, 2016