Electoral College Blues

Decency and common sense have lost out to racism, hatred, incoherence and chaos.

Okay, I wrote those words Tuesday night when it appeared that Donald Trump was headed for re-election. As I write now, it appears there is a good chance that Joe Biden will actually win. In the completely fucked-up, archaic, dystopian system we use for electing presidents, it is immensely complicated even to know who is going to win two days after voting ended. The electoral college is ridiculously outdated and presents significant challenges to ensuring equity in representation of elected federal officials including the president. But of course our constitution is also maddeningly difficult to amend. So certainly in my lifetime, we will not see a change to address electoral college or term limits or the myriad of other issues with our dusty little constitution.

At this moment, as we sort through the final votes in Pennsylvania, Nevada, Arizona and Georgia, it is tragically comical to hear so many politicians going on tv to talk about the importance of counting every single vote. Using phrases like ‘this is the cornerstone of democracy’ and ‘this is the fundamental right of every American’. This is in response to the Trump administration filing lawsuits to actually stop counting votes that were legally cast before the deadline on Election Day.

What makes these statements so comical is the fact that for decades now the Republicans have done everything they can to game the system in their favor. They have engaged in extreme voter suppression tactics. Everything from district gerrymandering, to removing people from registration and eligibility, to cutting funding for election planning and execution, to making it burdensome to even cast your ballot, to limiting ballot boxes, to slowing down the mail system so ballots are not delivered on time, to disallowing convicted felons from voting even after they’ve served their time, to deliberately limiting polling locations so lines are long.

In Florida, Republican legislators tried to quickly enact a law that forbade someone else from paying the fines levied on released prisoners to register to vote (that in itself an effective voter suppression tactic as released convicts are unlikely to have extra money lying around to register to vote).

Michael Bloomberg paid the fines of thousands of these folks so they could re-register. Since they were disproportionally people of color, Republicans assumed they would vote democratic and tried to pass a law that someone could not pay their fines. How fucked up is that? No reprehensible tactic is off the table for the Republican Party.

As of this writing, we do not yet know who won the presidency, although it is highly likely to be Biden after all votes are counted and lawsuits settled or tossed out. The senate, which seemed very much within grasp of Democrats, was not won. I think we picked up one seat. Republicans made some gains in the house, but not enough to get control.

I am basically checking myself out of politics after this. Even if Biden wins, the fact that 50% of the people in this country continue to support this monster, just poisons this country to me. I can have no common ground with people who support racism, cheap thuggery, bullying, constant lying, using government resources and services to advance personal vendettas, xenophobia, evil immigration policies, climate science denial, regressive tax policy that exacerbates income and wealth inequality, voter suppression, dissuading peaceful and legal protests and on and on and on. And, I find Trump supporters generally dull and mean-spirited and they exhibit the qualities I find most distasteful in humans. I am just too busy to waste time with people like that. Suffice to say I am not overly optimistic about the future of political state in US over the next few decades.

I am aware of the harshness of those words. But we are talking about people who are consciously enabling a bully to continue to take children away from their parents for the crime of seeking a better life. To rip people from their homes and deport them. Parents, siblings, children, aunts, uncles. People who are living here peacefully, more than likely working and paying taxes. And of course all the other horrible things this man-child does routinely to satisfy his vindictive spirit and evil nature.

So I have no regrets about my harsh assessment of people who are supporting Trump.

Politics equates to defining those institutions that govern and influence human interactions. How our society helps the least among us and how we manage our collective and inter-related physical, intellectual, and emotional resources. So no easy thing for me to say fuck it and see where we wind up. I will vote of course, but will stop trying to persuade others. Unless they are unlucky enough to find this blog.

It’s possible that I made a serious miscalculation about human nature in the run-up to the election. One of the theories being floated around why polling is so wrong, suggests that when asked by a pollster, some people say they will vote for Biden. But in the privacy of the voting booth, they actually support Trump. And I always thought it was the opposite. I thought people who lived in small towns and such would be embarrassed to say they were voting for Biden but were secretly decent people; so when voting time came, they would secretly vote for Biden even while maintaining to family and friends that they had voted for Trump.

My own sister, who 4 years ago voted for Hillary and against Trump, told me the other day she wasn’t sure who she was going to vote for. Her 401(k) had gone up apparently. First, the fact that this is her criteria broke my heart. Second, while I don’t know the specifics of her 401, it is super easy to go on-line and verify that the stock market in fact went up more under Obama than Trump and that in general the stock market goes up more under Democratic administrations then Republican administrations. So there’s that.

I got my haircut the other day. The lady that cuts my hair is amazing. Superb. Smart and cool and beautiful youngish person. Her mother owns the shop, or maybe they co-own it. I’m not sure. Her mother also seems pretty cool but I don’t know her as well.

Anyway, I went for my appointment and was waiting while the person before me finished, so I was chatting with the mother. Since election news is front and center, we started talking about that and I of course assumed I was in safe territory and lit into Trump. She listened very respectfully before quietly informing me she is no fan of Biden and will be voting for Trump because he has been so good for America and for the economy. It got a little awkward then. But, we kept talking. She asked why I felt so confident in my position when all the news was obviously fake and manufactured to hurt Trump. She honestly believes Trump developed a great economy. I told her I read real newspapers that while not perfect, strive to report actual and real facts, not spin and hyperbole. She asked if I would send her some information.

I said I would, but I won’t. I am done taking so much time to try to articulate the obvious to people who clearly are not interested in a thoughtful political position. Anyone who doesn’t understand what’s going on now, will not be helped by my sending them several dozen factual articles that they will not read and/or understand.

I refer once again to my amazing mother. She is 85 and legally blind, so not able to read newspapers. She gets her news from television and radio. But she is a good thinker and she detests Trump. She hates everything about him. His obvious limited intelligence, his narcissism and bravado, and his short-sighted and completely arbitrary foreign and domestic policy. So how can this 85 year old woman with limited eyesight and resources, and who lives in a tiny little town completely surrounded by Trump supporters, come to such a different conclusion over another woman. How can any woman not be outraged at how Trump treats women and how he talks about them.

It is simply mind boggling.

In other news. I took my badass and super cool mom to lunch at Restoration Hardware in Columbus last week. Ostensibly for her birthday lunch and get her something for her birthday, but really I just wanted some 1-on-1 time with mom. It was great. Lovely day and we had a lot of nice easy time for chatting. She’s not able to do nice things very often so it was a good day.

I also volunteered on Tuesday at the election. I was assigned to a precinct not far from here. It was good to learn more about the process and see how ballots are handled. We had a diverse group and it was pretty fun. Long day though. We were to be there from 5:15am and got out around 9:00. I’ll probably do it again next year if I am around.

I drove through the first snowstorm of the year on the way home from Somerset. It’s coming.

I’ve dreamed the last couple of nights about sailing, including the Global Challenge race. Always about movement with me.

No other news of note.

 

5 thoughts on “Electoral College Blues

  1. The entire reason for an electorate is representation. Each state has electorates. We vote. Our representatives cast their votes. Usually, they vote as we, in each state, votes. If the electorate doesn’t, we vote our representatives out. If we don’t have an electorate, and go purely popular vote, then the radicals will only canvas in the big cities where voters in the country will never be heard. Some states won’t even be looked at. The radicals will spend all their time radicalizing the big cities. The rest won’t count. **Now, this begs the question why anyone would want this.

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    1. I understand the electoral college–I just do not agree with it. It simply is not equitable when we have a system where the majority of people’s votes do not declare the winner. The fact that someone chooses to live in South Dakota or Wyoming, should not mean that their vote ultimately has a larger effect than someone living in more populous state. This dysfunction in our structure also applies to the Senate. It does not make sense that Wyoming or South Dakota or any state with low population gets the same amount of votes in the Senate as states with 10X the population. Unfortunately, and largely for the reasons stated here, it is nearly impossible to imagine a constitutional change. Why would these low population states vote to give up their disproportionate power? Same with term limits. The politicians who are addicted to power are unlikely to ever vote for term limits. Their goal when elected is to remain elected forever–except for those few who use their entrenched influence for CEO positions or highly lucrative lobbying positions.

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  2. It’s in the constitution, and if people read our history, the founding fathers’ own words, the dialogues that went on back then, and the federalist papers, they would understand.

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    1. Again, it is not that I do not understand. It is that I do not agree. The US Constitution was a relevant and important document when it was conceived and ratified. It was even then seriously flawed as it allowed only property owning white men to vote and did not condemn or outlaw slavery. But it is hopelessly outdated today and unfortunately the burden to amend the constitution is to too high. So we must live within the framework of this flawed document for many more generations it seems.

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  3. To those seeing our wonderful U.S. Constitution as flawed, the founding fathers did the best they could with the information they had, but to secure our country from other nations taking over. For readers seeking real information, and not bloggers’ perspective, you will have to do your own research, readings, and discuss, but from a purely honest pursuit. Otherwise, you will be susceptible to personalities, emotions, and misinformation.

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