Friday, November 11, 2016

Liberals: We're overthinking this. Hillary didn't lose. This is what it should mean.

Nate Cohn of the New York Times estimates that when every vote is tallied, some 63.4 million Americans will have voted for Clinton and 61.2 million for Trump. That means Clinton will have turned out more supporters than any presidential candidate in history except for Obama in 2008 and 2012. And as David Wasserman of Cook Political Report notes, the total vote count—including third party votes—has already crossed 127 million, and will “easily beat” the 129 million total from 2012. The idea that voters stayed home in 2016 because they hated Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton is a myth.
We already know the Electoral College can produce undemocratic results, but what we don't know is why — aside from how it serves entrenched interests — it benefits the American people to have their preference for national executive overturned because of archaic rules designed, in part, to protect the institution of slavery. 

A form of choosing the national leader that — as has happened in this election — gives greater weight to the preferences of whites over the preferences of the overall body of voters might plausibly be said to be White Supremacy. When that form was created by men trying to ensure slavery wasn't overturned, the argument grows stronger yet. Throw in the number of black votes that might've gone missing due to the gutting of the Voting Rights Act, and the conclusion becomes more difficult yet to avoid.

I know, I know, this is a republic, not a democracy. But this isn't like the Senate, where the structure can be said to "cool" fiery, short-term passions. There's simply no good reason for producing a result most voters said they didn't want. That we've entered an era where the system repeatedly produces that outcome doesn't mean that Democrats have the wrong message for America. It means they have the wrong message for, I guess, Florida. The Florida panhandle, if you want to get specific. And that's not the same thing.

It also means the system is delegitimizing itself.

Perhaps instead of battling each other over whether liberals need to reexamine their principles, what we need to really do is work hard and persistently for fair elections that really represent the preferences of most voters. Such a system won't always produce wins for Democrats. But it would probably produce wins for Democrats when Democrats win. That's not too much to ask.

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