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Friday, January 18, 2019

When Donald J. Trump is sworn in as President on January 20, 2017, he will join George W. Bush as the second president in this century to lose the popular vote. At current count, voters cast nearly 2.7 million more votes for Hillary Clinton than for the president-elect, beating him by about two percent of the national total.

In a real sense, Trump will be a minority president. The same may be said of the incoming Senate leadership. When the 115th Senate is sworn in on January 3, 2017, its 52 Republican Senators will form the majority — but those Republicans polled 10 million fewer votes than their Democratic counterparts. In the House of Representatives, although Republicans polled five percent more overall than their Democratic counterparts, they gained a disproportionate 47 additional seats due to gerrymandering.

Soon after taking office, President-elect Trump has promised to nominate a right-of-center Supreme Court Justice. The Senate will likely confirm his nominee, along with Trump’s rightward-leaning cabinet choices and future nominees for the Federal bench.

When that happens, a large but nevertheless minority party will gain control over every branch of the federal government.

Moreover, this control could become a self-reinforcing stranglehold. In 2013, the conservative Supreme Court majority vitiated the 1965 Voting Rights Act in Shelby County vs Holder; in the wake of that decision, 14 states enacted voter suppression laws in 2016 alone. Indeed, on the day before this year’s election, the North Carolina Republican Party issued a press release boasting that “African American early voting is down 8.5 percent from 2012.”

It is sometimes said that ‘blue’ voters, concentrated in coastal cities, are living in a bubble. No, they are living under minority rule. Viewed from a bird’s eye distance, the map of the US does appear largely red. But on the ground many liberal positions enjoy broad popular support. Sometimes the map doesn’t reflect the territory.

Across a range of critical issues, minority rule confronts the reality of majority opinion. According to the non-partisan Pew Research Center, a clear majority of Americans supports legal abortion. Two thirds believe climate scientists should play a major role in environmental policy decisions. Nearly nine out of ten Americans favor expanding renewable energy. More than 60 percent oppose a wall on the Mexican border, while 55 percent support gay marriage. Nearly three quarters favor raising the federal minimum wage. The Gallup poll found that 58 percent support a federally funded healthcare system that provides insurance for all. A majority favor stricter gun controls.

Somehow the rights of the majority must be restored, but progress is very slow. Although voter suppression measures have been overturned by some courts, many restrictive laws stand. A few states — including California, Washington, and Arizona — have promised to create independent districting commissions to draw fair Congressional districts, free of gerrymandering, but those efforts face significant opposition.

But quietly gaining bipartisan support is a reform to bind the Electoral College to the popular vote. A growing movement called “National Popular Vote” is designed to enable states that collectively control 270 electoral votes to cast those crucial ballots for the winner of the nationwide presidential ballot. So far, 11 states including California and New York have signed on — which means 160 electoral votes are already committed, well over half of the 270 votes needed for the compact to come into force. No constitutional amendment is required for the compact to be effective.

Endorsing the National Popular Vote would be a critical first step toward reshaping our electoral system. Reform from the top will encourage future Presidents, all elected by a true majority, to address the other distortions to our democracy, including gerrymandering, voter suppression laws, and the unfettered flow of money into politics. So reforming the Electoral College is the keystone of broader democratic change.

Such democratic improvements have a long history in our country. When George Washington was elected, in some states many citizens – including free blacks, women, the poor, Catholics and Jews – were excluded from the ballot. Yet over the years, through hard fought battles and even a civil war, all these Americans won their right to vote. We can take confidence from this difficult history, knowing that electoral reform, though slow and difficult, has proven inexorable.

The fight for equal enfranchisement must continue. Without it, our government’s mandate at home and our legitimacy abroad grow weaker.

No one should mourn the passing of the Electoral College when it finally goes by the wayside. Politicians from both parties – a group that appears to include President-elect Trump, at least according to his own previous tweets – have already endorsed a direct popular ballot. For all Americans who value democracy, whether they support Donald Trump or are joining protests, the unifying call to action is to restore the irreducible essence of democracy: that the vote of each citizen counts.

Marc Feigen is CEO of Feigen Advisors, a CEO and board advisory firm.

IMAGE: Voters wait in line at the San Diego County Registrar of Voters during the U.S. presidential election in San Diego, CA, November 8, 2016. REUTERS/Sandy Huffaker

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44 responses to “In A True Democracy, The Popular Majority Must Count”

  1. Godzilla says:

    Dear children of the liberal order of idiots. We are NOT a democracy, we are a Constitutional Republic. Maybe going back to school at a decent (read non-liberal) school, be it college or high school, would help you understand this important fact.

    Author, regurgitating more fake, skewed polls that support your agenda, especially after the last election is STUPID and only shows your ignorance.

    Children of the liberal order of idiots. Your agenda has been soundly rejected, period, at every level of government. Claiming that the highest populated areas should decide who runs the whole country, is exactly why we have an Electoral College. It keeps this nation from devolving into a true democracy, aka, majority rule. If we actually had a democracy, aka, majority rule, there would be no gay marriage. This is just one good example, one that one of you idiots might understand, that supports the need to remain a Constitutional Republic.

    • More drivel. “Liberal Order of Idiots”—Is that something contrived from a dream you had last night?

      Godzilla, when are you going to learn that your sentiments are better suited for the Dark Ages, and your draconian approach to politics and your obdurate mannerism are relics of a dank and dismal form of thinking. But do keep on with your fool-errantry. A nice warm herpetarium would do you some good.

      • Godzilla says:

        It fits you to a tee Skippy, too a tee.

        • Godzilla, you need a life. I guess you haven’t had time to get outside in a while, and it shows in your attitude.
          But, if complaining is the only way to get your jollies, then complain on. You’re not accomplishing anything in life at this point, and I doubt if you ever have contributed besides consuming food and taking out the trash.

          • Which leads me to wonder what you have accomplished. See how that works? 🙂

            Both parties campaigned with the intent to win the most Electoral votes. Neither party set out to win the most votes overall, because both parties understood that the popular vote was irrelevant.

            Both parties strove to win under the rules that have existed since the nation was founded. Your side lost. Grow up.

          • Paul, you’re still largely ignorant of the higher principles involved and which I took care to articulate. If you have trouble comprehending the big picture and higher concepts, then I can’t help you. Your problem, as with most conservatives, is your insistence on literal interpretation and thinking in a shallow and superficial manner—a casualty of being a conservative.
            We all are aware of the rules so spare us the lecture. The larger and purer concept is that each person’s vote should stand on its own w/o the imposition of some out-dated filter devised by men who were then, and now, so anal as to conjure up a weird notion. Its not a state that votes; individuals vote.
            The majority of Americans find Donald to be morally, psychologically, and intellectually unfit for the job, and his Tweets and cabinet choices alone demonstrate that. And picking a cabinet is the easiest part of the job.
            I can understand your affinity for lewdness in a candidate, his propensity for lying, his conspiracist way of thinking, and general rudeness—these are qualities you admire and probably emulate in your personal affairs.

          • The United States is a union of states. That’s why the states have a vote. Your ignorance of history allows you to believe the US government is all that matters – and that it is a democracy. You are wrong on both accounts.

          • States don’t vote, Paul—people vote!! Your fragmented mind has imagined a scenario that is both ludicrous and bizarre. This is a fault of your upbringing that insists on fragmenting everything and everyone into nice artificial packets. What part of this do you not understand?? Union of states is irrelevant when voting. Paul, you are not a state, but you’re an individual who happens to live in a plot of land demarcated by lines on a map. The demarcation doesn’t devalue or enhance your vote—it’s really that simple.
            Aspire to free yourself from the trap of fragmented thinking—after all, that’s the underlying problem with you and those who think like you. Fragmentation is an illusion when it comes to people, Paul, and you’re hopelessly trapped in that Twilight Zone.
            Don’t be a victim of and slave to “The Kingdom of Names”.

            “The earth is but one country, and humankind its citizens”, wrote Baha’u’llah. This is the new Vision you and all the rest of us need to adopt.

          • If the world is but one country, you should be happy living anywhere in it. Send me a message when you relocate to Somalia or North Korea. Until then, if you are living in America follow the rules that exist here.

          • What rules are you referring to? Is there a rule that you must be rude and lewd? Is there a rule that you must bilk workers? Do you live by the rule that it’s OK to force yourself on women?
            Paul, you don’t deserve the name of one of the disciples of Jesus because you think and write like an agent of the netherworld.
            As for where I choose to live, that is for me to decide. Were your parents as officious and imperious as you are?

    • itsfun says:

      Also, there would be no anti-discrimination laws.

      • Godzilla says:

        Actually, yes there would. The whole concept of a Constitutional Republic is to protect the minority. Unlike a Democracy, where the majority rules, our system allows for the protection against exactly what this article calls for. If not for our Constitutional Republic, we probably wouldn’t have any laws that protect minorities of any form.

    • Budjob says:

      Seig Heil,Nazi fucktard!

    • I Am Helpy says:

      OK thanks Adolf.

    • toto says:

      Being a constitutional republic does not mean we should not and cannot guarantee the election of the presidential candidate with the most popular votes. The candidate with the most votes wins in every other election in the country.

      Guaranteeing the election of the presidential candidate with the most popular votes and the majority of Electoral College votes (as the National Popular Vote bill would) would not make us a pure democracy.

      Pure democracy is a form of government in which people vote on all policy initiatives directly.

      Popular election of the chief executive does not determine whether a government is a republic or democracy.

      The presidential election system, using the 48 state winner-take-all method or district winner method of awarding electoral votes used by 2 states, that we have today was not designed, anticipated, or favored by the Founding Fathers. It is the product of decades of change precipitated by the emergence of political parties and enactment by states of winner-take-all or district winner laws, not mentioned, much less endorsed, in the Constitution.

      The Constitution does not encourage, discourage, require, or prohibit the use of any particular method for how to award a state’s electoral votes

      Now, in a nation of over 320 million people, we have 2nd place presidential candidates elected by 537 votes in 1 state, or less than 90,000 votes in 3 states. If any other country elected their chief executive like this, Americans would not regard the result as fair.

      The National Popular Vote bill is 61% of the way to guaranteeing the majority of Electoral College votes and the presidency in 2020 to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in the country, by changing state winner-take-all laws (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but later enacted by 48 states), without changing anything in the Constitution, using the built-in method that the Constitution provides for states to make changes.

      The bill retains the constitutionally mandated Electoral College and state control of elections, and uses the built-in method that the Constitution provides for states to make changes. It ensures that every voter is equal, every voter will matter, in every state, in every presidential election, and the candidate with the most votes wins, as in virtually every other election in the country.

      Every voter, everywhere, for every candidate, would be politically relevant and equal in every presidential election. Every vote would matter in the state counts and national count.

    • toto says:

      Voters in the biggest cities are almost exactly balanced out by rural areas in terms of population and partisan composition.

      16% of the U.S. population lives outside the nation’s Metropolitan Statistical Areas. Rural America has voted 60% Republican. None of the 10 most rural states matter now.

      16% of the U.S. population lives in the top 100 cities. They voted 63% Democratic in 2004.
      The population of the top 50 cities (going as far down as Arlington, TX) is only 15% of the population of the United States.

      Suburbs divide almost exactly equally between Republicans and Democrats.

  2. The article points out the fatal flaws of reliance on maps that are color-coded. The colors give a false impression of what’s really happening at ground-level and displays trends at best. The outcome of voting shouldn’t be determined by bluster and an ancient artifact called an electoral college, a uniquely American artifice intended to assign extra weight to votes dependent on location, as though a location is an independent organism assigned a certain number of votes—a quaint notion devised by quaint little men who had too much time on their hands and cooked up a clever method for voting when a simple assessment that each person counts as a single vote would have sufficed.
    Our Middle Ages method of selecting a nominee along with the childish notion of a pledge to support a candidate no matter how unfit discredits the entire American electoral process.
    The time for change in the system is Yesterday, or today. What we have in America is an oligarchy driven and manipulated by plutocrats, with autocrat-like emperor Trump chosen by said plutocracy. A South African apartheid-like structure at the social and political level should be abandoned just as South Africa’s malignant system was.

  3. We still can revert to peaceful civil unrest to oppose policies and decisions that work against our interest and priorities. But we should follow a disciplined democratic disobedience and disruptions. Oppose what will hurt our citizens and our children’s future.

    • Godzilla says:

      Just don’t follow what some on here have suggested…..to buy a gun and take up arms. Peaceful protests are a welcome sight, if the Left is even capable of having one, which they seem to fail at time and time again.

      Just curious, what policies, which haven’t been enacted yet, will you protest?

  4. 1standlastword says:

    There is an air of nobility, and natural-sense-of-entitlement that is insinuated in the idea of the Electoral College. I think the natural-sense-of-entitlement and clever manipulation of our democracy have certainly served republicans better than democrats–especially this century.

    While both parties have benefited from gerrymandered districts, voter suppression and the “vitiated” Voting Rights Act have the signature of conservatives signed in indelible ink the color of RED on the bottom line of their “Contract on America”.

    It’s hard to imagine the republicans would go all the way with removing schemes that have worked so well for them: voter suppression, Electoral College and gerrymandering. I posted it 10 years ago that I thought voters were simply necessary only for the appearance of a democratic process for the republicans as they won all of their seats without majorities, and consistently since Karl Rove said “we are going after states”….Dummocrats heard him but did NOTHING to ramp up a defense so here we are folks!

    Soooo….I can imagine if Clinton had won the republicans would NOT have cooked up the death of the electoral college for two reasons; one already said above and the other being she would have won the popular vote and the EC just as Obama had–twice.

    Finally, the democrats might have begun to activate their own Rove like strategy to pave their way to winning again.

    • Godzilla says:

      Please prove the voter suppression nonsense you claim. Your lies just continue the idiocy of the Liberal Left. We don’t live in a Democracy, it’s Constitutional Republic, of which the Electoral College was designed to keep the majority from ruling, aka, a Democracy.

      • 1standlastword says:

        I’m not your personal scribe! Do your own research…it’s not that hard–

        Democracy refers to a democratic process. We are a Constitutional Republic with a democratic process!!!!

        Don’t lecture me Mr. Reptile!!!!!!! (My finger on your snout)

    • toto says:

      The National Popular Vote bill was approved this year by a unanimous bipartisan House committee vote in both Georgia (16 electoral votes) and Missouri (10).
      Since 2006, the bill has passed 34 state legislative chambers in 23 rural, small, medium, large, Democratic, Republican and purple states with 261 electoral votes, including one house in Arizona (11), Arkansas (6), Maine (4), Michigan (16), Nevada (6), New Mexico (5), North Carolina (15), and Oklahoma (7), and both houses in Colorado (9).

  5. Dan S says:

    2.7 Million vote lead over the President Elect and growing. Damn why can’t these votes be in the EC states that she lost narrowly like Wisconsin and Michigan ? If we’re going to keep the EC then they need to reapportion the balance of each EC vote. California & New Jersey are getting screwed by states like Wyoming whose vote is 3.6 times more valuable. That’s ridiculous & needs to be remedied by the 2020 Census. And get rid of all the gerrymandering going on favoring the Republicans

    • Godzilla says:

      So you want the heavily populated areas to have full political rule over the rural areas of the country, aka, majority rule? Is that correct?

      • I Am Helpy says:

        So you want rural white people to have 2.5 times the voting power of someone in a city? Is that correct? (Of course it is, you’re a dull racist).

      • toto says:

        Voters in the biggest cities are almost exactly balanced out by rural areas in terms of population and partisan composition.

        16% of the U.S. population lives outside the nation’s Metropolitan Statistical Areas. Rural America has voted 60% Republican. None of the 10 most rural states matter now.

        16% of the U.S. population lives in the top 100 cities. They voted 63% Democratic in 2004.
        The population of the top 50 cities (going as far down as Arlington, TX) is only 15% of the population of the United States.

        Suburbs divide almost exactly equally between Republicans and Democrats.

    • Charlotte Sines says:

      We need to keep reminding Trump that he lost the popular vote to a woman. Maybe he will have a meltdown since his ego won’t be able to handle it.

  6. Liberals need to read the Constituion and the many writings that led to it. The US is not now, nor was it ever intended to be a democracy. It is a Republic in which the people are represented in the House of Representatives, “the People’s House”. The President is not your representative, your Congressperson is.

    • Zengo says:

      interesting that the Electoral College isn’t in the Constitution then, isn’t it?

      • Article II

        Section 1. The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the
        United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, and, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same Term,be elected, as follows
        Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.

        Zengo, can you read?

        • Zengo says:

          They talk about electors, but not the electoral college, which was not put into place until quite some time later.

          Paul can you think?

          • Unlike the college you may be still attending, the Electoral College is not a place but a process. It was not “put into place quite some time later” (When?) It is and always has been the process proscribed in the Constitution. Stop advertising your ignorance.

          • Zengo says:

            Wow, you are just a wellspring of assumptions

      • AgLander says:

        The electoral college is listed in Article II, Section I of the U.S Constitution, grasshopper. Leave your ignorant friends at Starbucks long enough to actually learn something other than liberal blather among a group of liberal arts majors who think a degree in English Literature makes them a genius.

    • toto says:

      Being a constitutional republic does not mean we should not and cannot guarantee the election of the presidential candidate with the most popular votes. The candidate with the most votes wins in every other election in the country.

      Guaranteeing the election of the presidential candidate with the most popular votes and the majority of Electoral College votes (as the National Popular Vote bill would) would not make us a pure democracy.

      Pure democracy is a form of government in which people vote on all policy initiatives directly.

      Popular election of the chief executive does not determine whether a government is a republic or democracy.

      The presidential election system, using the 48 state winner-take-all method or district winner method of awarding electoral votes used by 2 states, that we have today was not designed, anticipated, or favored by the Founding Fathers. It is the product of decades of change precipitated by the emergence of political parties and enactment by states of winner-take-all or district winner laws, not mentioned, much less endorsed, in the Constitution.

      The Constitution does not encourage, discourage, require, or prohibit the use of any particular method for how to award a state’s electoral votes

      Now, in a nation of over 320 million people, we have 2nd place presidential candidates elected by 537 votes in 1 state, or less than 90,000 votes in 3 states. If any other country elected their chief executive like this, Americans would not regard the result as normal or proportional.

      The National Popular Vote bill is 61% of the way to guaranteeing the majority of Electoral College votes and the presidency in 2020 to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in the country, by changing state winner-take-all laws (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but later enacted by 48 states), without changing anything in the Constitution, using the built-in method that the Constitution provides for states to make changes.

      The bill retains the constitutionally mandated Electoral College and state control of elections, and uses the built-in method that the Constitution provides for states to make changes. It ensures that every voter is equal, every voter will matter, in every state, in every presidential election, and the candidate with the most votes wins, as in virtually every other election in the country.

      Every voter, everywhere, for every candidate, would be politically relevant and equal in every presidential election. Every vote would matter in the state counts and national count.

    • It would help if you would learn to read and understand context rather than just engage in the mechanics of reading. Proper reading goes beyond reading what’s on the page but involves reflecting, understanding context, deciding relevance given current events, and the like. This is a skill that is hamstrung when one becomes stultified in thinking—something that conservatism leads to.

      • Yes, facts can be so stultifying. Life is so much more pleasant when you master the ability to ignore the way things actually are and learn to pretend they are the way you’d like them to be. Liberals are very good at that. 😉

        • Whatever, Paul. You have your reality, and the rest of us have a different reality. But like so many conservatives, you have this strange urge to impose your reality on others, just like the early colonizers who sailed the oceans and ventured into foreign lands imposed their will and sense of reality on the indigenous populations they encountered. You are following in their footsteps and so it’s nearly impossible to dislodge you from your stubbornly held beliefs. This is a flaw of many conservative minds which leads them to always think of having to conquer others.
          A one-sided approach to resolution is what you and Donald and others like you employ.

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