Freddie: they’re going to keep losing

Aaron David

A fourth generation Californian, befuddled.

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181 Responses

  1. Saul Degraw says:

    Freddie had the great honor of being retweeted by Ann Coulter recently. I guess he hit the big leagues.

    Freddie De Bore is an arrogant little worm who can’t stand that people who disagree with him make their living from journalism while he is working in admin at CUNY-Brooklyn. I guess he is trying to be an in house “leftist” at some right wing magazine. That is a pretty sweet gig from what I hear. Everyone loves an apostate.

    The Democrats lost the election in the most narrow sense of the word based on an ancient system designed to protect slave states. HRC won the popular vote by several hundred thousand votes if not millions. We picked up seats in the Senate and House. We have a chance to pick up another Senate seat in December in LA. The margins in Michigan, Wisconsin, and PA were not blow outs, they were razor thin.

    What if HRC won by Trump’s razor thin margin?

    I am generally not a fan of celeb endorsements. I found the Joss Whedon videos annoying but that does not make Bouie wrong on how racism and bigotry played into Trump’s appeal. Trump ran one of the most racist campaigns in recent history. It started out aganist Mexicans and Muslims and then spread to nearly every other group. He hired a campaign manager who is basically a race propagandist. His sons courted white supremacists.

    It is disheartening to see all the Bernie Bros socialists dismiss the racism,bigotry, and sexism behind the Trump campaign. It is somewhat fitting that a person named DeBoer does so.

    Yet all this goes ignored here because this site is filled with middle-aged white guys who disliked HRC cause reasons.

    It would be nice to see people treat this election as the victory on a technicality that it is instead of a blow out which dooms the Democrstic Party for generations. I doubt that will happen because it means middle aged white guys will need to deal with their demographic slow death.

    This was not a blow out for Republicans but god forbid a Republican or Libertarian ever admit that.Report

    • Burt Likko in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      1. Freddie is no Republican nor is he a libertarian.

      2. I think he has a valid point about the mass media needing to re-establish trust, especially in an era when 20% of the electorate gets its information from Alex Jones.

      3. I think he has another valid point about ignoring constituencies.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Burt Likko says:

        He might not be a libertarian or Republican but there is a market in conservative media for “I’m a leftist. Let me tell you how bad my fellow liberals and leftists are.”

        HA Goodman is a good example. He started as a Randian and then became the Bernie Bros of all Bernie Bros at The holdout who could never concede that HRC won more votes than Bernie in the Democratic primaries and was more popular because she was a Democrat for 40 or more years instead of 40 days. Now he is writing for the right-wing Daily Caller about how horrible liberals and Democrats are.

        HRC had her faults but I think the ways Bernie or Busters have been going against people who disagree with them like Bouie or Michelle Goldberg for bringing up racism and sexism (and being more successful) is disgusting.Report

        • Koz in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          Now he is writing for the right-wing Daily Caller about how horrible liberals and Democrats are.

          What do you want? Liberals and Democrats are horrible. Specifically, since President Obama was elected, the operational strategy for the mainstream Left in America was to deny the legitimate agency of their political opponents.Report

    • LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Can people still stop using little or other adjectives used to describe smallness as insults. Its the male equivalent of fat-shamming women. The entire idea is that if your a man, your supposed to be tall and big and if your not your some type of failure at manhood.Report

    • Kolohe in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Hillary Clinton cannot fail, she can only be failed.Report

    • Road Scholar in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Saul Degraw,

      More than one thing can be true simultaneously. Yes, Trump ran a very racist, sexist, campaign centered on a lot of othering and demonization. But that turned off a lot of Republicans and other folks and it’s NOT why he won. He won because most voters who bothered to show up reverted to type and voted for the Republican or the Democrat like always. That’s also why Johnson’s numbers got as high as 9-10% but he ended up around 3%. HRC, for all her fine qualities and qualifications simply isn’t a great campaigner and didn’t generate a great deal of enthusiasm beyond her core constituency.

      Here’s something to ponder: How the hell did it come to pass that the Republican candidate outflanked the Democrat on economic and foreign policy from the left? When you can explain that I believe you’ll have come a long way toward understanding what really went wrong here.Report

      • Roland Dodds in reply to Road Scholar says:

        I listened to the Commentary podcast last night and they said something that I imagine a lot of “real” conservatives are thinking right about now: yes Trump won as a Republican, but in name only. They were trying to wrap their minds around the idea that their are now two big government, economic interventionist parties in this country. They seemed to be working through the way their ideas (neoconservatism/movement conservatism) were defeated prior to election night.

        I agree that Clinton’s loss was narrow and some of these “Democrats have to change everything!” pieces feel outlandish, especially when one considers how the best bench American Conservatism has had in decades was roundly beaten by a big government populist.

        Yet, regardless of margins of victory, it would be foolish for Dems (and Republicans) to not reconsider and address faults in their orthodoxy.Report

      • DensityDuck in reply to Road Scholar says:

        Economics? Foreign policy? Whatever, bro, they’re racists, that’s the only conversation that needs to happen here. There’s no introspecting that needs to happen among Democrats, no need for re-thinking of how the media is perceived, no worries about centrism versus leftism, because they’re RACISTS. Absolutely nothing at all needs to change about the Democrats in any way whatsoever, because they. ARE. RACISTS.Report

    • Chris in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      How many state legislatures do the Democrats have? How many governors? What sort of majority do they have in the House? The Senate?

      If you think critics of the Democrats are talking about Clinton, and only Clinton, you’re probably part of the reason why the Democratic party is bordering on irrelevance (perhaps from the irrelevance side of the border!).Report

    • DensityDuck in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      “Freddie De Bore is an arrogant little worm ”

      Yes, but he’s an arrogant little worm with a job in academia, and that seems to be making you jealous, so maybe check your emotions on this one?Report

  2. LeeEsq says:

    Saul is mainly right on this one. Clinton won the popular vote and the people doing the counting are predicting that Clinton is going to receive over two million people votes than Trump. The current count has Clinton at over one million in the people vote. The only reason that Trump is going to be President is because of the stupid and non-functioning Electoral College system that people keep around because it helps their party, states, or demographics above others.

    DeBoer does have some good points but ignores that most people even in Blue States ignore the media because most people don’t follow the news or if they do tend to go for more partisan sites that confirms what they believe. The median age of somebody who watches MSNBC and Fox News is in their sixties. Many people speak in jargon and do not explain this to outsiders.Report

    • InMD in reply to LeeEsq says:

      I think Saul is right in that the complete and utter panic by mainstream progressives is unjustified. A flawed system produced a bad outcome. At some point, sooner or later, Democrats will return to power. Our system is set up to be slow and gradual, and while Trump will nudge things in certain directions, absent something both unprecedented and unlikely he won’t be able to remake the country anymore than any other president.

      Of course all of this isn’t really Freddie’s point. His critique has always been that progressives, particularly in media, have gotten into a bad habit of putting culture before policy and it’s become an impediment to effectuating positive change. I can never understand why this gets under so many people’s skin, especially when the same side often makes similar criticisms about right wing echo chambers in talk radio or Fox News.

      I also think the whole ‘white middle aged males have problems with HRC because reasons’ is really disingenuous given how often those reasons have been discussed. Even then I think the vast majority of people here would’ve preferred her to win.Report

      • Damon in reply to InMD says:

        Finally, some sanity…..

        “I think Saul is right in that the complete and utter panic by mainstream progressives is unjustified.” Yes, indeed.

        “A flawed system produced a bad outcome. At some point, sooner or later, Democrats will return to power.” No, this system was set up this was. This is a feature not a bug. Everyone complains, but no one does the hard work of fixing it.

        It’s really hard to project your feels/thinking onto a candidate that has decades of actual history to review and judge. That was one of HRC’s problems. 1) you either liked her or not and 2) she had decades of “scandal”. I don’t think very many people have a problem with a woman president…..just this woman. All Trump had was douchey behavior to women and a over inflated ego.Report

        • InMD in reply to Damon says:

          Well I don’t entirely disagree but I’d quibble that I do think it’s fair to call the EC flawed at this point. It’s increasingly giving disproportionate influence to a smaller and smaller part of the population at the expense of the more populous and economically important parts of the country. Now I would agree that there is a means of changing that, and the Democrats had as good a chance as any in 2009 to push that. For that reason I do think it’s tough to take the complaints now particularly seriously.Report

        • Morat20 in reply to Damon says:

          Way back in the day, when studying Presidential elections and the electoral college, it wasn’t really unusual to hear “And the Electoral College is now an anachronism, and will probably be discarded the first time the winner of the popular vote and the EC aren’t the same”.

          Which at the time made a certain sense — it was a highly unlikely outcome, it hadn’t happened in a century (the last case was what, late 1800s?), and who could imagine the people would stand for it in modern times?Report

      • Don Zeko in reply to InMD says:

        I think it mostly tends to get under people’s skin because Freddie makes his point in about the most abrasive way possible. It’s also the case that Freddie would be saying the same thing if HRC had won the election by 7 points and the Dems had retaken the Senate, so it’s hardly crazy for liberals to take his advice, which comes from a place of pretty deep dislike of mainstream liberalism, with a grain of salt. That said, I don’t think he’s entirely wrong, and the reactions from Saul and the folks at LGM are unhelpful and unfair.Report

        • InMD in reply to Don Zeko says:

          I guess I just read it differently. He’s never struck me as particularly abrasive (just direct). His critics on the other hand (at least that I’ve read) have always seemed to me to go much more for the ad hominems and fail to address his points in intellectually honest ways.

          Regarding taking his advice well… I’d just say that people who have made similar points to Freddie are looking a lot more prescient right now than the folks going apoplectic.Report

          • Koz in reply to InMD says:

            I guess I just read it differently. He’s never struck me as particularly abrasive (just direct). His critics on the other hand (at least that I’ve read) have always seemed to me to go much more for the ad hominems and fail to address his points in intellectually honest ways.

            Me either. I haven’t read everything from Freddie, and I’m sure that I’ve missed some flame wars, but from my recollection the beef is that Freddie doesn’t necessarily accept the idea that he’s obligated to accept the lies, distortions, and objective disagreements with Left political figures just because both parties are somewhere on the Left.

            A lot of his interlocutors feel that they can’t afford to accept that as a legitimate point of view.Report

            • InMD in reply to Koz says:

              That may be the case, and @jaybird ‘s point below probably also has some truth to it. I’ll readily admit it’s easy for me to be dispassionate in this instance. I’m a fellow traveler with the broader left in the sense that I’m part of the blue demographic and, despite having a lot of libertarian instincts, have made my peace with the welfare state.

              That said I know I’m not really part of the tribe and therefore critiques of it never feel personal to me.Report

        • Saul Degraw in reply to Don Zeko says:


          I don’t know. The thing about Freddie and other “ultimate true leftists” is that they take the American public as ignorant rubes. Stuff on how the American public doesn’t know what gaslighting is might or might not be true. The term has existed for a long time (when was the last time that society used gaslights?) He also seems to think they don’t care.

          But yeah, DeBoer doesn’t like mainstream liberalism and he doesn’t like the journalists rising in it with more success like Bouie and Michelle Goldberg. Not sure how he feels about Amanda Marcotte.*

          *Disclaimer: A friend of mine from college is a writer and is real life friends with Amanda Marcotte and Freddie DeBoer. DeBoer is just an abrasive guy and takes pride in it. He sees himself as a truthteller. I am suspicious of those that see themselves as brave truthtellers going against the wind.Report

          • Don Zeko in reply to Saul Degraw says:

            If he’s wrong, can’t we prove it without talking about his personal professional success and how that may or may not color his views?Report

          • Burt Likko in reply to Saul Degraw says:

            I’ve not met Freddie in person, but even online he can be abrasive from time to time. (Who among us is not?) I expect he’s pretty much exactly the person in real life that he projects in his online personality. That’s been the general trend I’ve noticed when I’ve had the pleasure of meeting anyone from this community in real life: people do a good job of expressing who they are in their online comments.

            In this case, those qualities include: Smart. Opinionated. Not comfortable with being ideologically pigeonholed. Confident in his intellectual stance, able to try on new ideas for size. Not always able to temper the confidence down to a level that it does not appear like arrogance, particularly to those who disagree or otherwise fail to identify. Not eager to conform some sort of tribal orthodoxy (at least, not without evaluating said orthodoxy on its merits).

            That he’s like the bulk of the people in this community ought not be a surprise either, given that he is one of this community’s founders. Which, in turn, is to say, you (the reader generally, including but not particularly @saul-degraw) are probably very much like Freddie DeBoer, at least with respect to the qualities I’ve described in this comment.Report

          • North in reply to Saul Degraw says:

            Saul, I think you might need to reread Freddie’s article here. It certainly can be read as an excoriation of liberal centrists but it’s above and beyond a denunciation of the liberal further left, especially the social left.Report

            • Jaybird in reply to North says:

              If I may offer free psychoanalysis, one thing I noticed about Freddie’s article what strikes me as being the sort of thing that would be *IMMEDIATELY* frustrating to Brother Saul while not likely to be noticed by others not more sympathetic to him was Freddie’s phrasing:

              They’re Going To Keep Losing.

              Not “We’re Going To Keep Losing”.
              They are.

              And since Brother Saul is part of the “They”, he sees Freddie as saying “You Are Going To Keep Losing” with an implicit “I Am Not Going To Keep Losing” and *THAT* implies “I Don’t Mind Trump”.

              Freddie could have changed a lot from changing “They” to “We”.

              And the fact that he didn’t communicated something.

              If we want to argue over whether what Saul heard was close to what Freddie was “REALLY” saying, we could… but I can see how Saul saw that signal in the middle of all of the other ones causing him to respond the way he did.

              I mean, assuming he did. Saul should correct me if I screwed this reading of him up.Report

              • North in reply to Jaybird says:

                Well sure, that does make sense but considering that Freddie more or less has always been a political movement of one person everyone is a “they” to him. Maybe I should re-read him myself but on first and second reading the thrust of his article was especially aimed at the virtue signaling “it is not my responsibility to educate/explain my position to, you” left wing.Report

              • LeeEsq in reply to North says:

                That’s a big problem with the Social Justice/Identity Politics set. They keep using specialized jargon and get angry when people don’t understand what they mean by gas-lighting or tone policing and ask for an explanation. I get that frustration. Lawyers don’t like having to explain the same thing or things over and over to each new client but its part of the job. Unless you represent somebody who has a lot of experience with the legal system, every client is going to be new and need the same basic information. Its the same with Social Justice/Identity Politics.Report

              • InMD in reply to LeeEsq says:

                Take it a step further and imagine what a client would think if you snidely added ‘it isn’t my job to explain this to you, educate yourself!’Report

              • Jaybird in reply to InMD says:

                Oh, fine! Go to Shitlord, Jerkface, and Homophobe! They deserve someone like you!Report

              • LeeEsq in reply to InMD says:

                It would come across very badly. Not all lawyers are good at explaining things to clients. Many have, I’m lawyer so you trust me attitude but good lawyers take the time to teach clients about the law.Report

              • InMD in reply to LeeEsq says:

                Oh believe me I know. I’m in-house. If I wasn’t very patient with non-attorneys/willing to teach I’d be out of a job very quickly.Report

              • Saul Degraw in reply to Jaybird says:

                @jaybird and others.

                This is good analysis. Freddie always holds himself as part of the left but above and separate from the left. The reason he strikes me as being annoying is that he likes being distinct from actual and real politics because it means he does not need to compromise. He can keep talking about how his views and ways are pure and good because the second he gets involved in actual politics including intra-party politics, it means needing to compromise.

                This is something that the LGM writers know well but a lot of younger lefty bloggers from the Jacobin and Intercept set don’t.

                The Democratic Party strikes me as more ideologically and geographically diverse than the Republican Party. The Republican Party is 89 percent white and largely based in the South and Midwest. The Democratic Party is 57 percent white and has its strongholds but also needs to compete in other states.

                The Democratic Party base is made of women with college degrees, most advanced degree holders, and then minority populations. All of whom have different priors, wants, and needs. There are a lot more than the three old legs of the Republican Party stool. The needs and wants of Asian-Americans in SF or LA is different than the needs and wants of African-Americans in Chicago or Boston or Atlanta, upper-middle class Brooklynite yuppies, older Jews in Florida. All of which are very different than the needs and wants of a former factory worker in Wisconsin or a handyman in Montana.

                Freddie can’t keep up his shtick if he gets involved because it would mean dealing with all these contradictions. He would rather perch from they.Report

              • DensityDuck in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                It’s very interesting to watch the Democratic Party turn from “we are better than the Right because we engage with our opponents and attempt to understand them and use intellect and reason to find a solution” to “we are better than the Right because of our inherent virtue and if you refuse to accept that then you’re either a jerk, a troll, or a racist.”Report

              • Jaybird in reply to DensityDuck says:

                It’s like being a Southern Babtist, all over again.Report

              • North in reply to DensityDuck says:

                It’d probably be more interesting if that was happening but I’m of the opinion that it hasn’t and certainly isn’t now. Definitely the further left where this if rife does it and assuredly the Dems would usually just meet this kind of nonsense with silence rather than denunciation but it wasn’t and isn’t something particularly common to the Democratic party as a whole.Report

              • DensityDuck in reply to North says:

                Ah-heh. I don’t know what parts of the internet you hang out in, but where I sit, I see tons and tons of leftists saying “it’s about economic issues, and screaming about racism just tells poor people that you don’t care about them, and if they don’t think you care then they’ll never vote for you” and tons and tons of liberal Democrats screaming about racism and proudly declaring that they don’t care about poor people.Report

              • North in reply to DensityDuck says:

                Ah yes, the internet is definitely representative of the Party and ideology as a whole /sarcasm. Not a rule either party or ideology would want enacted.
                Also, frankly, I think you’d want to reverse your analysis here in the interest of accuract, I’m pretty sure the free speech disliking, poor people denouncing crew is predominantly leftist and the liberals are the more economic/empathy bunch. Certainly in terms of the Democratic Party itself you’re not going to find more racist denouncing leftists than economy boosting liberals.Report

              • Guy in reply to Saul Degraw says:

                Hang on, the Dems are more geographically diverse because the R’s do better over broad swathes of the country?Report

              • The Democratic Party strikes me as more… geographically diverse than the Republican Party.

                Arrgghh… Okay, for various reasons I’m a registered Democrat. And geez! Outside of the BosWash corridor (and its rural extension statelets in New England) and the West, we won a lousy two states in the EC. Outside of the West, we lost state legislative chambers. We lost governor’s seats in the Northeast. The people in charge seem to think that leadership candidates don’t exist west of the Mississippi River. We are a party that’s not geographically diverse, and are becoming less so.Report

          • *Disclaimer: A friend of mine from college is a writer and is real life friends with Amanda Marcotte and Freddie DeBoer. DeBoer is just an abrasive guy and takes pride in it. He sees himself as a truthteller. I am suspicious of those that see themselves as brave truthtellers going against the wind.

            How is that a “disclaimer”? It seems more like a “here’s a reason why he’s personally a bad guy.”Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to InMD says:


        Culture is policy and politics. I don’t have the thesis fully worked out yet but here are some thoughts that have been going around my head for the past few years. Some of these might not make sense together:

        1. The American Political system requires a certain amount of go along and get along in terms of policy. This means everyone has to get some of what they want but not all of what they want.

        2. The Radical right has always had the view that mainstream liberalism (not to mention further leftism) is always and constantly illegitimate. Only the radical right can rule.

        3. This group has been growing for years and has taken over the Republican Party at this point. There is nothing in mainstream liberalism that they want to keep. They want to privatize Social Security, Medicare, and basically everything they can get their hands on. There is no belief in comity and saving the nation that can get them to think keeping the programs is good.

        4. Culture is politics and policy. How one views LBGT rights is a matter of culture and this becomes a matter of policy. Same with something like same-sex marriage. There are still a lot of conservatives who want to overturn Griswold. Griswold is a 51 year old Supreme Court decision that says married couples can purchase birth control. There are still a lot of conservatives that want to overturn Lawrence v. Texas and are constantly working at making these things so.

        5. My issue with the BernieBros or super-economics leftists like Freddie and Bruening is that I think they are misguided. I don’t think reducing economic anxiety will make people more tolerant and less racist and sexist. I think racism, homophobia, and sexism can also exist in the very well off.

        6. They also tend to be just as horrible as right-wingers in their attacks against minority and female writers on the left.Report

        • InMD in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          Points 1 and 2 I largely agree with. Point 3 is a bit more complicated. Trump seems to me to have run on an economically populist (even if incoherent) platform. It isn’t clear to me how popular scrapping or privatizing the welfare state really is outside of the conservative intelligentsia.

          Points 4 and 5 is where I think there is a big oversimplification going on in the broader mainstream left (or at least the upper middle class, media savvy left). I think you’re right, that culture matters, and it’s hard to envision policy changes in a culture that is overwhelmingly hostile to the beneficiaries of the policy or finds it immoral. However, where I think progressives are getting it wrong is the belief that culture is always in the driver’s seat. I see it as a factor (which itself is always evolving) along with economics and policy decisions.

          From a pragmatic perspective relying on cultural conversion alone is never going to be enough to win. IIRC you yourself have referenced John Mcwhorter on this. It’s ridiculous to think that a country the size of a continent with over 300 million people is ever going to uniformly adopt the culture of the coastal college educated urban class. Relying on that seems to me like a recipe for defeat. All I hear Freddie and the Bernie supporters saying is that the broader left needs to be willing to work with people who aren’t part of the culture and digging in with snark and disdain the way the right has is counterproductive.

          On point 6 I don’t really have a strong opinion. I’m not on Twitter so all I know is what I observe, and what I observe is that the progressive side is as vicious as anyone in online exchanges.Report

          • Saul Degraw in reply to InMD says:


            In the wake of the election, I’ve seen a lot of people of color who might or might not have decent incomes be considered part of the neo-liberal elite while rural whites who went from Obama to Trump or voted for the first time are just “salt of the earth.”Report

            • InMD in reply to Saul Degraw says:

              @saul-degraw you won’t find any disagreement from me that such a stance is obtuse, and depending on the source, probably wilfully so. I think that’s where looking at every racial, political, and class group as monolithic inevitably leads us- faulty analysis and obviously incorrect conclusions.Report

        • Zac Black in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          Saul Degraw:
          5. My issue with the BernieBros or super-economics leftists like Freddie and Bruening is that I think they are misguided. I don’t think reducing economic anxiety will make people more tolerant and less racist and sexist. I think racism, homophobia, and sexism can also exist in the very well off.

          Freddie, in a post yesterday:

          It’s also worth saying that I have many times explicitly rejected the views that are often imputed on people with my politics – I don’t think racism is just a form of classism, or that class has to come first, or whatever. I think that both racism and sexism are wholly unique and pernicious aspects of human society which can be ameliorated but not eliminated by economic means and that each requires forceful and explicit redress above and beyond our fight for economic justice.


    • Jaybird in reply to LeeEsq says:

      “Why do we even have states anyway? Was there ever a non-racist reason for their existence? We’d be better off without them and we could just be ‘America’.”Report

      • Burt Likko in reply to Jaybird says:

        When I’ve adjunct taught at local colleges I’ve had students ask the first and third of those questions, with sobriety rather than jest.

        Those students are working adults of a range of ages running from their mid-20’s to their mid-50’s, and from a smörgåsbord of apparent political alignments. Indeed, I’m asked that question most often by conservative students who are frustrated with the differences between federal and California law.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Burt Likko says:

          Looking at how you phrased that, it makes me think that every single person who asked that was assuming that they’d come out ahead in the scenario (though, surely, only a handful had a shot at being right).Report

        • In which direction are they frustrated? To pick an example, do they want to roll back Southern California’s air quality regulations to the level that “America” would choose? Or are they frustrated that the rest of the country isn’t adopting Southern California standards?Report

          • As expressed by the more right-leaning students, there is frustration that California in particular has labor and environmental laws that are different than their Federal equivalents, in part as you posit. This is thought to be “anti-business” and it sometimes takes some Socratic work by me to inquire as to what that actually means, which leaves some but not all of those students with doubt about what they’ve been advocating for so many years.

            As expressed by the more left-leaning students, there is frustration that individual states can “get away with” doing so little about civil rights and economic welfare of individuals. In particular, they seem to see it as the state’s job to police against racial and gender discrimination and to control wages such that someone who works full time does not nevertheless live in poverty. To date, I haven’t had to Socratically engage with these students, because other students have done that job on their own and unprompted, with varying degrees of skill. Were I to so engage, it would be at the philosophical level, to test whether they really think that is the proper function of government rather than a merely preferred policy outcome. As it is, the more right-leaning students inevitably challenge when this notion arises, and my job instead becomes to referee the discussion to keep the inevitable disagreements civil in tone.

            And, as I noted to @jaybird above, my students are typically science-and-technology types, for whom the gradations and nuances of different kinds and levels of law are abstract, tedious, and worst of all, sometimes both inexact in application as well as challenging to their own lightly-contemplated political and moral priors. For that reason they find the subject matter unpleasant and would generally prefer that there be less of it, even if they rarely say so in so many words to a lawyer who makes no secret of his love for the law and its institutions.

            EDIT — I hasten to add: not all of them. There are some who clearly take pleasure in understanding how the various levels of government interact and the results produced by that interaction. In particular, my active-duty military students fall into this category. They visibly hunger to understand the country they serve at a deeper-than-superficial level. Those kinds of students are a tremendous pleasure to have in my classes. I stereotype the science-and-technology mindset as hungering for a simple, mathematical, black-letter answer to legal questions, which does not always exist, but that too is not uniform and many accept and sometimes even appreciate that the law is the result of a messy political process, one of people of (mostly) good faith disagreeing and compromising.Report

    • Koz in reply to LeeEsq says:

      The only reason that Trump is going to be President is because of the stupid and non-functioning Electoral College system that people keep around because it helps their party, states, or demographics above others.

      Hmmm? It seems to me that it functioned exactly like it’s supposed to.Report

      • North in reply to Koz says:

        Like it or not it exists and it isn’t going anywhere. I don’t see any point to inveigling about the electoral college.Report

        • Burt Likko in reply to North says:

          I have a preference that we go to plurality (that is, first past the post) selection of the President, but despite my displeasure with the results of this election, that preference is not so strong as to invest that substantial effort necessary to amend the Constitution.

          If we’re going to amend the Constitution, I’d rather do it in a way that solidifies the role of the judiciary as a check against the excesses of the political branches.Report

        • Gabriel Conroy in reply to North says:

          It’s hard for me to remember as far back as 8 days ago, so this might be one of those invented memories,* but I seem to recall thinking it possible that Trump might win the popular vote and Clinton the EC.

          That thought is whatever it is, but I also suggest we should be careful what we wish for. A straight-line popular vote would change how campaigns are run and who runs. I’m not so sure that THE CHOICE OF THE PEOPLE would end up being a good thing.

          *I’m only partly joking. Things seem very different now and I don’t trust my memories.Report

      • Autolukos in reply to Koz says:

        It was supposed to select a body of experienced men of good judgement to indirectly elect a President, thus avoiding the democratic passions entailed by the direct election of the office (see Federalist 68). It has manifestly failed in this, as a cursory examination of the campaign and post-election news will show. If we’re to have the downsides of directly electing a President, we might as well go all the way.Report

        • Michael Cain in reply to Autolukos says:

          Which may well have been an excellent way to choose an executive that lacked a standing army or massive regulatory bureaucracy busy writing the details of laws. I’m not sure there’s any good way to select a President for a country as large and partisan as ours.Report

        • LeeEsq in reply to Autolukos says:

          That was how the Federalists attempted to sell the Electoral College. The real reason why it was created is because they couldn’t come to an agreement on direct popular vote by the people or whether Congress should elect the President, who was supposed to be something like a Clerk of Congress/First Magistrate of the Nation rather than a Tribune. The Electoral College system was a compromise they came up with.Report

          • Gabriel Conroy in reply to LeeEsq says:

            My knowledge of that era is lacking, but was a national popular vote really one of the things under consideration and then nixed?

            ETA: not saying it wasn’t. It just seems a strange thing for any of them at that time to consider.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Koz says:

        @koz @north and all others.

        The problem with the electoral college is that it is a jerry-rigged compromise. During the Constitutional Convention, there was a faction that wanted the President to be picked by Congress and another that wanted to pick the President based on the popular vote. The electoral college was their jerry-rigged compromise.

        However, it is hard to sell “this is our jerry-rigged compromise” so they came up with a bunch of stuff for the Federalist Papers.Report

    • Kim in reply to LeeEsq says:

      Clinton did not win the popular vote. More people voted against her than with her.Report

      • Morat20 in reply to Kim says:

        Um, Kim?

        As the final vote counts continue to trickle in a week after Election Day, Wasserman’s tally found that Clinton had 61,963,234 votes to Trump’s 60,961,185 as of Tuesday afternoon.

        California, Utah, and Washington are still counting — but I somehow expect Clinton’s lead to grow.

        So unless 61.9 million is LESS THAN 60.9 million, you’re kinda wrong here. Maybe the internet cat is messing with you — cats are nature’s trolls.Report

  3. Damon says:

    @leeesq @burt-likko @saul-degraw

    Yep. All this IS true. That however, does NOT change the fact the HRC LOST. And for the last several elections where the EC was won by one person and the popular vote by the other, the loosing side has complained that the EC is obsolete and needs to be fixed….and then we’re back to the same thing. No one does anything.

    Didn’t we have a recent thread on media / liberal smugness? Media, see that post. Yes, likely the Dems will get one or both houses back in a few years. This seems to be the way things are. Yes, the Dems./media (see my slate link somewhere else) are flirting with “republican style no holds barred obstructionism” (yah, that’ll go over well won’t it?

    You’re still out of power and behind the 8 ball. What are you going to DO to recover? So either go fix the problem as you see it, or at least try, or STFU about it and move on. Still waiting on that…..Report

    • Gaelen in reply to Damon says:

      The only recent EC wins without the popular vote are W and Trump.Report

      • Damon in reply to Gaelen says:

        Yep, and I recall the “dump the EC” noise back then. That’s the one i was think of…All that noise….turned into…….nothing…..Report

        • Road Scholar in reply to Damon says:

          “Dumping” the E.C. requires a constitutional amendment. That’s hard enough for something that most people will agree on. It’s a total non-starter when the party that appears to benefit from the status quo holds a commanding majority of the statehouses that need to ratify it.

          What needs to happen is for the Republicans to get screwed by it a couple times.Report

          • Damon in reply to Road Scholar says:

            Dude, it’s called the “long game” via grass roots.

            Alcohol wasn’t banned in a 4 year election cycle. I will admit that if the Rs got screwed a few times it might generate some bi partisan energy to “fix” this problem though.Report

        • Gaelen in reply to Damon says:

          I could be wrong, but I think the national popular vote compact would almost have 270 ec votes of California joined.Report

        • Hoosegow Flask in reply to Damon says:

          There’s been work on the <National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. It won’t take effect without red state support, but that seems slightly easier than getting 2/3 of Congress to support an amendment.Report

          • North in reply to Hoosegow Flask says:

            Only slightly easier though. To get the remaining 105 they’d need to somehow convince red states to vote themselves into irrelevance. That or convince Texas.Report

            • LeeEsq in reply to North says:

              Texas is an interesting place with NPV. As a big population state Texas would benefit enormously from NPV. Candidates would campaign their just as much as they do in California and New York. Florida also stands to gain influence from NPV. As a Republican voting state, Texas benefits from the current system because even if the Democratic candidate keeps getting the majority vote, Texas contributes a lot of electoral votes to a Republican victory.Report

              • North in reply to LeeEsq says:

                Yes, that’s why I called Texas out separate from the rest of red state America. But really only Texas and Florida would potentially stand to benefit from the NPV and since Florida already is one of the crown prince states of the Electoral College system I felt that’d pretty much disqualify the NPV in their mind.Report

    • Burt Likko in reply to Damon says:

      Well, we’ve had 58 Presidential elections, only 5 of which have seen a plurality/majority popular vote winner denied the Presidency. The relative infrequency of that event has, to date, indicated that this is a system whose flaws we’ve been able to live with.

      (Granted, for the first 9 of those, there was not enough popular vote collected to accurately determine who a majority or plurality of the voters and/or citizens preferred.)

      @tess-kovach shared an observation last night, further to her recent post here, that in Federalist #68, Madison opined that the electoral college would serve as a protection against a foreign power installing one of its agents in the Presidency. One suspects Madison was referring specifically to France, Spain, the Netherlands, and England as the only foreign powers that would both be potentially capable of projecting such influence and interested in doing so. (Nor is it fair to say that Trump is an “agent” of Russia: rather, I’d characterize him as “bizarrely sympathetic to its pseudo-Czar and his policies.”)Report

      • Koz in reply to Burt Likko says:

        Well, we’ve had 58 Presidential elections, only 5 of which have seen a plurality/majority popular vote winner denied the Presidency. The relative infrequency of that event has, to date, indicated that this is a system whose flaws we’ve been able to live with.

        Not so much for W vs Gore but for this cycle given the states involved I think the Electoral College has to be viewed as a feature over a bug. It’s pretty much the direct result of our Constitutional design that makes the United States, well, the United States.Report

        • Gaelen in reply to Koz says:

          Do you mind explaining that?

          It seems like the higher the popular vote for the loser of the EC, the more it de-legitimates the EC system. The ‘given the states involved’ line makes me think your advocating that certain peoples votes should matter more than others?Report

          • LeeEsq in reply to Gaelen says:

            The United States government is traditionally described as counter-majoritarian. There isn’t supposed to be a majority faction in control of the federal government and in the off chance that there is, its not supposed to be able to ignore the minority faction. The Electoral College preserves this feature by allowing a minority of voters to select the President and avoid majority control. Now if Koz thinks that Trump and the Republicans in Congress will work with the Democratic minority, he needs help.Report

            • Gaelen in reply to LeeEsq says:

              I’m with you on the second part of that (ie. protecting minority representation), but the first part doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. I mean, there are various reasons for enacting the EC, but putting the less popular party in power doesn’t seem like one of them. I also might be misreading you.Report

          • Koz in reply to Gaelen says:

            Do you mind explaining that?

            Sure. It’s basically downstream of the basic element of our Constitutional design as a federation of states. Hillary Clinton ran up the score in a few big states, whereas Trump won a lot of support all over America. I think Trump wins in any way of selecting the President according to those principles. It’s not just a small quirk of the Electoral College as it was spelled out.

            I think the only way Hillary wins is direct election by national popular vote. Given her margins in NY, Cali, Illinois, I think it’s fair to say that’s exactly what our Constitutional design was there to prevent.Report

            • Kazzy in reply to Koz says:

              I agree that complaining about the popular vote carries little weight with me. I often compare it to insisting you should win the football game because you gained more yards despite being outscored. Had the other team known scoring more runs was the point, they’d have approach the game differently.

              That said, I’m not sure I’m convinced that the EC is a “better” approach than a popular vote. Both methods have their pros and cons.

              One point of criticism I will offer is the way electoral votes are apportioned to the states. Namely, the use of senators as a factor really overvalues small states. California has approximately 38M people and 55 electoral votes. Wyoming has approximately 600K people and receives 3 votes. That means 690K Californians count towards one vote while 200K Wyomingers get the same weight. That doesn’t feel right. Or even close to it. If you use just the House reps, we get much closer: 716K/vote in Cali and 600K/vote in Wyoming.

              Now, that is based on total population. Looking at registered voters or those eligible to vote might yield slightly different numbers but I doubt they make a huge difference. I’m also not sure those are better ways to think about it since we expect our elected officials to represent the interest of all Americans, voter or not, eligible or not. Plus I’m pretty sure that House reps are based on total population as well.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Kazzy says:

                Clinton won 20 states (plus DC). Trump won 30. If electoral votes were based on House reps only, than we’d be looking at needing 220 to win. Trump had 306 EC votes and Clinton had 232*. If you back out the “Senator” votes, you put Trump at 246 and Clinton at 190… still a Trump victory but closer and likely more aligned with the overall electorate’s preferences.

                But the same caveat applies here: change the rules and the players play the game differently.

                * Assuming Michigan stays in Trump’s column, as it seems likely to. Ultimately, it wouldn’t change things.Report

              • Gabriel Conroy in reply to Kazzy says:

                But the same caveat applies here: change the rules and the players play the game differently.

                This. 2016, done all over again exactly how it happened, would have led to a Clinton victory with a popular vote scheme. But under a popular vote scheme, the rules would have been different. We likely would have had different candidates campaigning (and probably getting on the ballot) in different ways. We really don’t know who or what we’d get as a result.

                As for your suggestion/thought experiment about taking away the senatorial representation in the EC count, I hadn’t thought of that before. That too (as you’ve just said) would change the way the game is played.Report

              • KenB in reply to Gabriel Conroy says:

                Really, instead of complaining about the system or fantasizing about changing it, the Dems should problem-solve. Hillary had a margin of about 4 million superfluous votes in NY+CA and lost several swing states by a total of just a few hundred thousand — why not fire up those phone banks, call a million or so of your coastal elite urban voters, and convince them to take one for the team and move to flyover country?Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to KenB says:

                I know you jest… but honestly, this is part of what an economic recovery will need to look like. I don’t think this is something the Govt can simply mandate, but there is a subtle and strong undercurrent among many of the “best” companies that they need certain addresses to maintain their cache. It is certainly true with my $1B Silicon valley software company… we open branch offices in only the coolest places.

                The key here is that I’m *not* talking about offices for the super specialized developers that are hard to find… I’m talking the entry level Sales/Marketing and support services. The kinds of jobs that can be done by virtually anyone with a 3-6 month ramp/training period. Those jobs are mostly going to culturally significant noobs.Report

              • KenB in reply to Marchmaine says:

                Sure, ruin my joke by being all serious and stuff.

                What you’re saying makes sense, but FWIW as one (probably not generalizable) datapoint: my old boss/owner (since sold out) opened an office in the middle of South Carolina several years ago, partly for personal reasons and partly for the lower salaries and the tax/training benefits offered by the state. It more or less eventually worked out, but we had some challenges that we didn’t anticipate, mostly re cultural/background differences between there and here in Connecticut and the fact that no one here wanted to move there to manage the office (a few people explored it but realized there was a reason why the COL was so much lower). Surmountable obstacles, but they made the whole process not nearly as easy as the boss drew it up on the whiteboard.Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to KenB says:

                Sure, that’s why is suspect the answer is more cultural than bureaucratic… and perhaps a couple of decades too late already.

                The speak Truth-to-Weakness argument I see popping up here and elsewhere is missing the point… it’s not *simply* that they want the factories back (sure, if you could do that, that would be something); its that they want their children back. The ones they lost to opportunity and the ones they lost to lack of opportunity. That’s the (neo-)Liberal FYIGM blindspot. And there’s no quick fix for that… its a slow multi-generational solidarity project.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Marchmaine says:

                We still circle around the same issue: Nobody has a fix to their core problems.

                So we’re back to “Tell the truth or lie”. The truth is unpleasant and generally rejected. The lies…well, I’m pretty sure that seesaws in the form of anti-establishment votes and/or voter apathy (and of course how successful you are in blaming someone else for the failure to deliver). So win some, lose some.

                We’re still at the same place. Democrats have no policies that can solve the problem, just alleviate it to a degree, and that’s not through lack of trying. Those policies are pretty roundly rejected.

                No amount of listening, empathy, or anything else is gonna help. The problem space is pretty defined. The issue is there exists no acceptable solutions (either to the voters in question or the public at large), and you can’t force some sort of policy breakthrough.Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to Morat20 says:

                Hmmn… I’m very specific that I agree there’s no Federal finger-snap that will address this. So on that we agree. I think Trump will be a horrible let down for these folks. [insert joke about finger size and snapping here]. Though unlike others here, I really do hope that he maybe somehow stumbles on something that starts to reverse the trend.

                As I say, I think this actually is more of a cultural/solidarity issue than a policy issue. You can certainly go all KDWilliamson / Sam Kinison on them if you want, though.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine says:

                If you can outsource to Bangladesh for a call center staffed with people with thick, unintelligible accents, you ought to be able to outsource to Tennessee for a call center staffed with people with even thicker, even more unintelligible accents.

                It’s 2016. Even Tennessee has internet now.Report

              • Kolohe in reply to Jaybird says:

                As far as I know, this actually happens quite frequently. But in the South and South West.

                The Rust Belt/Trump Belt states often have prevailing wage rates that don’t make it as economical.

                On the other hand, I remember when Gateway made a big deal that they were building computers in Iowa (and not California). And the industry press though Sioux City metro area was going to be the next Silicon Valley. (It turned out that the Dulles Airport access road was the next Silicon Valley)Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird says:

                You sure picked a bad time to stop being libertarian (henceforth known as retort #15)

                Yes. I should just stop there because I’ve deleted about 5 responses for getting overlong and convoluted.

                Maybe the marginally useful nugget to the OT constituency is that even among the JP2/Acton/Novak Catholic Right (if that means anything, if not, just substitute Austrian school) it is possible to achieve some sliver of agreement along the lines of: 1) Capital Flies, Labor Walks, and 2) Absolute comparative advantages of (Global) Human Capital have some structural assumptions that can be problematic if pursued to their logical ends.

                Which is to say, it is possible to make moral/cultural arguments for market inefficiencies along the lines of Markets are made for man, not man for markets. As long as there are some shared common assumptions.

                But I just chalk that up to the old adage, if you think you didn’t like the Christian Left, just wait until you get the non-Christian Left.

                @jaybird (since this is turning into a stale thread)Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine says:

                My moment of clarity came in an argument against @dexter where he was arguing against illegal immigration with a comment that said something to the effect of “that’s easy for you to say” and I leaned in to argue that he was a racist to oppose undocumented immigrants or something like that and halfway through, the comment turned to ash in my mouth (ash on my fingertips?) and I realized “huh… that *IS* easy for me to say”.

                And, from there, I started pulling on threads until my sweater unraveled and I saw that I was naked.

                (Well, going to Qatar and seeing how the richest country in the world had slaves also did a good job of shattering my illusions. But I just enjoyed that sweater analogy too much.)Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird says:

                I enjoyed your Qatar posts by the way… especially the food ones.

                Thought scrambler for the day… maybe instead of just amnesty we should be arguing to extend our borders south. Let’s not restrict the goodness, let’s expand it!Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine says:

                Did the whole “dude, this is only going to end with one side standing on the neck of the other” thing come through?

                I was trying to communicate that by showing it rather than telling it.Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird says:

                Am I bad for thinking, “totally worth it for a Falcon?”

                I get what you’re getting at with the National Church idea… I’m wondering though if your Liberal roots are placing too much emphasis on equality rather than justice though.

                It is possible that you might define justice as the harmonious balance of equality, trust, and collaboration… but then, how are we adjudicating between the three?

                Does cutting the poppies add to trust or collaboration? both? neither?

                As I say, a bad time to stop being a libertarian.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine says:

                In my youth, I prayed for justice.

                I’ve started praying for mercy, recently.Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird says:


                Though in Catholic thought Justice requires Mercy as Mercy requires Justice else you have cruelty or annihilation.

                Though I vaguely recall that Justice/Mercy operate slightly differently in Calvinist thought, so possibly this informs your meditations on the matter.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine says:

                Calvin was a heavy SOB. I’ve been trying to escape him but, until recently, I thought that the only way out was Arminianism and that’s even worse.

                Someone explained to me that Calvinism was actually a *HERESY* and that explained quite a bit.

                Old habits die hard, though.Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird says:

                Heh… welp, good luck with that. 🙂Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine says:

                The worst part is the nagging sensation that this would be much easier if I believed in a deity.Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird says:

                I doubt it, but it might help you understand when it fails.Report

              • El Muneco in reply to Jaybird says:

                I tried to post this from my phone earlier, but it didn’t work…
                Some venture capitalists just bought the company that just last year bought the office I work in (lots of movement the past year, interesting times). Word on the street has it that they are going to be reversing a planned international expansion (largely to Bangalore itself, notify Central Casting of overuse of a cliche). In return, they are going to aggressively expand in lower-cost domestic areas (i.e. not the Silicon Valley HQ).
                Now this is mostly not out of goodness of heart, but because offshoring of software just doesn’t work in the real world. But it’s still evidence that it can happen.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to El Muneco says:

                Good news. Did this particular word on the street start circulating before the election or only after?Report

              • El Muneco in reply to Jaybird says:

                The deal wasn’t completed until after, although it had been in the works for a while, so I can’t say for sure. Apparently it’s one of their best practices – software shops are domestically based, zoos feature only fierce creatures, that sort of thing.
                But even if everybody did it, it wouldn’t help the specific problem. Wrong type of jobs – white collar, sales, secretarial… And still largely urban, just in smaller cities outside the standard tech corridors.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to El Muneco says:

                Getting a small boom in smaller cities outside the standard tech corridors would be a good start to resolving the problem.

                If we could make it so kids had the option of moving merely 3 hours away from home instead of requires-plane-tickets away, that’d be good for huge swaths of flyover.

                After you graduate from college, instead of having to move to the Bay, you can move to Branson and still visit Mom, Dad, the sibs and the cousins on the weekend? That’s how you get people out of the dying towns and into real cities.Report

              • Koz in reply to Kazzy says:

                Yeah, the “Senatorial Bonus” is there, but it’s pretty small really. In fact, you could say it’s smaller than it should be and doesn’t really respect enough the equality of states in as members of the Union.

                But in this case I don’t think matters anyway, given the size of the Trump win in the EC. IIRC Trump won 30 states and HRC won 20, so that means that only 20 EVs out of Trump’s win is due to the “Senatorial Bonus”Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Koz says:


                I think that brings us back to a fundamental question: Are we looking at voters and their interests largely in an individual manner or are we looking at them as collectives in states?

                I mean, why does it matter that more “states” voted for Trump? What does it mean for a “state” to prefer a candidate?

                Does Kansas have interests? Or do people from Kansas have interests?

                These questions aren’t meant to be flip… I think if we are going to keep the EC, we need to consider how we delve out EC votes and these questions (and more) are a big part of that.Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to Kazzy says:

                “Does Kansas have interests? Or do people from Kansas have interests?”


                I get the wailing and gnashing of teeth about the popular vote, but the electoral college (and other [fading] institutions) are an important part of maintaining national trust; it is important to recognize the provincials also have interests.

                Eliminating it would have adverse consequences, and, I suspect, hasten deteriorating conditions of our state. I would even submit that it is the inefficiencies, not the efficiencies that make for stable politics.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Marchmaine says:

                I’m not sure I want to eliminate, bur definitely reform. I want all votes to be of more or less equal weight. Increasing House size (as @will-truman ) points out seems reasonable.

                But lets not pretend the EC doesn’t create its own perverse incentives. “With a popular vote, they’d never come to Montana!”

                But with the EC, how often do GOP candidates go to NYC and LA? How much time do Dems spend in Mobile?Report

              • Will Truman in reply to Kazzy says:

                @kazzy They actually *still* go to LA or NY more than they go to Montana. Because LA and NY is where the money is. Montana has only three electoral college votes and generally isn’t in play in a close election anyway. In terms of attention granted, the EC distorts basically ten states at the expense of all others big and small.

                The only “attention granted” argument in favor of the EC is that they do often scour the states. So they do get a balance between large cities (Miami) and smaller ones (Pensacola). If we had a NPV, it would be Miamis all around and no Pensacolas. That doesn’t begin to compensate for the arguments going in the opposite direction.

                It can also prevent regional domination, but I’d argue that our sheer size and geographic diversity prevents that from happening anyway. You can’t win with just California and New York under a popular vote. So I file this away from “It may be a useful check for some other country, but is not necessary in ours.”

                Sometimes a weighting of votes is a good thing, so it’s not transparently wrong to me. But once again, the facts on the ground already take care of those concerns by having a senate. So perhaps a useful check for some other country, but not ours.

                So I would do away with the Electoral College and replace it with something better, if I could. But it’s more complicated than the critics make it out to be. “The person who gets the most votes” isn’t necessarily better because you have the Plurality Victor problem. Runoffs, IRV, approval voting, all have their potential issues as well (though at first glance any are better than EC or First-Past-The-Post).

                Right now FPTP looks really attractive because it brings the desired result, but look at Maine. I don’t know who would have won with my preferred system of a separate runoff. Or IRV. Ultimately, it shouldn’t especially matter who won because systems shouldn’t be drafted with winners in mind. Elections are messy.

                Then there are issues of voting law uniformity, election administration, and so on.

                There really is no “We should just do X.”Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to Kazzy says:

                Well, that’s essentially what I’m arguing… incentives – perverse or otherwise.

                I expect that the next democratic candidate will indeed visit Wisconsin and Michigan quite a bit more.

                Perhaps Republicans would need to visit Louisiana more if more Democratic candidates were more like John Bel Edwards.Report

              • Will Truman in reply to Kazzy says:

                This is more or less where I land on the subject. If I had my druthers we’d have a (non-FPTP) NPV. But we don’t, and the rules are the rules. At most, the popular vote plays a rule in trying to turn them to your advantage (say by trying to make electors go faithless).

                That doesn’t mean complaint about the rules aren’t justified, but there is a difference between complaining about the rules and complaining about the outcome. It should mostly be about going forward rather than back.

                As far as your proposal, I’d say dramatically increasing the size of the House would do more good (House representation in Rhode Island is near double that of Montana), but I would say that 🙂Report

              • Don Zeko in reply to Will Truman says:

                Out of curiosity, would the EC defenders still support it if the popular vote winner lost a third of the time or half of the time rather than twice in the last century?Report

      • Damon in reply to Burt Likko says:

        Well, I suppose you could consider me sympathetic to Putin. Not because of Putin, but because I think the US should 1) avoid actively destabilizing countries and 2) doing that on Russia’s borders. I also don’t think we should be recruiting NATO membership for the Baltic states. It’s aggressive and threatening. Would we tolerate Russian agitating/destabilizing Mexico? And at last check, Putin was pretty popular. My ladyfriend, who left Russia a while back claims he was quite popular-this was during his first go around.Report

        • InMD in reply to Damon says:

          It’d be nice if someone whose last name isn’t Paul would occasionally raise these questions in the halls of power/the mainstream media. You don’t have to be a fan of Vlad to consider the possibility that constant brinkmanship with the Russians can provoke as easily as it can deter.Report

  4. Jaybird says:

    Erstwhile brother Ryan Noonan tweeted:

    Won't happen and would cause civil war, but if you're an elector, you should probably be considering how faithful you are about now.— Ryan Noonan (@noonanville) November 16, 2016

    So, something for Democrats to consider is calling up all of the Trump electoral voters from the Blue Wall states and start bribing them. Offer them stuff like real estate in the good parts of the country and a sinecure at a knowledge worker job.

    A Clinton Presidency is still possible!Report

  5. Jaybird says:

    Wanna read a story that pretends to be about Trump being bad, but is really about The Press being bad?

    Here you go.

    As we’re throwing around why they’re going to keep losing, we need to look at ish like this as another of the 24ish reasons that are likely contributors.Report

  6. OT really has become ESPN. It’s 1994, and here are the reasons Steve Young is never going to win a Super Bowl.Report

  7. Kolohe says:

    I’ll say this again – one can complain about the Electoral College and point to how Clinton got a decisive margin in the popular vote and is still racking it up. And I’m with people that want to get rid of it – It Had One Job, and that was to prevent someone patently unqualified from becoming President, and it’s now utterly failed in that mission.

    But Clinton’s entire message (besides, ‘I’m a woman, wouldn’t it be nice to get a woman in the White House for a change) was that she was the “Pragmatic Progressive”. She’s the one herself that argued that being popular wasn’t enough, that being *right* wasn’t enough – to do anything worthwhile, you needed to know how the system worked and how to work that system.

    The system of the electoral college wasn’t a October surprise or a November Surprise – it was September surprise. A September 1787 surprise.

    By her own standards, stated for herself – she failed spectacularly.Report

    • Mike Schilling in reply to Kolohe says:

      No question: she’s a losing loser who loses.Report

      • Kolohe in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        She is. The toughest competition she ever defeated for an elected job was Rick Lazio. She’s the Trent Dilfer of politics.

        If she couldn’t handle the politics of white people in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, with whom she has a lifelong cultural affinity, how was she going to handle the politics of Sunni Iraqis, Shi’a Iraqis, Kurds, Syrians, Turks, Russians, and Saudis after ISIL is defeated militarily?Report

        • Kolohe in reply to Kolohe says:

          My actual point is all the recriminations from all directions are overwrought and misplaced.

          Now that Clinton Inc is no longer exerting its massive gravitational force on the space-time of Democratic party politics, things may get back to a better equilibrium. One that wins elections.Report

          • North in reply to Kolohe says:

            I generally agree. I think panic about massive overhaul of Democratic party policies is probably premature. To be honest I’ve been so ruffled by all this I’ve been trying to compose a guest post or posts on the subject but I’m not very good at writing y thoughts down outside of a comment box context.Report

    • North in reply to Kolohe says:

      There is no denying that chief, primary and paramount among the factors that led to this loss is HRC herself (and by extension her boosters and most enthusiastic proponents- among who’s number I count myself).Report

    • Gaelen in reply to Kolohe says:

      It’s even more damning if the rumor of Bill’s advice re the WWC and the rust belt is true. What an epic misreading of the situation.Report

      • North in reply to Gaelen says:

        My 2 cent armchair analysis which makes my blood run cold is that it was a conscious choice to try and “match” Obama’s 2008 accomplishment. Obama won 2008 with a historic turnout of many Dem constituencies chief among them African Americans. I fear HRC and her campaign hopes to win 2016 with a similar turnout chief among them women. White male voters didn’t fit into that desired narrative and were neglected assuming that the difference could be made up elsewhere or would be left on the table by Trumps unique awfulness. It was a terrible, terrible decision if true.

        As the numbers in the swing states get more and more clear it’s looking like Trump basically turned out the GOP coalition in somewhat reduced votes with uneducated whites filling in for defections from educated whites but Clinton simply failed to turn out her own people comparably to how Obama did.Report

        • LeeEsq in reply to North says:

          Hillary Clinton and her supporters seemed to really think that women would turn up and vote for Clinton in numbers the same way that African-Americans did for Obama. Especially since Trump was so obviously sexist in the crudest and vilest way possible. It turned out not to be the case and enough white women decided to vote Republican in key states to take Trump to the White House. That’s why there was this big outrage in feminist circles about white women voting for Trump.

          Obama was able to score big against Romney by painting him as Mr. Bain Capital and Outsourcer-in-Chief. No laid off factory worker was going to vote for Mr. Bain Capital. Clinton could have appealed to white men inclined to vote for Trump by pointing out that he never pays his contractors and cheats other people every time he can. She was unwilling to do this much.Report

          • North in reply to LeeEsq says:

            Yes, and if you add in the “Deplorables” gaffe, well, *sigh*.Report

            • LeeEsq in reply to North says:

              Clinton’s biggest failure with women seem to have been assuming that deep down, all women think like she and her supporters did. Obama did not make the mistake of assuming that everybody who voted for him had the same beliefs deep down but were voting him for different reasons.Report

  8. Hoosegow Flask says:

    I do find it somewhat amusing that he’s telling a group they aren’t being heard because they’re disliked, then laments that they don’t like him and haven’t listened to what he’s had to say.Report