26 Comments
Jan 9Liked by Hamilton Nolan

Of the 9 presidential elections in my lifetime, the Democrat candidate has won the popular all but twice, yet a Republican has been president for just over half of my life.

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Jan 9Liked by Hamilton Nolan

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how the very first door I ever knocked on for any campaign was in 2008 when my dad took 14 year old me with him to canvass for Obama and the guy who answered just said “my vote doesn’t count because of the electoral college” and how it’s fucking insane that he didn’t include a plank in his campaign to revive the Bayh-Celler amendment or something like it. He wouldn’t have even had to run on “the republicans stole the 2000 election” he could’ve just framed it as “hey nobody likes this thing anyway”

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Jan 10·edited Jan 10Liked by Hamilton Nolan

Good Lord. THANK YOU, Hamilton. I'll be 45 in a few weeks. When I first learned, like really learned, about the Electoral College in high school civics, I was immediately disillusioned, to the point of disgust, with our "democracy." Yet, when I attempted to question it in class, everyone, including the teacher, acted like I was utterly illogical. I decided not to register or participate in the vote as a protest. Lots could be critiqued about whether that was right or wrong, especially in terms of participation in state or local races & initiatives, but I held my ground until 2012 (only to have my point proven in the very next cycle). No matter what I said from 1997-2012, though, I got treated like some ill-informed, not-properly-valuing-my-rights idiot. In 2016 & 2020, I worked very hard to rally my fellow voters, but always w/ the caveat that our stupid, stupid fucking system requires a ludicrously Herculean effort to overcome the "trap door." I'm sharing your piece with everyone I know because, as you said, THIS is the thing we should be outraged about.

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Jan 10Liked by Hamilton Nolan

Coming at this from a different angle, a really good start would be for Democrats to fix their fucking primary process. Unlike the Republican primaries which are pretty much straightforward, it's Democrats ironically that have their primary set up in a similar electoral college way as our general elections do. And fucking dragging out the primaries for months and months. With different groups of states being in different heats. If everyone could vote all at the same time like they do in the general election, Elizabeth Warren would have been on the primary ballot in California which I believe was in the penultimate heat in the last election. As it stood, the earlier heats drummed her out. I understand Republican supporting a set up like this, but this is 100% on Democrats. That is, how we run our primary elections. So fix that. And at least create a model and precedent For changing the bigger electoral college problem.

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Good overall, but throwing Taco Bell in with the electoral college is just plain wrong

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#6: Nuke the filibuster

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While I agree the EC is outdated and should be relegated to the dustbin of history- I am conflicted as to an alternative method, while still making flyover country relevant to the process of electing a president. It feels like the answer is the NPVIC, but again as you mentioned, that's a hack/bastardization of the EC.

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Hamilton, where is the most labor-friendly outlet to pre-order your book from? xo

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Maybe we don't need representative democracy anymore. Let's run the government with direct popular votes. Could it be worse than what we've got?

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In a recent commentary of my own, I was led to analyse that now familiar passage of the Constitution, on which so much is being written at the moment (https://endlesschain.substack.com/p/mr-trump-is-appealing) and, reading the actual 14th sec. 3 for the first time, I hesitated at reading the word "elector".

"Elector?" asked I myself. "As in 'of Hannover'? Or does that mean 'anyone on the electoral roll'?" mused I. The penny, it did eventually drop.

"No, it means 'elector as in a member of the electoral college'," and, with that, my perusal of the 14th, it did continue. Till about 3 words later, when I stopped and recoiled: "Well, why shouldn't it mean 'member of the electorate'? Surely anyone who mounts a rebellion against the State is best disenfranchised for all time?" Even Lear banished Kent.

Your democracy provides that those who duly qualify to be on the electoral role in the first place (with plenty of provisos to ensure a good number who don't) may (but need not, otherwise than in Australia, Egypt and Belgium) vote for their favoured candidate in order to ... lend inspiration to members of a closed committee, that they might decide unrestrained in whose favour your vote will ultimately be cast.

I can only say, I'm very glad it isn't my, but your, democracy.

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Bring on the new Constitutional Convention. Let's fix it all.

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Re the Electoral College, let’s NOT “relegate it to the status of atrocities that we passively accept, like homelessness or Taco Bell.” Or Citizens United.

DO let’s call out, constantly -- never stop, those pundits and experts and interviewers whose audience needs this information. And a spine.

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It's easier to imagine the end of student debt than the end of the electoral college.

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1) I suspect systematic electoral fraud in California, whose popular vote accumulates many days after election day and can account for these so-called come-from-behind popular "majorities". The electoral college prevents a large corrupt state from determining the outcome nationally, like the compartments of a ship prevent individual leaks from inundating and sinking the whole ship.

2) the Senate was already democratized, if state-wide popular voting is more democratic that state legislature voting. Hamilton's argument against the smaller, and more rural states denounces them for voting Republican without admitting how urban overpopulation creates Democratic machine-politics, where soon non-citizens may vote and produce mass numbers to be manipulated.

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The "United" States was never a good idea. Especially when nearly half the country was forced at gunpoint by Grant and Sherman. We will become all one thing or the other. Or both, separately.

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