The electoral college is a goddamned disgrace
Sitting in a near-empty airport in Covington, Kentucky last night, at the tail end of a trip marked by zero sleep, conversations that ranged from mournful to “they were both the same; I didn’t vote”, and a weird and maddening hour-long excursion in Cincinatti AM radio, it was impossible to avoid CNN. I hadn’t brought headphones, so despite my pledge to get away from politics for a few days, I couldn’t avoid it.
In the discussion of how Donald Trump redrew the map, awoke the sleeping giant, touched forgotten Americans, etc, and how Hillary failed to engage whites, was arrogant, maybe blindsided by Comey, etc, there were two things I didn’t hear at all. 1) Donald Trump got fewer votes than Mitt Romney, and 2) Donald Trump got fewer votes than Hillary Clinton.
This seems to be the forgotten issue of the election, partly because in a very real sense it doesn’t matter. Donald Trump won, and in the rules of our system it was fair and square. What role nakedly racist voter suppression played is unknown, and might never be able to be fully uncovered, but since efforts to suppress votes were most blatant in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan, it seems possible it was a lot.
Regardless, though, the one overwhelming salient fact is that more people, hundreds of thousands more, if not millions (when absentee ballots are counted), wanted Hillary Clinton to be President. And that doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter at all. Not only is she not President, but Donald Trump and the Republicans will have unlimited power to reshape this country for decades in their cruel image.
Forget environmental protections. Forget women’s rights. Forget LBGTQ rights. Forget workers’ rights. Public-sector unions, one of the last bastions of the middle class, will be demolished. Obamacare is done, throwing millions back onto the absent mercies of fate. I assume, because Trump doesn’t care, that all public land is going to be up for sale.
Remember, all of this despite a significant percentage more people wanting Hillary Clinton and her more progressive agenda to be President. Even if we quibble about the significance of her percentage, it is still more, and that will be completely swept under by a radical tide. If there were ever a case for faithless electors, this is it. The howling rage would be untamable, but you couldn’t actually say the desires of the people were thwarted.
In the end, I guess, it is fitting. A system designed partially to protect the rights of slave states reared its head again to elect a candidate running on white nationalism. An archaic and deeply stupid idea elected a candidate who pledged himself on the alter of archaic identity politics and caveman violence. A system designed to be a bulwark against actual democracy elected a man by whose very nature the idea can, and probably will, destroy the idea of an American-led liberal democratic world.
So remember, when people say you shouldn’t protest, or you should accept this, or that it doesn’t do any good, or that we have to “come together” and “heal as a nation”, that it is insanity. The American people spoke, yes. And more of them said Hillary Clinton. And it doesn’t matter at all.