Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The End of the Spritual Thirst for Democracy

11/16/2016—Look, Donald Trump won fair and square. If the system had required that he get more votes than Hillary Clinton, he would have campaigned differently. Maybe he could have gotten more than she.

But I doubt it. Clinton also did not campaign to get more votes than Trump—but she did. About a million more at this point.

In the future, it might get even harder for a Republican to win a majority of the national vote.

That is subject to change, of course. Trump could run much better in 2020—as President Bush did in 2004, when he broke the 50% level in popular vote.

But, I believe that after 2000 and now 2016, the Republican Party will cling to the Electoral College and denigrate the obvious democratic principle that the candidate with the most votes should win.

To justify their bad faith, Republicans will have to develop an anti-democratic philosophy, which the Party has already begun to do, with an anti-voter agenda of gerrymandering, voter id and anti-immigration. The Republican Party fears immigration more for the votes it brings Democrats than any other reason.

Let me be clear, as I have written before—both Parties have lost their faith in democracy. Their commitment to it. That is why Democrats don’t try to convince voters of anything—they just try to get their base to vote. That is reducing an election to a technical matter.

That is also why environmentalists have turned to the courts—and gay rights proponents too. No one really cares about popular vindication anymore.

But the Republican anti-democratic turn is more immediate and direct. You may even see a revival of the cheat of turning a couple of blue states to congressional district electors in Presidential elections. If a couple of blue states did that and no red states, the Republican candidate for President would always win and the national vote would be irrelevant. Once you break the commitment to democracy, why not go all the way?

Here’s what the late songwriter Leonard Cohen wrote about Democracy—

It’s coming to America first,
the cradle of the best and of the worst.
It there they got the range
and the machinery for change
and it’s there they got the spiritual thirst.

But we don’t any longer have the spiritual thirst for democracy.

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