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mygif

The Indivisible thing is decent (you can tell because it’s the opposite of everything the Democrats have been doing recently) but it’s focused entirely on Congress.

IMO activists are missing a trick if they don’t put at least as much pressure on state/municipal/county legislatures – the Democrats have been hemorrhaging seats there all through the Obama years, and often it’s the local policies that have the most impact on people’s lives.

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mygif

I’m with you up until 3. The Electoral College itself is anti-democratic. That is in fact its central function and its reason to exist. It’s supposed to act as a check on too populous states throwing their weight around against states with lesser populations. It wouldn’t be antidemocratic for the EC to switch up their votes and say “well the majority voted for Clinton so we should vote for Clinton”. It would in fact be the democratic thing to do.

You’re not wrong on the rule of law pieces, but anti-democratic isn’t the word you’re looking for here I think.

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Ryszard Kilarski said on December 15th, 2016 at 4:25 pm

When does “right-wing coup” stop being an exaggeration? Comey’s interference, Russia’s hacking, redistricting and voter suppression, the right-wing decades-long smear machine… and now NC is an example of it happening at the state level too.

And when do Democrats start actually FIGHTING rather than just sitting idly by “abiding by the rules” as Republicans (legally) engineer these coups?

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mygif

I’ll be honest: #3 feels, to me, like it boils down to, “It’s against the spirit of the rules to try to influence the electors!” Which may be true, but it’s also against the spirit of the rules for the winning candidate to lose by almost three million votes and win due at least in part to Russian hackers disrupting the fair and free election process. The spirit of the rules got pissed on pretty much as soon as Trump entered the race, and the letter of the rules say that if the electors deny him the office, he doesn’t win.

Now, if you want to make the point that those rules are sucky, badly-designed and should be changed, they absolutely should. But pointing out to the electors that this is the first time since 1789 that they have an actual fucking job to do above and beyond rubber-stamping the popular vote…um, loser…is not anti-democratic. It’s entirely keeping with the process as intended, and I don’t think we should ignore the actual rules of the process in only one specific, limited way that benefits a literal Russian stooge.

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mygif

What exactly is the plan for progress after Trump becomes president, exactly? I mean, local engagement, I know, but is there anything more specific? How are Democrats supposed to make a difference at the state level with all the gerrymandering we already have, which Trump’s Supreme Court and other appointees are fairly likely to uphold? How do demographics change anything if the Republicans can make it as hard as they want to vote? Does anyone think the media will actually be significantly better while Trump is in office, just because a few people in it have worn hair shirts for a few weeks? The president is almost completely unfettered on foreign policy; how do we keep any allies or treaties at all?

At this point I’m hoping that Republicans screw things up – but in specifically recoverable ways, e.g. not completely repealing Obamacare or overturning Roe v. Wade, just hollowing them out – to an incredible degree in just 20 months and we get a historic wave in 2018, even bigger than their sweep in 2010, at all levels of government, just in time to have a meaningful opposition party and some degree of input in redistricting in 2020. But there’s nothing anyone outside the Republican Party can do to make that happen.

If not, we’re screwed no matter what. Might as well make a spectacle of our institutions one last time.

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mygif

@Cyrus: I’m glad you asked, because there is one vital thing you, and everyone else, can do to bring the USA back from the brink:

Retweet all of Trump’s tweets – *with disapproving comments*. Sarcastic ones, even.

You can swear if you want, but swears are pro-tier activist stuff so it’s okay if you need to work your way up to it. Just start with “HOW DARE YOU SIR!” or “THIS IS NOT THE AMERICA I BELIEVE IN!” and go from there. If you’re in need of inspiration, try any speech by President Josiah ‘Jed’ Bartlet from the Emmy- and Golden Globe-award winning THE WEST WING.

And if you see anyone else making disapproving comments, you ‘like’ that shit as hard as you can. FACT: only a hundred more ‘likes’ on snarky Trump retweets by Nov 8 would have won Hillary the election.

We need you, man. Keith Olbermann can’t do it on his own.

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Brexit Regret Machine said on December 16th, 2016 at 3:02 am

You guys are really focusing on the popular vote, a thing your system isn’t set up to count as the victor, which – again, probably obviously – people knew about in advance and chose their votes accordingly. Do you think there’d be swing states or votes for Gary Johnson if it was 50% of the vote wins?

It’s something to note, certainly, but it’s on the scale of thinking you should have won a basketball game because you made more shots (but they made more three pointers and so more points). People voted taking the restrictions of the system they’re stuck dealing with, and trying to take hypotheticals of what would have happened if you had a different system doesn’t help.

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mygif

Trying to change the rules post election because you don’t like the results is antidemocratic. Most States have rules that say Electors vote for whoever won the state’s popular vote. If you want to preserve the idea that the EC protects small States (which is bullshit anyway – letting a specific sliver of population have more power because they’re “real Muricans” is just fucking dumb), then advocate for all electors to be divvied up proportionally to how their State voted. It means every vote actually matters, whether it’s a Republican in California or a Democrat in Nebraska, both get to have their voice represented.

In the mean time, if you happen to live in a state that allows popular referendums, then get on the ball and start opposing this bullshit through referendums. Stop the gerrymandering (yes, I know that it sometimes favors Democrats, but it’s more true to progressive values to fight for everyone and be fundamentally better than regressive and reactionary small-minded “protect our own” sort of beliefs).

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mygif

“Most States have rules that say Electors vote for whoever won the state’s popular vote”

29, although they’ve never once been enforced and legal scholars are generally of the opinion that this is because they’re unconstitutional.

Don’t get me wrong, I think that Points One and Two invalidate Three as a piece of practical consideration. But I think also that arguing “demanding that the person who won the most votes should also win the election” is anti-democratic because the rules said that the guy who lost the popular vote won (even though they actually don’t) is pretty much a one-way ticket to Crazytown.

Either you believe in the principles of representative democracy, in which case Hillary should be elected because she won the popular vote, or you believe in following the rules of the electoral system, in which case electors are free to do whatever the fuck they want and they should elect Hillary because the alternative is a literal fucking con artist who’s in deep to the Russian Mob.

Any argument in favor of Trump is arguing that the customs and appearance of democracy matter more than actual democracy, and while that’s certainly an argument I can understand–electing anyone other than Trump at this point would probably result in riots at the very least–I cannot agree that arguing in favor of democracy is anti-democratic and I confess to being vaguely irritated by the implicit moral condemnation in the argument itself. Argue that it’s impractical, argue that it will instigate a minor civil war, but you really can’t make an argument that it’s a preservation of the principles America was founded on.

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mygif

The sole redeeming quality of the EC as far as I’m concerned is it’s power to overturn the will of the people if they decide to go full derp.

Like FFS it specifically calls out demagogues that are influenced by foreign powers; a description that describes trump to a T.

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mygif

Brexit Regret Machine: people do not think of the Electoral college when they decide where to live, so no this setuo had nothing to do with how they voted

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Christian Hansen said on December 16th, 2016 at 10:42 pm

“(and I love Hamilton, but god, I hate the effect it’s had on political discourse sometimes)”

I see the “Hamilton electors” problem, but anything else behind this? Never seen/heard Hamilton, so I’m just genuinely curious.

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mygif

“First off, the members of the Electoral College – and particularly the Republican members of the Electoral College – are, to a one, party loyalists.”

Actually, I think we’ve already had at least one quit rather than cast his vote for Donald Trump. And Republican loyalists have been bashing Trump for a bit now. I am sure they would be happy to replace him with, literally, any other Republican. Especially one who doesn’t have ties to Russia.

I don’t even know if it would break the Republican party like you say it would. They just have to disavow the electors, maybe even make noises about getting rid of the Electoral College. Play up the idea that Trump (not the Republicans, but Trump personally) is Unamerican for accepting this sort of foreign trickery. The only sort of Trump voter that wouldn’t appeal to would be the most ludicrously racist ones who think Putin is great and wouldn’t vote Democrat for the world anyway.

And at point 2, any of them would be superior, because they would not be in bed with the Russians. Putin is possibly the world’s biggest asshole, and I would take any of those other breeds of fuckery to keep his influence from spreading.

I mean, this sounds conspiracy theory bullshit even typing it, but you have a Presidential candidate who benefitted from Russian hackers, first phone call goes to Putin rather than traditional allies, staffs his cabinet with pro-Putin people…it’s starting to become worrisome that any other consideration trumps that one.

I trust you for level-headed discourse, Mightygodking, maybe your next post should be why Trump’s ties to Russia are overblown.

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Brexit Regret Machine said on December 17th, 2016 at 3:21 pm

Please be more careful than we were with a referendum, like 60%+ for one side or the other to count, cause otherwise, well…

@mrjl: “Brexit Regret Machine: people do not think of the Electoral college when they decide where to live, so no this setuo had nothing to do with how they voted”

I’m talking about people wanting to vote Party X, but by chance they’re in a state that votes overwhelmingly for Party Y reducing their vote’s value so they’ll either not go or they’ll protest vote for Party Z. In a popular vote situation, their vote will actually count and they’ll choose Party X. I trust we don’t have to go into why people might not have the ability to simply move states easily.

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mygif

I’m not going to speak for MGK, but for me, Hamilton’s greater evil is that as far as public discourse goes, it continues the deification of the American Founding Fathers as the be-all and end-all of all American political arguments.

I appreciate people in high places of government who are passionate and spend a lot of time thinking and discussing their approach, but at some point, you probably should recognize that 18th century racist, sexist classist (at the very least, they’re so by our contemporary standards) elite white men shouldn’t be the default viewpoint on modern government.

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mygif

Yeah I missed the part where “Russia (or somebody) phished some emails from John Podesta and leaked them because lol why not” turned into “Viggo Mortensen is tattooing stars on Donald Trump’s knees as we speak”.

I mean it’s nice that liberals have their very own Benghaziesque conspiracy theory now, and manufactured outrage at Russia might drive a few people to the polls in 2018 so there’s that. The danger is that “Russia did it!” becomes a way for the Democrats to deny all of the actual reasons for their dismal performance over the last 8 years.

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mygif

@Robin: It’s not just the idea that Russian hacking helped Trump. It’s that Trump has been so completely pro-Russian thus far in all actions that really matter. I mean, there are a ton of reasons why Rex Tillerson is an incredibly shitty Secretary of State pick. The fact that he was awarded a medal by the Russian government is only one of them.

And we have some otherwise reasonable people spouting that theory. Nate Silver is quite happy to entertain that idea, for instance. Not necessarily that the Russians stole the election, but that Trump is incredibly pro-Russia.

We may have the Presidential equivalent of Edward VII on our hands. I hope the Secret Service have protocols for dealing with that.

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mygif

The difference between the tea party under Obama and democrats under trump is that the tea party is mostly white and democrats are not.In other words they’re bone and by 2019 they won’t need democrats to pass constitutional amendments and that’s when shit will be really interesting.

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Ronnie Gardocki said on December 19th, 2016 at 1:37 am

Homer: Aw, I gotta go. My damn weiner kids are listening.
Lisa: We are not weiners!
Homer: Then why was Trump elected?
Bart+Lisa: The Russians made us.
Homer: “Oh, they made us.” That’s loser-talk!

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FeepingCreature said on December 19th, 2016 at 9:49 am

I just want to say I completely agree with this post. Good to see people put principles above short-term panic.

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mygif

@John Seavy
“Either you believe in the principles of representative democracy, in which case Hillary should be elected because she won the popular vote, or you believe in following the rules of the electoral system, in which case electors are free to do whatever the fuck they want and they should elect Hillary because the alternative is a literal fucking con artist who’s in deep to the Russian Mob.”

The first principle of any representative democracy is that it should protect the fundamental rights of individuals, right? That would be the first thing they should do. The way that we do that is by laws. Law should be fairly applied, regardless of the fact that they are, in this case, protecting a shriveled circus peanut of a man without any fucking clue as to what he’s doing.

I have no doubt that within weeks of his inauguration that there will be legal cause to impeach Trump. At the very least, he will violate the Emoluments clause and not even understand that what he did is illegal. At that point, the law (should) be applied and used against him. At which point we’ll have Pence in line which will not be better, but those are the rules. Sadly, most of his supporters won’t understand why he’s being impeached and will assume that it’s just the system against a “normal” guy.

However, above all, even above the idea that the voice of the majority should be heeded (which isn’t the most important democratic principle – it’s the protection of individuals against tyranny), it’s that we are a people ruled by laws. If the word of those laws produces results that we believe run against our principles, then we should amend those laws not ignore them because it’s inconvenient.

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Christian Hansen said on December 19th, 2016 at 7:13 pm

@Ratman

Well I didn’t want to be the first one to say it, but yeah that’s my gut feeling as well…

@Sisyphus

I have no doubt that a case will be made/already exists for impeaching Trump, and I understand you were making a “This is how it is” evaluative assessment rather than a “This is going to happen” assertive argument, but I really doubt a Republican Congress is going to impeach a president from their own party without something so blatant and so outrageous it would otherwise be damaging to keep him in office.

Sure they get Pence, but Trump’s voters didn’t vote for Pence ,they voted for Trump. It’s going to be hell on their party image to perform an act of self-mutilation like that unless it is REALLY necessary.

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mygif

If it looks like he’s on the take from Putin, they’ll cross party lines to impeach. I have a strange belief that there are enough decent, honorable patriots in the GOP that a president who was actively accepting bribes from an unfriendly foreign power would get indicted. The establishment likes Pence better anyway, and Democrats hate Trump and for the love of all that is holy I have to believe that they would do what’s right for the country at some point or I will drink myself to death on Inauguration day.

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mygif

@Sisyphus: I hate to break it to you, but if there were “enough decent, honorable patriots in the GOP” to flip electors or impeach Trump or…anything, really, they would have laughed Trump out of the race the day after he announced.

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carnackiArdent said on December 19th, 2016 at 10:20 pm

I have to say, they don’t even have to be “decent, honorable patriots”. Old farts still living in the Cold War would do the job, too, and those tend to gravitate to the GOP or at least conservative positions because they think knee-jerk opposition to change is the same as political conservatism.

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mygif
FeepingCreature said on December 19th, 2016 at 11:50 pm

My impression is they did laugh Trump out of the race. It didn’t help.

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mygif

@Sisyphus: Except that the faithless elector laws are almost certainly unconstitutional and have never been tested in a court of law. That is, in fact, part of our system of government, that our laws are subject to judicial review and that the Constitution can be used as justification to overturn them.

I mean, moot point now, but still. The attempt was not anti-democratic. Just pointless. :)

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mygif

So are we getting a Doctor Strange review?

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Candlejack said on December 21st, 2016 at 1:17 pm

Ripper, he mostly talks movies on Letterboxd now. Generally he tweets when he’s reviewed something, so you’ll see it in the Tweet Machine box here.

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