If you follow the high weirdness that is American civics, you may have heard that the Supreme Court just ruled that states can prohibit "faithless electors." This handy explainer gives a relatively simple explanation of the idiosyncratic way the USA officially votes for its president. Read the rest
If you think the Electoral College should be scrapped because it sometimes results in getting a candidate elected that most of its citizens didn't vote for, then you might not have to wait forever for a Constitutional amendment to abolish it.
In his latest video, CPG Grey outlines a plan to subvert Electoral College using the Electoral College, called the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. The idea is to get States to "agree to cast their Electoral College votes for the candidate who gets the most votes from citizens nationwide."
Here's a map showing which states have already enacted the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact into law. As you might expect, states that usually vote for the Democratic candidate like this bill more than states the vote Republican. Read the rest
Writing in the New York Times, Tim Wu (previously) describes the state of American politics after decades of manipulation dirty tricks and voter suppression, where policies with extremely high levels of public approval like higher taxes on the super-rich (75%), paid maternity leave (67%), net neutrality (83%), parallel importation of pharmaceuticals from Canada (71%) and empowering Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices (92%) are nevertheless considered politically impossible.
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Even before the election of Donald Trump, America's pearl-clutching class has been invoking James Madison and his fear of "impetuous majorities" and his desire for "majority rule based on reason rather than passion," worried that the "adults" in the political halls were losing their grip and being forced into "extremism" by mob rule.
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For generations, American mainstream politicians have smeared socialist movements by equating them with Stalinism and other forms of authoritarianism, but today, "socialism" is a label more and more people are embracing.
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Federalism is hard: to reassure small states that bigger ones won't clobber them and their interests, federalist agreements usually have some kind of non-proportional representation built into their articles, such as a senate or an assembly where it's "one state, one vote" instead of "one person, one vote" -- so each state gets as much say as any other, but the people who live in the bigger states have their votes diluted to a tiny fraction of the influence of the votes of people in the less populous states. Read the rest
Down but clearly not out, the presidential campaign of millionaire Donald Trump just issued a map of states that places him in a commanding position: "those colored red are states that we can safely assume will vote for Trump."
The Trump picks add up to 201 electoral votes, 69 short of what he needs to prevail on Nov. 8. Hillary Clinton, in comparison, has only 187 votes secured on the map. The remaining states are gray, indicating battleground status, with 150 electoral votes available.
According to polls, however, Clinton has a commanding lead, including in several of the states Trump's campaign believes are up for grabs.
(Tepid take: this is what he'll actually win on the day, losing all the grayed-out states but holding on to Arizona.) Read the rest