No, The Electoral College Is Not Unconstitutional

Wherein a law professor makes the absurd argument that the Electoral College, which exists pursuant to the Constitution, is unconstitutional.

constitution-preamble-gavel

Erwin Chemerinsky, a law professor and current Dean of the University of California at Irvine Law School, has what can only be described as a bizarre column in the Daily News arguing that the Electoral College is unconstitutional:

The problem of the Electoral College is compounded by state laws that provide that electoral votes are awarded on a winner-take-all basis. In all states except Nebraska and Maine, the candidate who wins the popular vote in a state — even by the narrowest margin — gets all of the electoral votes from that state. This, too, greatly increases the chances of the Electoral College choosing a president who lost the popular vote.

Article II of the Constitution creates the Electoral College and defines its membership, but remember that the text of the Constitution is modified by its amendments. Article I authorizes Congress to regulate interstate commerce, and this would allow federal licensing of the press, except that the First Amendment makes that unconstitutional. Article III permits a federal court to hear a suit against a state by citizens of other states, but the Eleventh Amendment was adopted to preclude such litigation.

The Supreme Court long has held that the Fifth Amendment assurance of due process of law includes a requirement that the federal government not deny any person equal protection of the laws. And for over a half century, the court has ruled that a core aspect of equal protection is one person, one vote; every person must have an equal ability to influence the outcome of an election.

Courts thus can and should declare that the guarantee of equal protection found in the Fifth Amendment modifies Article II of the Constitution and requires that electors be allocated strictly on the basis of population. Also, they should hold “winner take all,” provided by state law and not the Constitution, to be unconstitutional. This would virtually ensure that the winner of the popular vote would be chosen as president. That is what should happen in a democracy.

Even accepting Chemerinsky’s argument about the impact as true, the idea that this makes the Electoral College unconstitutional is simply absurd. First of all, the Electoral College system as it exists today is based on what is set forth in Article II of the Constitution as amended by subsequent amendments. The most significant of these amendments for our purposes, of course, is the Twelfth Amendment, which was based in the wake of the Election of 1800 and changed the manner in which the President and Vice-President were elected. Under the system as originally devised, the President would be the person with the most Electoral Votes, and the Vice-President would be the person with the second-highest number of such votes. For the first two elections, when George Washington and John Adams were essentially the only people on the ballot, this system worked out just fine. By 1796, though, when John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, who had already become political rivals due to differing views on how strong the national government should be, ended up as President and Vice-President respectively. When the two ran again in 1800, the divisions that were only hinted at four years earlier were even more apparent and, after one of the dirtiest Presidential campaigns in American history, the top two Electoral vote recipients were Jefferson and Aaron Burr, who was ostensibly running to be Jefferson’s Vice-President. Since nobody had an Electoral College majority, though, the election went to the House of Representatives which took, thanks mostly to behind the scenes scheming by Alexander Hamilton against Jefferson, took thirty-six ballots before declaring Jefferson the winner. As a result of the chaos of 1800, Congress proposed, and the states ratified, the 12th Amendment, which essentially created the system we have today where Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates are voted separately by the Electoral College and the Presidential candidate receiving the majority of Electoral Votes becomes President of the United States. This is the system that we’ve had for the subsequent two centuries, and it’s the system that Chemerinsky claims are “unconstitutional,” a claim that seems laughably absurd on its face and even more so given that someone with Chermerinsky’s qualifications should know better than to even make.

Put simply, there is no support for the idea that a Federal Court could ever hold that a part of the Constitution as itself being unconstitutional. Theoretically, of course, an Amendment to the Constitution could significantly change another part, but that’s inherent in the Amendment process and quite different from what Chemerinsky is suggesting. Under his argument, the Electoral College, which operates pursuant to the provisions of Article II as amended by the Twelfth Amendment, is itself unconstitutional because it grants unequal power to people residing in states with small populations. Even accepting this as true, though, there is simply no merit in the idea that this is in any way unconstitutional since the Constitution itself must be interpreted as an entire document, not as individual segments. The only way to repeal a part of the Constitution such as the Electoral College would be to amend the Constitution itself, as Congress and the states did in the wake of the electoral mess after the Election of 1800 when they made changes to how the President was elected. Those changes, however, didn’t change the fundamental nature of the Electoral College, nor did they make any change that provides any support for Chermerinsky’s argument that the Electoral College is unconstitutional. Indeed, if someone were to make the argument that he makes here in a Federal Court, they’d most likely be laughed out of the building.

Chemerinsky seems to recognize the absurdity of his own argument about halfway through the column when he switches from talking about the alleged unfairness of the Electoral College system itself and begins talking about the unfairness of the “winner take all” system that most states use to allocate Electoral College votes:

A number of lawsuits have been filed challenging the constitutionality of the allocation of representation in the Electoral College and the winner-take-all rule. The law is clear that a case challenging election procedures does not become moot when the election is over because the underlying issues remain. Courts should use these cases to require that in the future the votes in the Electoral College be allocated consistent with population and that each state’s votes be decided proportionate to the popular vote in the state.

Chermerinsky is on somewhat surer ground here in that there is much to criticize about the “winner take all” system, and nothing in the Constitution that requires that states use this method to allocate Electoral Votes. Unfortunately for his argument, though, there is even less support for the idea that a Federal Court would have the authority to declare this method of allocation unconstitutional. Article II, Section I, Clause 2 of the Constitution provides that

Each state shall appoint, in such manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a number of electors, equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or person holding an office of trust or profit under the United States, shall be appointed an elector.

This means that each state has the discretion to choose electors however it sees fit. Over the years, there have been a number of different methods of allocation that the states have used, including allocation according to which candidate won each Congressional District, one where delegates are awarded proportionally, the winner take all system that dominates today, and even one where electors are chosen solely by the state legislature without regard to the popular vote in the state on Election Day. States can also choose whether electors are bound by the results of the popular vote in their respective state, or whether they are free to vote their conscience. While I agree with Chemerinsky that a system where electors are allocated proportionally would be better than the winner take all system that dominates today, there’s simply no support for the idea that it is Constitutionally mandated. In theory, I suppose that a state’s allocation method could be found unconstitutional, but it would have to be an egregious case that clearly violated another Constitutional provision. For example, if a state decided to allocate Electoral Votes in a manner that only allowed white men to serve as electors, or only permitted electors to take the votes of white men into account, then that would clearly violate the 14th Amendment. A broader argument that an allocation method that provides that the person who wins the popular vote in the state gets all of the Electoral Votes, though, does not come close to violating the language or intent of the 14th Amendment or any other part of the Constitution. Fortunately for those who support the idea of making the Electoral College ‘fairer’ in the sense of it more closely reflecting the will of the public, changing the method by which Electors are allocated, accomplishing that is far easier than getting rid of the Electoral College entirely. Where the later would require a Constitutional Amendment, the former requires only changing the laws at the state level, which can happen via a simple majority in the legislature. Rather than pushing impractical ideas that would require a Constitutional Amendment that probably would not be adopted, or legal theories that are so meritless that they would likely result in the awarding of sanctions for making a frivolous argument in Federal Court, I suggest Chemerinsky and those who support him get to work on that project.

 

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. One person one vote? OK, each Elector gets a vote. End of discussion.

    If you pursue Chemerinsky’s “logic” to argue that the Electoral College is unconstitutional, then it also follows that the U.S. Senate is unconstitutional since I (as a California resident) am disenfranchised when compared to a Montana resident.

  2. John,

    Yes, which is another reason why his argument is absurd.

  3. Pch101 says:

    Put simply, there is no support for the idea that a Federal Court could ever hold that a part of the Constitution as itself being unconstitutional.

    He isn’t doing that. He is saying that Amendment 5 (which was obviously included in the Constitution after it had already been ratified, and therefore serves as a modification of the document) should impact the interpretation of Article II.

    Take the language of Article II:

    Each state shall appoint, in such manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a number of electors, equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or person holding an office of trust or profit under the United States, shall be appointed an elector.

    Let’s say that the Congress directed the states to appoint only white male Democrats as electors. Would you not see the constitutional issue created by such a requirement, and why Article II does not provide carte blanche to Congress to make arbitrary decisions about the college, even though the language of Article II itself does not impose any such constraints?

    You’re being disingenuous about Chemerinsky’s argument. In practice, the courts would require the Congress to have the states to assign electors in a manner consistent with this interpretation of the Fifth Amendment. He is not claiming that the electoral college itself is unconstitutional, even though he obviously doesn’t like it.

  4. @Pch101:

    The “legislature” that Article II is referring to is the legislatures of the individual states, not Congress. Congress plays no role in the Electoral College beyond counting the ballots when it convenes in the January following a Presidential election (and, potentially, selecting a President and Vice-President if nobody has a majority of the Electors). Congress has no authority to mandate how Electors are allocated.)

    And I already spoke to the example you gave when I said:

    In theory, I suppose that a state’s allocation method could be found unconstitutional, but it would have to be an egregious case that clearly violated another Constitutional provision. For example, if a state decided to allocate Electoral Votes in a manner that only allowed white men to serve as electors, or only permitted electors to take the votes of white men into account, then that would clearly violate the 14th Amendment. A broader argument that an allocation method that provides that the person who wins the popular vote in the state gets all of the Electoral Votes, though, does not come close to violating the language or intent of the 14th Amendment or any other part of the Constitution. ”

    Additionally, it is indeed the case that the first part of Cherminsky’s argument is that the Electoral College is unconstitutional. It’s right there in the four paragraphs I quote at the start of the post. That part of his argument is, as I said, fundamentally absurd.

  5. Paul L. says:

    Erwin Chemerinsky is just using the same standard, logic and legal reasoning that Ruth Bader Ginsburg would use to prove that part of the Constitution is Unconstitutional.

  6. @Paul L.:

    GInsburg is a fine Justice, as was Justice Scalia. The Supreme Court and the nation was lucky to have two such fine legal minds on the Supreme Court at the same time. Even though I have disagreed strongly with both of them from time to time, only an idiot would conclude otherwise.

  7. JKB says:

    Sadly, the UC-Irvine law school is in the top 5 of the 21 accredited in California. They were at the bottom of the 5 schools that would meet the new ABA proposed 75% bar passage rate.

    Perhaps the California bar exam doesn’t weigh to heavily on the Constitution. We certainly might say that judging by the 9th Circuit.

  8. Eric Florack says:

    It is interesting to note that the majority of the people that are arguing that the Electoral College is unconstitutional are Democrats. I think it’s fair to suggest that the majority of my haven’t the foggiest idea what the Constitution actually says or means as demonstrated by the policies that they pursue

  9. Pch101 says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    I mistakenly referred to Congress instead of state legislatures. Mea culpa.

    But that doesn’t change the basic point that the appointment of electors is not a complete free-for-all. Chemerinsky is not making the argument that you are claiming that he is.

    And you have Florack marching down his usual trail of errors by putting words into Chemerinsky’s mouth. Chemerinsky did NOT say that the electoral college is unconstitutional; on the contrary, he notes that, “Article II of the Constitution creates the Electoral College.”

    What Chemerinsky did say is that “the allocation of votes in the Electoral College should be declared unconstitutional.”

  10. @Pch101:

    And I would argue that he’s not on very firm ground there, either, for the reasons stated.

  11. C. Clavin says:

    @Eric Florack:
    You can’t even read, you old ignorant racist bastard.

  12. Eric Florack says:

    @C. Clavin: and what prompted that? Are you really that bored or that misinformed? Or is it just desperation?

  13. PD Shaw says:

    I think the winner-take-all argument has merit. Larry Lessig made the argument here, but I would describe it as such:

    1. The Constitution gives the states discretion in how it chooses electors. (They don’t even need to allow the people to vote for President)
    2. But as of the passage of the 14th Amendment, such legislation is subject to equal protection challenges.
    3. In the last 50 years or so, a number of Supreme Court decisions in the context gerrymandering have limited the state’s ability to legislate in ways that are disproportionate in their outcomes on principles of one-man, one-vote, or purely partisan advantage.
    4, Applying the principles in these decisions, winner-take-all legislation needlessly disenfranchises minority voters in a state.

    Not mentioned by Lessig is that the original intent (or original assumption of Hamilton and Madison) was that voting would be counted on a district basis, similar to Maine and Nebraska’s rules. This method would have changed only a few elections, including most recently 2000, which is probably why it has limitted appeal. I’m not arguing it would win, but there is rational framework here, but I suspect at least a few justices are going to be reluctant to interfere with state practices going back as long as the Equal Protection clause existed.

  14. PD Shaw says:

    @Pch101: She appears to be making two arguments. FIrst: The Fifth Amendment (a restriction on the federal government) passed almost contemporaneously with the Constitution modified that Constitution to require electoral votes to be allocated “on the basis of population,” something which it obviously does not do. One doesn’t have to be a died-in-the-wool originalist to find that argument to be bizarre.

    The alternative and IMHO plausible argument is that as of 1868, state legislation became subject to the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. Some of the jurisprudence is emergent, but a key difference is her first argument seeks to declare a portion of the Constitution unconstitutional, but the second argument is directed towards state legislation.

  15. Senyordave says:

    @Eric Florack: He just made a statement of fact

  16. gVOR08 says:

    @John E. Bredehoft:

    then it also follows that the U.S. Senate is unconstitutional since I (as a California resident) am disenfranchised when compared to a Montana resident.

    I don’t buy Chemerinsky’s argument, but I like where you’re going with this.

  17. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    Where I see the problem is in the question of where you find an individual or group that has standing to bring the case before a panel that would rule on a nationwide basis. While “winner-take-all legislation needlessly disenfranchises minority voters in a state” has potential, proving that assertion seems problematic to me (but I’m just an ignorant cracker).

    This brings us back to Doug’s final idea of encouraging legislatures at the state level to apportion electoral votes instead of going with winner take all. But before we do that, we should probably check to see if that would have tilted the balance in this election. In the past, the argument against apportionment has been that it dilutes the effect of the 4 or 5 areas that have larger populations than everywhere else–NY, LA, Chicago, DFW, etc. Specifically, right now Washington State is reliably blue because 60-some% of the population lives in Pugetropolis. Apportioning the state’s electoral votes changes the state from 12 blue to a 5 blue/7 red shade of magenta.

  18. Jim Brown 32 says:

    If California was a swing state–We wouldn’t even be having this discussion.

    Furthermore, all of this presupposes that Chump wouldn’t have chosen a different strategy and tactics if the game was 50%+1 instead of electoral college. It also presupposes that voters that don’t come out in reliably red or blue states because their vote doesn’t count or their pick is going to win the state any– continue to NOT come out under the new popular vote construct.

    That is a BIG assumption. Be careful what you wish for.

  19. Guarneri says:

    I see that progressive continue to distinguish themselves.

    And here we have Krugman at his unhinged best:

    http://hotair.com/archives/2016/12/16/krugman-trump-has-incentive-to-allow-a-terrorist-attack/

  20. Pch101 says:

    @PD Shaw:

    I’m inclined to agree that the argument re: the number of electors is a real stretch, but he may have something with the other claim re: the allocation of electors. (I don’t agree with him myself and I doubt that he would prevail, but he does have a point.)

    I suspect that he is trying to craft as many arguments as possible in the hopes that some aspect of this eventually gets it turned into a case that is heard by the Supremes, and that he may not necessarily believe all of these arguments himself. As an attorney, his job is to find some path to winning on the broader issue, whatever that path may be.

    (Incidentally, Erwin Chemerinsky is a guy.)

  21. Scott O says:

    @Guarneri: Thank you. I know we can always rely upon you to supply us with plenty of hot air.

  22. michael reynolds says:

    It’s not unconstitutional, it is undemocratic and ridiculous.

  23. Eric Florack says:

    @michael reynolds: that probably has something to do with the idea that we were never designed as a democracy but as a representative Republic.

  24. Eric Florack says:

    @Eric Florack: what he did was make a schoolyard taunt which is precisely what I would expect from a 12 year old mentality.

  25. Mikey says:

    @Eric Florack: There are plenty of representative republics in the world, but ours is the only one where one person’s vote is unequal to another’s simply by accident of geography.

  26. Hal_10000 says:

    I did a rough calculation and even if every state allocated their electors proportionally, the result would be:

    Clinton: 267
    Trump: 260
    Johnson: 9
    Stein: 1
    McMullin: 1

    (Rounding up occasionally to the majority winner of each state).

    Vote goes to House. House elects Trump. And these pointless debates get even more ridiculous and divisive. I don’t have the resources to look at if every state did the Maine/Nebraska method, but I suspect it would advantage Trump due to gerrymandering and natural GOP advantage in rural areas.

  27. michael reynolds says:

    If ever there were a case for the electoral college to make a bold stand for independence and choose someone other that what the system dictates, this would be it.

    It will not do so. Therefore it is quite useless.

  28. Grumpy Realist says:

    Saying something is unconstitutional which is written into the Constitution is a neat trick.

    Methink the good professor is one of those having a Platonic Ideal of the Constituion in his head rather than what it actually is, which is a compromise haggled out among a bunch of states with wildly different backgrounds and views. And yeah, after 200 years it freaks a bit.

    If Putin wants to really throw the U.S. into an uproar, he should get his minions to push for a Constitutional Convention.

  29. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Grumpy Realist: Additionally, he may be making an argument that, at least hypothetically, the states are carrying out their Electoral College processes in a manner that would be found to be unconstitutional–provided that there was an entity that had standing to present the suit. Who or what that entity would be is outside of my job description as ignorant cracker.

  30. grumpy realist says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker: The other defense I can see against trying to bring any suit is that of laches. In other words, “you had over 200 years to bitch about this in law courts and didn’t do anything, so why do you think you can whine now?”

    SCOTUS can get cranky about voting within states, but trying to go against a system that’s written out pretty clearly in the Constitution….uh, no. There were attempts earlier to try to use the Fourteenth Amendment to get women’s suffrage through and THAT didn’t work….we had to add a completely different Amendment.

    So I’m pretty skeptical about how a similar attempt attacking state representation as being “unfair” would play, especially since the Electoral College is written IN to the Constitution. Just a statement that “State X has different rules for its Electoral College votes than State Y does!” is going to get you laughed out of court. (Contrary argument: If it really really really bothers you, move to the state with the method of Electoral College voting that you prefer.)

    I’d prefer that lawyers, rather than mucking around with this Electoral College nonsense, would do something about the shenanigans in NC, for instance. Or Maine, where the governor has decided he’s going to ignore the minimum wage law that Maine inhabitants just voted into existence.

  31. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    Lawyers doing things that address real problems is always the better alternative. It’s sort of why we moved away from the whole emperor-meeting-with-the-common-folk-to-settle-problems thing in the first place.

  32. Eric Florack says:

    @Mikey: so you really like us to be run by New York and California?

    I can’t help but believe that were in New York and California run by staunch conservatives your attitude would be radically different

  33. michael reynolds says:

    @Eric Florack:

    If New York and California were run by conservatives they wouldn’t be New York and California, they’d be Kansas and Alabama.

  34. michael reynolds says:

    @Eric Florack:

    The 10 most liberal states: MA, VT, HI, NY, CA, RI, NJ, MD, WA, CT.

    The 10 most conservative states: MS, AL, WY, LA, ND, AK, UT, TN, ID, OK.

    Compare the two lists and a few things jump out. First, California alone could buy the ten most conservative states. The Red states are by and large reeking shitholes compared to the liberal states. The only one of the red states listed that could be called a success is Utah, and that’s because of Mormon influence, not the cracker conservatism of places like Oklahoma or Alabama.

    Places that are beautiful and successful and creative, places people dream of someday living, like Hawaii, Vermont, California, New York, are liberal. Conservative states tend to feature prominently as the butt of rude jokes.

  35. @Eric Florack:

    I can’t help but believe that were in New York and California run by staunch conservatives your attitude would be radically different

    The problem of ending the Electoral College would not be “being governed by New York or California”. The problem is that politicians from large states or politicians known in large states would have an enormous advantage with name recognition over other candidates. Candidates would ignore rural areas and then campaign hard in large Metropolitan areas(Note candidates would campaign in small States like Connecticut and ignore most of Texas or even California).

    But I don´t think that it would be worse than the EC. I do agree that somekind of counterbalance would be interesting, but the EC is a solution far worse than the initial problem.

  36. @Eric Florack:

    that probably has something to do with the idea that we were never designed as a democracy but as a representative Republic.

    “Representative republic” means (as per Madison) a system in which the people chose agents to govern on their behalf. It has nothing to do with giving a minority the right to select those agents.

    “Democracy” to Madison was direct democracy (i.e., the people directly governing) in a small community.

    See: Madison’s Defintion(s) of Republic

    The EC is not about the ridiculous “republic, not a democracy” bit so many are fond of. The EC was about a political compromise from over two centuries ago.

  37. And, really, at some point we need to face that facts that it really doesn’t matter what was thought to be a good idea in the 1780s and address the absurdity of a country that claims to be “the greatest democracy in the world” and yet that allows the minority to pick the president.

  38. Kylopod says:

    “The US is a republic, not a democracy” is the political-junkie equivalent of correcting split infinitives.

  39. Mikey says:

    @Eric Florack: The influence of a voter in NY or CA would be exactly the same as a voter outside those states. And there are a whole lot more voters outside those states than within them. Run a candidate with truly broad appeal and you have nothing to worry about. That’s how it should work, but doesn’t.

    Basically you conservatives would be upset because a voter in Wyoming would no longer have their vote count three times for every vote in California. You have a stupidly unfair advantage now, and you’re trying all sorts of facile rationalizations to keep it.

  40. grumpy realist says:

    @Mikey: It’s especially silly considering we’ve already had an incredible flow of people from rural areas to the cities.

    So if the people-living-in-cities happen to end up being those who determine elections under a revised system, it’s at least fairer than allowing rural inhabitants to be the tail that wags the dog. Ever heard the term “rotten boroughs”? Well, we’ve got “rotten counties” in the U.S.

  41. Under proportional representation, a governor from California and New York would have ENORMOUS advantage because of name recognition. That does not mean that these states would “choose” the President.

    Politicians would concentrate their campaigns in large Metropolitan Areas(Not in large states) – expect campaign rallies and GOTV in Connecticut, but not in rural areas of Texas and California.

    Ironically, candidates would spend lots of their ad dollars in rural areas – it would make sense to air ads in Wyoming and Idaho, where the cost of reaching out voters by TV would be incredibly cheap.

    I can´t imagine a governor of Arkansas being elected with Proportional Representation.

    I understand the issues with Regional Representation with Proportional Representation, specially in a large country like the US(I see these issues in Brazil, the only one Presidential Republic that is as large as the US).

    But I think that the EC is a solution far worse than the original problem.

  42. MBunge says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Out of all the butthurt stupidity you’ve spewed in the wake of the election, this might take the cake.

    Let’s just take New York, or New York City in reality because you certainly aren’t talking about far more Republican upstate NY. You are old enough to remember a NYC, run exclusively by Democrats, that was a practically ungovernable hellhole with one of the highest murder rates in the world. And you are old enough to have seen that NYC, with a couple of quasi-Republican mayors, turn into a gentrified plaything for Wall Street and the economic elite.

    And I’m pretty sure there’s at least a few black folks who might have a different opinion on the superiority of places like Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and Vermont.

    New Jersey? WTF?!?!

    Mike

  43. MBunge says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    And who picks the prime minister in France, Germany, Great Britain, etc?

    Mike

  44. stonetools says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    And, really, at some point we need to face that facts that it really doesn’t matter what was thought to be a good idea in the 1780s and address the absurdity of a country that claims to be “the greatest democracy in the world” and yet that allows the minority to pick the president.

    This absurd genuflection in favor of the “Founding Fathers” should stop now. The Founders (PBUT) were in fact, men, many of them slaveholders, who did the best they could in their time. It’s up to us to do our best in our time.

  45. michael reynolds says:

    @MBunge:

    First of all, drop the ‘butthurt’ crap. I know it’s the word-du-jour of Nazis. . . sorry, I mean the ‘Alt-Right’. . . but it’s already aged out and now is just eye-rolling tediousness.

    Second, if you think something is ‘stupidity’ you might try refuting it, rather than cherry-picking some irrelevant examples you think (wrongly) make your case.

    The reality is that Blue America subsidizes Red America. We pay the bills. We pay the bills because we are smarter and more creative and more productive. But of course that’s obvious, isn’t it? I mean, if you’re living in Mississippi it’s because you lacked the energy and talent to get the hell out of Mississippi. If you’re a Mississippian and have anything at all on the ball, you run for California or New York.

    Even within Red states you see the same thing. Everything interesting that’s going on in Texas is in Blue Austin or Blue Houston, it’s not coming out of Waco. In Utah it’s Blue Salt Lake City. In North Carolina it’s Blue RTP and Blue Charlotte and Blue Asheville. Basically if humans are doing something creative, interesting, forward-looking, it’s in a Blue state or a Blue dot within a Red State.

    Face facts: the election was an IQ test. Stupid people won the electoral college and elected the least-capable person at least since Andrew Johnson, over the choice of the more rational majority of voters. And the result is the first failed pre-presidency in history. He’s already harmed this country perhaps irreparably and he isn’t even in office yet. Which (surprise!) is what you get when the stupid and the spiteful and the haters choose.

    We have the universities, the scientists, the tech entrepreneurs, the biotech researchers, the film makers. We have the GDP. Your side, on the other hand, dominates the market for Confederate battle flags and sheets with eyeholes.

  46. @Andre Kenji de Sousa: Well, PR had nothing to do with electing a president. Do you mean popular vote?

  47. @Kylopod:

    “The US is a republic, not a democracy” is the political-junkie equivalent of correcting split infinitives.

    At this point, I am not even sure it is that sophisticated.

  48. @MBunge:

    And who picks the prime minister in France, Germany, Great Britain, etc?

    The PM is selected by the party (or coalition) that can command the majority of seats in the parliament. There can be minority governments, but they still require the acquiescence of the majority, and are typically curtailed in their power. Voters have far more direct control, in a collective sense, of policy-making.

    (And France also has a president).

  49. @michael reynolds:

    but it’s already aged out and now is just eye-rolling tediousness.

    Amen–also juvenile.