Thursday, December 22, 2016

Some Good Advice

TRIGGER WARNING:  In which I talk about the Democrats not being able to face the reality out there.

For John, BLUFThe Democrats here in Mass are safe, but across the fruited plain they need to get their act together.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This is a pertinent Opinion Piece by statistics guru Mr Nate Silver, who operates the Five-Thirty-Eight Blog.  Here are two excerpts from the piece:
You can get into quite an abyss by reading the various cases that Democrats are making for electors behaving faithlessly, which turn on some combination of Clinton’s substantial win in the national popular vote, potential Russian interference into the election, and Trump’s conflicts-of-interest and possible violation of the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause to claim that the election outcome was illegitimate.

At the risk of engaging in a hit-and-run argument, I wanted to go on record to say that I think this is a bad idea.  My reasons are best encapsulated in this tweetstorm by the political scientist Matt Glassman, who notes that there is a strong precedent toward electors abiding by the vote in their states.  Other than a few one-off cases like Leach, the historical norm has been that electors stick with the voters’ choice unless the candidate died, as in the case of Greeley or the losing vice presidential candidate James S. Sherman in 1912.  Furthermore, as Glassman notes, it’s not at all clear what the upside for Democrats would be.  This year, narrowly denying Trump a majority in the Electoral College would still probably result in Trump’s election via the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, producing the same president but with a Constitutional crisis along the way.  And in the long run, encouraging electors to deviate from the outcomes in their states would result in the House more often deciding presidential elections, which is probably not in Democrats’ interests given how their voters are clustered — and gerrymandered — into urban congressional districts.

This is toward the end of the opinion piece:
Some of the most important opportunities can escape the attention of the national media.  Special elections, such as the one that will likely take place for Montana’s at-large House seat, offer chances to pick up seats and to test out new messages.  Battles over voting rights take place in the shadows but can have implications that resonate for years.

Winning a House seat in Montana or expanded access to early voting in North Carolina might not be as sexy for Democrats as dreaming about an uprising in the Electoral College.  But Trump won the election, and Democrats probably ought to be thinking about how to win some elections of their own.

Mr Nate Silver is correct.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

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