As I noted yesterday in an update to Those Non-Deplorables: Still Pretty Deplorable, I feel good right now. I’m ready to fight. And a big part of that will require leveraging the power of the Democratic Party base. So I don’t want to spend a bunch of time talking about the election. In particular, I don’t want to talk about how James Comey’s letter itself probably gave Trump the environment he needed to win. And I don’t want to talk about our media that really wasn’t interested in Trump other than as a shiny celebrity. And I don’t want to talk about how the media has only been interested Hillary Clinton’s email server. Our country has a corrupt bureaucracy and an incompetent media.
But there are two things that I think we need to discuss. The first is that Hillary Clinton got the majority of counted votes. She got almost a quarter million more votes than Donald Trump. I know that that isn’t how our presidential elections are run. But I don’t think Trump’s victory was the result of a keen regional strategy. Instead, he just got the votes he was going to get. And it is certainly the case that all those “I’m in a safe state so I can vote for Jill Stein” people would have had more pressure to vote for Clinton. (If Clinton had received all of Jill Stein’s vote in Wisconsin, she would have won the state. If she had won 25% of Stein’s votes in Michigan, she would have won that state.)
Get Rid of the Electoral College
We really need to start working on getting rid of the electoral college system. In the last five elections, two were won by the candidate who got the least votes. That’s a 40 percent error rate. That’s just not acceptable. And I know: changing the system would require a constitutional amendment. But I think it is very doable. Even conservatives hate the electoral college system. I think they would back such an amendment because they know that they could be the next to be screwed by it.
Check out this CGP Grey video that was made years ago before the most recent outrage:
There’s another reason for doing this. Republicans have started talking about making their states proportional. So, for example, a state that is generally Democratic (but currently controlled by Republicans (like Michigan) could really hurt the Democrats’ chances of winning a the White House.
But mostly, I think the electoral college is just a moral issue. It isn’t fair and it has no justification.
Increase Voter Turnout
With all of the coverage that the presidential race got this year, you would think this would have been a huge year for voting. But you would be wrong. The US population has 10 million more people than it had in 2012. Yet 12 million fewer people voted this year than voted in 2012. That’s a shocking 10 percent decrease in the number of people voting. Neither Clinton nor Trump got as many votes as Mitt Romney did in 2012 — much less President Obama who got 5 million more votes than that.
This, above all else, was why Donald Trump won the election. This is, pretty much, why Republicans ever win presidential elections. High turnout is bad for Republicans and good for Democrats. And this strikes me as something we can do something about. But we need to think about it differently than we have been.
The Democratic Party Base Must Take Control
We need to stop thinking about turnout like it is something you do in the days and weeks leading up to an election. We need to start thinking about the Democratic Party like it were a union. And most of all, we need to work on making the Democratic Party base think that they are the party. Because that is the way it is supposed to be anyway. We all need to own the party. It shouldn’t be about showing up to vote for Clinton (or even worse against Trump). It should be something that we do because we are committed to the party.
And I think that gets at something that is really important. We all know that the Democratic Party base is more liberal than the elites. And that’s especially true on economic issues — the issues that most cross over to the Republican base. There are not only electoral possibilities there; there are also legislative possibilities if the Democratic Party base and the Republican Party base are represented by their elites.
I know that getting rid of the electoral college is a lot of work and it will take a long time. But it’s worth the effort. Working on making the Democratic Party base see itself as the party itself is even more important. And that’s something that we — the Democratic Party base — can do something about. It starts with being proud of being a Democrat. It’s our party and we need to work to make it represent us.