🎧 | Yascha Mounk and Sam Koppelman discuss what kinds of reforms are (and aren't) necessary to fix American democracy.
'Are America's Institutions Broken?' - The answer is yes, but it has little to do with voting. The California High-Speed-Rail (HSR) failed after costs escalated to $100+ billion (possibly, it was never built). Of course, Democrats run the state of California (at every level). The bottom line on all of this is easy. 'China is very good at building dams, the US is very good at enforcing PC. Who will dominate the 21st century? Do we need to ask?'
Let's stop being so damn intellectually dishonest that voter ID is voter suppression. 80% of the voting population supports voters ID. 65% of voting blacks support voter ID. Stacy Abrams supports voter ID. 85% of OECD countries require voter ID. Voters don't want their vote canceled out by an illegitimate vote. They want all votes to be legitimate and for all legitimate votes to count.
This continued mythology that Republicans are suppressing the vote needs to stop. It is divisive propaganda and wrong.
Democrats are in bad trouble for this coming election and give them credit for how well they can organize to collect ballots from the inner city projects. So clearly they know that voter ID make ballot harvesting much more difficult. My suggestion is to become a party more appealing to the voters instead of fighting a losing media myth that Democrats lose because Republicans suppress the vote. Nobody outside the Democrat hive buys that myth.
Sam Koppelman is just lying. The Voting Rights has never been ‘gutted’, by ‘Shelby County v. Holder’ or any other legal case. Every provision of the original VRA remains entirely undiminished. What the Supreme Court did, was to throw out the geographical formula used by the original VRA. The Supreme Court did not even throw out the idea of geographical formulas. It said that the existing geographical formula was out-of-date. The bottom line is that Sam Koppelman is lying and Yascha Mounk is letting him get away with it.
As for ‘voter suppression’, it has never happened. Just left-wing mythology. Today’s left takes it’s cue from Gobbles. Repeat a lie enough, and some people will start to believe it. The reality is that blacks and white vote at roughly equal rates. In some elections black turnout (slightly) exceeds white turnout. In some elections white turnout (slightly) exceeds black turnout.
As for requiring an ID to vote. Majorities of all races favor this requirement. It is hardly much of an obstacle. You can’t get into a Federal building without an ID. The notion that you should be able to vote without one is just as crazy.
The real threat to voting is what the Democrats strongly favor. Vote-by-mail and vote harvesting both eliminate the basic protection provided by the secret ballot. Of course, Democrats favor both. Why? Because vote-by-mail and vote harvesting enable party activists to strong-arm people into voting the ‘right’ (Democratic) way.
“You look at the Senate, where Democrats and Republicans have the same number of seats, but Democrats won 40 million more votes in 2020.” In the Senate elections of 2020, the Republicans got 39,834,647 votes. The Democrats got 38,011,916 (according to Wikipedia). So Koppelman is lying (again).
As for the ‘National Popular Vote Interstate Compact’. Article I, Section 10 rather explicitly bars the NPVIC. Let me quote from the Constitution.
‘No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.’
"And so we can sit around and fantasize about the wonderful things reform will do to the Senate, or we can think about how the Democratic Party—which under a black leader, Barack Obama, was competitive—might go back to actually being able to win senatorial elections in those territories. That seems to me like, at least politically speaking, a far more sensible thing to focus our energies on."
This is fine and to an extent right, but in the long term it's a terrible strategy. It essentially sets the parties up to be blackmailed by high power voters. Currently this is how politics works in America to a minimal extent. If parties and politicians fully embrace this strategy, the amount high power voters could exploit in politics will be even greater.
The future of politics is likely going to be about appeasing lines on a map.
Do we want politics to be about map-line chasers or do we want democracy?
Mr. Koppelman, like most of the Left of the Democratic Party, has little understanding and less respect for the way that the Constitution of the United States operates or the reasons that it operates as it does. and so most of his suggestions are doomed to failure and those who support them, to frustration. I think he also badly overestimates the popularity of "progressive" policies with the majority of VOTERS, who are the people who do and should make the decisions, but that's a different, if related, argument.
Typical were the points he gave the Democrats for passing their "voting rights" proposals in the House. This was pure posturing on the part of the House Democrats: they knew, not only that the bill would never pass the Senate, but that if it did, it would fail in the courts, because much of it was an unconstitutional intrusion on powers reserved to the States. I don't question the sincerity of Mr. Koppelman's admiration for the bill, but I think it shows his lack of understanding of the role of States and of the Federal Government in our constitutional system.
Similarly, the "National Popular Vote Interstate Compact" is one of the worst ideas to come along in a long time. Aside from the cynicism it would demonstrate in purposely subverting the black letter law of the Constitution, it wouldn't even be effective. It would survive as long as it took for one voter in one state whose candidate got the majority of the vote in her state but whose electoral votes were shifted to the winner of the national popular vote to sue; that lawsuit would be a sure winner. Fortunately, there's a way to reform the Electoral College that doesn't require either a constitutional amendment or constitutional subversion. In fact, it would correct a long-standing constitutional subversion.
I'm talking, as I have in other forums, about repealing the Reapportionment Act of 1929 that froze the size of the House of Representatives at 435 members. This, as Daniel Okrent has explained, was a ploy by the Prohibitionists to protect the Eighteenth Amendment by limiting the representation of the more populous states. It failed in its original intent, but it has continued to depress large state representation, and in fact, to make it worse. But it only takes a simple Act of Congress, not an amendment or a subterfuge, to fix the problem.
Set the population of One Congressional District as permanently equal to the population of the least populous State. Give each State the number of Representatives equal to its population divided by that number, without any ceiling on the House itself. With that one law, every Member of Congress would represent the same number of people -- and so would every Presidential Elector, except for the two extra Electors each State gets for its senators. No state would lose representation again, unless it actually lost population in an absolute, and not a relative sense. It would become much less likely, if not impossible, for the loser of the popular vote to win in the Electoral College. This one relatively easy reform would solve several of the problems discussed in the podcast, in an honest and straightforward way. It could even be sold to some conservatives, because it's much more in line with the intent of the Founders, that the House would grow with the population of the country, than what we have now. They never wanted the disparities of representation in the House and the Electoral College that we take for granted now. We have the Anti-Saloon League and its allies to thank for those.
More pushback would have been in order. People here have brought up various obvious problems with Koppelman's statements about voting laws and federalism. One can add the reliance on notoriously-𝘂𝗻reliable issue-polling to claim that most Americans support progressive positions; the fact that while most Americans favor abortion laws less restrictive than the new red-state laws, they also favor laws that are 𝗺𝗼𝗿𝗲 restrictive and the new blue-state laws (the data on 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 is pretty robust); the failure to mention the culture-war issues on which most Americans do 𝗻𝗼𝘁 side with progressives (again, robust data).
One could also introduce a smidgen of nuance, positing that yes, Americans are overwhelmingly progressive on race, but very much in the mode of MLK, not Ibram Kendi, which arguably puts them closer to the Republican party than the Democratic. Or that moving to a popular vote for President would make more sense if we reverse the leaching of power from state governments to Washington.
Personally, I'm also put off by the expletives.
Electoral College was a compromise between the principles of a republic and a federation. as Mr. Koppleman argues that states signing a petition to turn the presidency into a popular election would make an end run around the Constitution, which is not a zero-value proposition. The entire purpose why Mr Koppleman can correctly argue that every citizen has the right to have easy and free elections is that those rights are enumerated in the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the way in which our founding documents have been interpreted.
It's a dubious argument that in order to maximize the rights enumerated and derived from our founding documents we ought to find ways to abrogate them.
When Eric Holder was Attorney General under Obama, he declared that banks at the center of the Financial Analysis were "systemically important". Consequently, no one at the center, or peripheyr, of the maelstrom was charged and went to jail.
Question for everyone: Wasn't there a meltdown a couple of years ago, including boycotts by sports teams and corporations, regarding new voting laws in Georgia?
Wasn't there record turnout in the elections a few weeks ago? Why wasn't there discussion of how far the voting meltdown promised and what actually happened diverged?