Port: thwarted Democrats could find more success through moderation
Democratic presidential candidates consistently win the national popular vote, but thanks to the The electoral college, we always elect Republicans to the White House with some regularity. In 2018, Democratic U.S. Senate candidates collectively received 18 million more votes than their Republican opponents, yet they still lost seats in that election.
“In 2020, Democrats were only around 90,000 votes – less than a one-point general change for the President and Senate, and about a two-point change in the House – to literally control none.” of the three levers. Washington post columnist Aaron Rupar notes.
To put it succinctly, for Democrats to control the “three levels” of national government – the House, Senate, and White House – they must win many more votes than Republicans.
Democrats may have more voters, but Republicans have more jurisdiction.
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Since 2004, when George W. Bush became the last Republican candidate to win the popular vote, National Democratic candidates had an average 4.4% advantage over Republicans, but Republican candidates won more states (101 for the GOP vs. 99 for the Democrats ).
The numerical advantage that Democrats enjoy is neutralized in the American system because it was never intended as an exercise in direct democracy. Damn, US senators weren’t elected by the people until the ratification of the 17th amendment around the beginning of the 20th century. (Changing that was a mistake, but that’s a topic for another column.)
The Liberals, in the short term, see this as a problem. They aspire to a more direct democracy. Many of them want demolish the electoral college. They complain about the “Over-representation of rural voters“in the Senate elections. They hate filibuster.
As I write these lines, much of the Liberal agenda in Washington, DC, is on the rocks because Democrats, despite their advantages in the popular vote, have only a narrow majority in the House. , and a technical majority in a divided Senate thanks to the decisive vote of the vice-president.
If this program had a wider geographic appeal, it would have a better chance of being successful, but it is not.
It is frustrating for our progressive friends for understandable reasons.
Inside the Prairie Hills Mall, voters walked out to fill out their ballots for the 2020 election. (Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson)
This has made many liberals believe that the only way to build lasting democratic control over our national government is to change the rules because they are not producing the election results they want.
I would suggest an alternative: Democrats should try to moderate in a way that broadens their appeal outside the densely populated urban and coastal communities that give them their numerical advantages.
I would say that our system of government, which emphasizes building not only popular majorities but also jurisdictional majorities, was designed to promote just that.
The search for consensus and compromise are difficult endeavors, especially in this age of polarizing populism. Moreover, these ideas do not seem to interest many voters. I suspect that many of you wanted to spit while reading my use of the term “moderate”. It has become a dirty word in modern politics.
And yet, this is the only way forward if we are to overcome the partisan bickering and resentment with which we live.
To build lasting political majorities in the American system, it takes more than a roll call in the dense population centers of our nation.
To the extent that it still exists today, filibuster is a mandate for some degree of bipartisanship in the Senate.
Even low-population states like North Dakota have two senators to ensure our national policies value Bismarck’s priorities alongside those of New York.
The Electoral College means that national candidates should spend at least some time thinking about what rural voters think is important.
These are good things that should be upheld, not trashed in the name of gaining a partisan advantage.
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Rob Port, Founder of SayAnythingBlog.com, is a Forum Communications commentator. Contact him on Twitter at @robport or by email at [email protected]