Joseph Keeble: The tyranny of the minority
When twice-impeached, twice-loser of the popular vote Donald Trump goes on about the elections being rigged, he is absolutely correct. He knows how the system works. He knows he doesn’t have to win the popular vote to be president.
The Republican Party currently has only 29% of registered voters nationwide. Republicans have only won the popular vote in one of the last eight presidential elections. Prior to George W. Bush and Donald Trump, the last time the Electoral College gave a popular vote loser the White House was in 1888.
Since their views are not the same as the majority of Americans, conservative political strategy is simple. As the demographics of America change, gaming the system, making a lot of noise over trivial issues as a distraction, and stalling reform as long as possible have become the hallmark of Republican politics.
Wyoming gets one electoral college vote for every 200,000 residents. California gets one electoral college vote for every 716,000 residents. Certainly not one person, one vote. In most states, if your candidate doesn’t win, your vote doesn’t even count at all because the winner gets all the Electoral College votes.
Fifteen states with a total population of 38 million people have 30 GOP senators. California, with 40 million people, has two Democrats. Currently, in an equally divided Senate, Democrats represent over 41 and a half million more people than Republicans. Republican senators have not represented a majority of Americans since 1996, but have controlled the Senate for 18 of those 25 years.
The past few years have been especially hypocritical for the minority rulers. First, we had the “Stack the Supreme Court Follies.” Senate Republicans held up Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland for 293 days because “the next president should get to choose.” This allowed Republicans to seat a conservative justice and keep a conservative majority. Four years later, Senate Republicans seated another conservative justice less than a week before the election, cementing a conservative-dominated court for decades. Apparently, waiting until after the election doesn’t apply when the incumbent is a Republican.
Then we have the “Impeachment Follies I.“ Senators representing a small minority of Americans blocked having any witnesses in the first of Trump’s impeachment trials. What kind of a trial has no witnesses unless there is something to hide?
Next was the “Election/Insurrection/Impeachment II Follies.” Despite losing the last election by over 7 million votes, Donald Trump and the Republicans tried to stay in power by gaming the Electoral College. One hundred and forty-seven congressional Republicans voted not to certify the election despite zero proof of fraud including 61 baseless lawsuits that were all thrown out, and numerous revelations about the White House attempting to coerce state election officials into “finding” nonexistent votes or dismissing valid ones, which is illegal.
While the election certification vote was being taken, thousands of people, at the invitation of Donald Trump, tried to overturn the election and the will of the majority by violently interrupting the process.
This led to “Impeachment Follies II.” After a 57-43 bipartisan Senate vote to convict Donald Trump of inciting insurrection, antiquated by-laws allowed Republican partisans to prevail: Not guilty.
Republican senators from 18 states then blocked the creation of a special Senate commission to investigate those events. Again, what is there to hide?
The Voting Rights Act of 2021 passed the House and would have prohibited some of the voter suppression laws (based on the fraudulent claims of election irregularities) being enacted in Republican-dominated states. The bill included an end to partisan gerrymandering. It was filibustered and killed by Senate Republicans.
Now, with a new census, Republican-dominated states can further gerrymander congressional districts in their desperate attempt to hold on to dwindling power. Many continue to claim the election was stolen. We taxpayers just wasted over $270 million on a bogus recall election instigated by less than 12% of registered voters, mostly Republicans.
As has become painfully obvious, the wheelers and dealers behind Republican politics will do anything to maintain power, including subverting and overthrowing the government, all to protect the value of their portfolios by stifling change — the politics of money over people.
Climate change, wildfires, extreme weather events, polluted oceans and water supplies, mass murders, and an uncontrollable pandemic wreak havoc daily.
Minority rule has stymied and even turned back needed regulations to stem the tide of devastation. Change starts at home. Get rid of U.S. Rep. Doug LaMalfa. He’s one of them.
Joseph Keeble lives in Nevada City.
Editor’s note: According to Gallup, 29% of Americans call themselves Republicans and 29% identify as Democrats, with 41% reporting themselves as unaffiliated voters, as of Sept. 17.
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“It ain’t what you know that gets you into trouble; it’s what you know that ain’t so.” — Will Rogers and others