The Republicans: Champions of Voting Rights and The Minority

74 million people can’t be wrong!

Missouri Republican Senator Josh Hawley said he’s standing up for the 74 million Trump voters “who feel disenfranchised, who feel like their vote doesn’t matter.” Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson demanded that Attorney General Bill Barr “show” that there wasn’t any evidence (huh?) of fraud. They and at least ten more Republican senators, many representatives, and all of Trump’s talking points enablers are concerned that 74 million Americans believe the election was rigged and that their vote “didn’t count.” After all, this is about the most fundamental of democratic principles, the right to elect our leaders.

First, about half of Trump voters are claiming this, not 74 million. The numbers vary wildly from 40%-70% depending upon the question wording.

Second, because there is only one combined ballot for the presidency as well as other offices, are all the other 2020 elections illegitimate too?

Third, shouldn’t we resolve legal claims in courts, rather than by partisans with a clear bias and political motivation? (And we already have, by the way.)

Fourth, since when did we base our election results on “feelings” and “beliefs” rather than ballots?

Fifth, why do Americans “feel” this, especially without evidence? Is it possibly because Trump and his supporters have excitedly repeated this mantra for two months?

Nevertheless, it’s quite refreshing to see that the Republicans have now taken up the banner of ensuring that all voters’ rights must be respected and honored, and that the view of the minority (the 74 million) must be taken into account! So if their argument is that even though American elections are decided by the majority, there should be room within our politics to consider the minority as well… perhaps we are reaching consensus. So logically, I assume the next steps on the Republican agenda are to:

Eliminate the Electoral College “Unit Rule.”

End Gerrymandering.

The district lines (in green) predetermine the outcomes, 3–0 in favor of Orange or 2–1 in favor of Yellow.

Rather than partisan redistricting systems that unfairly draw election districts in favor of the party in power, states could create non-partisan or bipartisan districting commissions, or better yet, a proportional system of larger multi-member districts by using cumulative voting, ranked voting, or numerous other reforms that have been proposed. This would better represent all minorities (partisan, race and ethnicity, religion, economic interests, etc.) in areas where one side is dominant, so that the majority still wins most seats — but the minority wins some, in proportion to their vote.

Reinstate “Preclearance.”

Reform Senate Malapportionment.

All states get two senators, so 18% of the Senate represents half of the people.

Note that this also means that the populous states are underrepresented in the electoral college because electors are determined by the number of representatives plus senators, which heavily inflates states like Wyoming with only one representative (a 200% increase to 3), and hardly budges California with 53 representatives (a 4% increase to 55).

There are several proposed solutions to distribute senators more fairly, mostly by giving less populated states only one senator and heavily populated states more than two senators, roughly in accordance with their population. Even this would still favor the less-populated states, and would require a constitutional amendment, something that is very unlikely. However, statehood for Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico would give those U.S. citizens the voting representatives they deserve and would probably help balance the Senate to a degree.

I wonder when we can expect to hear such reform proposals, now that Senators Hawley and Johnson are so concerned with voting rights.

It’s not true that politicians are always unprincipled and only act with regard for the political consequences. Richard Nixon supported the 26th Amendment lowering the guaranteed right to vote to age 18, knowing full well that he was very unpopular with those young voters. Lyndon Johnson pushed the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act through Congress, predicting it would lead the eventual defection of southern Democrats to the Republican Party.

Some Republicans have spoken out against the electoral college and gerrymandering, and in favor of restoring preclearance to the Voting Rights Act, and some have even spoken of rural malapportionment. But of course the leadership strongly opposes all of these reforms, believing that they would hurt the Republican Party.

So, remind me again… What was the sacred principle of democratic representation behind the current argument for continuing to challenge the presidential election?