Time was, I was the only one talking about this:
Lying is what they do because that’s all they have left on the left. They have no foundational principles except power. Their entire ideology is transactional – it’s not based on ideas but on payoffs to Democrat sub-sets. Here’s some dough for the baby crunching industry! We’ll hassle some Christian bakers for the SJWs! Let’s put a bunch of cis-het males of pallor who don’t even listen to NPR out of work in West Tennetucky, or wherever they grow coal, to delight our global warming cultist pals!
Welcome to the party, pal.
While the insight might be late in coming, it’s no less important for that. As I wrote five years ago:
[T]here is a threshold at which any coalition will experience internal pressures that lead to its dissolution. The threshold might be numerical, or it might be economic, or it might arise from the addition to the coalition of an interest group inherently hostile to the interests of one or more other members.
For a political party, the incontrovertibly important threshold is 50%. When that threshold is reached, the transactionalism becomes frenzied, for once a “winning majority” is in sight, the departure of any one of the member groups can undo it, and many – perhaps most — of the member groups will see that as an opportunity to “increase their take.”
The presidential election of November 8, 2016 neatly illustrated this effect. The “traitor group” was blue-collar workers. Those workers had seen the Democrats pay off other groups to the workers’ detriment, thus robbing their political arm – the unions – of much of their power. The recognition lost the Democrats the blue-collar vote, which cost them a decisive number of Electoral College votes. Democrat strategists have wrung their hands over it ever since. Yet they remain unable to correct their course, for Democrat politics has been coalition politics since FDR. It’s all they know.
The irony consists in the popular-vote balance, which favored Hillary Clinton overall – quite heavily in California, New York, and Illinois. Even after the loss of the blue-collar workers, the Democrat coalition commanded a majority of the Americans who showed up at the polls. They could have taken the presidential election of 2000 as a warning. They did not, though whether it would have made a difference is open to question.
But I doubt that you, Gentle Reader, are here to read about the obvious, and I’m not here to write about it.
The future of the American political system is murky. Two Democrat losses in the Electoral College despite significant national popular vote majorities have created pressure against the system. The thrust of that pressure, of course, is to undo the Electoral College system. As a Constitutional amendment to that effect would have zero prospects of ratification, the pressure is manifest entirely at the state level: agitation for state laws that would compel the state’s electors to cast their ballots for the national popular vote winner.
This isn’t news, of course. The agitation became visible in 2001, after George W. Bush defeated Al Gore. However, its roots are even deeper than that. They reach at least as far back as Rutherford B. Hayes’s defeat of Samuel J. Tilden in 1876:
In 1876, Hayes was elected president in one of the most contentious elections in national history. He lost the official popular vote to Democrat Samuel J. Tilden (due at least in part to Southern suppression of Republican votes, it is not known with certainty who won the actual popular vote) but he won an intensely disputed electoral college vote after a Congressional commission awarded him twenty contested electoral votes. The result was the Compromise of 1877, in which the Democrats acquiesced to Hayes's election and Hayes withdrew remaining U.S. troops protecting Republican office holders in the South.
Post-Civil-War Reconstruction had created enough animosity toward the Republican Party in the South to give rise to what became known as the “Solid South:” a reliable source of Democrat votes, both popularly and in the Electoral College:
The Solid South or Southern bloc was the electoral voting bloc of the states of the Southern United States for issues that were regarded as particularly important to the interests of white Democrats in the southern states. The Southern bloc existed especially between 1877 (the end of Reconstruction) and 1964 (the year of the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964). During this period, the Democratic Party controlled state legislatures; most local and state officeholders in the South were Democrats, as were federal politicians elected from these states. Southern Democrats disenfranchised blacks in every state of the former Confederacy at the turn of the century. This resulted essentially in a one-party system, in which a candidate's victory in Democratic primary elections was tantamount to election to the office itself. White primaries were another means that the Democrats used to consolidate their political power, excluding blacks from voting in primaries.
It’s much to be regretted that this critical bit of American history is no longer a part of the typical high-school history curriculum.
Only losers look to change the rules of the contest. He who loses repeatedly will be especially determined to do so. State-level initiatives such as the one mentioned above, and of course the Secretary of State project, have no other object. Whether they will make any inroads against the Constitutional position of the Electoral College is unclear.
What I find myself wondering is what “lessons” the Republican Party has drawn from those two victories in defiance of the popular majority. Historically, Republican politics has not been coalition-minded. GOP strategists have seldom attempted group-oriented outreach, perhaps subliminally convinced that the Democrats’ hold on identifiable voting blocs is too firm to be profitably challenged. That conviction would be consistent with the GOP’s demographic and geographic strongholds. Even more salient, coalition politics having failed the Left, there’s no reason for Republicans and conservatives to think it would treat them any better.
Yet the pressure on the GOP to think in terms of voting blocs is increasing. The slow but steady demographic changes in the American population have Republican strategists badly worried. The evident Republican domination of several pseudo-blocs:
- White men;
- Married women;
- Christian conservatives;
...has seduced several prominent conservative commentators. Should Republican kingmakers listen to their “advice,” it will reinforce the Democrats’ coalition strategy, by supporting their caricature of the GOP as a racialist / religious party.
The strategies and dynamics of the 2020 presidential campaign will bear close scrutiny, for victory has its lessons, too. Which set will prove the more persuasive? We shall see.