The PJ Tatler

Jonathan Chait: GOP A Bunch Of White Hicks Trying To Rig Elections Or Something

This is another long one and, predictably, oozing ridiculous.

That a party would even contemplate such a blatant scheme to rig the rules so that it might win elections, when any remotely fair standard dictates it ought to lose, boggles the mind. But this plot did not come out of nowhere, and it is not merely an exercise in momentary partisan opportunism. It is the expression of a durable American political tradition of skepticism of democracy (or, to put it more charitably, skepticism of majoritarian democracy). And as the Republican Party comes to grips with an increasingly hostile public, this tradition is coming to the fore.

If you listen closely to the arguments by the Republican vote riggers, you can hear rationalizations, yes, but also a real idea: Rural Americans deserve disproportionate political representation. Charles W. Carrico, a small-town Republican state senator from Virginia who sponsored his state’s Electoral College–alteration bill, said, “People in my district—they feel discouraged by coming out because their votes don’t mean anything if they’re outvoted in metropolitan districts.” Jase Bolger, speaker of the state House of Representatives in Michigan, likewise fretted over the voting power of the urban hordes: “I hear that more and more from our citizens in various parts of the State of Michigan, that they don’t feel like their vote for president counts, because another area of the state may dominate that or could sway their vote.”

Those of us who remember the 2000 presidential election should be somewhat amused that any Democrat now holds the Electoral College sacred — they all wanted to scrap it then.

Chait also takes a few paragraphs to bemoan the Constitutional makeup of the Senate, only because it fits his premise that the people outside of Manhattan, Chicago and Los Angeles already have too much power because-OMG!-the Republicans are in control of the House.

There’s also some perfunctory whining about judicial activism, which is always delightful coming from the side of the aisle that invented it.

The real irony here is that what he’s describing in the states is a result of who is in power. As they are always fond of reminding us at the federal level, elections have consequences. He just isn’t a fan of that at the state level, where all of America isn’t falling in line for the GOP death march.