Thursday, January 25, 2018

This Is A Good Summary Of How We Got So Screwed

Back in 2012 I was going to be in Paris for five months.

I decided that I needed a blog to post about all the adventures that I knew that I would have during that sojourn.

In 2012, before departing for my five months, I had spent nearly a cumulative year in Paris, life to date, so I was pretty sure I could hit the blog post project running.

I already knew that just getting into the apartment on every new first day was an adventure.

And I knew it only got better with each tick of the clock for whatever precious shred of ones life that one had been privileged to devote to being in Paris

And it pretty much did: I usually posted daily, sometimes twice daily.

That gets to be habit forming.

So when I was back in the United States and subject to all the stimuli that keep me in a constant state of being pissed off I found myself continuing with near daily posts.

I have been back to Paris a number of times since 2012, so there periodically are a lot more Parisian adventures folded into the mix.

But a dominant form of post has been my observations on what is wrong with pretty much everything American.

There is a lot right with everything American, but there is way more wrong than we are supposed to be allowed to realize, acknowledge or admit.

Since the “What’s Right With America” niche is crawling with myriad drooling fools I decided to harness the energy from my being pissed off to participate in a different niche.

I started posting observations on America.

Due to a limited attention span those observations have, if looked at end to end, been brief, fragmented and, from a total construct point of view, incoherent.

Taken individually, I think most of them have merit.

But as anything other than snippets they are valueless.

So I was excited and envious when a friend of mine, yesterday on Facebook, in less than seven hundred words, glued it all together into one compact, coherent whole viewpoint.

This is from Ron Hatchett, a friend of mine since we were Intelligence Officers – lieutenants – at 7th AF HQ in Saigon.

We have kept contact since.

Here is what Ron said yesterday:

“There is something profoundly wrong with the United States of America’s system of government.

For proof, briefly take stock of the last ten years in American democracy, in which a combination of factors — the filibuster, the way we draw legislative districts, Senate malapportionment, and the Electoral College — converged to rob American voters of a meaningful ability to choose their own leaders.

In 2008, President Obama won a resounding victory, defeating Republican Sen. John McCain by nearly 10 million votes. Democrats also won commanding majorities in both houses of Congress, with Democrats holding 60 seats in the Senate at their peak. Nevertheless, the rump Republican minority was able to wield the filibuster to block many Democratic priorities altogether, and to effectively force Democrats to water down major legislation such as the stimulus and the Affordable Care Act, because the most conservative Democrats’ (and, sometimes, even some Republicans’) votes were needed to pass such bills.

In 2010, in part because the watered down stimulus did not juice up the economy enough to keep the incumbent party from being blamed for the ongoing effects of the recession, Democrats took a bath at the polls. Though Democrats recovered their standing with the voters in the very next federal election, their deep losses in 2010 had profound consequences because they gave Republicans control of many crucial state legislatures and governors’ mansions during a redistricting cycle. Republicans drew state legislative and congressional maps that were so aggressively gerrymandered that, in some states, Republicans won over 70 percent of the congressional seats even in election years where Democrats won the popular vote.

In 2012, President Obama won reelection. Democratic U.S. House candidates also won nearly 1.4 million more votes nationwide than their Republican counterparts. Yet, in large part due to gerrymandering, Republicans enjoyed a commanding 233-200 majority in the House at the beginning of the 113th Congress. This undemocratic result not only prevented Democrats from enacting legislation that could have fired up their base, stimulated the economy, and improved their party’s chances of winning the 2014 and 2016 elections, it also gave Republicans the leverage to shut down the government in 2013.

Meanwhile, Republicans enjoyed even bigger windfalls in state-level races. In 2012, for example, Republican candidates for the state assembly received “48.6% of the two-party statewide vote share for Assembly candidates and won 60 of the 99 seats in the Wisconsin Assembly.” Two years later, they “received 52% of the two-party statewide vote share and won 63 assembly seats.” More recently, in the 2017 election that resoundingly elected Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, Democratic candidates of the House of Delegates outperformed Republican candidates by more than 9 percentage points. Yet Republicans still enjoy a narrow 51-49 majority.

In February of 2016, Justice Antonin Scalia unexpectedly died. Scalia’s body was barely cold before Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced that he would not allow anyone nominated by President Obama to be confirmed. Senate Republicans then successfully held the seat open for a year until Donald Trump could fill it.

McConnell was able to pull this stunt because Republicans enjoyed a 54-46 majority in the Senate in 2016. They held this majority, moreover, due to the fact that the Senate is so egregiously malapportioned that its membership bears no resemblance to the nation’s partisan preferences. The 46 Democrats in the Senate in 2016 represented more than 20 million more people than the 54 Republicans.

More than a year after Scalia’s death, Senate Republicans confirmed Judge Neil Gorsuch to fill the vacant seat on the Supreme Court. The 45 senators who opposed Gorsuch’s confirmation represent more than 25 million more people than the senators who supported him.

And then there is the ultimate insult to the American voter. Donald Trump occupies the White House, despite the fact that he received 2,864,974 fewer votes than his Democratic opponent.”

No comments:

Post a Comment