I disagree with a lot of this.
- Douthat says: The Electoral College’s legitimacy can stand up if an occasional 49-47 percent popular vote result goes the other way. That’s not true. I think two of the last six elections are a lot more than occasional. Also, 2004 and 2020 could have easily resulted in elections won by the popular vote loser. The legitimacy of the Electoral College was also damaged by the way the Republican-dominated Supreme Court gave the 2000 election to George Bush. This also has hurt the credibility of the Supreme Court. Four of the justices were appointed by Republican presidents who didn’t win the popular vote.
- Douthat says: Especially in the current climate, which looks dire for the Democrats, the Republicans have an opportunity to make the Electoral College complaint moot, for a time at least, by simply taking plausible positions, nominating plausible candidates and winning majorities outright. Republicans have shown no interest in this. They didn’t have a real platform in 2020 and McConnell says he won’t say what they would do if they win the majority in 2022. Many Republican positions are not popular:
- They oppose abortion while the majority favors keeping Roe vs. Wade
- They oppose all gun safety bills while the majority favors at least some changes such as universal background checks.
- They wouldn’t give Merrick Garland even a hearing for his Supreme Court nomination while the majority supported giving him a hearing.
- Douthat says: And Republican structural advantages, while real, did not then prevent Democrats from reclaiming the House of Representatives in 2018 and the presidency in 2020 and Senate in 2021. He is ignoring the fact that Republicans are using voter suppression laws to increase their advantage. They also have used gerrymandering and the Republican Supreme Court will help them. Sure, Democrats do it too but Republicans have done more. Also, look that the terrible racist gerrymandering DeSantis has proposed in Florida.
- Douthat says that Republicans should nominate someone other than Trump. Are the alternatives much different? Potential candidates like DeSantis believe in the stolen election, massive voter fraud and racist policies. They’re not an improvement.
- Douthat says: Second, to the extent that there’s a Democratic path back to greater parity in the Senate and Electoral College without structural reform, it probably requires the development of an explicit faction within the party dedicated to winning back two kinds of voters — culturally conservative Latinos and working-class whites — who were part of Barack Obama’s coalition but have drifted rightward since. He ignores the fact that the most liberal Democratic ideas have not been enacted. Going too far to the right will cause the Democrats to lose support on the left.
Where we are headed is an election in 2024 where whichever party loses will not trust the results. I fully expect to see things like some states with multiple sets of electors.