These Six States Will Choose the President

campaign_2016-2Forty four states and the District of Colombia effectively have no say in the presidential election.

That is because the popular vote for president has nothing to do with whom is elected. Only electoral votes count. Electoral votes are determined by the US Census, and are adjusted every ten years. Of the total of 538 electoral votes, 270 are needed to win the presidency.

To appreciate how undemocratic the system is, consider two states with the same number of electoral votes: Arizona and Massachusetts each have eleven. The winner in a landslide gets eleven electoral votes, just as the winner in a squeaker does. A candidate could win by a hair in one state and get no votes in the other and tie in electoral votes, while the popular vote could be 80% to 20%!

Most progressives favor the direct election of the president, as each person’s vote would count the same. As it is, a vote in a swing state can be worth as much as 500 votes in a red or blue state!

I believe that the race will be decided by Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Ohio, and Virginia.

Florida has 29 electoral votes, Nevada 6, North Carolina 15, New Hampshire 4, Ohio 18, and Virginia 13. Those states control a total of 85 electoral votes and represent less than a quarter of the voting public. In 2012 some 125 million votes were cast for president. These purple states accounted for less than 25 million votes, only about 20% of the vote.

Of those 25 million votes, the outcomes in the purple states were determined by less than two percent of the votes cast, or 500,000 people. Had half of those voted the other way, 250,000 people would have elected Mitt Romney over Barack Obama.

One-fifth of one percent! A quarter of a million out of 125 million!

To put it into perspective, a single voter in a purple state can have the voting power of five hundred voters in a red or blue state!

By the numbers, there are more Democrats than Republicans in each swing state. But Republicans vote in greater percentages than do Democrats, so the races will be close.

Trump voters are more enthusiastic than are Hillary voters, but there are fewer of them. The race will be determined by how many Hillary voters stay home.

Conversely, Trump appeals to a segment of the electorate that has been disenfranchised for decades. Proof of that phenomenon can be seen in the astounding turnout in the Republican primaries. Trump won more votes than any Republican presidential candidate in history.

If you live in Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Ohio, or Virginia, you get to pick the next president.

And if you are a progressive, you have two compelling reasons to elect Donald Trump. And one of them should be important to all Democrats, including those who support Hillary.

The House of Representatives is in Republican hands. It has been since 2010, when Republicans won enough statehouses and legislative chambers across the county to control reapportionment after the 2010 Census. Republicans gerrymandered congressional districts which means they were able to draw district lines in such a way to concentrate huge Democratic majorities in a few districts while giving Republicans majorities in many more districts. So even with more Democrats in a state, there are more congressional districts controlled by Republicans.

The result? A Republican majority in Congress for ten years! And we cannot undo the damage until 2020.

To undo the damage, Democrats must win enough governorships and state legislative chambers in 2018 and n 2020 to be able to control reapportionment after the 2020 Census

And that will be all but impossible if Hillary is elected president. If elected, Hillary will be the most unpopular newly elected president in US history.

She will face legislative gridlock occasioned by Republican control of the House, even with a likely newly retaken Democratic majority in the Senate.

She will get nothing of consequence accomplished during her first two years.

It is highly probable she will be even more unpopular two years into her term than she was when elected.

Even a highly popular president is at a disadvantage in delivering the vote in midterm elections. In 2014, Barack Obama was enjoying net positive approval numbers, yet Democrats lost seats in the House and Senate, and were swamped in state races across the county.

In 2018, Hillary will do much worse.

A similar result can be anticipated in 2020 with an unpopular Hillary Clinton at the top of a national ticket. A popular president has limited coattails, an unpopular one is toxic in down-ballot races.

Bottom line is that it will be nearly impossible for Democrats to win enough state houses and legislative chambers to control reapportionment in 2020. Republicans will be able to do again what they did in 2010: Gerrymander the House.

They will control the House for another ten years! Democrats will be shut out until 2030.

If Trump is elected president, the exact opposite occurs. Trump will be the political pariah, having accomplished nothing in his first two years, faced with the same gridlock that Hillary would have had to face. Democrats will sweep the 2018 elections, carrying state races across the country.

Democrats in all likelihood will nominate a progressive in 2020, energizing the base as Bernie did this year. They will handily defeat President Trump and carry down-ballot races for governors and state legislators, assuring Democrats of control of reapportionment.

Every elected Democrat in the country should be terrified of running Hillary Clinton in 2016. That they are not speaks to the mass myopia occasioned by herd mentality.

Progressives have the prospect of redefining the Democratic party as an equally compelling reason to work for the defeat of Hillary Clinton.

With Hillary and her Wall Street cronies out of office, the project of rebuilding the party into a progressive one becomes infinitely easier than if we had a President Clinton obstructing Bernie’s revolution and setting the Democratic party’s agenda.

With President Trump the opposition, progressives will be able to nominate Tulsi Gabbard, Nina Turner, Russ Feingold, or another member of the democratic wing of the Democratic party in 2020.

If you live in one of the other 44 states or the District of Columbia, your vote will not impact the winner in those races. Progressives should vote for Jill Stein and local Green party candidates.

 

 

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