Sunday, November 25, 2012

A picture is worth a thousand words

© 2012 M. E. J. Newman

Checks and Balance

You don't have a right to vote for President!

Art 2. Sect 1. Clause 2: Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.

"The Congress would have two houses: the state-based Senate and the population-based House of Representatives. Meanwhile, the President would be elected by a mixture of the two modes." James Madison.

In Federalist #10 he argued "the public good is disregarded in the conflicts of rival parties; and that measures are too often decided, not according to the rules of justice, and the rights of the minor party, but by the superior force of an interested and overbearing majority".

Succumbing to the whims of populism, the electoral college is now awarded based on popular vote in 48 of the 50 states.  So much for that check.

The Senate now stands at 53-45 with 2 independents.  Prior to the 17th amendment turning the senate from the representatives of the states to effectively a 'super' house of populism, senators were appointed by the state legislatures. A good map of the legislatures political breakdown can be found here: http://www.governing.com/blogs/by-the-numbers/state-legislature-house-senate-seat-totals-and-party-control.html

As shown on the map linked above, there are 31 Republican controlled legislatures, 17 Democrat, and 2 split legislatures.

One can assume that if Senators were still appointed by legislatures, the make up would be 36D-64R, quite a difference from the popularly (or populistly) elected 53D-45R. So much for that check.

Although congressional seats are apportioned based on population, the congressional districts are apportioned geographically.  This geographical apportionment is what explains the house makeup of  194D - 233R. The House remains the last existing check against populist tyranny.

As Jersey pointed out so astutely a week ago, the people in the cities don't give a rats ass what the rest of us think.

"If you Flyoverland cons think people from the NYC area give a rat's ass what you think about anything that goes on where we're from, or what our gun laws should be, or how FEMA handles Sandy, you're as naive as you are hick." Jersey McJones.

 We don't all live in cities and populist democracy will only represent the urban population centers, as Jersey implies... the rest of us can just screw off, and THAT folks is the problem.  Unfortunately, the other side of the urban bourgeoisie is that they are perfectly willing to dictate what goes on where we're from, or what our gun laws should be, etc., all for our own naive, hick good of course.

The preservation of the Republic necessitates, well, the preservation of the Republic as a republic. Under a populist urban dominated democracy the good people of Flyoverland will eventually rebel against the chaffing yoke of the city-states. The problem must be fixed before then.

Since I first wrote this article the following story has appeared in the news:

http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/11/12/15117305-petition-for-texas-to-secede-from-us-reaches-threshold-for-white-house-response?lite

While meaningless in the big picture, it does indicate a restless undercurrent of seccesionism, and the list of states may surprise you. People, at least some people in 20 states are so seriously pissed off at the Federal Government that they are willing to go to, or at least voice this extreme.

39 comments:

Always On Watch said...

The principles of federalism are so eroded now that we do indeed have the kind of central government and "mob rule" so anathema to our Founders.

Silverfiddle said...

I still don't like how the press flipped the colors around.

The left should be red. That's their color, and the rest of us should be blue.

Bunkerville said...

The states continue to turn red. One reason is we can see our tax bills and are aware at the outrageous local spending and foolish projects. Now if we had a national press...

Craig said...

The reason the 17th amendment was passed was because the state legislatures were corrupt. Do you think state legislators are immune from special interests and political machines? Bribery was commonplace.

But, what the hey, repeal the 17th. It's a winning issue. It would be Blago X 50.

conservativesonfire said...

BINGO! Among the many important errors the American voters have made over the years, approval of the 17thAmendmant was a biggy. A good example of what is happening to the country at large is the stae of Illinois. Illinois is really a rural stete, yet the four countys encompassing the Chicago area totally dominate the state government and they govern Illinois as if it were one big urban center.

Ingmorance is not bliss for those who are not ignorant.

viburnum said...

@ Craig

If that were the case, why would 36 out of 48 state legislatures voluntarily vote to deny themselves that kind of power?

It was done in a populist frenzy led by William Jennings Bryan et al

Ducky's here said...

Them Rethugs loves them some pay to play.

It's a wonder they ever think anything over. You can already control 20% of the Senate with the the farming states (i.e. welfare queens) having a lower population than NYC.

Give it a rest. You lost and will continue to lose as long as the Baggers control the Party of the Politically Insane.

Suck it down.

Right Truth said...

Excellent article. What do we do? I think too many feel helpless when we see reports of mentally handicapped people being bussed to voting places and instructed who to vote fore. By the BUS loads.

They are depressed when they see the cheating in counting votes; in the keeping ballots away from military so they cannot vote or keeping their votes boxed up somewhere and not counting them. And on and on.

Depressed when the media and the Left are so good at turning things back on us, making anything we do or say to be 'racist'. It truly is obscene.

Debbie
Right Truth
http://www.righttruth.typepad.com

Craig said...

If that were the case, why would 36 out of 48 state legislatures voluntarily vote to deny themselves that kind of power?

Populist frenzy? They might have had good reason. Wasn't the Tea Party supposed to be a populist uprising. Real populism is a powerful thing. The founders were smart enough to know they didn't know everything. They allowed for amendments. If you don't like it, you'll need a populist movement to change it. Good luck with that.

A nice little explanation of the 17th is here.

Late in the 19th century, some state legislatures deadlocked over the election of a senator when different parties controlled different houses, and Senate vacancies could last months or years (Gee, why would anyone be upset about that?). In other cases, special interests or political machines gained control over the state legislature...Over half of the states adopted the "Oregon system," but the 1912 Senate investigation of bribery and corruption in the election of Illinois Senator William Lorimer indicated that only a constitutional amendment mandating the direct election of Senators by a state’s citizenry would allay public demands for reform.

FreeThinke said...

The closer we get to Direct Democracy (That is to say when populism -- i.e. the dictates of the vulgar, uncouth, ignorant, brutish masses -- reigns supreme -- the closer we will get to Despotism, which sooner or later will be followed by Rebellion, Civil War and a chaotic Reign of Terror closely resembling that of the French and Russian Revolutions.

The Constitution, as originally written, was carefully designed to protect not only the rights and interests of individual citizens, but also the sometimes-unique imperative needs of the various regions based on topography, apportionment of natural resources and industries favored there.

The results of a simple head count, as several have already said, serve only the desires of areas with the greatest population density.

Mindless breeders and useless drones, who fail to govern their own lives, ought not to be trusted with the task of governing the rest of us.

How many understand that the much-maligned Electoral College was designed to aid in providing a BALANCE of POWER within a federation of independent states and ADEQUATE REPRESENTATION for specific REGIONAL-TERRITORIAL interests?

Do we really want the moral equivalent of two wolves and a lamb deciding what should be eaten for dinner?

THAT is precisely what we are getting these days.

Beware the little foxes that spoil the vines that produce the grapes.

And above all beware the Marxian-Socialist-Liberal-Progressive- pseudo-Egalitarian TERMITES who've been busily munching away for over a hundred years on the framework and foundation of the beautiful house built for us by our libertarian Founders.

~ FreeThinke

viburnum said...

@ Real populism is a powerful thing.

Real populism is a dangerous thing, which is why we were bequeathed a republic.

Macauly's warning still holds true.

"As I said before, when a society has entered on this downward progress, either civilization or liberty must perish. Either some Caesar or Napoleon will seize the reins of government with a strong hand; or your Republic will be as fearfully plundered and laid waste by barbarians in the twentieth century as the Roman Empire was in the fifth; with this difference, that the Huns and Vandals, who ravaged the Roman Empire, came from without, and that your Huns and Vandals will have been engendered within your country by your own institutions."

The barbarians are already through the gate.

Silverfiddle said...

@ Craig: "The reason the 17th amendment was passed was because the state legislatures were corrupt. Do you think state legislators are immune from special interests and political machines? Bribery was commonplace."

The same applies to the pay for play US Congress.

As a Supreme Court Justice of a Central American country told me as I sat in his house discussing current events with him...

"Here in Latin America, we pass bribes under the table. In the United States, you pass bribes via legislation and codify corruption into law."

No. I prefer to have the corrupt crooks broken up into 50 smaller gangs. I can keep an eye on the Colorado legislature much easier than the one in DC.

Finntann said...

@Do you think state legislators are immune from special interests and political machines?

Do you think the federal ones are?

The point isn't about corruption which was widespread at the time, and the 17th did absolutely nothing to fix.

The point is that Senators no longer represent their states, but their states large urban population centers. Which is how you wind up with states with Governors and Legislatures of one party and Senators of another.

Alligator said...

I follow the blog and usually don't say much. But here's Steve again, popping up like a five year old child in an adult conversation and yelling "POOPIE!"

Z said...

what's even worse is that those who "don't give a rat's ass what the rest of us think" don't only not care but also dismiss the flyover people as stupid and always always wrong..."hicks". The hubris never stops amazing me.

Odd that Jersey wouldn't care how FEMA handled Sandy; he and his pals were sure bitching about Bush's handling of Katrina. Still are.
When the truth of that makes Bush look like a hero. Too bad Gov Christy gave Obama hero status for promising to fix everything; as if any of us wouldn't have promised the same thing, how hard is THAT?? Except we probably would have actually given a 'rat's ass' and actually DONE something. Obama's still got people without electricity. And nobody's mentioning it.
unreal

viburnum said...

@ " But here's Steve again, popping up like a five year old child in an adult conversation ..."

We do try to spare the rest of you his intrusions Please bear with us when they appear and rest assured they will be deleted ASAP.

Right Wing Theocrat said...

Secede? Do you think it's possible, can you see it happening?

I wonder if that your only option now, I have no faith that true Conservatism will win out in the future. I firmly believe it's too late for that now.

A new beginning, a fresh start free of the parasites sucking away off your back is what you need.

FreeThinke said...

..."Senators no longer represent their states, but their states large urban population centers. Which is how you wind up with states with Governors and Legislatures of one party and Senators of another."

Egg-ZACK-Lee!!!

FreeThinke said...

Great point too about corruption not being endemic to the states alone.

Corruption is just part of the human condition. It occurs in every type of "community" from the nuclear family on up to the accursed UN.

Wherever you find two or three gathered together in the name of anything in particular, you will find corruption. ;-)

The genius of federalism -- as originally envisioned by the Founders -- is that it helped divide corruption and keep it relatively weak by largely confining it to the differing state and local levels.

With an all powerful, increasingly despotic CENTRAL government corruption becomes UNIFIED, CONCENTRATED, and all-but-impossible to unseat, which is JUST what the Marxian-Socialist-Liberal-Progressive-Statists have ALWAYS had in mind.

Maybe they thought and still think of themselves as virtuous and benevolent -- and maybe they don't, but it doesn't matter. In either case the results they achieved are rotten and RESULTS are ALL that COUNT.

What we've gotten as a result of all this monkeying around with the Constitution looks piss poor to me.

My grandfathers -- both from widely divergent backgrounds -- were great believers in Self-Reliance. Both of them were born in the immediate post-Civil War era -- after Lincoln but before TR, Wilson and FDR.

Neither was a superman, but both pursued the American Dream, worked hard, saved money, ultimately bought property. My Italian immigrant grandparents saw to it their children were educated. Their respect for learning was phenomenal.

Each set of grandparents in their own way achieved real success, but the lion's share of praise must go to my immigrant grandparents more than the ones who made a holy show of being directly descended from the Mayflower.

It may be significant to note that both grandpas smoked tobacco, drank wine and liquor moderately and both lived to age NINETY -- before there was any such thing as advanced medical technology, private health insurance or any form of government "help" whatsoever in coping with illness.

THEY despised FDR with virulent passion, because they KNEW what a mountebank and a FOOL he was.

They referred to FDR as "The Centaur," because he in their estimation he was "half-man and half horse's ass."

It helps in gaining perspective to have had close contact with people who lived before 1913 -- the year of my mother's birth, as it so happened. Mother was the last of eight children, so our family really does go "way back."

What a privilege it was to have known them!

~ FreeThinke

Ducky's here said...

I notice on the map that the only red area in New England is a portion of Maine where virtually no one lives.

Craig said...

The point is that Senators no longer represent their states, but their states large urban population centers. Which is how you wind up with states with Governors and Legislatures of one party and Senators of another.

Governors are elected state wide, just like Senators. In my state, we have 2 Dem Senators. Amy Klobuchar got 64% of the vote. Both Senators spend a lot of time on outstate (what we call rural MN) concerns like ag and mining. Both state house and senate went from Repub to Dem. Before our Dem Gov., it was Pawlenty. Before Tim, we had a pro wrestler. Before Al Franken, it was Norm Coleman. The reason we went Dem is because the Repubs sucked. It wasn't urban vs. rural.

I was only pointing out why the 17th amendment was ratified. Like it or not, it was done constitutionally. It seems to me that this 17ther stuff started because Repubs can't take the Senate. Instead of whining about the 17th, there's a constitutional remedy. Start a campaign to repeal the peoples right to directly elect their Senators.

Either that or find candidates with better ideas. Ideas that appeal to urban voters. A good place to start is calling them parasites and Marxian-Socialist-Liberal-Progressive- pseudo-Egalitarian TERMITES. And don't stop.

FreeThinke said...

Enjoy your power trip while it lasts, TERMITE.

When the structure you're so busily working to destroy collapses on top of you, you will be crushed to death like everyone else.

The sorrow and the pity is that the DECENT SENSIBLE people will suffer equally for YOUR moronic, short-sighted, spiteful populist bullying.

Silverfiddle said...

Never fear, my friends, the GOP is caving like the rotten shithouse that it is:

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/11/25/more-congressional-republicans-break-tax-pledge-for-sake-looming-fiscal-crisis/

I hope they give President Obama everything he wants. In four years this could all be settled for once and for all.

Leticia said...

Actually for the last two elections I felt my votes did not count and were ignored, as well as the military.

I honestly believe the college electoral votes should be omitted altogether.

As soon as Obama took California, it was over for Romney.

The system sucks!

Finntann said...

What makes you think I want Republicans to take the senate?

Democrat, Republican doesn't make much of a difference. Best thing for the country right now is the gridlock we have.

The problem isn't that Republicans need to find better candidates that appeal to urban voters, the problem is that the two groups are mutually exclusive. No matter who gets in office, half the population is going to be pissed off (That is a populism problem both left and right).

The point is our government no longer functions as originally intended and we have some serious 'populism' problems. You can't run an effective government on polling data.

Once it was "what is best for the country" not "what do the people want".

In his second term, shielded from having to get reelected, we'll learn far more about Obama than we did in his first. Me? I'm thinking the leftists will be more surprised and disappointed than those on the right.

Ducky's here said...

So what's the issue here, the cities voting?
I notice that topic is up over at Fredd the Human Freaking Dog Whistle's blog.

Why don't you Republican diaper pisser just come out and say what you mean. I'll admit that for most of you (no, no, you don't pass Freethinker) it isn't racial but for some it is.

But damn you hate the poor and hat the very idea that they would have a say in improving their lives. Next damn thing you know there will be a union at Walmart and Silverfiddle will have to pay a quarter more for a three pack of briefs.

THE HUMANITY !!!

Finntann said...

@I honestly believe the college electoral votes should be omitted altogether.

The problem isn't the electoral college votes in themselves, the problem is that they are no longer apportioned but are awarded on an all or nothing basis.

They're will be a post on the electoral college on Wednesday.

Finntann said...

Ducky you have a marvelous talent at oversimplifying things.

You don't think there are rural poor?

Your system doesn't work, we're sixteen trillion in debt, and even taking everything from the top 10% Won't pay for your la la fantasyland.

It's not about city people voting, it's about having a government representative of the people... all the people.

Craig said...

What makes you think I want Republicans to take the senate?

I guess I'm wrong to assume that's your motivation. I based it on the 17ther issue popping up with the Tea Party.

Best thing for the country right now is the gridlock we have.

So, divided govt. is a good thing.

No matter who gets in office, half the population is going to be pissed off (That is a populism problem both left and right).

I would call it tribalism. Populism cuts across party lines.


The point is our government no longer functions as originally intended and we have some serious 'populism' problems


I agree, it's dysfunctional. When the Senate rules are abused to the point where it takes 60 votes to do anything. When compromise is a dirty word. It ain't populism, it's tyranny of the minority.

Once it was "what is best for the country" not "what do the people want"...

it's about having a government representative of the people... all the people.


Now I'm just confused.

You can't run an effective government on polling data.

I don't think Obamacare polled all that well. You can argue that is beyond the scope of what the founders intended but the founders didn't think so. Look up the history of maritime hospitals. From the beginning, there has been an argument over enumerated and implied powers. It's nothing new.

Me? I'm thinking the leftists will be more surprised and disappointed than those on the right.

Me? I'm under no illusion that Obama is anything other than a pragmatic centrist.








Grung_e_Gene said...

Of course, "Texas" wants to Secede now. They joined the Union to help enforce Slavery and so the US would absorb their debt.

It's such a joke when conservative dupes write "Texas" or any state wants to secede when it's actually only reactionary right-wing bigots who represent One-Tenth of the US population but 100% of the Republican Party's voting base are the actual state.

And the Totalitarian Strong-Man longing tone of this post is disgusting. Like, Alexander Hamilton you see the spectre of Mob Rule and Anarchy where it does not exist and has never existed.

The US is ruled by the 1%, they benefit wildly by all the laws, own most of the Politicians and have conservative wage slaves fighting to chain their fellow Americans along with themselves/

Teresa said...

The likes of Jersey and Company say F* America. They are a bunch of selfish hooligans who want to dictate their beliefs to the rest of the country. They say the hell with what the rest of you think. They are the biggest bullies of all.

Silverfiddle said...

Gene: Put down the bong. Finntann called the secession talk 'meaningless,' and I have no idea where you got the strong man stuff from...

Grung_e_Gene said...

"While meaningless in the big picture, it does indicate a restless undercurrent of seccesionism, and the list of states may surprise you."

He's clearly writing his support for the "restless undercurrent..."

Here's how the longing for a Totalitarian Great Man is clearly written into this post ---> "Succumbing to the whims of populism,"

"The House remains the last existing check against populist tyranny."

The Founding Fathers who greatly feared the "mob" believed they alone were responsible and were the pillars of the Republic.

As the Nation has grown we no longer need the Atlases to cary the burden of leadership. Of course, conservatives hate Democracy and want Authoritarian Dominance.

Silverfiddle said...

That's a hell of a stretch, but if that's where your mind went, have a ball there...

FDR was the strongest strong man America has ever had, and you on the left adore him.

Liberalmann said...

Do do realize all those red areas is where no one lives except for maybe a handful of goobers and dumbfucks?

This is more like it:
http://www.princeton.edu/~rvdb/JAVA/election2012/

Liberalmann said...

Reresa said...

"The likes of Jersey and Company say F* America. They are a bunch of selfish hooligans who want to dictate their beliefs to the rest of the country. They say the hell with what the rest of you think. They are the biggest bullies of all."

Wow, you are one warped person. Yeah it was the Dems who wanted to dictate to women how they were to use their bodies and reproductive health. Get a clue.

Silverfiddle said...

Liberalmann: You are a mental midget.

Women can do what they want so long as they don't ask others to pay for it.

Thank you for the maps. Notice that the bluest areas correlate to the highest concentration of government assistance.

KP said...

@Libmann << Do do realize all those red areas is where no one lives except for maybe a handful of goobers and dumbfucks? >>

I thought all the gOObs lived on top of one another in the big cities.

I just barfed a little in my mouth.

Silverfiddle said...

Liberalmann doesn't think about what he writes he just repeats what the angry and self-righteous MSLSD propagandists tell him.