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Three-Part Info Dump

A few different things I've left as comments on other people's Facebook posts. Each of them I decided I wanted to preserve on an easier to search platform.

Part I: The Art of Debating While Saying Nothing

Nothing irritates me more than somebody trotting out the hoary, mindless "taxation is theft" argument. It's a juvenile, loaded construct that completely ignores the fact that there are a litany of services that must be provided by the government, either because various industries have proven over the years that they cannot be trusted to do these things, the profit margin is too small for capitalist enterprises to be bothered, or it's simply in the public's best interest and well-being to keep it out of the hands of any kind of business.

Society is, at a fundamental level, a socialistic construct... Why, the two words even derive from the same root word! Thousands of years ago, our ancestors figured out that if we banded together and pooled some of our labors into the public good, then we all would do better than if we continued a Darwinian Battle Royale out in the wilderness. If we just went full-blown, laissez faire libertarian, we'd end up back in a feudal society (or worse) faster than you can say "primae noctis."

Part II: My Problem With the Electoral College

Each state receives a number of electoral votes that equals the combined number of its Senator and Representatives in Congress. However, the formula that originally that determined how many Representatives each state received differs from we we do today. This formula required the increase of representatives in a manner that correlated with the increase of the general US population. According to Article I, section 2, clause 3: "The number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every 30,000, but each State shall have at least one representative." Thus, the states were represented in the EC in a roughly proportional manner.

However, once the House hit 435 Representatives, it was decided to freeze the number. While doing so, it was decided that the minimum of Representatives for each state would logically be 1. The problem with this is that when any state's population falls below the threshold for 1/435 of the US population, its Representative actually represents fewer people than any of the Representatives from any state large enough for 2 or 3 Representatives. this problem becomes even more exacerbated when dealing with states such as Texas or California.

This proportionality problem is reflected in the Electoral College today. Yes, it was always there to a degree, by design, but the bias towards rural states over the more urbanized ones in the college has gotten worse over time.

That is the problem I have with the current make up of the Electoral College. If you are going to go by the founders' original intent (an admittedly dicey proposition, especially in light of Time's article on the origins of the EC) then the formula for electors for each state should equal two for each Senator plus a formula that more equitably assigns additional electors based on percentage of US population, as splitting 435 just isn't sufficient when spread out over 50 states and a population of over 300 million. The 2010 census reported 308.7 million people in the US. Clearly, 30,000 is too small by today's standards, as that would require over 100,000 electors. But solely for Electoral College purposes, I think I can get behind a number somewhere in the neighborhood of 5,000. That should be sufficient to deal with the rounding problem.

Part III: The Trump-Pence Dilemma

I cannot state just how much I loathe the thought of it; we might in fact be better off with a President Pence. Yes, I am suggesting that if the Republicans can use any reason to invoke the 25th Amendment to impeach Trump as soon as possible, then they should do so. Whether it is literally or behind the scenes, I think that Pence will in fact be doing most of the string-pulling anyway. Based on some of the examples neocon David Frum has presented, Trump may very well be a national security risk -- and this should give the Republicans they leverage they need to impeach. This more than anything else is the reason why I think we are better off with Pence actually in the Oval Office.

Don't get me wrong, all the domestic implications will suck balls. But, at least there will be an adult in the chair.


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Nov. 28th, 2016 08:57 am (UTC)
I think on Pence you might be right. He's horrible, but he's not ego-driven and has at least some of the knowledge required to actually make it work. It would be a grim four years, but it probably wouldn't end in anarchy.
Nov. 28th, 2016 03:51 pm (UTC)
Both impeachment and the 25th Amendment process Frum talks about require majority votes in Congress-- and the latter actually requires a two-thirds vote. Republicans hold the majority in both houses. Even if Democrats were unanimous in their desire to formally remove Trump it'd take a number of Republicans crossing over to make it happen. I see little evidence so far that Congressional Republicans dislike Trump badly enough to start that major battle within their own party.
Nov. 29th, 2016 07:22 pm (UTC)
The key here is how long will Republicans in the House and Senate put up with Trump's antics -- especially if they start viewing them as a liability to the party. Truth be told, his usefulness to them his already over -- they have control of the White House, which is all they need to ensure that the next 2-3 Supreme Court justices are as conservative as they want them to be and to get their keystone pieces of legislation passed. Unless enough of the Republican Party has quaffed deeply from the Trump Kool Aid, I just can't picture him sticking around the next four full years. They again, I couldn't picture his election, so what the frak do I know?

Edited at 2016-11-29 07:24 pm (UTC)
Nov. 29th, 2016 09:36 pm (UTC)
Complete fantasy.

First, Trump's usefulness to the Republican party is nowhere near over. If nothing else they've got to find him remarkable useful as a lightning rod that distracts criticism from mainstream conservative policies.

Second, there's no consensus for or against Trump in the GOP. The establishment doesn't like him, but some Republican politicians do and obviously a huge number of voters do.

Third, even if the GOP were able to reach a point of unanimity against Trump they'd be foolish to declare war on him. Arguably he's more powerful than they are! And even if they could drive him out the question is, at what cost? At a minimum they'd paralyze federal politics for a year or more, achieving none of their legislative goals, and then face a revolt from the conservative electorate pitching them into the minority in the next election. Total Pyrrhic victory.
Nov. 30th, 2016 03:04 pm (UTC)
Good points, all. Oh, well. Fantasizing isn't the same thing as expecting, and it fantasizing isn't a bad thing so long as I don't let fantasy intrude upon how I'm viewing and responding to the real world.
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