Monday, February 04, 2019

Oh, Fer Cryin' Out Loud ...

Republicans have taken up a new battle cry, that Bernie Sanders was screwed out of the election in '16 by the DNC. This apparently is being used as proof of how corrupt Democrats are, to which I will offer the following rebuttal.

Well, duh.

What is interesting is that GOP bleating about Bernie ramps up a notch every time new information about how crooked, devious, corrupt, and generally evil the current administration is. Almost as if they were trying to deflect attention  away from something ...

But that's not the point of this, so anybody looking to get their knickers in a twist ... well, settle down. I'll get to it.

Gallons -- tanker loads -- of ink has been spilled, from both left and right, talking about the polarization in our politics of late. And these people are correct. However, there is another aspect to this unsavory business that isn't getting as much attention, and that is this scorched-earth approach taken by many commentators, from top-tier folks such as Andrew Sullivan, Ana Navaro, Robert Reich, et al on down to random Twitter screechers from their respective shriek factories.

It's getting to the point that folks are getting nervous about saying anything because any error, any deviation from the norm, is immediately weaponized and hammered back at them relentlessly. Even innocent typos are being thrown back in peoples' faces as proof that they are somehow "less than."

It's absurd. It's not only counter-productive, it's non-productive. It does not open the door for debate; rather, it forces everyone into a defensive crouch in their respective corners.

It doesn't have to be this way, though. Recently, one of the conservative members in a Facebook group in which I participate semi-regularly posted a thought experiment about offering health-care professionals a way to get their medical education paid for in exchange for public service. Usually this would elicit the following responses:

  • Since it was a conservative who posted it, liberals would immediately start shouting about how it's all going to the 1% and trump is an ignorant dolt and all conservatives are mindless bigots (in fairness, if the original poster had been a liberal the shrieking would have been about how all liberals are idiots and full of hate and have no understanding of how the world really works).
  • Conservatives would respond by shouting about how the liberals were being intolerant and refusing to be objective.
  • One or two people might make a token stab at bring things back around to a "reasoned debate" level, but would fail miserably because of the endorphins produced by shitting on peoples' heads.
  • At some point the topic would shift from the health care debate to Russian election interference and whether it really happened or is just a fever dream of liberals, and trump/Pelosi/Schumer/McConnell being completely amoral hacks, and on and on and on ...

However, in this instance, what transpired was shocking. Stunning, even. Instead of the usual shriekery, name-calling, diversion, digression, personal attacks, and general demagoguery, I saw:

  • One commenter saying that the proposal was flawed in that it wasn't offering a high enough salary for the medics. Not in an accusatory way, but in an "hey, this is a good idea, but it needs this tweak" manner.
  • Another suggested that we could used the National Guard as a model for this, using a volunteer force that serves on a periodic basis instead of asking people to make a full-time commitment that would last years (possibly decades).
  • A third pointed out that, while this was a good idea, it was going to be a drop in the bucket unless we got price-gouging from Big Pharma under control.

And many more ... the thread went on for hours like this. And what was even more surprising is that, when someone did state something in error, instead of the folks on the other side using it as ammunition to try to destroy that person, they were instead politely corrected ... and the debate moved forward.

It was beautiful. And what we ended up with was multifold: on the concrete side, an eminently sensible and workable way to bring down health care costs, and a "softer" accomplishment of making everyone in the group feel like they had been given a respectful hearing ... even if, ultimately, their suggestion was not adopted.

Look, unless we stop with the back-stabbing, punching, kicking, eye-gouging, unless we quit trying to turn peoples' own words into weapons to be used against them, we will make absolutely no progress in this country. Sure, in 2020 we may get rid of trump, but in this sort of polarized atmosphere all this means is that we'll get another one. It could be another Republican, it could be a Democrat, conservative or liberal. It doesn't matter ... we will end up with yet another full-of-shit demagogue, and our country will teeter ever more precipitously on the brink of democratic ruin.

So, people. Instead of yelling at each other, talk to each other. Neither side has a monopoly on the truth. Both sides are as guilty as the other of obfuscating facts, engaging in spin, and being apologists for their standard bearer (whoever he or she might be at that particular moment). The thing is, despite these flaws, there are good ideas on both sides as to how to (to borrow a phrase) make America great again.

And no, this does NOT mean I support trump.

I gotta lie down.

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Monday, January 14, 2019

My Farewell

Well, it's finally happened. The end of my life approaches ... not with a bang, but with a cough, wheeze, and whimper.

For those of you who don't yet know, I have contracted HTVPFMDFFH (Highly Toxic and Very Probably Fatal Martian Death Flu From Hell1). The prognosis is not good ... I will probably be dead within days.

Once that day comes, I have a few simple requests:

  • My wife is going to need all the help and comfort she can get. I ask that this assistance arrive primarily in the form of small, unmarked, non-sequentially numbered bills.
  • When planning the state funeral, please be aware that I do NOT want any R&B acts like Rihanna performing. I prefer J. D. McPherson.
  • I do not want to lie in state in the Capitol Building; I am more than content to be memorialized with a national holiday and a bridge or two.
  • Flags only need be flown at half-staff for a few months.

So it's been real, kids. I'll catch you on the flipside.

I gotta lie down.

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1My wife says it's "just a cold," but then again she isn't a doctor and has absolutely zero training in dealing with HTVPFMDFFH, so what does she know?

Friday, January 04, 2019

Let's Do This

I will never lie to you.

This rather ordinary-looking fellow in the rather fuzzy photograph (taken at my wedding on a cell phone) is me. Dave Naples, aka the Blowhard Pundit. For a couple of years now I have been venting my spleen on the internet, throwing shade at various and sundry failings of our government and our society. These have run the gamut from issues as trivial and unimportant as "how annoying is this new trend of just dropping ads in the middle of videos in much the same way my dog drops a deuce in the backyard" to such things as trump's emboldening of white supremacists, the failure of Congress to do their friggin' jobs and hold him in check already, and the fact that our nation has, for all intents and purposes, been completely taken over by corporate interests.

While there is a certain visceral satisfaction to making conservative heads explode by forcing them to deal openly with the cognitive dissonance of championing smaller government and states' rights while simultaneously advocating for a suspension of First Amendment rights (screaming about kneeling football players) and doing everything short of crowning trump king in their efforts to shield him from being held accountable for his own dumbassery, I got to a point where I just couldn't deal with the unprecedented levels of stupid. And so I came to a decision: I was going to check out.

Which I did. For about a month, with the exception of eulogizing John McCain. And I gotta be honest ... it was kinda nice to step away. I didn't have to deal with idiot conservatives screeching about "Make America Great Again." I didn't have to deal with semi-intelligent conservatives whose main method of "debate" is to wait until the other guy makes a mistake -- no matter how trivial -- then attempt to weaponize that mistake and use it against them for the next 18,000 years. I didn't have to deal with intelligent conservatives who were able to muster good, logically sound, internally consistent arguments in favor of policies that were just so horrible they weren't worth arguing about. I was able to watch every episode of every series of Star Trek (including the animated series) as well as every Star Trek movie ever made (well , except for the last two ... I'm waiting until they emerge from behind the paywall).

I also didn't have to deal with liberal brainstems who demanded that I agree with whatever idiot thing they came up with, then getting angry when I asked simple things like "Why?" and "Who are you, again?"

The problem is, me checking out doesn't help anyone else1, and quite frankly we need all the help we can get at this point. I had considered other means -- volunteering for local candidates, writing op-eds, and so on, but the problem with all of these avenues is that they simply perpetuate a broken system. So I have reached a decision.

I am running for President in 2020.

I am running as a Democrat.

I am running as an unabashed, unashamed, profane, proud liberal.

Right off the bat, this is going to be dismissed as a vanity project, as nothing more than a way for me to get some attention2. To some extent this is true; I have no illusions about my chances of actually getting elected. But, believe it or not, I am using donald trump as my inspiration: if a backward, intellectually incurious, bigoted, shallow, narcissistic, angry, mean, narrow-minded, arrogant, unintelligent sociopath can be elected President, then why not a big goofy-looking middle-aged dad from Pennsylvania?

For the past two years, we have had to put up with with a serial fabricator in the Oval Office, someone who thinks we are the only nation that allows birthright citizenship (to be fair, we are the only country in North America that isn't Canada or Mexico that does), or that three million people voted illegally in 2016 (they didn't), or that Mexico is going to pay for a wall spanning thousands of miles to stem the flood of illegal immigration across our southern border (they won't, and mainly because it's a stupid idea but also because we have had net zero immigration across that border for years), and who routinely conjures up various wild distractions to divert attention away from the real damage he and his cronies in Congress are doing.

I could go on and on listing the various ways in which trump has fallen down on the job, worked against the interests of the country to line his own pockets, etc. etc. None of that is news. Everybody knows it already. What I will do, however, is to make a very solemn promise to you.

I will never lie to you.

Sure, in the future I will be laying out policy objectives, detailing my plans to address the issues of the day -- everything from economic inequality to the water in Flint, Michigan, to the Middle East, to climate change -- but for now I am merely introducing myself and telling you that, regardless of the issue, I will not lie.

I will not prevaricate.

I will not spin.

I will not fabricate.

The American people deserve a President they can trust. They need someone they can take at face value, without having to parse the President's words looking for hidden meanings. Above all, they need someone who isn't in it to line his own pockets, who doesn't view the United States treasury as his personal ATM, and who thinks the Constitution actually has some validity.

I gotta lie down.

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1I know of several people in a certain Facebook group who would disagree with this statement, and who would maintain that me going away is actually quite beneficial and I only need to give it more time to see the salutary effects. Those people are wrong.

2If nothing else, slogging through the bureaucracy to get on the ballot everywhere is a mind-numbing exercise in tedium, and I am more than happy to accept a volunteer who wants to handle that for me. Just sayin'.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Dispatches From Middle Age

It's not uncommon knowledge that middle age is a time of great change, a time for maturity and wisdom, a time in which one transitions from being a young and hungry up-and-comer to a venerated and respected member of the community. It is also known as the time when medical procedures become both more common and more invasive, and when you find yourself wondering what the hell happened to all the good music that it's been replaced by electronic crap1.

We generally gain weight in middle age as we become more sedentary. We have to be more cautious about engaging in risky behaviors ... which, as I am now firmly in my fifties, I have discovered includes such things as "walking" and "getting out of bed." Our dietary needs change -- fast food, while it has always been disgusting, attains a new level of being unappetizing.

In fact, middle age rivals adolescence in the sheer volume of change that takes place. What follows is a list of the things I have experienced in my fifty-plus years strolling around on this ball of mud.

Your Body Changes Shape
As was mentioned above, people tend to gain weight as they approach middle age. In my case, however, this has not been the case ... my weight has remained pretty much in the same place it's been for the past ten years. What has changed is the shape of my body. My shirts have all become too small, while my pants are too large.

I attribute this to the fact that the mass of my ass2 is migrating to my pecs3. So I was forced to get all new clothes, with shirts suitable for Andre the Giant and pants for an Oompa Loompa.

Things Creak
When I was a teenager, I was capable of jumping off of the running board of a '54 Chevy pickup traveling at about 45 MPH, doing a tuck-and-roll on the shoulder, and simply dusting myself off and going on my way without even a second thought. Now, thanks to increased weight, decreased flexibility, and plantar fasciitis, getting up from the dinner table becomes a question of whether it's really worth it.

And if we ever get a TV for the kitchen, that answer would be "no."

Things Hurt
With regard to the aforementioned plantar fasciitis: if you have experienced it, you know just how agonizing those first few steps after getting up can be. And if you haven't, then trust me ... you'll find out eventually4.

It's not just that, though. You'll find that your back hurts simply from standing, or from washing dishes. You get heartburn more easily. Muscle aches become common. You may be one of those lucky souls who develops arthritis so things hurt "just because."

Patience Wears Thin
In my thirties and forties, when confronted with stupid to pretty much any degree, my philosophy was pretty much "Eh, whaddaya gonna do?" Since then I have progressed from this calm, Zen-like acceptance to a state involving eyerolls, heavy sighs, and muttered oaths, with an occasional foray into homicidal rage. I am discovering that everyone else on the road is a complete idiot, people in customer service only have the bare minimum number of functioning brain cells required to maintain bodily functions, and our elected leaders are craven political hacks who are incapable of taking any view beyond the next election5.

Time Takes On A New Meaning
In middle age, "the weekend" is still something we look forward to eagerly. The difference, however, lies in the why.

In my younger days, weekends meant:

  • Sleeping until 1 or 2 in the afternoon.
  • Cartoons and cigarettes for breakfast.
  • Trying to get laid.

Now, weekends take on an entirely different meaning:

  • Getting some goddam peace and quiet for a change, maybe.

One thing that remains unchanged over time is the foolish optimism that the weekend is going to go according to your wishes. Sure, the actual wishes are different, but in the end it all comes down to "real life" intruding. Thirty years ago it meant that I had to spend part of my Sunday doing laundry, and maybe going to the grocery store, but beyond that I could adjust the schedule and still make my fruitless quest for extremely open-minded female companionship work.

What nobody tells, you, though, is how "real life" stacks up over time. First it's just laundry. Then you decide that hey, it might be a good idea to vacuum something, considering that you are growing crops in your carpeting. From there it's a slippery slope: there's no point in vacuuming until you clean off the stuff that's higher up, because something is going to fall on the floor and make you clean it again, and if you're going to go to all the trouble to do all that you might as well do the dishes too, and it would make sense to actually plan some meals out and get what you need now as opposed to settling for ramen every night because it's all you have on hand ...

By the time you get to your fifties, weekends become just a different kind of work: mowing the lawn, getting an oil change, re-caulking the windows, driving your teenager to soccer/baseball/football/dance/music/theater practice, going shopping with your spouse for new sheets because the dog horked up something disgusting and unidentifiable which nonetheless left permanent stains ... and then it's Monday again.

Yep. Peace and quiet.

This article has been pretty tongue-in-cheek up to this point, but I'm going to get serious for a moment here.

At some point in middle age, you are hit with the sudden realization that you no longer have "your whole life ahead of you." For me it was on my fiftieth birthday that I was struck by the knowledge that, at some point, I had passed the halfway point in my life and that I would forever have more behind me than in front of me.

This is a sobering thought, to say the least. Naturally, my thoughts turned to my death: how it would go down, would I suffer, that kind of thing. What surprised me, though, was that the dread thoughts of death had inspired in me in the past was missing. Instead, there was an almost casual acceptance of the fact that death is the one experience shared by every human being, past, present, and future, that it is inevitable, and getting all tweaked up over it is really kind of a waste of effort.

I found my self wondering what happens after death. Sure, I know the clinical details (which are pretty gross, so I'll spare those little nuggets of joy), but my musings were more philosophical. What is nothingness like? When you die, are you aware of the act of dying, or does it just happen? Does your consciousness fade, or is it snapped off like a light switch? Is there anything to this reincarnation business, and do I really want a part of that?

Interestingly, I find myself devoting less effort to self-preservation, and more effort toward avoidance of discomfort. My thinking is that, when it comes time for me to go, I want it to be painless. This could mean anything from being instantly vaporized by an incoming meteorite traveling at 25,000 MPH to a peaceful, uneventful transition from sleep to death due to old age.

And now, back to the snark.

Self Image6
Take pretty much any middle-aged guy that isn't George Clooney or Brad Pitt, put them in front of a mirror, and this is what they will see:

Unfortunately for them, this is what everybody else sees:

'Nuff said.

I gotta lie down.

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1Of course, in my case I am absolutely correct in the assessment that the music I like is far superior. Just sayin'.

2I know you're thinking of a snappy comeback to this, and don't do it.

3That's right. I said pecs. I did not say "man boobs" (even though that's pretty much what they are) because "pecs" sounds much more ... well, beefy.

4Imagine that someone took a red-hot knitting needle soaked in turpentine and angry fire ants and stabbed you in the bottom of your heel. When you have plantar fasciitis, you'll wish that was an option.

5Granted, this one is pretty much a universal constant ...

6At the risk of sounding misogynistic, what follows only applies to the male of the species. Women of this age have a take on things that is 180 degrees away from ours, and I'm not even gonna try to explain why because it will only get me in trouble.

Monday, November 19, 2018

I Haven't Done This In A While ...

So it has been a long time since I have done one of my "ten things" lists, and with Thanksgiving ... well, here ... I thought it appropriate to put another one out there. So, without further ado ... what follows is a list of the ten things I am very grateful for, in nor particular order. It should also be said that these are not the only ten things for which I am grateful; it is simply a list of the first ten things that come to mind.

It should also be mentioned that it may not actually be ten items. So let's dive in, shall we?

  1. Sleeping late. Under normal circumstances I have to get up at 6 AM every day to try to rouse a fourteen year old for school, so a week of not having to do that is a luxury beyond measure.
  2. Cruise control.
  3. Every once in a while conditions are just right and the stars align just so and I can get from my house to the theater forty minutes away without hitting one red light1.
  4. Homemade pasta that is cooked perfectly al dente.
  5. Going an entire day without hearing of one single idiot thing that trump has said or done2.
  6. I am currently the assistant director for Miracle on 34th Street, and one of the elves in the show is being played by a little girl of five who kinda has a crush on me. And every time she sees me she says she has a new joke for me, then giggles and runs away. Of course, she never does ... it's always the same joke3, but because she's, like, a bajillion kinds of adorable, it's all good.
  7. Being able to wrangle all the crazy schedules and preferences in such a way as to allow all six members of my family to sit down to dinner together, and sitting around the table for an hour or so afterward, just talking about whatever comes to mind, and not having to worry about the dishes.
  8. Having the skills, time, and resources at hand to completely demolish my living room and rebuild it even better.
  9. Netflix.
  10. Playing peek-a-boo with a random baby in a restaurant, and being rewarded with a giant smile with only two teeth.
  11. Finding an unexpected five dollar bill in my pocket.
  12. Generous friends who lent my wife a knee scooter when she tore the ligaments in her ankle, and allowed her to mount a bicycle bell on the handlebars.
  13. Paying for the person in line behind me at the Wawa, and seeing them reciprocate by covering the person in line behind them.
  14. My wife who, for some as yet unfathomed reason, agreed to marry me, and continues to put up with my ... uh, stuff ... to this day.
  15. My kids, who continually surprise me with their intelligence and fundamental humanity.

Okay, so the ten things turned into fifteen, and I actually had to stop myself. I guess that means it's been a good year.

Here's hoping that all of you have a wonderful holiday, and that you have a similar list (of whatever length), and that the coming year brings you health, happiness, and prosperity.

I gotta lie down.

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1It is important to note that, to date, this has never happened. But I keep hoping.
2Sadly, in the past two years this has never happened either.
3"Why did the cow cross the road? Because the chicken was on vacation."

Sunday, October 28, 2018

This Is Serious, Folks.

In a little over a week we go to the polls to vote in an election that is definitely the most critical in my lifetime, and possibly in the entire history of this nation. When we pull that lever, push that button, punch that punch card, we are effectively choosing between two things.

On the one hand is donald trump and the Republican Party, and all they stand for -- which, let's face it, can be summed up in the answer to the question "What will benefit trump and the Republicans most?" Under their watch we have seen:

  • A permanent tax cut going to the top 1%, while everyone else gets a token cut that expires in a few years.
  • 70 (yes, 70!) attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
  • A cloud of suspicion over possible collusion with Russia to alter the outcome of the 2016 election.
  • A flurry of convictions of trump's familiars over tax evasion, money laundering, and the like.
  • Continuous violations of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution.
  • Seating a possible sexual predator on the Supreme Court.
  • An average of over four blatant lies each day from the freakin' President of the United States, over matters of such import as the size of the crowds at his rallies.

On the other hand we have dozens -- hundreds -- of eminently qualified candidates at both the state and federal levels, ready and willing to take the reins and run things in a manner that benefits all Americans, not just Mitch McConnell, donald trump, and Paul Ryan.

This November 6th, people will go to the polls to elect a new Congress. Thanks to Republican-led gerrymandering, voter disenfranchisement (Brian Kemp in Georgia purging 53,000 names -- the vast majority of whom were African-Americans who were likely to vote for his opponent; the Supreme Court essentially removing the right to vote from anyone with a post office box instead of a street address), this is an uphill climb for Democrats ... the last estimate I have heard is that Democrats have to beat their Republican opponents by a minimum of 7% (as opposed to a simple plurality) in order to win election, thanks to these measures.

Given the energy that I have seen out there, this is eminently doable.

Protests. Rallies. Demands that elected representatives hold town halls to hear their constituents' concerns1. Marches. Sit-ins. In short, everything that could be done to hold Congress accountable or, failing that, shame the crap out of them, has, is, and will continue to be done. This is exactly how it should be. However, it will all be for nought unless people actually get out there and vote.

Vote like your life depends on it. After all, given the brainstems running things now, that may very well be the case.

I gotta lie down.

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1Not surprisingly, most of the Senators and Representatives that refused to meet with constituents (I'm looking at you, Pat Toomey, Brian Fitzpatrick, and Ryan Costello!) are Republicans.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

A Modest Proposal

There has been a lot of noise lately about unequal representation in Congress lately. The basic thrust of it is that the Senate has 30% of the Senators representing 70% of the population, and that it's ridiculous that that a single Representative from Wyoming represents 585,501 people1, while California, with its population of 39,250,017 and 53 Representatives, has each representative acting on behalf of 738,581 residents. These are valid concerns, but the solutions proposed by many are just too simplistic: eliminate the Electoral College, eliminate the Senate, remove the cap on the number of Representatives. None of these ideas will work in the way they are intended.

So let's take a look at a proposal to make it work in the 21st century. First, the House of Representatives.

Current law has the number of Representatives capped at 435. This makes sense, actually; if it was purely population based and the number of residents per Representative outlined in the Constitution (one Representative for every 30,000 residents) had not been updated, then we would currently have 10,893 Representatives. Obviously, this is unworkable, but there is a way to address this: remove state boundaries from consideration entirely. The problem with having Congressional districts drawn within state boundaries is that it does not take into account population density. If, instead of districts within each state, we simply had 450 Congressional districts nationwide, then we would have 450 Representatives accountable to about 725,000 residents each2. This ratio can be reapportioned every decennial census to keep the total number of Representatives at 450.

Districts would be drawn by an independent Federal commission consisting of two representatives of each party that has representation in Congress, as well as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court to serve as final arbiter of disputes and tiebreaker.

Because the House is "the People's House," this would actually provide closer alignment between Representatives and their constituents due to state-specific matters being taken out of their purview by virtue of them being national Representatives (more on this division of responsibility between the Houses of Congress in a bit).

Now, let's examine the Senate.

Currently we have two Senators from each state. This proposal does not change that, but it does limit the Senate to matters pertaining to states themselves, as opposed to individual liberties. What this would mean is that, in addition to the House being the source for all revenue-generating bills, it would also be responsible for crafting legislation dealing with taxation (specifically, the personal income tax), education policy (with regard to setting Federal standards, etc.), crime at the individual level (kidnapping, etc.), and so on. The Senate, on the other hand, would be responsible for matters dealing with the states as political, geographic, and economic entities, as well as legislation concerned with international affairs, the military, national travel (the FAA, NHTSA, etc.) and interstate commerce.

Finally, let's take a look at the Electoral College, and consider what would happen if it is abolished (as some are calling for). This would mean the President is elected purely by the popular vote. Because population is centered in the cities and along the coasts, and considering that cities tend to be home to more Democrats than Republicans, that would mean that the chances of ever having another Republican president are pretty slim3. However, the Electoral College as it stands now gives undue weight to rural areas, shutting cities out of the process, and opening up the potential for a President to be elected who, technically, lost the election4.

What we need is to modify how the Electoral College works. What I propose is the following:

  • Eliminate electors entirely. The duty of casting an Electoral College vote should fall to our elected representatives.
  • Eliminate "faithless electors." We can do this by enacting legislation that requires electors to vote according to the popular vote in their district. The idea that an elector could simply ignore the popular vote and cast a ballot according to his or her whims is, quite frankly, anathema and runs counter to the ideals upon which this country was founded. Under this scenario, Senator John Smith would have to cast his Electoral College vote for the candidate that won the popular vote in his state, and Representative Carol Jones would cast her EC ballot for the candidate that won the popular vote in her district -- even if that district crosses state lines.
  • Eliminate "winner take all." Currently there are two states -- Maine and Nebraska -- that split the electoral vote according to Congressional district. All other states will throw all their electors to the candidate with the plurality of the vote. Under this new proposal, each candidate would receive one Electoral College vote for each Congressional district in which they win the popular vote, and two Electoral College votes for each state in which they win the statewide popular vote (see the proposal for modifying how Congressional districts are drawn above).

None of this even touches on campaign finance, which is another topic for another day.

I gotta lie down.

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1Population numbers are estimates from July 1, 2016, retrieved from "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for the United States, Regions, States, and Puerto Rico: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2016" at

2All population counts in this section are based off of 2018 estimates from the Census Bureau.

3Some would say that this is actually the desired state of affairs. Given the current Republican Party, I would agree. However, if the GOP ever comes to its senses and tries to elect another Eisenhower, would that really be a terrible thing?

4In our history we have had five Presidents -- two in the last twenty years -- who have won the election despite losing the popular vote:

  • 1824 - John Quincy Adams: Andrew Jackson, 152,901; Adams, 114,023; Henry Clay, 47,217; William H. Crawford, 46,979. Adams won with a deficit of 38,878 votes, or 10.77%. A big reason for vote totals being so low is that, at the time, the right to vote was extended to white male property owners only.
  • 1876 - Rutherford B. Hayes: Samuel J. Tilden, 4,288,546; Hayes, 4,034,311. Hayes won with a deficit of 254,235 votes, or 3.05%. This election is also interesting in that it is the only time in our history to date that the loser of the Electoral College vote won a majority of the votes, not just a plurality. Vote totals were higher due to African-American participation in elections after passage of the 15th Amendment.
  • 1888 - Benjamin Harrison: Grover Cleveland, 5,534,488; Harrison, 5,443,892; Clinton B. Fisk, 249,819; Alson Streeter, 146,602; Other, 8,519. Harrison won with a deficit of 90,596 votes, or 0.80%.
  • 2000 - George W. Bush: Al Gore, 50,999,897; George W. Bush, 50,456,002; Ralph Nader, 2,882,955; Pat Buchanan, 448,895; Harry Browne, 384,431; Howard Phillips, 98,020; John Hagelin, 83714; Other, 51,186. Bush won with a deficit of 543,895 votes, or 0.52%.
  • 2016 - Donald Trump: Hillary Clinton, 65,853,514; Donald Trump, 62,984,828; Gary Johnson, 4,489,341; Jill Stein, 1,457,218; Evan McMullin, 731,991; Darrell Castle, 203,090; Bernie Sanders, 111,850; Gloria LaRiva, 74,401; John Kasich, 2,684; Ron Paul, 124; Colin Powell, 25. Trump won with a deficit of 2,868,686 votes, or 2.11%.

Oh, Fer Cryin' Out Loud ...

Republicans have taken up a new battle cry, that Bernie Sanders was screwed out of the election in '16 by the DNC. This apparently i...