Analysis of the numbers behind Kavanaugh's confirmation


Kavanaugh, though, has a distinct honor: He will be the first justice nominated by someone who lost the popular vote to earn his seat on the bench with support from senators representing less than half of the country while having his nomination opposed by a majority of the country .

Let that sink in for a minute…


“It’s a republic, not a democracy.”

In a democracy, everybody votes and the votes all count the same. America is not such a place.


“Conservatives” love to point this out (I know you aren’t and are just quoting). I can’t get five minutes into a conversation with a Libertarian or social conservative without them proclaiming the US a republic and not a democracy. My response, when I don’t just turn to someone less obnoxious, is usually “We’re a republic with a constitutionally-limited representative democracy voted for by a historically expanding but still unequal franchise.” Ordinarily they drop it after that and move on to some other facile talking point. Point being, republic and democracy aren’t mutually exclusive, but I emphatically agree with you that our democracy is flawed, and “Republicans” seek to make it more iniquitous.

But I humbly submit that the critical flaw isn’t that we’re not a direct democracy, but that we lack truly and consistently universal franchise. In other words, the Electoral College has done more harm than good. We should do something about that…


The system functioning as designed.

In England, at this day, if elections were open to all classes of people, the property of landed proprietors would be insecure. An agrarian law would soon take place. If these observations be just, our government ought to secure the permanent interests of the country against innovation. Landholders ought to have a share in the government, to support these invaluable interests, and to balance and check the other. They ought to be so constituted as to protect the minority of the opulent against the majority.

James Madison, Statement (1787-06-26) as quoted in Notes of the Secret Debates of the Federal Convention of 1787 by Robert Yates


QUESTION: Isn’t that erection of barriers to democracy woven through the entire history of the United States?

CHOMSKY: It goes back to the writing of the Constitution. They were pretty explicit. Madison saw a “danger” in democracy that was quite real and he responded to it. In fact, the“problem” was noticed a long time earlier. It’s clear in Aristotle’s “Politics,” the sort of founding book of political theory – which is a very careful and thoughtful analysis of the notion of democracy. Aristotle recognizes that, for him, that democracy had to be a welfare state; it had to use public revenues to ensure lasting prosperity for all and to ensure equality. That goes right through the Enlightenment. Madison recognized that, if the overwhelming majority is poor, and if the democracy is a functioning one, then they’ll use their electoral power to serve their own interest rather than the common good of all. Aristotle’s solution was, “OK, eliminate poverty.” Madison faced the same problem but his solution was the opposite: “Eliminate democracy.”


I don’t know why Trump is so upset that his Kavanaugh appointment went rough. He’s alive, isn’t he?

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It would be hard to show that it ever did any good at all.

“National Popular Vote” is a good idea, in that it might actually happen, without a new constitution, but really we need proportional representation. If we’re going to have political parties* then the party that gets the most votes needs to get the most seats.

∗ we are
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