more people should know that in 1970 Congress came within a few votes of amending the Constitution to abolish the Electoral College
you can read @jessewegman’s excellent book on the Electoral College or Alexander Keyssar’s book (which I have yet to read) on the subject
the proximate reason for this was the 1968 election, in which George Wallace — he won 46 electoral votes and came within 40,000 votes or so of winning another 11 in Tennessee — nearly threw the election to the House of Representatives
this shocked the entire political establishment and fueled an almost-successful drive to get rid of the Electoral College
This is a really important observation that I want to elevate. The extent to which divergence was incredibly rare is why the Electoral College has persisted for so long.
I should really write another column on this subject.

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More from @jbouie

16 Sep
another electoral college point before i go do real work: it doesn’t actually give an advantage to small states or rural states, it gives an advantage to closely competitive states regardless of size or urban/rural composition.
if you actually wanted small state voters to have an outsized place, you would want a national popular vote, since a marginal vote in say, alabama, would be much cheaper to win than a marginal vote in california.
and i’m pretty sure that’s what would happen: candidates would campaign for the cheapest votes, which would mean maximizing their gains in small and medium-sized states where advertising is inexpensive and a large partisan advantage obscures large pools of potential votes
Read 5 tweets
12 Sep
we are rewatching BATMAN RETURNS tonight, a “superhero” movie which begins with paul reubens and diane salinger tossing a child into a river, followed by penguins adopting that child as their own.

you know, Cinema.
not bizarre at all! the influence is there in batman 89 and it is only natural that burton goes all in with the sequel. this movie is packed with direct references to CALIGARI, NOSFERATU, etc.
i love that when we meet bruce wayne again he is just brooding in his living room, cloaked in total darkness. it’s one of those direct references to NOSFERATU and it presents wayne as, like count orlock, a monster who lies waiting in the dark.
Read 15 tweets
11 Sep
Have been thinking of writing something to make this point but I am not sure that I can do it better than this. newrepublic.com/article/159339…
But yes, American state capacity is basically nonexistent and “we will make things work” is a powerful pitch. I also strongly believe there is space for the left to adopt this pitch as their own, to make left-wing politics the politics of competence and efficiency.
After all, part of the pitch for Medicare for All or free college but a pitch is that these would be simpler and easier and more efficient than what we have now.
Read 4 tweets
2 Sep
Yet again tweeting in such a way to obscures the full context of the statistics. 45 unarmed deaths, out of 1,022 “armed” deaths, a designation that doesn’t actually say much about the circumstances of each shooting.
To use a prominent example, Philando Castile was “armed” when he was shot and killed. To say this absent the context of the shooting is to suggest he was in the midst of criminal activity.
Even if every “armed” shooting were of a person committing a crime with a gun (they’re not), it is still a problem that police are killing 1,000 people a year.
Read 4 tweets
2 Sep
my stated position on the framers and the electoral college is that "intent" doesn't really factor into it and that the EC was a last-minute kludge by exhausted delegates meant to guarantee the election of george washington and nothing else.
every subsequent explanation for the electoral college — "it's meant to give small states a voice, it's meant to give rural areas a voice" — is an after-the-fact partisan justification that has ascended to the realm of folk civics
Read 6 tweets
27 Aug
It’s cop logic. Doesn’t matter whether his life was actually threatened — no evidence thus far that it was — what matters is he can *say* he *feared* for his life, and therefore the use of lethal force is justified.
And in fact, the local authorities are already treating Rittenhouse as if he is a cop, and entitled to language that obliterates his agency and treats the death of two people as the result of forces beyond anyone’s control. (Except maybe their own.)
Pretty explicit in all of this is the extent to which police and their cheerleaders see these right-wing militia types as essentially performing the same work as formal law enforcement, not crime fighting but the maintenance of (racial, gender, class) “order.”
Read 4 tweets

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