Dems don’t like our con­sti­tu­tional sys­tem

The Star Democrat - - OPINION - DAVID HARSANYI David Harsanyi is a se­nior ed­i­tor at The Fed­er­al­ist and the au­thor of the forth­com­ing “First Free­dom: A Ride through Amer­ica’s En­dur­ing His­tory with the Gun.” Fol­low him on Twit­ter @david­harsanyi. To find out more about David Harsanyi and

In lib­er­als’ imag­i­na­tions, there are only four ways to lose elec­tions — and none has to do with their left­ist turn, their hys­ter­ics or their one-di­men­sional iden­tity pol­i­tics. Democrats say they lose be­cause of ger­ry­man­der­ing, voter sup­pres­sion (some­times known as ask­ing for ID), Rus­sian mind-con­trol rays de­ployed by so­cial me­dia, and our an­ti­quated and un­fair Con­sti­tu­tion.

That last ex­cuse is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar among pun­dits who con­tinue to in­vent new crises to freak out about.

Take Vox’s Ezra Klein, a long­time cham­pion of di­rect democ­racy: “I don’t think peo­ple are ready for the cri­sis that will fol­low if Democrats win the House pop­u­lar vote but not the ma­jor­ity,” he tweeted be­fore the midterms. “Af­ter Ka­vanaugh, Trump, Gar­land, Cit­i­zens United, Bush v. Gore, etc, the party is on the edge of los­ing faith in the sys­tem (and rea­son­ably so).”

The “House pop­u­lar vote” now joins the “na­tional pop­u­lar vote” and “Se­nate pop­u­lar vote” as fic­tional gauges of gov­er­nance used by Democrats who aren’t brave enough to say they op­pose the fun­da­men­tal anti-ma­jori­tar­i­an­ism that girds the Con­sti­tu­tion.

Oth­er­wise, why would Democrats lose faith in a “sys­tem” that is do­ing ex­actly what was in­tended? The Con­sti­tu­tion ex­plic­itly pro­tects small states (and in­di­vid­u­als) from na­tional ma­jori­ties. The ar­gu­ment for dif­fus­ing democ­racy and check­ing a strong fed­eral gov­ern­ment is laid out in The Fed­er­al­ist Pa­pers and cod­i­fied on an ar­ray of lev­els. This was done on pur­pose. It is the sys­tem.

I mean, do Democrats re­ally be­lieve that the Elec­toral Col­lege was con­structed to al­ways cor­re­spond with the na­tional vote? Do they be­lieve that the sign­ers of the Con­sti­tu­tion were un­aware that some states would be far big­ger than oth­ers in the fu­ture? If the Found­ing Fa­thers didn’t want Vir­ginia to dic­tate how peo­ple in Delaware lived in 1787, why would they want Cal­i­for­nia to dic­tate how peo­ple in Wy­oming live in 2018? If you don’t be­lieve that this kind of pro­por­tion­al­ity is a vi­tal part of Amer­i­can gov­er­nance, you don’t be­lieve in Amer­i­can gov­er­nance.

You can de­spise Brett Ka­vanaugh all you like, but why would Democrats lose faith in “the sys­tem” that saw Repub­li­cans fol­low direc­tions laid out in the Con­sti­tu­tion for con­firm­ing a Supreme Court nom­i­nee? Why would Democrats lose faith in “the sys­tem” that elected Don­ald Trump us­ing the same Elec­toral Col­lege that ev­ery other pres­i­dent used? Why would they lose faith in a sys­tem that houses a Supreme Court that stops the other branches from ban­ning po­lit­i­cal speech? When the Supreme Court af­firmed the elec­tion of Ge­orge W. Bush, it turned out to be the right call.

It’s be­cause they see the sys­tem as a way to achieve par­ti­san goals, not as a set of po­lit­i­cally neu­tral ide­al­is­tic val­ues.

It’s not a civics prob­lem, ei­ther. One hopes that such lib­eral ac­tivists as NBC News’ Ken Di­la­nian, who won­ders “how much longer the Amer­i­can ma­jor­ity will tol­er­ate be­ing pushed around by a ru­ral mi­nor­ity,” un­der­stand sixth-grade civics. New York Times colum­nist Paul Krug­man surely knows that the Con­sti­tu­tion doesn’t give “dis­pro­por­tion­ate weight” to smaller states. It in­ten­tion­ally gives all states the same weight in the Se­nate. Krug­man only finds this idea “dis­pro­por­tion­ate” be­cause it pro­tects mil­lions of Amer­i­cans from the cen­tral­ized co­er­cive state that he en­vi­sions for them. The dis­pro­por­tion­al­ity he sees merely re­flects his own con­cerns. It has noth­ing to do with the sys­tem.

Also, ru­ral Amer­ica doesn’t bully peo­ple such as Di­la­nian. The fed­eral gov­ern­ment was never sup­posed to be this pow­er­ful. Those in non-”for­ward-mov­ing” Amer­ica — those dum­mies Krug­man would like to nanny from Wash­ing­ton — don’t very much care how Di­la­nian lives. He, on the other hand, has big plans for them.

It should be noted that th­ese ma­jori­tar­i­ans throw mil­lions of Amer­i­cans aside to make this ar­gu­ment. We don’t know how a na­tional ma­jor­ity would vote. There are many mil­lions of Repub­li­cans in New York and Cal­i­for­nia who don’t in­volve them­selves in the fu­til­ity of state pol­i­tics. Those who rely on a “Se­nate pop­u­lar vote” are be­ing par­tic­u­larly dis­hon­est, con­sid­er­ing Cal­i­for­nia didn’t have a Repub­li­can on the bal­lot Tues­day. There are more Repub­li­cans in Cal­i­for­nia than there are in Wy­oming.

But as you can see on Elec­tion Day, lib­er­als have made “democ­racy” — a word men­tioned zero times in the Con­sti­tu­tion and Dec­la­ra­tion of In­de­pen­dence — into a sacra­men­tal rite. Get­ting more votes in an elec­tion out­weighs the in­her­ent rights of lib­erty that are laid out in our found­ing doc­u­ments — un­less, of course, a right hap­pens to in­ter­sect with some ad­van­ta­geous par­ti­san idea, e.g., birthright cit­i­zen­ship; then Democrats be­come strict orig­i­nal­ists.

The only rea­son th­ese folks who claim to want to save Con­sti­tu­tion from Trump see cri­sis in the sys­tem is that it fails to de­liver for them po­lit­i­cally. They’re not los­ing faith in the sys­tem. They just don’t like the sys­tem.

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