“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Lawsuits aim to change winner-take-all Electoral College system by 2020 presidential race

Top Stories

The votes have been counted and President Trump has moved into the White House, but the campaign to upend the Electoral College is far from over.

Lawsuits aimed at striking down the winner-take-all system and giving electors more freedom to change their votes have been in the works since Mr. Trump won the Electoral College vote but not the popular vote on Nov. 8.

The idea is not to eliminate the Electoral College, which would require a constitutional amendment, but to require states to implement a system in which electors cast ballots based on the percentage of the popular vote.

“It’s crazy that our nation’s least-democratic election is the one for president,” said Lawrence Lessig, Harvard Law School professor and founder of Equal Citizens.

The group kicked off a project Sept. 14 aimed at filing lawsuits on behalf of a Republican voter in a blue state and a Democratic voter in a red state, with the goal of overturning the winner-take-all system in time for the 2020 presidential race.

The winner-take-all system is not mandated under the Constitution — Maine and Nebraska split their electoral votes — but Mr. Lessig said it has reduced the presidential race to a fight over a “handful of battleground states instead of a national referendum.”

“Proportional allocation of electors at the state level won’t eliminate the inequality produced by the Electoral College,” Mr. Lessig said, “but it would reduce it substantially. We believe the courts should step in to reduce the inequality of the current system as much as possible.”

Would such a change have thrown the presidential race to Democrat Hillary Clinton? Not necessarily. First, there are a number of ways to divvy up votes proportionally, including by congressional district, popular vote and proportional popular vote.

Maps devised by the website 270 to Win show that Mr. Trump still would have won under two congressional district systems, as well as the “proportional popular” method, in which two electoral votes are awarded to the popular vote winner and the rest are allocated based on the percentage of the vote.

Under the “popular vote by state” plan, Mr. Trump would have had the edge in electoral votes but would have fallen short of the 270 Electoral College votes required to capture the White House. That would have thrown the decision to the Republican-dominated House.

Virginia and Minnesota introduced bills this year that would have awarded electoral votes by congressional district. Although the measures failed, both were introduced by Republicans.

Support for dividing electoral votes on a percentage basis has shifted politically over the past 20 years, depending on whose ox is being gored.

After his party’s 2012 presidential election loss, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus endorsed the idea of changing the system, which presumably would have helped nominee Mitt Romney. Some Democrats accused Mr. Priebus of election-rigging.

Since Mrs. Clinton’s defeat last year, the idea has gained steam among Democrats. Mrs. Clinton last week called for eliminating the Electoral College and told CNN that “I think it needs to be eliminated. I’d like to see us move beyond it.”

Two of the past three presidents — George W. Bush and Mr. Trump — have won the presidency even though they lost the popular vote. Both were Republicans.
Equal Citizens spokesman Ken Scudder insisted that the Equal Votes project, which has raised $65,000 in the past week, “isn’t about relitigating 2016.” He said one benefit is that a proportional allocation system could improve voter turnout in solidly red or blue states.

“Right now, there is no reason for a Republican in California to vote in the presidential election,” Mr. Scudder said, “just like there’s no reason for a Democrat in Montana to vote for president.”

Meanwhile, Equal Citizens is representing three Colorado electors in a lawsuit against Secretary of State Wayne Williams for insisting that they cast their ballots for Mrs. Clinton at the Dec. 19 ceremony at the Statehouse in Denver.

“Our objective is to affirm a constitutional principle,” Michael Baca, a 2016 Democratic elector, said in a statement. “That principle is critical to our Framers’ design for electing the president. It is critically important that the courts clarify the rights of electors so that the uncertainty that surrounded the 2016 vote does not repeat itself.”

Mr. Baca was removed as an elector during the ceremony for casting his ballot for Ohio Gov. John Kasich as part of a coordinated national campaign to deny Mr. Trump the presidency.

The Colorado complaint seeks $1 in damages from Mr. Williams for enforcing a state law requiring “faithless electors” to cast their ballots for the presidential candidate who won the state.

The lawsuit said Mr. Williams “threatened and intimidated” the electors — Polly Baca, Michael Baca and Robert Nemanich — by saying he would replace them and refer them to prosecutors for perjury charges if they violated their oath to vote for the winner, Mrs. Clinton.

Mr. Baca was replaced and referred to the Colorado attorney general after he voted for Ohio Gov. John Kasich. The other two Colorado electors ultimately voted for Mrs. Clinton.

Lynn Bartels, communications director for Mr. Williams, said the Republican secretary of state had no choice based on court rulings in the weeks prior to the ceremony.

“Secretary Williams has repeatedly pointed out that everything he did in respect to electors was ordered by a judge, either at the district or federal court level,” Ms. Bartels said. “The secretary’s goal was protecting the rights of the 2.9 million Coloradans who voted in the 2016 election. Their decision: Colorado’s nine electoral college votes were to go to Democrat Hillary Clinton.”

Four Washington state electors voted for candidates other than Mrs. Clinton as part of the “Hamilton electors” strategy, which ultimately flopped. Only two Republican electors, both in Texas, cast their ballots against Mr. Trump.



    All the voter fraud is in the big cities. All the subsidies end up in the big cities. The welfare state begins and ends in big cities.

    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    2. Though New York City does qualify as a big city ...

      According to the records held by the New York State Board of Elections, Jared Corey Kushner is a woman.

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. This guy Lessig is an intellectual elitist snob who feels his views are superior to the Founders & Framers and if he can't change the system through Constitutional process, then he'll try to change in courts of law and courts of public opinion. He's just another malcontent, disguised by a bunch of fancy college degrees.

    This is the problem with communism, socialism and quite frankly pure democracy. The most strident proponents will always claim that one or the other just hasn't been implemented correctly yet. They won't accept the fact that men are imperfect, therefore governments of men are imperfect, and the more perfect solution is exactly what we have, a Constitutional Republic in which central power is limited and distributed.

    This guy Lessig wants a pure democracy, which is all well and good if you're on the winning side, but can be pretty brutal if you're on the losing side. Just ask the gays getting tossed off buildings in the Middle East. Just ask those folks in Cuba and Venezuela and Zimbabwe how well pure democracy works.

    If there is no Electoral College, then there is no need for States. If there is no need for States, then there is no need for the Senate, which gives each State equal say regardless of size or population. If there is no need for the Senate and the President is elected by popular vote, we don't have the Constitutional Republic of United States. We have some bizarre combination of Italy, France, Spain, Germany and the EU all rolled into one huge mess.

    If this guy Lessig really wanted to do some good by the Constitution, he would be a strident advocate of repeal of the 17th Amendment. But he doesn't and he isn't. His goal is to destroy above all, and make up the rest as you go after the fact.

  3. Well said

    Especially with regard the 17th ...

  4. Anyone else wonder how a million or more Puerto Rican voters migrating to the mainland will alter the demographics of Florida, New Jersey and ....

    1. They will be here, first stop unemployment, MOV, motor-voter, Democrat mentors.
      The benefits of empire.


  5. It'll really be a Miracle, believe me.

    "Based on the details of the plan that have been released, a married couple with two kids earning [under] $79,583 a year would pay more under the Trump plan than under existing law," said Daniel Hemel, an assistant professor of law at the University of Chicago.

  6. China Has Ordered North Korean Companies In The Country To Shut Down Within 120 Days

    China's Ministry of Commerce and the State Administration for Industry and Commerce said in an online statement that as part of implementing UN sanctions, North Korean entities and individuals that have set up businesses in China — from joint ventures to directly funded enterprises — must shut down within 120 days of the latest United Nations Security Council sanctions passed on Sept. 11. Sanctions this year have targeted North Korean industries from textiles to coal.

    Chinese joint ventures with North Korean individuals or entities abroad must also shut down, the statement said.

    The rules will be enforced by authorities at the provincial level.

    But the statement adds that the rules don't apply to nonprofits or noncommercial infrastructure projects. Businesses can also apply to regulators for exemptions on an individual basis.

    Many North Korean businesses operate under the radar in China, using shell companies based in other countries to hide their origins.

    Others work through middlemen or operate on a cash basis to avoid the eyes of Chinese regulators.

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. Ai WeiWei
    Human Flow Trailer

  9. .

    Just say Cohn on TV defending the Trump tax plan. He offered up the same tired arguments that have proved to be urban legends in the past.


    1. I have not yet seen the Quirk's tax plan.

      Care to share, Quirk ?

      For myself, my tax plan is designed to target people just like me and remove the applicable taxes.

      Hey, I see national economic growth has hit 3%+ this last quarter.

      And The Donald wasn't hoping for that until a year or more from now.

  10. "Racism" and slavery:

  11. Trump has waived the Jones Act as he was requested to do.

  12. I don't think any lawsuit is going to have the horsepower to get rid of the Electoral College.

    I think it would take a Constitutional Amendment to do that.

    Don't count on the federal election system changing anytime soon.

  13. I never knew Alex Jones could sing...

  14. Raymond Arroyo describes how Hefner was a bigger scumbag than Bill Cosby:

  15. What a sleezoid Hugh was.....nice to be able to use the past tense for that shabby sordid S.O.B.

    1. He with his stupid evening robe and his stupid pipe.

    2. Raymond plays a short clip of the perv on Larry King that's "hilarious."

    3. Larry Kind is a sleezoid too, in my view.

      One sleezoid interviewing another sleezoid.

    4. Larry King is of the sleezoid kind.

  16. .

    You want elitism, we'll give you elitism.

    This NFL deal started out with Colin Kapernich taking the knee as a protest of the way blacks in general are treated by the police. It now morphed and is growing like Topsy. Along the way, someone (likely the NFL) thought it would sell better if the protest became about 'Unity". It sells more t-shirts and hats that way.

    The Green Bay Packer players have asked their fans to support the Unity meme by joining arms like them during the national anthem.

    It will be interesting to see if anyone supports them. I would be surprised if the majority or even a large minority does it.


    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. I won't be watching.

      I've gone over to the Lingerie Football League LFL.

    3. I have a vacant seat, if anyone needs one.

      Hugh and I bought season tickets together.

      For the Penthouse Section, very best in football viewing, and extra curricular activities set up for our pleasures, too.

    4. Me, I want to go.

    5. .

      I call bullshit.

      Just watched the national anthem on the Thursday Night Football game. They searched the entire crowd looking for someone with their arms locked and finally came up with four guys in the front row that had their arms locked. Every other shot they put up showed fans doing what Americans have been doing since the beginning, hand over the heart, salutes, yelling USA, USA. I thought just as I suspected.

      Then the announcer comes on and says, 'Well there you have it, just as Aaron Rogers had asked, the entire stadium locking arms and joining in on a demonstration of unity and love.' I can only assume he was simply reading a script he was handed by the NFL.


    6. Green Bay scores first !!!

      Then GB defense strip sacks Chicago for a turn over at Chi 3 yd line

    7. Quirk is always calling bull shit.

      Bull shit never answers.

      BS must be at some other bar.

  17. VENEZUELA has one of the highest crime rates in the world and is in the middle of a bloody and violent civil war but President Nicolas Maduro insists the South American nation has bigger fish to fry.

    Earlier this week, US President Trump announced he was expanding his controversial travel ban to include three new countries — North Korea, Chad and Venezuela.


    The Trump administration has come down hard on the Madruo regime, banning lending to the Venezuelan government or its state oil company PDVSA, and passing sanctions against Maduro and his top officials.


    As President Maduro tells his nation to cast their anger north to the US, his own nation struggles with triple figure inflation, a chronic shortage of basic goods, and urban violence.

  18. Hugh Hefner Did Not Live The Good Life

    Hefner did not create, but marketed ingeniously the idea that a man’s life consists in the abundance of his possessions and of his orgasms. To women, he marketed frenetically the idea that a woman’s value consists in her sexual availability and attractiveness to men.

    The “bunny” logo was well-chosen because, in the end, Mr. Hefner saw both men and women as essentially rabbits. This path was portrayed vividly by John Updike in his Rabbit Angstrom series. It is not a happy life.

    And yet we are not actually rabbits. We can see our deaths coming, and we outlive those deaths to give an account of our lives. If you want to see “success,” look instead to the man faithful to the wife of his youth, caring for her through dementia.

    Hefner was nothing but a cheap advertiser, pandering to the lowest instincts of the human male, a very ignoble and bad ad man, a marketer.

  19. Green Bay scores again !!!


    2 TDs in 32 seconds

  20. Another fumble by Chi Bears
    Green Bay recovers

    The NFL rocks !!!

  21. Be pretty funny in '20 when Trump wins the popular and Schumer would've won the electoral.

  22. "We have prepared several underwater wells to supply the evacuation points in the safe zone," the ministry's head of Bali Penida River said.

    Mount Agung is not the only volcano in the region threatening to erupt.

    More than 6000 people have been evacuated to emergency shelters on Vanuatu's northern island Ambae after a volcano known as Manaro Voui began emitting ash and volcanic gas on the weekend.

  23. Both teams sent to locker rooms due to thunderstorm fears. The lightning is rolling in.

  24. Greetings from Puerto Rico, where the fuel lines are six hours (and several kilometres) long, the power is off (for as long as six months), food and water are short and there's no cash available.


    In this week's edition of who's using taxpayers' money to take extravagant trips, we have a new contestant.

    Yes, that's right. Move over Steve Mnuchin and Tom Price, who the White House has blocked from taking private flights and who now says he'll reimburse the taxpayers and fly commercial going forward.

    No lessons have been learned in the Trump administration. Next in the firing line is Scott Pruitt.


    One key element of the protests is the idea of freedom, the idea that even if you don’t support what the players are protesting, you support their right to do so. It’s a bit of nuance lost on the love-it-or-leave-it, burn-it-all-down segment of NFL fandom.

    But the great thing about America is that even those basic all-or-nothing views are accepted. And the great thing about the NFL is that they’re always willing to sell you on the shield, no matter what you’ve said before.

  25. Packers players are joined by fans in linking arms during national anthem

    Prior to their game vs. the Bears, the Packers were joined by the Lambeau faithful in linking arms.

    Then they show Quirk's CBS picture of the four guys.

    1. .

      Those were the guys.

      Prior to their game vs. the Bears, the Packers were joined by the Lambeau faithful in linking arms.

      Evidently, those four guys are the 'Lambeau faithful'.

      Kind of like Bahgdad Bob describing the invasion of Iraq or Sean Spicer describing Trump's inauguration crowd.

      SB Nation

      SB Nation is a sports news website owned and operated by Vox Media. Established in 2005, the site comprises 320 blogs covering individual professional and college sports teams, and other sports-oriented topics. The site operates from Vox’s offices just off Bryant Park in Midtown Manhattan, New York City, as well as Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C.

      Interesting (to me) that their logo is a large red star.


    2. .

      I have to believe it's the NFL that was behind it. I believe the announcer that was talking about how the entire stadium was linking arms in that cumbuya moment, was Tony Romo which brings up another issue.

      Are there ANY good announcers on ANY of the NFL games? Add this to the list of why viewer volume is down.


  26. Play resumed and GB made an interception, followed by a great pass to Nelson and a race to the 2 yd line.
    GB scored on a running play up the middle. 21 to 0.

    Green Bay defense is dominating Chicago.

    Great NFL action !!!

  27. Over at the Lingerie Football League, one bra just got ripped off and three gals are in a fierce cat fight.

    1. Wait !! TWO bras off and one panties down to the knees !!!!

      Everyone is on their feet whopping it up....

    2. THREE pantie less !!!!

      One gal has a bulls eye tattooed around her boom-boom.

      The crowd is going bezerk !!!!!

    3. Some in the crowd have the right hand over the heart - an automatic show of respect for our flapping flag, or, the beginning of a heart attack due to the wild action......don't know for sure.....

    4. Hank hates America, along with Colon Kaperdick.

  28. New Yosemite rock fall injures man, a day after UK couple caught under granite sheet

  29. Chicago drives down the field to score!!!

    Real football NFL Football

    21 to 7 at the half !!!

    1. The stadium is still Standing Room Only ... Even after the weather delay, no one left for home !!!

      Real Americans watching real football

  30. .

    Tales of a Professional School Librarian

    CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- A librarian at the Cambridgeport Elementary School in Massachusetts is declining a shipment of books from first lady Melania Trump.

    One school from each state was chosen by the White House to receive 10 Dr. Seuss books as part of National Read a Book Day, CBS Boston reports.

    Getting an education is perhaps the most important and wondrous opportunity of your young lives," Trump said in a letter to the children who will be receiving books.

    The school's librarian, Liz Phipps Soeiro, wrote a lengthy editorial for the Horn Book's Family Reading blog explaining why her school does not need the books.

    "My students have access to a school library with over nine thousand volumes and a librarian with a graduate degree in library science. Multiple studies show that schools with professionally staffed libraries improve student performance," wrote Phipps Soeiro.

    Sounds like Liz is feeling a little underappreciated.

    Phipps Soeiro also criticized Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and the Trump administration's education policy.

    "Why not go out of your way to gift books to underfunded and underprivileged communities that continue to be marginalized and maligned by policies put in place by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos?" she wrote.

    This is a good point. Lots of these schools look like resorts. If Trumps appointees really wanted to help out why not donate books to schools were the kids can't even afford writing materials?

    The librarian's editorial also criticizes the first lady's book selections, which include "The Cat in the Hat," "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish," "The Foot Book," "Green Eggs and Ham" and "Oh, the Places You'll Go!"

    "You may not be aware of this, but Dr. Seuss is a bit of a cliché, a tired and worn ambassador for children's literature. As First Lady of the United States, you have an incredible platform with world-class resources at your fingertips," she wrote.

    Well, there you go ruining it again, Liz. I'm a assuming a professional library science major like yourself would prefer something that would encourage the kids to think more such as Heather has Two Mommies or Uncle What-is-it Is Coming to Visit.

    The school

    The Cambridge school system says the opinions in the editorial do not represent the district and released a statement, saying "the employee was not authorized to accept or reject donated books on behalf of the school or school district."

    "We have counseled the employee on all relevant policies, including the policy against public resources being used for political purposes," the district said.


  31. Chicago looked to have momentum coming out of the half, but the drive stalls.
    The Bears are going for 47 yd field goal which misses right


  32. GB has picked up the pace
    First and goal at the 8

    1. GB scores but offensive holding call brings it back.

      GB player is down. Hard

    2. Penalty on Chicago
      Half distance to goal & first down
      Breathes new life into GB drive

      While player is carted off on a gurney

      13 pkay drive


  33. Love and Unity

    "But we've got to come together and talk about these things and grow as a community, as a connected group of individuals in our society, and we're going to continue to show love and unity, and this week we're going to ask the fans to join in as well and come together and show people that we can be connected and we can grow together.""

    Aaron Rodgers was estranged from his family last time I checked.

  34. Over at Lingerie Football League the Fire Marshall has turned the hoses on the, now, 6 fighting ladies.

    And who can blame them -- 6 naked lovely ladies out on the field mud wrestling.

    The officials have been making moves like they might move in and break it up but every time they try the crowds booooooss such an overwhelming boo that they let them fight some more....

  35. GB grabs another pick.
    So many mistakes by Bears, which the Packers then exploit.

    NFL Football

    American Made

    1. Describe the Cheer Leaders, please.

      They are the big draw for most of us.

    2. Big pass from Rodgers to Cobb who beat the 1 on 1 coverage
      1st & goal at the 8
      4th quarter about to start

      NFL is AMAZING


    3. Green Bay scores. Easily

      35 to 7

      Dilly dilly

    4. Sounds like the Chicago kids are all taking the knee.

  36. baby-faced child suicide bomber

  37. Truckee Wed Cam at nigt -

    Noth' much going down tohight.

    1. Bars havn't been let out yet.

    2. Hey, that's the bullshit ad-cam!

      Here's the real thing that goes full screen with no ads:

    3. Still not much going down ---