Ruth Bader Ginsburg — The US Senate Race — Electoral College — Moria Camp — Covid Situation
Here we go again and we continue to look at US policitics primarily. The US is mourning the loss of Supreme Court judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg which was also an icon of the left. And of course the Republicans are now trying to fill the open seat ahead of the elections. We explain what's going on and what this is important (or not). We briefly discuss the embaressing situation of the refugees on Lesbos and how we deal with the Corona reality.
This episode of Newz of the World provides a complete transcript with timecodes and speaker identification.
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Regarding abolition of the electoral college: the best bet for this to me (as a non-US person who’s quite interested in US politics) seems to be the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, which is a genius idea to circumvent the entire problem of having to amend the Constitution, which obviously is an enormous hurdle, by an agreement among states who simply enact a common law that requires their electors to vote for the candidate who won the popular vote, regardless of whether that candidate won or lost a particular participating state. As soon as states controlling at least 270 electors have enacted this law, the law kicks into action and effectively converts the US into a country with an actually-democratic voting system overnight. The electoral college would still exist, but it would not matter anymore, it would just be a quirky legacy left over to remind future generations about these dark times in the past in which minorities effectively decided over the presidency.
The Wikipedia page has a good overview over how far this project has gotten at getting the necessary state laws enacted: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Popular_Vote_Interstate_Compact
There’s still quite some way to go, but it’s come surprisingly far for a project that effectively tries to do something that a lot of people consider being entirely impossible. With further demographic changes like those you also mentioned in the podcast, this might one day actually work out. And regardless of that: you just have to admire and respect the “hack value” of this entire idea :-)
Some additional facts, thoughts and corrections on the subject US election, Supreme Court etc.:
About RBG: She died age 87, due to pancreatic cancer, leaving a 5:3 (Rep:Dem) Supreme Court. I think the most important thing she did is fighting for women rights. I recommend to watch „On The Basis Of Sex”, which is available on Netflix Germany right now.
The Supreme Court has had 9 seats since 1863. Before that it was 7 (-1807), 9 (-1837) and 10 (-1863 seats). Roosevelt (who later died in his 4th term) attempted to add more judges, but he failed. I think instead of packing the court, the democrats should rather attempt to limit the time on the court from lifetime to 12 years. Four justices have been serving less than 12 years (5, if ACB gets confirmed), so there would be the possibility to replace the other four judges (3 Rep, 1 Dem). If they would change it to 16 years instead, it would still be 2 justices now (1 Rep, 1 Dem) and two more in a year from now.
Basics about the senate: There are 100 senators, 2 for each state. A senator term goes for 6 years, and every 2 years 1/3 of the senators is up for reëlection. BTW: “Rebel” Lisa Murkowski of Alaska is up for reëlection in 2022.
The GOP has held the senate since 2014, so Obama had a senate majority for 6 of his 8 years. But within that time the Dems only held the house for the first 2 years (see here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_United_States_Senate#/media/File:Combined–Control_of_the_U.S._House_of_Representatives_-_Control_of_the_U.S._Senate.png). It is worth watching the election results of the last 50 or so years (https://www.270towin.com/historical-presidential-elections/).You will find that a lot of „red states” used to be blue and vice versa. By the way, I recommend checking out http://www.270towin.com for current polls and information about the election. They seem to be rather neutral and fact-based.
The electoral college situation is decided on state level. Nebraska and Maine are (the only) 2 states without a „winner takes it all” setting. I don’t see either party attempting to change from the electoral college to a popular vote, since this would potentially open up a way for a 3- or even 4-party system, and unfortunately, I don’t see that any of the two big parties wanting that. I also don’t believe that a lot of states would want to split the electrical college (like NE and ME), because whatever party dominates the state has no interest in sharing that power.
just my 2 ct
Thats way more than 2 cents! Thanks. Fun part about being American, I don’t know much about how it all works.
The reason I mentioned/or almost mentioned Merkowski, Collins, Romney, is that M and C have made statements previously against confirming a judge before this election… or they were critical of the president’s previous picks. — Regardless, I don’t know if they will really do anything special. None of them every really have when push comes to shove.
Again, thank you!