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A Not-Less Perfect Union

February 4, 2013

Last we checked, Republicans in swing states were planning to award Electoral College votes based on their gerrymandered Congressional districts and Democrats were failing to reform the filibuster. Unsurprisingly, the Democrats snatched defeat from the jaws of victory by passing a filibuster reform package that was in fact nothing more than cosmetic.  A New York Times editorial rightly called Senate Democrats out for letting their fear of future consequences and individual self-interest. As I’ve said before, Democrats should want a functioning government that responds effectively and efficiently to the needs of its constituents and the accountability cloak that is the filibuster is contributing greatly to the public’s declining faith in the federal government.

In a more surprising development, the Republicans’ Electoral College play is also fizzling after “[k]ey Republican officials” in Florida, Michigan, Virginia and Ohio voiced their opposition to the plan. There was a clear if less obvious downside for those states if they did decide to change their EV allocation procedure: they would no longer be swing states, which would make them less attractive to presidential candidates. I frankly was surprised to see these efforts flop: Republicans have done everything in their power in terms of procedures – the filibuster, Senate holds, voter suppression, reducing voting hours, gerrymandering – in order to amplify their political support. So, in the end, we have both Democrats and Republicans failing to push their procedural advantage – Democrats failing to make the government more democrat; Republicans failing to capitalize on their prior anti-democratic tactics – and we end up just where we were before, a not-less perfect union.


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