A post-election agenda

Election day is one week away and, already, early-voting numbers are approaching the 2016 vote totals; clearly, many Americans have strong feelings about the election. Assuming the good guys win and Donald Trump is sent to Outer Darkness, it seems to me that the country might have a strong majority for settling some important business.

  • Get rid of the Electoral College. Much is made routinely of the College’s important role in preventing large-population states from overwhelming low-population states, but the Electoral College has two purposes. The second reason for creating the College is that the Founders didn’t trust the great mass of people to resist seduction by a demagogue — and on that score the College failed miserably, and at terrible cost.

    The system that seems likely to me to produce the best, most representative result is a general election followed by a runoff between the two top vote-getters when one candidate fails to win more than 50% of the vote. There are other schemes out there and I’m not married to any particular idea, however, but this: The Electoral College is not merely a failure, but an existential danger, and we must get rid of it.

  • Enact legislation formalizing the right to an abortion. It is indefensible that the courts have been politicized by backward-looking, poorly-educated evangelicals determined to impose the tribal exigencies of the Bronze Age upon the rest of us. Enough is enough; it’s time to drive a stake right through the heart of those superstitions — and the richly-deserved contempt that evangelicals have earned makes this the right time.

  • We should formalize, make nationwide, and permanent, the easy-voting innovations occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic. We should, at very least, assure every worker a half-day off with pay in order to vote.

  • Clean-out Trump appointees who do not have lifetime appointments. He has cynically displaced competence with inept sycophancy, with the result that essential government agencies are suffering — think, CDC. We have to get rid of the pretentious boobs he has elevated to responsibilities they can’t handle, restrict the use of ‘acting’ department heads, and formally impose and enforce qualifications for government jobs.

  • The Founders made plain in the Federalist Papers that the right to bear arms is a corporate right vested in the states, and that its purpose was to overcome objections to the two-year appropriation specified for the military — a vestige of the difficulties George Washington had paying his troops during the Revolutionary War. We must displace the lies of the NRA and restore a proper understanding of the Second Amendment — and get firearms under control. Certainly, nobody sane can possibly believe that the point of the Second Amendment is to empower armed yahoos to swarm into state legislatures — Michigan’s, say.

A last suggestion, about which I have mixed feelings: Pursue criminal charges against Donald Trump and the corruption which has flourished under him. That there is plenty of corruption is well-documented fact; a lot of the folk drawing generous government salaries ought to be cracking-rocks at Fort Leavenworth. And it isn’t difficult to argue that sending a lot of those clowns to jail would have a salutary effect on our public life and the government’s operation.

But: I know a lot of people who will never accept that Donald Trump is no more than an accomplished con-man and, arguably, a traitor. They will insist that prosecuting him is deep-state wickedness and grow correspondingly more disaffected and hostile and wed to their firearms. I have no difficulty imagining civil violence rooted in prosecution of Donald Trump.

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