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Liberty Politics Roger Kimball US Politics

Is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez a Republican in disguise?

The self-defeating Democratic campaign to undermine the Electoral College

October 9, 2018

12:37 PM

9 October 2018

12:37 PM

I can’t actually believe that Democratic ‘It Girl’ Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a Republican mole, any more than I really believe that Creepy Porn Lawyer Michael What’s-his-name is.

But is the idea really so far fetched? Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court seemed to be foundering, buffeted as it was by a tsunami of groundless charges reaching back into his high school days. None was ‘credible,’ pace the talking points of Senators Feinstein, Spartacus, et al. But what sent that narrative into a tail spin was the Julie Swetnick Show, brought to you by the latest casualty of the memory hole, Creepy Porn Lawyer Something Avenatti. Kavanaugh prevailed partly because of President Trump’s unwavering support, partly because of Kavanaugh’s own determination, partly because of Mitch McConnell’s generalship in the Senate. But the Creepy Porn Lawyer presented the world with claims that were so outlandish, so patently absurd, so nasty, that the public turned definitively against Kavanaugh’s attacking Maenads. Lindsey Graham 2.0 was born, Susan Collins found her backbone, and welcome to the world, Justice Kavanaugh.

Thanks Creepy PL for jumping the shark and casting a revelatory light upon this whole malignant charade. It’s not at all clear that honour and integrity would have prevailed without you.

By the same token, the chicly accoutered socialist Alexandria just scored some major points for Republicans with her astonishingly ignorant attack on the Electoral College and the idea that each state is accorded two senators, regardless of its population. Of course, she is not alone. Hillary Clinton, the erstwhile politician, likes the idea of scrapping the Electoral College, as does Ken Dilanian, prominent talking head for NBC, a legacy-media news network. Dilanian recently tweeted that ‘The idea that North Dakota and New York get the same representation in the Senate has to change.’ The It-Girl, now running for New York’s 14th Congressional District, echoed that sentiment. ‘It is well past time,’ she said, ‘we eliminate the Electoral College, a shadow of slavery’s power on America today that undermines our nation as a democratic republic.’

Slavery, eh?

What none of these advocates for direct democracy acknowledges is the wisdom of the Founders in constructing the electoral college as a buffer between that ‘blunt monster with uncounted heads/the still-discordant wavering multitude’ and its leaders.

One of the Founders’ greatest fears was the encroachment of the mob. The pages of history, Madison wrote in Federalist 10, were littered with experiments in direct democracy, which tended to be ‘as short in their lives’ as they were ‘violent in their deaths.’

The distribution of an equal number of senators to the states was a brilliant device to filter the passions of the people and, moreover, to protect the interests of minorities in the smaller states. Why should Rhode Island, say, join a union in which rich, populous, and powerful Virginia would threaten its independence and sovereignty? Endowing each state with an equal number of senators while varying the number of House Representatives by population was a clever compromise to equalise influence while still giving voice to the people. (Speaking for myself, however, I think the old method of selecting senators, by state legislatures, is preferable to electing them directly, but that is a topic for another day.)

Most voters understand these things. You have to have had an expensive, preferably Ivy League, education to be so ignorant of this basic datum of American civics. Alexander Hamilton, writing in Federalist 68, got to the nub of the reason that the electoral college is so important. ‘A small number of persons,’ he wrote, ‘selected by their fellow-citizens from the general mass, will be most likely to possess the information and discernment requisite to such complicated investigations.’

‘It was also peculiarly desirable to afford as little opportunity as possible to tumult and disorder. This evil was not least to be dreaded in the election of a magistrate, who was to have so important an agency in the administration of the government as the President of the United States. But the precautions which have been so happily concerted in the system under consideration, promise an effectual security against this mischief.’

And so they have done for well-nigh 250 years. The voters understand this. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez pretends not to, which is why she just might be a secrete weapon deployed by the GOP.


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