PowerLine -> John Hinderaker – Democrats: The Constitution Is Unconstitutional! + Political Correctness, and Other White Elitist Fads

PowerLine -> John Hinderaker – Democrats: The Constitution Is Unconstitutional! + Political Correctness, and Other White Elitist Fads

Daily Digest

  • Democrats: The Constitution Is Unconstitutional!
  • The World Has Gone Certifiably Crazy
  • Political Correctness, and Other White Elitist Fads
  • “Ban the Box” Gets Boxed in Again
  • Confirm ’em all
Democrats: The Constitution Is Unconstitutional!

Posted: 10 Oct 2018 03:58 PM PDT

(John Hinderaker)A major theme on the Left these days is that any institution with elements other than pure, one-man-one-vote democracy is illegitimate. That would include, among others, the Electoral College and the Senate. This tweet by soon-to-be-Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is one example among many:

It is well past time we eliminate the Electoral College, a shadow of slavery’s power on America today that undermines our nation as a democratic republic. https://t.co/00HZN3MI6F

— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Ocasio2018) October 6, 2018

The Electoral College is a “shadow of slavery’s power”? Huh? The electoral college reflects that the United States is just that–a union of states. States are important.

It seems to have just dawned on liberals that our constitutional system is not a pure democracy. It is, rather, a system of checks and balances that is intended to require a degree of consensus, expressed in multiple ways, in order to implement major changes. Ocasio-Cortez and other liberals are indicting the Constitution. Their ultimate indictment, of course, is that the Constitution condoned slavery, which pre-existed it, until it didn’t. See the 13th Amendment. So what’s the point?

Like much the Left is doing these days, it is hard to see a coherent strategy or a plausible end game. Ocasio-Cortez wants to “eliminate the Electoral College.” That, of course, would require a constitutional amendment, and there is no chance of that happening. A constitutional amendment must be proposed either by a convention of the states–anathema to liberals–or two-thirds majorities in both the House and the Senate. In either case, it becomes effective only if ratified by 38 states. To repeat, there is no chance of that happening.

Law Professor Larry Tribe complains that four members of the current Supreme Court were appointed by presidents who “first took office after losing the popular vote.” That carefully-phrased formula is dishonest; George W. Bush’s Supreme Court appointments both came after he had won the popular vote. But, in any event, so what? The “popular vote” has no constitutional significance. If presidential elections were determined by a nationwide vote total, candidates would run entirely different campaigns. It is silly to hypothesize a different set of rules and re-cast elections, as if those rules had been in effect.

A reader adds:

Aside from the double talk and special pleading you can always count on from the Dems/left/MSM — the Supreme Court is now “unrepresentative,” but a liberal Supreme Court is good because it prevents majoritarianism, e.g., the bigoted populace preventing gay marriage — there is another truly radical implication to these predictable expressions of left outrage.

The issue of the Senate, the Electoral College and, perforce, SCOTUS being “unrepresentative” amount to an argument against having states at all other than simply as administrative units for a central government! One big House of Representatives, exactly proportional to the entire population completely irrespective of historical, arbitrary “states” and a president elected by 50% +1, or even a plurality, of the total “popular vote” is what their arguments imply — a plebiscitary democracy on a gigantic scale. It’s the constitution they are opposed to. And more fundamentally, “no states” at all is the obvious ultimate implication of complaints about the Senate and the election of the president.

The left argument simply assumes that the “popular vote” in the aggregate nationally is, or at least ought to be, the standard by which the presidential election is judged to be legitimate; anything else is illegitimate and “unrepresentative”, and the Senate inherently so. But there was never any intention to have “one man, one vote” be the appropriate standard of legitimacy on the national level as it was at more local levels. The founders wanted to force a widespread consensus across a whole collection of local majorities to balance different interests. This prevents ten or a dozen urban aggregations (NY, LA, SF, Chicago…) from dominating without having to balance other interests. The “popular vote” in the aggregate nationally is just a journalistic construct that is entirely extra-constitutional.

The Democrats’ pining for a different Constitution can only be a source of schadenfreude for the rest of us.


The World Has Gone Certifiably Crazy

Posted: 10 Oct 2018 02:32 PM PDT

(Steven Hayward)Some days the absurd news just piles up so fast that there almost isn’t room for any fake news. Though tuning in to CNN for 10 minutes will cure you of this thought.

Anyway, I wish some of the stories I spotted today were fake news, but alas, they are all read:

Flight delayed after woman brings ’emotional support squirrel’ on plane

Police escorted a woman off a plane Tuesday after she brought an unexpected furry friend on a Frontier Airlines flight from Orlando to Cleveland – a squirrel.

The woman informed Frontier Airlines she was taking an “emotional support animal” on the flight from Florida when she made her reservation, according to the Associated Press. However, she did not say the animal was a squirrel. The airline said they called Orlando police after they asked the woman to leave the plane with the animal and she refused.

“Rodents, including squirrels, are not allowed on Frontier flights.

How come? Is it because Frontier pilots all have ADD and will be distracted?


Nuking Hurricanes: The Surprising History of a Really Bad Idea

. . . there was a time when scientists and government agencies were themselves seriously considering the nuclear option. In a speech delivered at the National Press Club on October 11, 1961, Francis W. Riechelderfer, the head of the U.S. Weather Bureau, said he could “imagine the possibility someday of exploding a nuclear bomb on a hurricane far at sea.” (Although, comfortingly, Riechelderfer added that the Weather Bureau would not begin acquiring its own nuclear arsenal “until we know what we’re doing.”)

I don’t know. I think the weather service having nukes handy in case of a sharknado (surely the next thing caused by climate change)  might be a good idea.

The BBC asks:

Should women be spelt womxn?

No. Next question.


Authorities find incomplete, solar-power tunnel leading to Mexico

U.S. and Mexican authorities uncovered an incomplete, solar-powered tunnel connecting the two countries in a remote area east of San Diego. Border Patrol says the 600 foot long passage led into the small California town of Jacumba.

The tunnel had solar-powered lighting and a ventilation system. It was also lined with a rail system than ran the entire length of the tunnel and had two sump pumps.

Yes, the solar power is a nice touch, but was it high-speed rail? That’s the only kind California will allow now.


Political Correctness, and Other White Elitist Fads

Posted: 10 Oct 2018 11:59 AM PDT

(Steven Hayward)I’ve seen several people observe that the anti-Kavanaugh protests of the last few weeks in Washington were demographically embarrassing for the race-conscious left. I recall seeing one comment that the composition of the protests was “whiter than a suburban country club.”

But a new study just out from a British study group makes the left’s fanaticism about diversity and political correctness look even worse. The study, Hidden Tribes: A Study of America’s Polarized Landscape, makes for rough reading for the progressive race-mongers.

Yascha Mounk, a Harvard liberal for the most part, summarizes the most embarrassing parts today in The Atlantic, in “Large Majorities Dislike PC Culture.” Some key samples:

Among the general population, a full 80 percent believe that “political correctness is a problem in our country.” Even young people are uncomfortable with it, including 74 percent ages 24 to 29, and 79 percent under age 24. On this particular issue, the woke are in a clear minority across all ages.

Youth isn’t a good proxy for support of political correctness—and it turns out race isn’t, either.

Whites are ever so slightly less likely than average to believe that political correctness is a problem in the country: 79 percent of them share this sentiment. Instead, it is Asians (82 percent), Hispanics (87 percent), and American Indians (88 percent) who are most likely to oppose political correctness. . .

Three quarters of African Americans oppose political correctness. This means that they are only four percentage points less likely than whites, and only five percentage points less likely than the average, to believe that political correctness is a problem.

If age and race do not predict support for political correctness, what does? Income and education.

While 83 percent of respondents who make less than $50,000 dislike political correctness, just 70 percent of those who make more than $100,000 are skeptical about it. And while 87 percent who have never attended college think that political correctness has grown to be a problem, only 66 percent of those with a postgraduate degree share that sentiment.

Mounk ends with this sensible warning, which I expect the New York Times and Hillary Clinton will ignore:

The gap between the progressive perception and the reality of public views on this issue could do damage to the institutions that the woke elite collectively run. A publication whose editors think they represent the views of a majority of Americans when they actually speak to a small minority of the country may eventually see its influence wane and its readership decline. And a political candidate who believes she is speaking for half of the population when she is actually voicing the opinions of one-fifth is likely to lose the next election.

In other words, put your money down on Trump’s re-election in 2020.


“Ban the Box” Gets Boxed in Again

Posted: 10 Oct 2018 09:21 AM PDT

(Steven Hayward)We reported here last year about research showing that a favorite Obama policy initiative known as “Ban the Box” (that is, prohibit employers from inquiring about a person’s criminal history on employment applications) was having the opposite effect, and was increasing discrimination against blacks. Two women economists writing in the Quarterly Journal of Economics concluded:

Our results support the concern that BTB policies encourage racial discrimination: the black-white gap in callbacks grew dramatically at companies that removed the box after the policy went into effect.

Now comes a brand new paper, posted recently on the Social Science Research Network (SSRN) that finds the same thing:

The unintended consequences of “ban the box”: Statistical discrimination and employment outcomes when criminal histories are hidden

Jennifer Doleac, Benjamin Hansen


Jurisdictions across the United States have adopted “ban the box” (BTB) policies preventing employers from asking about job applicants’ criminal records until late in the hiring process. Their goal is to improve employment outcomes for those with criminal records, with a secondary goal of reducing racial disparities in employment. However, removing criminal history information could increase statistical discrimination against demographic groups that include more ex-offenders. We use variation in the timing of BTB policies to test BTB’s effects on employment. We find that BTB policies decrease the probability of employment by 3.4 percentage points (5.1%) for young, low-skilled black men.

Liberal social policy is nothing if not consistent—consistent in delivering unintended consequences and perverse results.

Hat tip: Gail Heriot.


Confirm ’em all

Posted: 10 Oct 2018 09:03 AM PDT

(Paul Mirengoff)The editors of the Wall Street Journal urge Senate Republicans to keep Democrats in Washington, D.C. until every pending Trump administration nominee is confirmed. They have a point.

Democrats have succeeded to a shocking (and unprecedented) degree in preventing the president from staffing his administration with the well-qualified personnel of his choice. Eric Dreiband and Jeff Clark are perhaps the two best examples of this pattern of obstruction but, at the same time, are the tip of the iceberg.

As the WSJ editors state:

Democrats file cloture on every nominee, which kicks off 30 hours of debate even if no Senator is opposed. They figure if they can’t defeat nominees they can delay and consume valuable time. Democrats have forced 117 cloture votes—versus 12 in Barack Obama’s first two years and four in George W. Bush’s.

Mitch McConnell is in a position now to break the logjam. Vulnerable Democratic Senators are eager to get home and campaign. McConnell has the ability to keep them in Washington so they can do the work — voting on presidential nominees — they should have been doing the past year and a half.


The question this month is whether Senate Democrats will accept a deal to confirm more judges and nominees. . .Let’s hope Republicans extract a high price for that privilege: Some 198 nominations are backed up awaiting confirmation, according to the Partnership for Public Service tracking.

The nominations range from State Department under secretaries to Labor Department spots. Charles Stimson was nominated in June 2017 to be general counsel of the Navy, which needs urgent legal direction to deal with the fallout from recent ship accidents, as well as lawsuits against bases in Guam and Maine. Democrats have also blocked Justin Muzinich for the No. 2 post at Treasury since his nomination in April. Treasury could use the former banker who has taught at Columbia Business School to shore up its financial-crisis management. Three appellate court and some 36 district court nominations are also awaiting a Senate floor vote.

McConnell should drive a hard bargain, and I believe he will. The Kavanaugh fight surely left a bitter taste in his mouth and those of his caucus members. Confirming a large number of Trump nominees would be condign punishment. It’s also the right thing to do.

There’s also this:

Republicans need to muscle through as many nominees as possible now because if Democrats run Congress next year they’ll be busy impeaching people, not confirming them.


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