The Monday Morning Teaser

Just when you think you’ve seen the worst of 2020, it hits us with something else. Friday, Ruth Bader Ginsburg died, sparking yet another Supreme Court nomination battle and threatening to cement Trump’s legal legacy with a 6-3 conservative majority.

At moments like this, it’s tempting to indulge in speculation: What will Trump and McConnell do? What tactics can the Democrats use? How will the battle affect the presidential election or the various Senate races? I can’t totally resist that urge myself, but I recognize it as mostly a waste of effort: We’ll know soon enough, and whether we have speculated right or wrong probably won’t help us respond.

What I want to do instead this morning is use the Court as an example of a larger point: We are living under a system of minority rule. Because of the Electoral College, we elected a president with only 46% of the vote, in spite of another candidate getting 48%. The institutional structure of the Senate, meanwhile, inflates the value of rural conservative votes, so that Mitch McConnell can be “majority” leader, in spite of the fact that his senators represent a minority of the nation’s population.

Because the House plays no role in choosing federal judges, McConnell and Trump are able to pack the judicial branch with conservatives who not only are out of step with a majority of the country, but who in turn reinforce minority rule by refusing to protect voting rights.

I’ll flesh that argument out, with a little quantitative help from Nate Silver, in this week’s featured post “The Illegitimacy of a Conservative Supreme Court”. That should be out around 11 EDT.

The weekly summary will mourn Justice Ginsburg, indulge in some speculation about what happens next, and try to at least touch the bases on the week’s other major stories. That should be out by 1.

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  • Nuplages  On September 21, 2020 at 8:23 am

    11 it is . , .

  • Thomas Paine  On September 21, 2020 at 11:07 am

    It’s long past time to stop calling the right wing of this country “conservative”. There’s nothing conservative about their politics. They are reactionaries using their minority power to reverse the gains made toward equality for all persons as well as solidify their minority hold on power.

    True conservatives would never stand for these abuses nor support what the right have been doing for some time now.

  • frankackerman0617  On September 21, 2020 at 1:10 pm

    Readers of the Weekly Sift should be aware that as American politics drifts away from reality based thinking and action (The Atlantic: How the Government Lost Its Mind) and toward fantasy, that it is not just the great American experiment in democracy that is in danger of dying, but the whole of human civilization.

    An outlandish exaggeration? Perhaps, but consider the thousands of nuclear warheads (Nuclear Weapons: Who Has What at a Glance), with hundreds of warheads atop intercontinental missiles sitting in hidden bunkers ready to be launched at a moment’s notice by recognized psychologically compromised rulers. Or the slow, inevitable march of unchecked human induced climate change.

    We are presently at a cusp between a truly wonderous human future, and a slide toward the extinction of human civilization – a dark, dark age from which we may never emerge.

    Readers should also be aware that even when Trump is eventually removed as the head of the most powerful nation on Earth, all of the fantasy thinking that capitulated him into office will still be there.

  • frankackerman0617  On September 26, 2020 at 2:52 pm

    Re: “Can Anything Change Americas’ Minds About Donald Trump?”, Vox, Ezra Klein.
    Interesting piece, and true enough. But congruent with the liberal press’ cover-up (yes, at this late date that’s really what we should be calling it) of the fundamental damage Trump and his minions are inflicting on American society, global society, even life on planet earth in general. And all of this before we get into his, and his minions, efforts to undermine the integrity of a national election, or his declaration that he will not necessarily be bound by official results!

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