Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Cruising the Web

Now that the Democrats have lost the battle to keep Brett Kavanaugh off the Supreme Court, some on the left are searching for ways to change the country's institutions to give Democrats some temporary advantage. Now they're taking aim at the Senate. Suddenly, they've decided it's terribly unfair that small states get the same number of senators as large states. Philip Bump wrote in the Washington Post
Kavanaugh, though, has a distinct honor: He will be the first justice nominated by someone who lost the popular vote, earning his seat on the bench with support from senators representing less than half of the country and whose nomination was opposed by a majority of the country.
Bump adds in at the end his response to potential critics of his analysis.
The second is that America is a republic, don’t you know, and this is how the system was built to work. To which the curt response is that, yes, as someone who writes about politics for a living, I am aware of the Senate and the Electoral College. It is worth noting, though, that this structure can at times conflict with the precept that all men are created equal.
NBC's Ken Dilanian commented, So suddenly, we're against the Connecticut Compromise.
In Federalist Paper No. 62, James Madison wrote, "It does not appear to be without some reason that in a compound republic, partaking both of the national and federal character, the government ought to be founded on a mixture of the principles of proportional and equal representation."

North Dakota has one at-large representative in the House, Rep. Kevin Cramer (R.) who is currently running against Heitkamp for her Senate seat. New York, in contrast, has 27 seats in the House of Representatives. Hillary Clinton beat President Donald Trump by 22 points in New York. In North Dakota, Trump beat Clinton by 36 points.
Here's a warning for anyone daydreaming about moving Supreme Court nominations into the house that is chosen based on population, if the vote on Kavanaugh had taken place in the House of Representatives, both Gorsuch and Kavanaugh nominations would still have been approved and with more than just 50% of the votes.

And if you're hallucinating about amending the Constitution to change the representation in the Senate so it's not equal, let me introduce you to Article V of the Constitution.
no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.
So I don't foresee any state with a small population agreeing to have its representation in the Senate no longer be equal to that of the bigger states.


But maybe actual change isn't the point. Maybe the point is simply to make everything seem illegitimate.



Rich Lowry also responds.
It’s certainly true that the Senate is not fully democratic and gives an outsized role to small states, since this was the price they exacted for signing on to the Constitution. This arrangement isn’t a conspiracy against the left.

Yes, Wyoming, population 560,000 in the 2010 census, cancels out California, population 37 million, with two Republican senators to the Golden State’s two Democrats. But Vermont, population 630,000, cancels out the two Republicans from Texas, population 25 million, with a Democrat and a socialist.

Gross population disparities aren’t anything new. In 1790, shortly after the ratification of the Constitution, Virginia had 747,160 people, Delaware 59,096. The gap between the largest and smallest state got bigger. In 1900, New York had 7,268,894 people and Nevada all of 42,335.

The republic survived.

The design of the Senate recognizes the status of the states as real governing entities with their own prerogatives under the Constitution. Like the equally hated Electoral College, the Senate ensures that flyover country isn’t ignored. It reflects the dizzying geographic diversity of a continental nation and promotes national cohesion by giving every corner of it a voice.

The Senate is also meant to be a check on the unbridled public will. Its members are elected in staggered six-year terms and, originally, they were selected by state legislatures, not in a direct vote.

The House is the more democratic body. California has 53 representatives; Wyoming has one. Yet, Democrats don’t control the House, either.

The root of the problem is that Democrats, who threw all in with an urban-oriented “coalition of the ascendant” beginning in 2008, don’t have much appeal to the middle of the country anymore. As recently as 2010, both senators from North Dakota were Democrats, and back in 2004, both senators from South Dakota were Democrats.

The disenchantment with the Senate is a function of the left’s preference for coastal rule. It wants California to have the whip hand in our national life. But why should Los Angeles and San Francisco have an outsized role in governing distant, rural parts of the country, with which they have no sympathy?


Jim Geraghty reminds us how Democrats have long argued that conservative victories are not legitimate.
Ronald Reagan won the presidency in 1980, but if you talk to certain aged progressives, they’ll insist that the reason Reagan won was that George H. W. Bush secretly met with the Iranians in Paris to persuade them to keep the hostages in Tehran until after Election Day.

In 1994, Republicans won control of the House and Senate, and ABC News anchor Peter Jennings explained to viewers that it wasn’t a real shift in the electorate, or at least not one to be respected:
Ask parents of any two-year-old and they can tell you about those temper tantrums: the stomping feet, the rolling eyes, the screaming. It’s clear that the anger controls the child and not the other way around. It’s the job of the parent to teach the child to control the anger and channel it in a positive way. Imagine a nation full of uncontrolled two-year-old rage. The voters had a temper tantrum last week . . . Parenting and governing don’t have to be dirty words: the nation can’t be run by an angry two-year-old.
Republicans had technically won the elections, but they hadn’t really won a legitimate victory.

In 2000, Democrats believed that Al Gore really won Florida and that the Supreme Court stopped a recount that would have shown him to be the winner. (Never mind that the court voted 7-2 that the recount method the Gore campaign wanted, using a hand recount in their four best counties, violated the Equal Protection Clause. The 5-4 decision was about whether an alternative method could be completed in time.)

Democrats contended that GOP victories in the 2002 midterms and the 2004 presidential election were the result of Diebold voting machines changing votes for Kerry to votes for Bush.

After the 2010 midterms, Democrats contended that gerrymandering, a bipartisan passion, was suddenly a threat to democracy. No less a figure than Barack Obama enjoyed drawing the lines of his state legislative district “to include some of Chicago’s wealthiest citizens, making the district a powerful financial and political base that he used to win his U.S. Senate seat.” A political fact of life that both parties utilized suddenly became intolerable once Democrats were in the minority again.

After the 2014 midterms, Democrats started complaining that their total vote in all Senate races combined was higher than the Republicans’ total vote in all Senate races combined, and that this somehow made the Republican majority in the U.S. Senate illegitimate, because so many of the GOP states had smaller populations.

The second-least populated state in the union is Vermont, with an estimated 623,000 residents; the 45th is Delaware; the 43rd is Rhode Island; and the 40th is Hawaii, with about 1.4 million. All of those states have two Democratic senators. I don’t hear Democrats complaining that those states are over-represented.

Then there was 2016, when President Trump won the Electoral College but lost the popular vote. The irony is that not only had Hillary Clinton lost a slew of key states that Barack Obama had won four years earlier, but that other Democrats had figured out how to win in those states in recent years. Senator Bill Nelson won in Florida in 2012, Senator Sherrod Brown won in Ohio in 2012, Senator Tammy Baldwin won in Wisconsin in 2012, Governor Tom Wolf won in Pennsylvania in 2014, and Governor Roy Cooper won North Carolina in 2016. In 2014, Iowa Democrats won the state’s treasurer and attorney-general races. These are not impossible states for Democrats to win; they’re just impossible states for a candidate as lousy as Hillary Clinton to win.

But to a lot of Democrats, Hillary Clinton’s ability to run up her margins in states such as California and New York meant that Trump’s win was somehow illegitimate.

To a certain type of Democratic activist, Trump’s victory was illegitimate because of the popular vote, the Republican Senate majority is illegitimate because of the low population of some red states, the Republican House majority is illegitimate because of gerrymandering, and now the Supreme Court is illegitimate because of the allegations against Brett Kavanaugh — and heck, maybe they’ll throw in the allegations against Clarence Thomas, too. Whenever the party they don’t like wins something, they can find a reason why the victory isn’t really “legitimate.” This is “Calvinball,” where the rules of the game are made up while you’re playing, and the purpose of the constantly shifting rules is to ensure that one side always wins.

The notion that every Republican victory is illegitimate in one form or another is not a fringe theory in Democratic circles, and if it’s not a majority within the party, then the minority who believes this is loud.


Karol Markowicz expresses a lot of what I've been thinking about how the media and the left treat women who supported Kavanaugh. We are not acceptable women and it has to be womensplained to us why we should stop facilitating the misogyny that, apparently, Kavanaugh represents.
You’d think the election of 2016 would have taught us that women aren’t some monolithic bloc, all thinking and voting the same way. But the Kavanaugh hearings have once again exposed the left’s expectation that women all have the same opinions on a given event. When they don’t, the conservative female opinion is the outlier, while that of women on the left requires no qualifier.

In Time magazine, playwright Eve Ensler wrote a letter to women who supported Kavanaugh. She wrote that the letter was intended not to “lecture them” or “denigrate them,” yet it did far worse: She compared women who support Kavanaugh to her mother, who looked the other way as her father sexually abused her. She wrote that these women had been taught to respect the patriarchy and believe men over other women.

But Ensler accidentally ended up making her opponents’ point, writing, “Stop the ascension of a man who is angry, aggressive, and vengeful and could very well be a sexual assaulter.” If even Ensler has her doubts about Kavanaugh being a sexual assaulter, why is it so strange that other women do, too?
Just as all women shouldn't be regarded as a monolith, not all allegations of sexual assault should be regarded as one single allegation. Yes, it's tragic that people who have been sexually abused. But it is ludicrous to assert that any man accused of sexual assault should be judged guilty because other women have been assaulted. That is not how our justice system works. If your house is vandalized, that doesn't mean than any vandal charged with vandalism should be considered guilty simply because you're still angry about the crime against you.
Women also pushed back on the idea that Kavanaugh should be a stand-in for all men who had ever sexually assaulted a woman. On Friday, Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski met with “dozens of Alaskan women privately in her office,” “including several sexual assault survivors,” during what MSNBC correspondent Garrett Haake described as an “emotional” meeting. Alexandra DeSanctis, staff writer at National Review, tweeted: “I’m highly disturbed by this notion that it’s just to punish Kavanaugh for other men’s sins. There’s no legitimate reason to believe he’s committed any sexual misconduct, but half the country wants to make some kind of cultural sacrifice out of him.”

But using personal trauma to inform opinions on a Supreme Court nominee only seemed to work in one direction. When Kellyanne Conway admitted she’d also been sexually assaulted, it didn’t lend her opinion the same weight it did for liberal women. Instead, she was subject to an attack by Mika Brzezinski, who ranted that Conway should disclose who did what to her and when.

Believe all victims — except when it doesn’t fit your narrative.


Alexandra DeSantis tries to assuage concerns that women and men aren't at war over the importance of due process. She's responding to the ranting column that Alexis Grenell published in the New York Times excoriating white women for the result of the Kavanaugh vote.
She singles out “white women” as the chief offenders, since they were less likely than other women to have voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016, and she’s most contemptuous of Senator Collins, who she says “subjected us to a slow funeral dirge about due process and some other nonsense I couldn’t even hear through my rage headache as she announced on Friday she would vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh.”
Yes, that's how to persuade people - announce that your "rage headache" is preventing you from listening to the reasoned arguments of your opponents.
Her headache is about to get worse. It’s not just Senator Collins or a few conservative, white women who are concerned about “nonsense” such as the foundations of our judicial system and the fundamental principle of “innocent until proven guilty.”

Sixty percent of respondents to a Harvard survey said they wanted Kavanaugh confirmed if the FBI did not corroborate Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations. Moreover, Rasmussen asked people if they agree or disagree with President Trump’s statement, “It’s a scary time for young men in American when you can be guilty of something that you may not be guilty of.” Overall, men were only slightly more favorable than women to the statement: Fifty-eight percent of men and 55 percent of women agreed, compared to 32 and 35 percent who disagreed.

But when broken down by race, black respondents were more likely than white ones to agree that it’s a hard time for young men. While 56 percent of whites agreed (37 percent disagreed), 71 percent of blacks agreed and just 21 percent disagreed. The poll didn’t break down by gender within each race, but it seems that a majority of black women are concerned about how men are being treated.

This shouldn’t be a surprise: We know too well what can happen when the presumption of innocence is abandoned — and when we place stock in the sexist notion of truth-telling, holding that women deserved to be believed over men absent any evidence or corroboration.
African Americans know the history of uncorroborated allegations of sexual assault against black men. They might not be so ready to give up those hard-earned protections.
Grenell writes bitterly: “The people who scare me the most are the mothers, sisters and wives of those young men, because my stupid uterus still holds out some insane hope of solidarity.”

She should give up that hope. Not all women will join her in her attempts to divide people between the sexes, as if men and women are necessarily warring sides. Most women do have men in their lives who they care about and want to be treated fairly. Most women don’t evaluate political candidates based on their sex, but rather assess their political beliefs and their qualifications as individuals.

Isn’t this what equality and freedom from bias are about?
Why should women want to deny other women the liberty to think for themselves? Oh, and by the way, a uterus, stupid or otherwise, can't think.

Who was the editor at the New York Times who thought that this tirade was worthy of publishing?


Ellie Bufkin responds
to these attacks on conservative women who dare to vote their own beliefs.
In all of these condemnations of conservative women, there is always the broad stroke that they are stuck in an existence dominated by tyrannical men. There is never a suggestion that perhaps simply being a women does not dictate political stances, that maybe women are capable of forming their own opinions, and therefore able to dissent from the tribe the progressive left insist they belong to.

Conservative women today reject their casting as second-class citizens. They vote for what they believe to be a better America. Those 53 percent of white women who voted for Trump were not just blindly obeying a husband or father, they were voting against a candidate who did not represent their values, despite her sex.

Hillary Clinton did not offer a portrait of America that appealed to women with conservative values like promoting a small government and strong military. She did not appeal to women who believe that life begins at conception, and she certainly didn’t appeal to anyone who values her Second Amendment rights.

This concept is entirely lost on the progressive left. They were so blinded by their hatred of Trump, they couldn’t see how any woman could look past his obvious character flaws and vote for him. They could not see that, as imperfect a candidate as Trump was, Hillary was a far worse option for anyone with conservative ideas. They assumed that women, based entirely on their sex, would support the female Democratic candidate, no matter what she intended to accomplish as president. That line of thinking is beyond oppressive to women everywhere....

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), whose announcement of her “Yes” vote removed doubt of Kavanaugh’s confirmation, is being tormented by the left for “betraying women.” Perhaps her decision is not the one they had hoped for, but Collins’s choice was a prime example of a woman standing up for what she believes, despite tremendous pressure to do otherwise.

Collins is no servant to any patriarchy, and no enemy of women. Her voting record proves that she is more than willing to vote against her GOP colleagues when moved to do so. She even provided a point by point explanation for her “yes” vote on a live broadcast so she could explain why Kavanaugh was a good choice to serve on the Supreme Court.

Regardless of her efforts and history as a senator, Collins’s choice to think for herself in this matter made her the subject of unrelenting ridicule from the left. A woman who dares dissent from the prescribed ideology of gender politics is instantly condemned by progressives. The mantra of “Believe all women” is gravely misleading, as the act of unsupported belief goes against all precedent of due process, and automatically condemns the accused with zero regard for evidence.

Instead of being praised for thinking for themselves, women who hold conservative values are condemned and mocked by the left. They are the subjects of threats and dismissal from thoughtful conversation.

Today’s political tribalism prevents women with conservative opinions from being outspoken in mixed company for fear of retribution, while their progressive counterparts are hailed as feminist heroes. This leftist rejection of a woman who has any opinion contrary to theirs is far more toxic to the cause of equality for women than anything else facing American women today.


If an allegations fits the liberal narrative, it will be repeated ad nauseum. But the left reserves the right to determine which vocabulary may be used by conservatives. Apparently, according to CNN's Brooke Baldwin, the word "mob" may not be used by conservatives to describe leftist mobs chasing Republicans out of restaurants or trying to break into the Supreme Court or protesting Kavanaugh.
Maybe she needs to check her dictionary.
Noun: : a large and disorderly crowd of people
especially : one bent on riotous or destructive action

Verb: : to crowd about and attack or annoy


And expect more of these moments when leftists mobs surround Republicans and try to make their lives unbearable. And the world's smartest woman has given such behavior her endorsement.
Hillary Clinton said Tuesday that civility in America can only begin again if Democrats win back the House or Senate this fall.

"You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for, what you care about," Clinton said in an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour. "That's why I believe, if we are fortunate enough to win back the House and or the Senate, that's when civility can start again. But until then, the only thing that the Republicans seem to recognize and respect is strength."
See only Democrats can be civil, but that will only occur when they're in power. Until then, in her view, anything goes. See, she really does regard conservatives as deplorables. Notice her argument is that Democrats will continue screaming at Republicans until they get elected. Isn't that what screaming toddlers do when they're throwing a tantrum? It's hard to believe that a person with that attitude would lose to Donald Trump.

Republicans must be hoping that she'll keep putting herself out there saying such objectionable things.


And then there is Senator Hirono who thinks that mobs surrounding Republicans in restaurants is about white supremacy.Well, this was the woman who knew that Kavanaugh was guilty of assault because of his judicial approach. So why should we expect any sort of coherence from her?


Guy Benson has some very good advice for Republicans - "Don't get cocky."
More than three-quarters of voters in these battlegrounds rate the economy positively, yet the president's strong disapproval rating stands at 47 percent. That's a worrisome disconnect for the GOP. If Democrats simply capture roughly three-quarters of the 21 Clinton-won districts, and one-fourth of those 48 Trump-carried districts, they'll take the gavel. But the average generic ballot is almost dead even within the four dozen Trump districts, meaning that substantial gains are well within reach for Team Blue. If this ends up being a cascading wave year, we won't be talking about whether Democrats can manage to eke out 24 gains on election night; we'll be wondering whether the over/under should be set somewhere closer to 40 seats. Don't forget the important data points of off-year and special election results and trends we've already seen. Of course it's conceivable that Republicans will cheat history and outperform the polls on November 6th. But the far greater likelihood is that Democrats will have a good night.