The American Collapse


#41

I don’t think states giving up power is the question, I really think that America can’t function as a united country of these 50 states.


#42

Sure it can function. If strong leadership was possible and sensible policies could be enacted, it could go fine. But strong leadership is impossible if the way the person or party gets into power is on the back of a minority party, bolstered only by historical allocation of seats and voting power.

At the moment many states that vote against their own best interest and are, practically speaking, bailed out by the federal government anyway. They get their own way setting very dodgy policy, and when it goes wrong? Someone else’s problem.

If a federal government somehow formed that could override the bad decisions of individual states, it’s not as though everyone would vote to screw over states they didn’t like. The majority of the country would be very happy to vote for everyone to be looked after in the best way possible. But the small population states will never give up the power they wield nationally to allow anyone else to have a say in how they run their state locally.

The only national-level function the small states are happy with is FEMA. It comes along and bails out a state or city after a natural disaster that, to be honest, could have been made way less dangerous with better local planning. Not Puerto Rico, of course, but Texas should be doing better at not building housing developments inside reservoirs.

States want and need to keep their populations inside their borders. It should be that borders of states don’t matter to anyone on a meaningful policy level. That way decisions could be made for human people, not for state governments and budgets.


#43

Honestly, the more people I talk to, the more I find that people who aren’t on the left politically don’t want the government to take care of people.

Honestly.

They want entitlement programs to go away, they don’t want the government to feed the homeless using tax dollars, they don’t want anyone without a job to have comfort and stability. They also don’t want the government to mandate people having jobs, but they do want the government to block automation so jobs don’t disappear, and the idea of a future where there aren’t enough jobs because of automation where people are taken care of anyways enrages them.

I know it sounds ridiculous, but honestly…People don’t want to vote for a country where everyone is taken care of. They want a country where if they have found a job and stability, the government doesn’t penalize them with higher taxes, and they can feel superior to the people who don’t have a job.


#44

You treat that like that’s the insane part. It’s a reasonable rhetorical position, it’s just pointed at the wrong things. The problem is that when you examine things more closely things like single payer healthcare to fall back on saves everyone money. The rational argument, however, get’s drowned out by rhetoric that sounds internally consistent and doesn’t require as much consideration.

Personally I don’t look at this all in a lens of “taking care of everyone” or some moral bullshit. I look at this all with the perspective of what actually serves my own interests and still arrive at certain positions. Making it about moral values is how the Republican party co-opted abortion and gun rights as party platforms. Making healthcare and entitlements about morality might swing some people to a side the same way some people vote for their own self-interest, but the rational position should be that some amount of safety net for healthcare and basic necessities is a net benefit for everyone.


#45

Sure. And that’s my point. The majority of people ARE more to the left politically and DO want the government to take care of people. A lot of these people aren’t represented in voting because, duh, they actually need more care taken of them so it is even possible for them to vote. Nobody who has to work two jobs on voting day (on a TUESDAY in NOVEMBER), and doesn’t have a car, can get to the voting booth. But if they could vote, it’s not as if they would be voting for less care.

What I was trying to explain was that the same states who have the most miss-apportioned voting power are won by exactly the people who are voting against their own best interests. These are the same people who don’t want the government to help people, and they have too much power compared to more left-leaning states that DO want to help people.


#46

I think there’s more right-leaning people than you’re acknowledging, but I think we agree on the basic causes of what’s hampering politics in America.


#47

They have zero electoral power under a system that accurately represents voters proportionately.

Democrats win the “popular vote” for both the house and the senate EVERY election.


#48

#49

I didn’t bother checking for the Senate, but for the House that hasn’t been the case. The only time since 2000 that the Dems won the popular vote but not the most seats in the House was in 2012. Of the remaining eight elections, the Dems won the vote and the seat majority in two (2006 and 2008). The remaining six went to Republicans.

That said, a switch to a pure proportional vote (assuming we are looking at total votes across the entire country and not state-by-state) the size or presence of a majority would be different. In 2002, for example, the split was 229:205 (Republican:Democratic), but if we went proportional, it would have been 218:197. In 2012, the split was 234:201, and would be 207:212. Keep in mind that a party needs 218 seats to form a majority, so a coalition of some sort would have to have been created. That would have been true for 2000, 2004, and 2016 as well (and for those elections, the Republicans would have had a lead in the total number of seats needed for a majority, not the Democrats).

Have some data.

Actual Seat Split
Year: Republican-Democratic-Other

2000: 221-212-2
2002: 229-205-1
2004: 232-202-1
2006: 202-233-0
2008: 178-257-0
2010: 242-193-0
2012: 234-201-0
2014: 247-188-0
2016: 241-194-0

Hypothetical Proportional Seat Split
Year: Republican-Democratic-Other

2000: 207-205-23
2002: 218-197-20
2004: 215-204-16
2006: 202-233-0
2008: 185-232-18
2010: 225-195-15
2012: 207-212-16
2014: 223-198-14
2016: 214-209-12


#50

A follow-up to the article that kicked off this thread: https://eand.co/how-america-collapsed-610742630522

Markets are seen to be the cure-alls for every kind of social ill, challenge, or issue — the last, best, and only ways to coordinate every last aspect of human thought, action, effort, or ideas.

I think it’s worth reading both, as the second seems to form a coherent argument as to where the collapse’s starting point is from the point of view of the author. The above quote is the thesis statement for where the collapse starts.

I think in putting it all on the markets, they’re putting the starting point of the collapse far later than most of us here would judge the starting point for the rot, but I can see where it can be folded in to some other perspectives, in both where the conservative side’s inflection point as well as the liberal.

The first step in American collapse was that the right gave up on entirely the idea of social order. Unpersuaded? Consider how in the 1950s, Republicanism believed in a social contract, taxes, and public goods — but by the 2000s, it believed in, well, none of these whatsoever. The GOP stopped offer people any active aspect of a social contract at all — its only agenda was to “drown government in a bathtub”.

I think that this view of the failures of the American right is generous, in that it’s just saying. “It happened” without a question as to why. It seems a decent furthering of the idea, since the author uses the 1950’s as a touchstone, to consider the fact that since the civil rights movement of the 50’s and 60’s undermined the primary reason for supporting the social order for a number of right thinkers: they believed in the social order because the social order said they were better than brown people.

If the social order doesn’t promise you superiority, then why bother believing in any kind of social order at all?

How did the American left respond? Did it fill the vacuum left by the right? For example, with a vision for not just a “better” social order — but any kind of social order at all, not just the rule of the strong over the weak, which is the lack of a social order? One grounded in a functioning, real-world social contract? Not at all. It, too, gave up any interest in providing average, everyday people the basics of a good life, or of moderating the gain of winners — and hence, the bottom fell out of the social order, while the top floated off into another galaxy.

I think there’s a generous and cynical way to look at the left’s actions. The more generous one might be the belief that the problem is hard, and you can’t force the Klansman not to be a Klansman, so you just try and make the entire system “neutral” and “market-based” to make it harder to argue with than just telling people to stop being racist fucks and they and all their grandparents were fuckers for being racist fucks. And even that’s more than a little cowardly.

The more cynical take is the American left went there because it was easier to work together with Money because Money offered the honeyed words of “we want everybody to participate in the market.”

And yeah, I draw a lot of it back to race. But the past decade has seemed to only strengthen this argument at the reason why our system is falling apart so easily, because of that essential racist tribalism.


#51

Well done for posting a link to the same article I linked to in the very first post of this thread :wink:


#52

#53

Well, this has become officially scary.

Last month the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that the 2011 Republican lead redistricting violates the Pennsylvania constitution. The Republicans engaged in very clear gerrymandering, which allowed the Republicans to gain a 13-5 advantage in the State congress even though the majority voted Democratic. Last week the Republicans said they will not comply with the courts orders. Today the United States Supreme Court declined taking up the issue.

In response the Republicans have issued a memo calling to impeach five of the seven justices of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. And considering the Republicans are holding a 2/3rds majority they are actually able to go through with it.


#54

That’s for the GOP-are-bad thread. It’s pure politics, not societal collapse, which is what this thread is about.


#55

I guess some kids died in Florida?

I’m sure it’s nothing, so let’s just get back to talking about snowboarders! Can’t dwell on the negative!


#56

I keep thinking about this.

17% is not a huge amount, but it’s added activation energy for any sort of change. There’s inertia, plus this, plus the bias toward less populated states.


#57

Part of the problem is that the electoral college math no longer works out properly due to the cap on the total size of the House of Representatives.

Back when the Constitution was ratified, the formula was 1 representative per 33,000 people. Nowadays, it’s about 1 per 710,000 people, with the minimal guarantee of having at least one per state.

I took two states as examples: California and Wyoming. Right now, California has 55 electoral votes vs Wyoming’s 3. This gives California a ratio of about 18:1 in electoral votes compared to Wyoming, despite the population ratio being about 67:1.

If electoral votes were determined using the original numbers for representation (one representative per 33,000 people), then California would have 1192 electoral votes vs. Wyoming with 20 electoral votes, for a ratio of about 60:1, which is much closer to the actual population ratio and arguably the way the electoral college should be divvied up if we are to still have it without loopholes like the national popular vote compact.


#58

You’re absolutely right about how broken the House of Representatives and Electoral College are in terms of representation, but barring a Supreme Court decision, it will never change. No small state is ever going to vote in favor of lessening its electoral power and representation in Congress or in determining the president.

Obviously, a reapportionment of representatives is the best answer, but as a kind of thought experiment, strictly for the Electoral College, I was wondering what would happen if you removed senators from determining how many electoral votes a state gets.

So to use your example, currently, Wyoming gets the minimum number of elector votes possible. One for its member in the House of Representatives, and two for its Senators. 1 + 2 = 3. California, on the other hand, has 53 members in the House of Representatives, and the same number of Senators (2). 53 + 2 = 55. If you removed senators from the calculation, Wyoming would only get 1 electoral vote, but California would still get 53.

Like I wrote above, I’m not sure how much of an impact this would have on presidential elections, but I’m curious if under that formula, there would still be as big a divide between the popular vote and electoral college votes. Regardless, it will never happen for the same reasons I wrote. Small and less populous states will never vote to diminish their own electoral power.


#59

That would give California a 53:1 ratio, also much closer to the population ratio that the current 18:1. That would be a reasonable calculation as well, I think.

But I do agree that no small state would willfully give up its power like that. The only foreseeable hope is probably to have enough large-to-medium states join the national popular vote compact.

Interestingly enough, Hamilton and Madison would be aghast at the current state of the Electoral College. They were completely against the winner-take-all system we have today. They were in favor of having each district elect an elector who would then debate, probably in a parliamentary style, over the possible presidential candidates with his (it was men only at the time) other chosen electors. The electoral college as it currently exists is a far cry from what it was envisioned as by the framers.


#60

The actual solution is a popular vote system for president.

Everyone’s vote matters.If your candidate doesn’t win, it actually just means that less people in the country wanted them.