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Sat Feb 25, 2017, 02:42 PM

Why isn't Civic Equality In The Vote A CIVIL RIGHT?

Last edited Sat Feb 25, 2017, 11:07 PM - Edit history (1)

In the Jim Crow south the black vote was suppressed through various vote weighting schemes that diminished the weight of the black vote while magnifying the votes of whites. These laws was declared illegal in voting rights cases like Reynolds v Sims which makes the MORAL argument for equality in the vote...

It could hardly be gainsaid that a constitutional claim had been asserted by an allegation that certain otherwise qualified voters had been entirely prohibited from voting for members of their state legislature. And, if a State should provide that the votes of citizens in one part of the State should be given two times, or five times, or 10 times the weight of votes of citizens in another part of the State, it could hardly be contended that the right to vote of those residing in the disfavored areas had not been effectively diluted.

http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-supreme-court/377/533.html

This civic equality in the vote seems so BASIC to self government that I doubt many would disagree in principle. After all, whenever some votes weigh more than others... there's the possibility of MINORITY RULE... and that's why the Bush and Trump Juntas were IMPOSED on the nation that rejected them. It's also why Dem Senators represent 33 million more people than the GOP but the GOP also controls the Senate. Together they will work to weaken needed regulations and dismantle programs they've always loathed... brought to you by the power given to them by antidemocratic government.

While most might agree there should be civil equality in the vote in principle, in practice this civil right seems to have virtually NO support even with most liberal Dems even from those who CLAIM to be for other civil rights.

I've long looked for an explanation...

Thoughts?

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Reply Why isn't Civic Equality In The Vote A CIVIL RIGHT? (Original post)
eniwetok Feb 2017 OP
eniwetok Feb 2017 #1
guillaumeb Feb 2017 #2
eniwetok Feb 2017 #3
guillaumeb Feb 2017 #5
eniwetok Feb 2017 #6
eniwetok Feb 2017 #8
guillaumeb Feb 2017 #9
brooklynite Feb 2017 #4
eniwetok Feb 2017 #7

Response to eniwetok (Original post)

Sat Feb 25, 2017, 07:48 PM

1. I've always said the Dems are AWOL on democracy...

Just like almost no one wants to discuss the debt... which poses a existential threat to Democratic programs... no one seems to give a shit about civic equality in the vote even if it's given us the Bush and Trump Juntas... and ALSO poses a existential threat to Dem programs...

But MAN... some people here can certainly get themselves worked up over trans bathrooms and actually believe that more important than the above.

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Response to eniwetok (Original post)

Mon Feb 27, 2017, 04:38 PM

2. I can only recommend one time.

So I did.

Plus, the Electoral College is one component of a system that still favors the former slave states, as well as lightly populated western states.

And even if one attempts to justify GOP control as a rural vs urban fight, GOP controlled states are so gerrymandered that urban votes are minimized by packing minorities into the fewest districts possible, or kept at the 40% range in every district to aid white control.

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Response to guillaumeb (Reply #2)

Mon Feb 27, 2017, 04:49 PM

3. urban vs rural

I've heard this crap before... as if somehow one group of americans deserves a bigger vote just because of the choice of state residence. This has lead to the craziness that if a person moves from CA to WY their presidential vote suddenly weighs 3.5x as much and their senatorial vote weighs 70x more. I'd like to think this civic inequality would be SO distasteful to Dems a reform movement would have started centuries ago. But since it's couched in terms of how states are represented... Dems, the party where we'd EXPECT democratic reforms to arise from, go through life oblivious... buying into the Civic Religion that the House compensates for the antidemocratic Senate. But as soon as one looks at how any citizen is represented... the lie falls apart.

If going ANTIdemocratic is the "moral" solution to "protect" the alleged rights of some classes of people then those groups HISTORICALLY oppressed deserve that bigger vote. Of course that violates what should be a bedrock of democracy: civic equality in the vote where all votes weigh the same in terms of representation. The Bill Of Rights proves rights can be protected WITHOUT resorting to antidemocratic schemes that are illegal on the state and municiple level. Another way is to insure that only people from certain groups chair congressional committees so they can shape legislation.

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Response to eniwetok (Reply #3)

Mon Feb 27, 2017, 04:54 PM

5. I think many Democrats subscribe to the "demographic inevitability"

argument. That somehow, as the white population represents less of the population at large, that Democratic control will solidify. But the GOP is quite good at gerrymandering and voter suppression.

But given the current system, Democrats need to inspire voters as Obama inspired voters. Only a huge turnout in 2018 can help the Democrats overcome the built in GOP advantages.

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Response to guillaumeb (Reply #5)

Mon Feb 27, 2017, 05:01 PM

6. You're right!

It's a silly argument... waiting for demographics to solve winning election problem. But the Dems have their heads in the sand if they think it's any panacea because it doesn't make the system any more democratic. States with 18% of the population will still have 52% of the Senate seats where they can block the House. The EC can still overturn the popular vote. And the amendment formula will still give states with 4% of the US population the power to block any reform.

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Response to guillaumeb (Reply #2)

Mon Feb 27, 2017, 11:00 PM

8. Just a quick note on gerrymandering...

I don't know if this holds up for all states since the ratios of party membership might vary... but when done well, gerrymandering might result in 70% of the seats with 51% of the vote. The TX Dems did this to the GOP after the 1990 census, and Tom Delay tried to do the same with his "mid-decade" redistricting. The 2002 vote was 55% GOP and after plan went through the GOP won 21 seats compared to the Dems with 11.... 66% of the seats with about 55% of the vote.

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Response to eniwetok (Reply #8)

Tue Feb 28, 2017, 11:12 AM

9. True.

A district only needs to be weighted to a small degree. Plus, given that historically, GOP voters are more reliable voters, the percentage can be as small as 51%.

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Response to eniwetok (Original post)

Mon Feb 27, 2017, 04:51 PM

4. Simple...you have no right to vote for President.

As flippant as it sounds, it's true. The Constitution leaves it to the authority of each State to choose Electors determined by the number of House and Senate seats they hold. There's no obligation of a State to let you vote at all. (IF they choose to let you vote, then other provisions of the Constitution kick in). And the inequity in the number of Electors was the result of a deal to get smaller States to form the national Government, by giving them more proportional influence.

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #4)

Mon Feb 27, 2017, 05:13 PM

7. I know... and it's just another problem with the system...

I'm not a fan of federalism... and I detest state suffrage, the source of ALL the antidemocratic features of our system.

As for the EC... it seems more a ploy to get the slave states to ratify the Constitution. Here's Madison at the Constitutional Convention supporting the popular vote... BUT there's a problem...

The people generally could only know & vote for some Citizen whose merits had rendered him an object of general attention & esteem. There was one difficulty however of a serious nature attending an immediate choice by the people. The right of suffrage was much more diffusive in the Northern than the Southern States; and the latter could have no influence in the election on the score of the Negroes. The substitution of electors obviated this difficulty and seemed on the whole to be liable to fewest objections.:

I think we all know WHY the system is as it is... it gave every special interest invited to the constitutional convention a check on every other group. But lost in these cynical negotiations was the principle the nation was founded on... that the moral legitimacy of government is derived from the CONSENT of the governed. If the minority can govern through transparent tricks like state suffrage, it VIOLATES that principle. It also violates the what SHOULD be a key civil right... civic equality in the vote... to which I should add the right to vote one's conscience and get some representation for what one believes.




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