Paul LePage Won't Let 'Democracy' Keep The White Man Down
The Electoral College is a curious artifact that periodically allows us to select the first runner-up as president. It also fails as a sanity check against mob rule: Alexander Hamilton wrote several rap songs for the Federalist Papers directly warning against the elevation of someone like Donald Trump, yet in 2016 more electors bolted from Hillary Clinton than a not-so-secret Russian agent. What exactly is the point of the Electoral College? What good does it serve? Former Maine Governor Paul LePage threw on a freshly laundered white hood and explained it all for us.
During an interview with WVOM's "George Hale Ric Tyler Show" on Tuesday, the Republican crank expressed his opposition to the National Popular Vote bill. This radical legislation would ensure that whoever wins the most votes from actual people becomes president. LePage didn't bother with the dog whistle.
RACIST KOOK: "What would happen if they [abolished the Electoral College], white people will not have anything to say. It's only going to be the minorities who would elect. It would be California, Texas, Florida."
Holy shit! That is ... a totally unsurprising thing for LePage to say. He is a known racist whose interaction with black people is limited to guys named "D Money" and "Shifty." California, Texas, and Florida are the three most populous US states with roughly 90 million residents combined. Add in New York state's 20 million citizens and the four largest states account for almost a third of the country's population. So, yeah, they should have more of an influence than the four least-populated states, because of math. Wyoming, Vermont, Alaska, and North Dakota together have barely 3 million people. There are more folks still in New York during an August weekend.
But LePage is correct that minorities have infiltrated our biggest states and cities -- often because the Klan chased us out of the smaller ones. Fortunately, the Electoral College ensures that white people will have some influence in a government they still disproportionately represent. It is truly the first affirmative action program.
RACIST KOOK: "All the small states, like Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Wyoming, Montana, Rhode Island, will all be–you'll never see a presidential candidate again, you'll never see anybody at the national stage come to our state. We're gonna be forgotten people."
Most presidential candidates have vacation homes in at least half of those states, so we're not sure why LePage is freaking out. No one's going to forget about white people. As long as movies like Green Book win Oscars, we will always deeply consider the thoughts and feels of white folks. These piddly-ass states already have an outsized voice in the US Senate, where they get as many senators as California. Susan Collins's vote to confirm Justice Brett Kavanaugh counted as much as Kamala Harris's vote to send him boofing. Yet Maine has roughly the same population as San Diego.
Republicans are chill with the existence of the Senate and the Electoral College because the smaller states are predominately white. Flip the scripts and there'd be riots in the streets. Conservatives never accepted Barack Obama, and unlike the guy now squatting in his office, he actually won the popular vote ... twice. It is no coincidence that the two most recent presidents who were popular vote losers were both Republicans.
People were shocked and appalled when Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said straight up that the Electoral College exists to enable white supremacy.
Noted historian Tucker Carlson even pointed out that Abraham Lincoln lost the popular vote (he didn't) and was elected thanks to the Electoral College (still not true). He later went on to free the slaves (that actually happened)! See, the Electoral College has nothing to do with minimizing the voices of minorities! Now be quiet, brown lady! Go back to bartending and let serious white people talk. Why, here's one now:
RACIST KOOK: "Why don't we just adopt the constitution of Venezuela and be done with it? Let's have a dictator because that's really what you're gonna boil down to."
Conservatives are so afraid of Venezuela. You'd think it hacked our elections and owned our sort-of president. Although Venezuela recently had a mostly show election for president with perhaps deliberately low voter turnout, it doesn't have an Electoral College. LePage probably thinks that's the problem.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle.