It Was Hard To Watch The Senate Divisiveness
It was hard to watch the testimonies of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Regardless of which side of the aisle you favor, it was a nail-biting moment to watch the senators cast their votes.
But watch we did. The proceedings captured the attention of millions of viewers and the results affected the entire nation. Instead of a moment of national pride at seeing one of our key institutions add another justice, it shook the country.
As we watch such proceedings, we see a nation torn, like a flag torn in battle, as our senators align themselves with power, political party, or constituents. Little leadership emerged. Little of “cool justice” was seen. Disappointment reigned. The process was broken!
Supreme Court Justice Selection Rules Have Changed
It hasn’t always been this way when selecting a Supreme Court Justice. For example, it used to be a little less public. Rules have changed from requiring a two-thirds cloture vote (vote to end debate) to a three-fifths supermajority. In 2017, it changed again to a simple majority to move forward.
We Watch As Political Tribalism Makes Its Mark
Confirmation of a Supreme Court Justice should not take center stage of a political battle. Theoretically, placing such a lifetime position calls for a moderate judge who is steeped in the Constitution and places law above all else.
We watch as process rules create significant debilitating consequences.
Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld point out in their piece, The Threat of Tribalism, in the October issue of The Atlantic:
The Constitution once united a diverse country under a banner of ideas. But partisanship has turned Americans against one another – and against the principles enshrined in our founding document.
As we watch the political tribalism play out, our personal defenses go up and anger rises. We watch and witness the anguish, the tears, and inexplicable partisanship emerges.
Majority Rule Forfeits True Consensus
A simple majority has its dangers to consider. A good friend of mine, a bit of a historical maven, said:
Majority rule divides and provides a suspect outcome (that’s why we don’t use it with juries). This was a major issue leading to the separation of our country and our civil war. Half the country thought (in supporting the Constitution) they had agreed to a system of sovereign states coming to consensus on issues that affected everyone.
James Madison, a Founding Father and our 4thPresident, too, provided sage advice with:
In Republics, the great danger is that the majority may not sufficiently respect the rights of the minority.
We Will Soon Vote In Midterm Elections
In a few short weeks we’ll be voting in the 2018-midterm elections. Until then we will be confronted on multiple fronts, by whatever media channels we favor, to make political choices. What will we consider? What will we watch?
Each of us has our own list of tests a candidate must meet to earn our vote. The qualifications and expectations may be highly personal or commonly shared by others with whom we agree. Here are a few differentiating points voters consider:
- Political party
- Place of Residence
We can’t ask about some of these elements if we hire someone for a regular job (thank goodness). We also endure marketing pitches and hyperbole and outright fabrications. How can we choose wisely when the process becomes encumbered with distractions that cloud a fair assessment of talents and skills?
We watch and we vote and we collectively hope our chosen ones emerge as winners.
We Are Divided Into Minority Demographics
We are painfully aware of how divided this country is. We read polls that assess voting preferences for such demographics as:
- Political Party
- Education Levels
- Work Status
- Place of Residence
- Immigration Status
The list, like the one noted earlier, can go on and on. Given how we’re sliced and diced, it’s a wonder we can get to a consensus at all. Whether one considers the “test” we exercise when choosing a candidate or the demographics that color our choice, we are all minorities in one way or another. Coming to a consensus seems distant and out of reach. Political tribalism widens the divide!
How can voting process rules make a difference?
All Minority Voices Need To Count In Presidential Elections
Minority voices are important to consider when we select our nation’s president. During such times the lists above expand even more and the divisions become starker. We, as a nation, can be torn asunder in the process.
It’s made even worse when we employ a winner-takes-all approach when translating the popular vote into the Electoral College results. It spoils the process, discourages voter turnout, and can destroy a true sense of consensus.
Equal Voice Voting is based upon the idea that every state matters. Every vote counts on a state-by-state basis with Equal Voice Voting. Minority voices (and there are many) can be heard, counted, and they matter if Equal Voice Voting is used.
We may not be able to avoid today’s political tribal climate. We may not be able to easily set aside the current anger and defensiveness, healing the nation in the process. But we can take steps to ensure good and practical rules are used in our presidential elections. Let’s allow the Electoral College to function as our Founding Fathers intended, serving all minority voices across the nation to elicit the best consensus vote we can.
Let your state legislator know you want Equal Voice Voting so your vote counts!
Be sure to vote this November!