Electoral College Day, then and now

640px-Scene_at_the_Signing_of_the_Constitution_of_the_United_StatesThe Electoral College meets today, with the designated electors meeting in state capitols to cast their vote for president.  In most states, electors are required, by law or by oath, to vote according to the election results of their state.  Nevertheless, this year electors are receiving thousands of e-mails, letters, and phone calls, insisting on the autonomy of the electoral college and begging them not to put Trump in office.  Even Democratic electors are being pressured not to vote for Clinton but a more conventional Republican, in the hopes of attracting enough Republican electors to switch from Trump.

In the first presidential election, each state voted, either popularly or by state legislature, for upstanding citizens and trusted local leaders who gathered together to deliberate on who would make the best president.  They voted, and the winner would become president.  That first Electoral College chose, unanimously, George Washington.  There hasn’t been a better president since.

But soon political parties came into existence, nominating their candidates. The electors came to represent a particular party.  They began to all be selected by a popular vote.  And soon we had the system we do today.  (See this for the history of the Electoral College.)

Would you favor going back to the original Constitutional method of picking a president? [Read more…]

A nation of suburbs

Suburbs,_Virginia_(6045440309)Big cities seem to get most of the attention.  People debate their merits compared with small towns and the rural life.  Suburbs don’t get the same respect.

But according to a report from the Urban Land Institute, 79% of the American population live in suburbs.  That includes 85% of the nation’s children and 75% of Millennials.

Contrary to the stereotypes about “white flight,” suburbs are racially and ethnically diverse, with 76% of the minority population living in suburbs.  And suburbs are where most of the nation’s jobs, businesses, and economic vitality can be found.

After the jump, Richard Mize summarizes the report.

Why do you think so many people live in suburbia?  A lot of people criticize the suburbs.  Can you defend them?

[Read more…]

Clarifying the majority-minority America

We keep hearing that we will soon become a “majority-minority” country in which whites will no longer make up most of the population.  But that does not mean what most people think it means.  Historian and social scientist Philip Jenkins, who did much to popularize the fact, explains what this will actually look like.

From Philip Jenkins, White Christian Apocalypse? | The American Conservative:

After the recent election, I saw plenty of articles saying this was the last gasp of White America before whites lost their majority status, maybe sometime around 2040. Well, 2040 is a long way off, but let us look at the projections for what the U.S. population will look like in mid-century, say in 2050. The best estimate is that non-Latino whites will make up some 47 percent of that population, Latinos 29 percent, African-Americans 15 percent, and Asians 9 percent. Allow a couple of percentage points either way.

[Read more…]

What Trump gets right

The empty factories have their windows broken and weeds are taking over the parking lots, but they remain as monuments of the prosperity that rust-belt cities used to enjoy.  Small towns in the heartland have downtowns with shop windows boarded up.  Their young people either move away the first chance they get, looking for work, or they stay with many of them getting hooked on crystal meth or heroin.  A large number of the displaced workers in both the cities and the towns have given up on marriage and have stopped going to church, such is their despair.

What has happened to many of our cities and our small town culture–which used to be the Norman Rockwell vision of America–is tragic.  Here we see where economics and culture come together, destroying each other.

Who’s to blame?  Wal-Mart or Amazon for destroying America’s small retailers?  Corporations closing factories here and opening them overseas in lands of cheap labor?  Can or should anything be done about it?  Maybe these are just casualties of the market’s “creative destruction.”  But we are writing off a good part of America.

Donald Trump is pretty much the only one in either party who shows any concern whatsoever about the plight of America’s working class. [Read more…]

Why America will survive a bad election

Ma ny  Americans icans are worried that our constitutional republic won’t survive a Hillary Clinton presidency.  Other Americans worry that it won’t survive Donald Trump.  Still others worry that we are doomed whoever wins.

But David French points out that our Founders put together a constitutional system with so many checks and balances, so many legal limits, and so many opportunities to fix things that our nation can survive a bad election, just as it has already survived much worse.  Not that America couldn’t lose its liberties.  But it would take a long and arduous process to do so and would require the full complicity of the American people.  “Our ship is resilient,” he says. “It would take more than one iceberg to sink.” [Read more…]

U.S. no longer makes the “free country” top 10 list

The United States is no longer in the top 10 of the world’s most free countries.  We are number 15.  However, despite our obesity rates and bad eating habits, we are number 1 when it comes to health.  We are #33 in safety and security.  The United States is #11 in economic strength and overall prosperity.

Scandinavian countries take most of the top spots, with Norway winning the top marks when all of the categories are considered, making it the most prosperous of nations.  All of this is according to the Legatum Prosperity Index.  See details after the jump. [Read more…]