The Corner

Elections

Elizabeth Warren Is Gravely Concerned about . . . the Electoral College

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

At a shindig at the Center for American Progress, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) has reportedly voiced her grave concerns (one gets the sense that she has no other flavor of concern) about the fact that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote but still lost the election because of the Electoral College.

This is silly. Here’s how I put it — admittedly with an excess of jocularity — in a G-File back in December of 2016:

By now, articles about the Left’s freakout over Donald Trump are getting a little stale. Oh sure, I still chuckle whenever I hear liberals explain that the Electoral College is an institution of white privilege, racism, and bigotry. As Charlie Cooke first pointed out to me, these are the same people who, for over a year, strutted like peacocks about the “blue wall” — i.e., their inherent and, they thought, permanent advantage in the Electoral College. In other words, the Democratic Party’s structural advantage stemmed from the fact that an evil antediluvian bulwark of racist oppression favored them. As the rantallion said when the super model walked in on him changing out of his cold bathing suit, “Awkward.”

Warren had other things to say:

I understand that Warren’s indictment of Trump extends beyond her contempt for the Electoral College. Trump, the familiar refrain goes (and not without merit), is antagonistic to all manner of democratic norms. And I have no problem with liberals who want to fight back against that in good faith. But adherence to the rules — specifically constitutional rules — is a pretty important democratic norm. I have no doubt that it is exceedingly frustrating for Democrats that their candidate won the popular vote but still lost the election. I am at a loss, however, to understand why the political system’s adherence to the Constitution is a sign of our democracy’s ill health. Indeed, it seems to me that sticking with the rules is a sign of health.

Warren’s complaint is squarely in the progressive tradition of finding any impediment to their political success illegitimate, troubling, or suspect. When you’re sure you and your allies are the chosen protagonists of the Right Side of History, anything that stands in your way must be not just inconvenient but a bastion of villainy or backwardness.

Jonah Goldberg, a senior editor of National Review and the author of Suicide of the West, holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute.

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