Bill O’Reilly’s jaw-dropping Talking Points claimed that the “hidden reason” that “the left in America” wants the Electoral College to be “scrapped” is in order to strip white people of political power and give it to blacks.
There are legitimate reasons for preserving the Electoral College. But it’s hard to imagine that anyone who isn’t a racist would think that the reason for keeping it is to prevent black people from getting too much political power. But that's exactly how O'Reilly sees it.
Transcript below via Media Matters, with some light edits and added emphases:
O’REILLY: As we reported, even though Secretary Clinton won the popular vote by 2.8 million, the progressive state of California provided all of that margin. Clinton defeating Trump there by about 4.3 million votes. So if the Electoral College were abolished, presidential candidates could simply campaign in the nation’s largest states and cities: New York, L.A., Chicago, Houston, and rack up enough votes to pretty much win any election.
That’s what the left wants. That’s what they want. Because in the large, urban areas and blue states like New York and California, minorities are substantial. Look at the landscape. Philadelphia, Dallas-Fort Worth, Miami. In all of these places, the minority vote usually goes heavily to the Democrats. Add to that New York City, L.A., Chicago, San Francisco, don’t really have a national election anymore, do you? You have targeted populations. Newspapers like the New York Times and the L.A. Times have editorialized to get rid of the Electoral College. They well know that neutralizing the largely white rural areas in the Midwest and South will assure liberal politicians get power and keep it.
Talking Points believes this is all about race. The left sees white privilege in America as an oppressive force that must be done away with. Therefore white working class voters must be marginalized and what better way to do that than center the voting power in the cities? Very few commentators will tell you that the heart of liberalism in America today is based on race. It permeates almost every issue. That white men have set up a system of oppression. That system must be destroyed. Bernie Sanders pedaled that. To some extent Hillary Clinton did. And the liberal media tries to sell that all day long. So-called white privilege bad. Diversity good.
If you look at the voting patterns, it’s clear that the Democrats are heavily reliant on the minority vote. Also on the woman vote. White men have largely abandoned the Democrats and the left believes it’s because of racism that they want to punish minorities, keep them down. So that’s what’s really going on when you hear about the Electoral College and how unfair it allegedly is. Summing up, the left wants power taken away from the white establishment. They want a profound change in the way America is run. Taking voting power away from the white precincts is the quickest way to do that.
It seems to me that the argument for abolishing the Electoral College is the notion that every vote should count and that the candidate with the most vote should win, period. A plurality of Americans see it that way, too, according to a poll released yesterday. If O’Reilly is worried that that means blacks might get too much power – well, maybe he needs to find another country.
Watch O'Reilly's blatant race baiting below, from the December 20, 2016 The O’Reilly Factor.
This is BOR’s problem – he only see the American vote through the eyes of marginalization and power as opposed to each voter having his/her say at the polls. As a white, conservative man, he thinks that he and those who are like him and think like him have the most to lose. So, knowing his audience and the right-wing base who butters his bread, he decides to play the race card while remaining in absolute denial about the fact that most Americans simply believe that EVERY person’s vote should count and that EACH vote should carry the same weight.
Well, if nothing else, this rant has revealed that he IS apparently okay with the urban voters having their votes marginalized by more rural voters (via the electoral college). Of course, we all already knew this to be the case from back in 2007 when BOR was bemoaning the breakdown of the white, Christian, male structure with McCain.
BOR = hypocrite, bigot and race baiter.
That he did — of course, that was in 2012, when the Scary Black Kenyan Gay Socialist Muslim Communist Atheist won the electoral (and popular) vote for President a SECOND time, and with a mere 338 electoral votes (a far cry from the 306 EV “landslide” achieved by Drumpf.)
In 1980 and 1984, Ronald Reagan could easily sail into office and re-election just on the strength of white male voters. That constituency easily overwhelmed everyone else, and Reagan never needed to campaign to anyone outside of it. Blacks, Chicanos, etc were considered Minority voters because they were in the minority by a solid margin.
In recent years, we’ve been seeing that a greater and greater percentage of the voting public is not white or male. Which means that the Reagan strategy can no longer work on its own. If all the other voters show up, the white male vote (which is not unified) cannot prevail any longer.
In 2012, the GOP tried a strategy in pushing Mitt Romney and fighting Barack Obama – they went extremely negative – in the hope that enough Obama voters would be discouraged and they could squeak their guy through. This famously backfired on the Right when Obama’s voters came out in force and firmly repudiated the game-playing. At the time, the GOP was told to take a real look at what happened and think about whether or not alienating entire sections of the population, like the Chicano population, was such a good idea. There was a real discussion that the GOP and the Right could well be out of the White House for the foreseeable future. But again, this assumed that all the other voters would show up.
In 2016, the Right took a fairly risky step in doubling down on their prior negative campaign. Rather than learn from the defeat they suffered, they decided to try it one more time and see if they could win with it against Hillary Clinton. Their thinking was that they’d already thrown so much negative smoke around her over the prior 25 years that they might well be able to squeak a candidate through, particularly in an angry political time in this country. I note that the Right has fomented that anger in a big way ever since Obama was elected in 2008, and that the GOP has compounded the anger by deliberately obstructing any efforts to help the economy or any of the working class voters who were badly hurt by the W Bush policies and the resulting Great Recession. It’s not an accident that GOP congressmen deliberately blocked Unemployment extensions for these people – the intent was to make the suffering as severe as possible and then to campaign that the Dems were not doing anything about it. And since the Dems failed to campaign in those same areas to refute the Right Wing lies, it’s not a surprise that enough people in those areas fell for the Trump promises to put him over the top in key counties.
We can argue about WHY the Hillary Clinton voters didn’t show up in sufficient numbers. Was it because a bunch of them thought she had it walking away and they didn’t think it was all that crucial for them to vote? I would say that this is partly true, but not in enough numbers to swing the election. Was it because a bunch of Dems fell for the Right Wing propaganda about the Clintons and assumed that there must be some criminality to justify all these endless allegations and fake news stories, like the myth that Clinton was fired from the Watergate commission, etc? I would again say that this is partly true, particularly when the FBI pulled out the old email skeleton within two weeks of the election – that certainly left many voters with a bad taste. But again, this by itself wouldn’t have resulted in the result we saw. Was it because Bernie Sanders voters refused to vote for Clinton? That one is easily refuted because we know that most of them DID vote for her, albeit reluctantly, after Sanders repeatedly exhorted his people to do so. Was it because of voter suppression in states like North Carolina, where the Right has repeatedly erected obstacles to non-white voters? I would say it contributed, but not enough by itself to turn the election. Was it because WikiLeaks, aided by Russian hackers, kept pouring anti-Clinton material into our media all the way up to the election to try to bury Clinton and generate chaos by getting Trump elected? Again, I’d say it contributed, particularly to the general nastiness of the campaign. But we have to be fair and acknowledge there was plenty of negative press about Trump as well, most of it generated by Trump himself and not by the multiple leaks.
So what was the X factor that actually combines the whole mess and mathematically allowed the Right to game this election? It’s simply that the Right and the GOP went as negative as they did, as early as they did. It’s a tried and true strategy, particularly for midterm elections, to depress turnout by Dems and liberals in general. It’s a proven statistic that Right Wing voters are more reliable in showing up at the voting both, and that any depression in the vote is likely to aid the Right Wing candidate. The Right usually benefits from this statistic during midterms – with notable exceptions like the beating they took in 2006 when enough of the American public was sufficiently angry with the W Bush antics to show up and actually cast ballots. Since 2006, what have we seen in the turnout? In 2008 and 2012, there was a larger turnout, due to the excitement over the Barack Obama candidacy and presidency. In 2010 and 2014, many Obama voters didn’t show up, since their candidate was not on the ballot those years. And in 2016, the Right gambled that those voters would stay home and not invest in Hillary Clinton. Had they lost that bet, Clinton would have easily swept Trump and cemented Obama’s legacy. And in fact, Clinton SHOULD have easily swept Trump. But the relentless negativity does take a toll, and if a candidate has not motivated enough people to find it urgent to show up, the other guy wins, even if it’s by a hair.
So now we get the reverse result of what most everyone expected, and the angry reactions we’ve been seeing are clearly a natural progression from people’s shock and dismay. It shouldn’t be a surprise that people have protested in the streets, or that there has been the usual call to get rid of the Electoral College.
But the lesson here should be clear to everyone. People absolutely MUST show up for these elections, or this is the result we can expect – the bullies win. Because the Clinton voters didn’t show up, we will now see the complete erasure of the Obama presidency, and potentially some extremely dangerous activity both domestically and militarily as the Right tries to flex its muscles while it can. We will now see the complete unravelling of both the immigration work Obama was doing, and of course his attempt to create a health care option that would cover as many people as possible, and also his attempt to protect the environment from craven exploitation. All of that is gone now, and some of the damage there may be irreparable – particularly the environmental issues, where Mike Pence will no doubt encourage drilling to begin wherever possible, and where the various agencies that were meant to check this activity will simply be dismantled while we watch.
There are still two positives we can pull from this scenario. One, as noted before, the demographics are not on the Right Wing’s side here. They have done NOTHING to reach out to non-white constituencies with anything other than condescension at best and outright meanness and bullying at most common. By 2020, the demographics will be even less friendly to the angry white male voter than they were in 2016, and it will simply be a matter of truly campaigning around the country to remind people that they need to show up and cast a ballot. Two, the damage that Mike Pence’s presidency generates will by itself provide significant motivation for people to show up and vote these people out of office – hopefully with a good showing in 2018 to make a statement first and then in 2020 to sweep these people out. Assuming that the Dems can field an interesting candidate (it won’t be anyone we’ve been seeing lately – it will be a fresh face, as Obama was) and can actually go to these various swing states and even Red states and point out the damage that the Right Wing has done (including blocking every effort the Dems have made to work for them), the Dems do have a chance to correct what has happened here.
It’s just that in the meantime, we will live through an Era of Meanness and The Year of the Bully. For myself, I hold out some hope for continued gridlock, as this will be the only way to stop at least the legislative damage these guys intend to do. I have no illusions about the Depts of Education, Energy, Interior or the EPA. Those are lost causes now. I have no illusions about the ACA and the fate of the people who signed up for it. They are unfortunately casualties of politics. I have no illusions about the fate of the undocumented immigrants in this country. We will see a large number of deportations and raids, on a scale we haven’t seen in over 30 years. We will see the DACA idea thrown out and those people encouraged to leave the country, and many frankly will. I have no illusions about the Dems suddenly growing a spine and actively working to protect any of these areas – we’ve learned from experience that they will regularly cave when it matters most. I have no illusions about what Mike Pence could do to the Supreme Court. I just hope that his damage is limited to the one appointment – the one that should have been filled by Merrick Garland. If Pence is allowed to appoint a successor to Ginsburg or Breyer and the Dems let it through, we’ll be looking at a very different country in short order. Once the numbers get to 6-3 in favor of the Far Right, the alarm bells that have always been rung about the Supreme Court will finally have a reason to toll.
There is a real substantive reason for the Electoral College to exist, which the Right Wing is now happily trying to use as a sledgehammer against anyone properly noting that Donald Trump does not have a “sweeping mandate” or a “landslide victory”. In reality, Trump squeaked in with a series of swing state counties where he won by a small margin. He lost the overall vote by millions, and he has done nothing to talk to those voters other than to gloat at them and have his surrogates throw viciousness their way. The real reason for the EC is exactly what the Right is now pretending it just discovered – to make sure that you don’t have the election decided by the larger populations of several cities. On the other hand, we’ve wound up with the election being decided by the smaller populations of a few swing counties where Hillary’s voters simply didn’t show up.
O’Reilly’s narrative here is the same one he’s been inflicting since November 9. His position, which is the same as the Right’s, is that the additional votes for Hillary all come from California or New York and those don’t count. (Because the Right hates those states – don’t forget all the nastiness toward Hollywood and Ted Cruz’s infamous cheap shot at New Yorkers) He adds to that by running self-fulfilling hypotheses about who lives in Los Angeles and NYC that supposedly answer his “question” about why those cities don’t support Trump. (His answer is that pretty much everyone there is a welfare cheat or an illegal alien who just wants free stuff and a handout). He even goes along with the nonsensical Trump statement that millions of “illegals” voted for Clinton, knowing that he is flat out lying about it.
Up to the moment that Trump got his surprise squeaker on November 8th, everyone including him thought he was going to be trounced. Trump was prepared to attack the result and to continue his dismissal of the entire process as “rigged” and the Electoral College as “corrupt”. His supporters were prepared to blast social media nonstop from that moment to the last day of a Clinton presidency. When he realized he’d actually pulled off the gaming and that Hillary’s voters had successfully been discouraged, he and his supporters quickly jumped to the other side of the track. Now we were meant to forget that he’d just spent months attacking the system that he had just gamed. We were meant to forget that he was all set to ridicule the whole thing as a sham. We were meant to think that the Right Wing had nothing but respect for our institutions and that it was the disappointed Clinton voters who were now the enemies of the State.
The Dems’ disappointment in what happened here is more than understandable. They’ve just watched the most racist, sexist and generally vicious person and administration in our history come into power. They are about to watch Mike Pence completely obliterate the entire Obama presidency within the space of a single day. They are about to watch Mike Pence and his cabinet wreck havoc on the entire country with a level of meanness, bullying and glee that we have not seen perhaps since Ronald Reagan threw military force at Berkeley protestors in the 60s. It’s natural that they’re frustrated to see the results of both the 2000 and the 2016 elections, where the popular vote in the country was so far out of sync with the result – and this year, the issue is truly egregious.
There’s nothing illegal or unconstitutional in what the Dems asked Electors to do. They had every right to appeal to those Electors, and those Electors had every right to either stay with their pledge (as most did) or to make another choice (as some did). That’s not undermining democracy – it’s engaging in it. It is unfortunate that the Right’s response to this was first to condemn anyone that advocated it, and next to add more bullying and gloating when the count worked out the way it unsurprisingly did.
I might even have a little sympathy for the Kellyanne Conways of the world on the debate about whether the EC should exist, if she could be adult enough to admit that Trump and his acolytes were prepared to do far more than anything we’ve seen from the disappointed Clinton supporters if things had gone the other way on November 8th. But Trump’s acolytes simply aren’t capable of that – they’d rather just keep up the bullying, the meanness, the gloating.
It will be extremely important for people to remember the actual facts of what happened during the Obama presidency and what happened during what is about to be inflicted. Because the Right is going to do everything it can to rewrite that history and spin it into an alternate universe.