Politicians take something of a Sudanese warlord's view of democracy: It's all fine and good until there's a risk of power slipping away.
So the Minnesota Republican Party has taken a bold step, declaring that he or she who gets the most votes shouldn't necessarily win.
At issue is the growing movement to do away with the Electoral College, which has produced two recent presidents the nation would prefer to have been someone else. George W. Bush lost by 543,000 votes. Donald Trump got buried by 2.9 million. All of which leaves the country's highest office distributing our greatest participation trophies.
Though it's happened thrice before -- in the cases of John Quincy Adams, Rutherford B. Hayes, and Benjamin Harrison -- the problem seems to be accelerating.
Back when the Founding Fathers were inking their sacred texts, America was wholly agrarian. There was no way to predict urbanization or the super states to come. Nevertheless, each state still gets a vote for each member of its congressional delegation. House seats are fairly representative of population. Yet every state gets two votes for its senators, be it Rhode Island (pop. 1,057,000) or Florida (21,640,000).
That leaves bigger states' voting power artificially diluted, and small states receiving far more juice than they merit.
Take the imbalance between Texas and Wyoming. According to Electoral College math, Texas (pop. 25,000,000) needs four votes to equal every one in Wyoming (pop. 532,000). (It should be noted that Minnesota is a piker as well. Our modest populace makes each vote worth 1.08 percent.)
So fairness would dictate the Electoral College be dumped as a relic unsuited for modern times. But Minnesota Republicans don't see it that way. They're hoping to whip the faithful into war against change, painting equality as somehow unseemly.
“The Minnesota DFL Party is continuing to want to undermine our election process,” the GOP announced on Facebook. “Sign our petition below to help protect the Electoral College!”
Its objection is expected. The very definition of conservative is “a person who is averse to change.” Besides, Republicans have always had something of a man-crush on the Founding Fathers. Even after “well regulated militia” morphed into “Let's make it really easy to shoot up a high school,” they remain defensive of any suggestion our founders may be fallible.
Yet the GOP has also been caught “undermining our election process” so often, its cries are a bit like a serial rapist warning of the dangers of online porn.
Take its practice of gerrymandering, which has been ruled unconstitutional in multiple states. Or how it's spent years throwing out wild claims of voter fraud, while burning just as many years failing to provide even a hint of evidence.
They've then used these fabricated claims to throw up endless barriers to voting. Their latest tactic is to arbitrarily cleanse the rolls of non-citizens. When the Texas secretary of state was recently caught trying to erase the registrations of nearly 25,000 American citizens, he was forced to resign.
Of course, the GOP wouldn't have to go to all this work – or through the pretense of loving democracy – if it would just embrace a simple solution. After all, all it takes to win the popular vote is to push ideas that are, well, popular. That can't be so hard, can it?