Photo: Ted Eyten, creative commons

They will shriek and gnash their teeth, but it is over. It should rightly have been over four years ago, when 3 million more of us said “no” to the bullying, to the tantrums, to the lies, to the utter disrespect and small-mindedness. But, because things are in place to prop up the votes of some of us over the votes of others, we have all had to watch as vandals have ridden roughshod across everything. It was plainly wrong, plainly stupid, and it could have been avoided if everybody sat down and faced the simple fact that the will of the people and the vicissitudes of our stupid electoral system only occasionally align.

It has been my great displeasure and woe, my whatever-the-opposite-of-privilege-is to closely observe several elections at multiple levels of American government, and in just one case to volunteer on behalf of one. With great respect for those who work in campaigns, and with much thanks to them today of all days, I still have this to say: The campaign mindset is one of the most close-minded and small-hearted ways of thinking and living that I’ve ever encountered, and I have fucking worked retail and sales.

Our message cannot be this, or we’ll lose five points in this county. Our mailers can’t say that, or one Cuban knitting circle in Hialeah will sour on us. We’ve got to find a female veteran to run who lives specifically in this 7-block area or we’re not spending a single dollar fighting in that district or answering a single plea from local activists. Young people didn’t go for us last time, so keep talking down to them and ignoring them.

This is all dubious wisdom that activists in Georgia are proving to be foolish, because tireless workers on the ground gave a shit about activating people who, through a long and benighted age of organized suppression, have been told time and again that nothing they do matters, that any blue vote is wasted in a sea of red.

The point I’m getting at is that the Electoral College has got to go, and I am saying this as a guy who, for the last three fucking weeks, has heard his heartbeat in his eardrums so loudly that at first I thought it was somebody banging on their porch at 2 a.m., and for whom that quickening has now finally subsided on the news that yes, with at least 4 million fewer votes than the other guy, the candidate whose negligence has murdered 250,000 Americans is finally looking like he’s probably mostly definitely voted off the island.

I say this on behalf of the Georgians who struggled and strove and did their duty this week. I say it on behalf of the USPS workers who are just trying to do their motherfucking jobs. I say it on behalf of every red voter here in Illinois, who has not seen the state go their way in I don’t remember how long. They deserve a vote that matches my cousin in Arizona, who only these last two elections has started to actually vote. The blue voter in West Virginia, the red voter in California, deserve to know that theirs could be the one that makes a difference for their country.

The Electoral College does jack shit for anybody. If it is an argument for forcing campaigns to visit every state, it is a stupid one: Biden visited Florida four times this year. He never bothered to stop by the capital of Illinois, where I live. It put Trump over the top last time by happenstance, just as it put George W. Bush, the last unfit sod from that sundowning political party, over the top by pure coincidence in 2000, leading us to war and negligence in the Middle East and a drowned New Orleans, to a whole lost decade for the rights of anybody not straight and white.

I will preempt this argument from you if you care to make it: It does not matter if undoing the EC makes it impossible for Republicans (who have lost the popular vote in every election since 1992) to win the presidency again. Because like all self-interested political parties, they will figure out how to win some other way.

For all our sakes, perhaps their new strategy can be to support initiatives a majority of Americans agree with, like sensible gun restrictions, expanded health care, access to women’s health care that includes abortion and birth control, real action on stopping the environment from becoming Geidi Prime, and compassion for immigrants, all of which far, far more Americans support than oppose. The fact they have put off these things through some game of tic-tac-toe has created a feedback loop in the mind of their voters, a pernicious anti-wisdom that reinforces outmoded thinking. Do you think “health care for all” is also magical wishing on the farts of unicorns? Forcing all Americans into the same kiddie pool would also help you make your argument, then.

The folks I know who dig in and hit the campaign trail, who knock doors and cut mailers and phone bank, all are doing what they can to fight for democracy. I respect them so much. I also believe they are doing it according to a playbook written by dead men who fucking owned slaves. The board has got to change so that these people who undertake democracy can start talking and acting like humans instead of bots who shout the same tired-ass shit to the same people cycle after cycle, in hopes of cheating out a win.