Monday, December 5, 2016

California Love

Californians face a representation crisis. Sample recent geopolitics: ~500K more people voted Clinton in Los Angeles County (1,893,770) than voted Trump in Wisconsin State (1,404,000 - NYT. 11/4). California's historic 8.2M votes for candidate Clinton did little to the influence the national outcome.

From NY/DC Acela Corridor, the Golden State is 3K miles and a 5 hour flight over North America's Great Plains and Rocky Mountains. A continent apart from Trump and Clinton's Empire State. 

Newman adjusts counties for people.

California's "obscene" Clinton cash machines did little against Trump's cheap, segmented, devisive, targeted messages to high-ROI "battleground" voters (Bloomberg). Ohio. Florida. North Carolina. Pennsylvania.  And beyond: Michigan, Wisconsin. Clinton's popular wins in liberal cities are as historically amazing (statistical outliers!) as they are electorally irrelevant. Consider
Orange County, California the sixth largest county among The States. LA Times:
Clinton beat Republican Donald Trump by nearly 5 points, or 39,000 votes, in the county that has long served as a national symbol for the GOP, the home to Richard Nixon and the cradle of Ronald Reagan’s conservatism.
In California, Kerry beat Bush by 10pts in 2004. Clinton beat Trump by 30pts in 2016. So what?Because California's popular winner takes all EC votes, the margins of victory are irrelevant. So are the margins of defeat. If you are going to lose California, it doesn't matter whether you get 49% of the vote or 1%. If you are going to lose California, you might as well lose bigly. There is no downside. Maybe it helps. Mock the NY/LA media celebrities. Throw red meat.

 "Trump did have an eponymous steak line, sold via Sharper Image. The company's website..."Unfortunately, Trump Steaks are no longer available, but their legacy endures." NPR March 2016

Trump didn't try to win California. Neither did Clinton. Nor should they. High cost, little reward. Politically, California gets what it gives. Inefficient in terms of EC votes per California voter.Trump is candid about California's electoral irrelevance: 

If the election were based on total popular vote I would have campaigned in N.Y. Florida and California and won even bigger and more easily (Twitter)

 In a popular, proportional election, no doubt Trump would have campaigned differently. If he made it out of the Republican primary. If California is a battleground, both parties have incentives to think differently about "electability" during primaries. Hypothetically, blocs of California voters should be swing states unto themselves. Trump faces different incentives to regard California-Mexico relations. Clinton too. Instead, California's 55 Electoral College votes went uncontested in a symbolic, irrelevant popular blowout.

 Obsenities - moreover, they didn't matter.

The 2016 presidential outcome is a symptom of a problem. Step back from the rubble of 2016. Among the states, Californians pay the most gross federal tax to the US Treasury (IRS). While picking up the tab, Californians are the most politically underrepresented people in three federal bodies: the Electoral College, House, and Senate. Overtaxed and unrepresented. Large states made basic concessions on taxation and representation to smaller states at the founding of the United States. Compromise is inevitable. But California's quantitative inequity in 2016 defies common sense and precedent. The status quo cheats Californians and corrupts American political life. The imbalance represents a fragile fault among these united states. That imbalance is striking compared to the states' geopolitical centers of mass. 

Four basic options

ONE - abolish the Electoral College

TWO - succeed

THREE - nothing changes


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