How to beat Republicans at their own game

I keep hearing from progressives who lament that even if Biden wins, Trump and McConnell have tilted the playing field forever.

They point to McConnell’s rush to confirm Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, after blocking President Obama’s nominee for 293 days because it was “too close” to the next election. And to the fact that Republicans in the Senate represent 11 million fewer Americans than their Democratic counterparts, and are still able to confirm a Supreme Court justice and entrench minority rule.

But that’s not the end of the story.

The Constitution doesn’t prevent increasing the size of the Supreme Court in order to balance it. Or creating a pool of circuit court justices to cycle in and out of it. In fact, the Constitution says nothing at all about the size of the Court.

I also hear progressives express outrage that this imbalance of power exists in the Electoral College, which made Trump president in 2016 despite having lost the popular vote by 3 million, and made George W. Bush president in 2000, despite losing the popular vote by about half a million.

But this doesn’t have to be the end of the story, either. From granting statehood to Washington, D.C., to abolishing the Electoral College, nothing should be off the table to strengthen our democracy.

There is no reason to accept the structure of our democracy when it repeatedly empowers a ruthless minority to impose its will over the majority. Or when it denies full representation to U.S. citizens, as is the case for Puerto Rico, which absolutely deserves self-determination.

Pay no mind to those who argue that these moves would be unfair abuses of power. Unfair, after what Trump and McConnell have done?

Abuses of power? When Trump is urging his followers to intimidate Biden voters? When he won’t even commit to a peaceful transition of power and refuses to be bound by the results? When he’s already claiming the election is rigged against him and will be fraudulent unless he wins? When he’s threatening to have states that he loses declare the votes invalid and certify their own slate of Trump electors in January?

I’m sorry. There’s nothing unfair about making our democracy fairer. There’s no abuse of power in remedying blatant abuses of power.

This post originally appeared at

Robert B. Reich is the chancellor’s professor of public policy at the University of California, Berkeley and former secretary of labor under the Clinton administration. Time Magazine named him one of the 10 most effective Cabinet secretaries of the 20th century. He is also a founding editor of The American Prospect magazine and chairman of Common Cause. His film, Inequality for All, was released in 2013. Follow him on Twitter: @RBReich.

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One Response to How to beat Republicans at their own game

  1. I can’t believe there are so many people following and supporting the clown’s snake-oil.
    And since I cannot post a link to this FB post, and I am not sure who wrote it, whether it was Randy Keeshin, or Elayne Griffin, or Heather Baker, I am writing their three names here and copy-pasting this poem/essay not sure what to call it but since truth is a comfort even when it is sad, reading it brought a lot of comfort to me this morning after I had to escape the Joe/Mika show this morning following their report that Biden is down from 10 points to 6 in the national polls.
    So here is this comforting essay I found in FB this morning: written either by
    Randy Keeshin, or Elayne Griffin, or Heather Baker:
    “There is no literature or poetry in this Whitehouse.
    No music.
    No Kennedy Center award celebrations.
    There are no pets in this White House.
    No loyal man’s best friend. No Socks the family cat.
    No kids’ science fairs.
    No times when this president takes off his blue suit-red tie uniform and becomes human, except when he puts on his white shirt-khaki pants uniform and hides from Americans to play golf.
    There are no images of the first family enjoying themselves together in a moment of relaxation.
    No Obamas on the beach in Hawaii moments, or Bushes fishing in Kennebunkport, no Reagans on horseback, no Kennedys playing touch football on the Cape.
    I was thinking the other day of the summer when George H couldn’t catch a fish and all the grandkids made signs and counted the fish-less days.
    And somehow, even if you didn’t even like GHB, you got caught up in the joy of a family that loved each other and had fun.
    Where did that country go?
    Where did all of the fun and joy and expressions of love and happiness go?
    We used to be a country that did the ice bucket challenge and raised millions for charity.
    We used to have a president that calmed and soothed the nation instead dividing it.
    And a First Lady that planted a garden instead of ripping one out.
    We are rudderless and joyless.
    We have lost the cultural aspects of society that make America great.
    We have lost our mojo, our fun, our happiness.
    The cheering on of others. Gone.
    The shared experiences of humanity that makes it all worth it. Gone.
    The challenges AND the triumphs that we shared and celebrated.
    The unique can-do spirit Americans have always been known for. Gone.
    We have lost so much in so short a time.”
    ~Elayne Griffin Heather Baker