May 15, 2018
“Mostly, it’s a book about what democrats can do to level the playing field in electoral politics”: David Faris will talk you into fighting dirty
by Melville House
“I think that there’s a moral reason to award statehood to DC and Puerto Rico, but there’s also a partisan reason — and that is that they would probably send four Democratic senators to Washington, DC immediately. So if we had DC and Puerto Rico as states right now, the Democrats would hold the Senate right now. So with the election of Doug Jones, the Trump administration would effectively have been over last December.”
Wait, hold on a sec, I just need to… damn.
Those are the words of bona fide political genius, human dynamo, and Tic Tac survivor David Faris, author of It’s Time to Fight to Dirty: How Democrats Can Build a Lasting Majority in American Politics. He was speaking last month at Chicago’s City Lit Books, and C-SPAN, who were in the house, have just made their footage available online through Book TV. You can and absolutely should watch it right here.
It’s a powerhouse of a talk, direct, engaging, and totally strategic. Among the subjects he addresses:
- The need for electoral reform: “A modern Voting Rights Act — it would outlaw all voter ID laws across the country, it would re-enfranchise every former felon in the country. In fact, I think we should go further and never deprive people of their voting rights, even if they have comitted a crime, which is how it works in most other countries. It would create automatic voter registration, so that we create an opt-out system, rather than an opt-in system where you have to navigate a complex bureaucracy if you ever want to vote. And it would create a National Elections holiday.”
- The value of ranked-choice voting: “In 2016, Democrats lost the popular vote for the House of Representatives by one point, and yet they have a forty-four-seat deficit in the House of Representatives. Which is crazy. And in 2012, Democrats won the national popular vote for the House, and still went into the next session with the Republicans firmly in the majority.”
- Eliminate leftime tenure in the federal judiciary and routinize Supreme Court appointments: “If you remember in 2016 when Justice Scalia died… the Republicans refused to fill the seat. President Obama nominated Merrick Garland. [Michael Cohen joke here.] They refused to fill the seat, and in effect they stole the swing seat on the Supreme Court. And they did this by, again, exploiting this loophole in the Constitutional order, where the Constitution’s advice-and consent-porcedsures don’t spell out the Senate’s obligations. You go and read it — it’s a sentence. Advice and consent. What does that even mean? Do you have to hold hearings? Does it have to happen immediately? Can you reject candidate after candidate? It doesn’t say anything. And so techincally, Republicans were right that they were not obligated by the Constitution to consider this nominee.”
It only gets better from there. The whole talk clocks in under an hour, and is guaranteed to give you enduring Galaxy Brain for all discussions of American politics henceforth in perpetuity through the universe. Watch it right here. Or, wait, better yet, just click this convenient image of David mid-imparting-of-brilliance:
And then, for a bonus track, check out David’s appearance last month on The Majority Report with Sam Seder. Hell yes: