Institutions Matter

In “How Democracies Die,” the authors inveigh against the use of impeachment to defeat the incumbent, of whom they plainly disapprove. Instead, they say “If Trump is defeated via democratic institutions, it will strengthen those institutions.” As one of these institutions they list elections. Page 218.

But the most important of all elections, the only one that directly relates to their goal of defeating the incumbent, is not democratic.

If a Democrat were to defeat Trump in 2020 by winning the electoral college without prevailing in the national popular vote, the Electoral College would certainly neither be strengthened nor would it be considered a democratic institution.

Indeed, it is easily possible to imagine the outrage among Trump supporters if they delivered him in 2020 a national popular vote plurality or majority and yet the swing states swung back to the Democrats, denying the incumbent a second term. Those Trump backers in this hypothetical would deserve support from everyone who believes in democracy.

One thing the incumbent is right about is this: he supports the idea that the winner of the national popular vote should always be president.