By Philip Bump December 21 at 9:59 AM

At the core of the debate about the role of the electoral college is whose needs should be at the center of American politics. In an unexpected monologue Tuesday night, Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly made that point clearly, although probably not in the way he intended.

One moment from O'Reilly's argument gained traction on social media after the show aired.

“Summing up,” he said, “left wants power taken away from the white establishment. They want a profound change in the way America is run.”

The phrase “white establishment” is what has drawn most of the attention, suggesting that O'Reilly's argument for the electoral college is an explicit defense of the political power of white people. Which, in the broader context of the segment, it was.

O'Reilly points out that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's margin of victory in the popular vote was a function of how heavily she won California. He suggests that Democrats want to abolish the electoral college so that candidates would then be forced to campaign in densely populated areas — areas that are more heavily nonwhite.

“Very few commentators will tell you that the heart of liberalism in America today is based on race,” O'Reilly said. “It permeates almost every issue. That white men have set up a system of oppression. ... So-called white privilege bad. Diversity good.”

The irony is that O'Reilly's entire argument is an explicit defense of white privilege. Clinton's margin of victory does vanish if you remove California's votes — but California is home to nearly one out of every eight Americans. (Similarly, Republican Donald Trump's margin of victory in the electoral college vanishes if you flip Texas.) Voters in that state are underrepresented by the electoral college relative to other states, with each electoral college member representing about 258,000 ballots cast. In Wyoming, each elector represents 85,000 voters. That's one argument for the popular vote: that it treats every vote equally, regardless of where it originates.

California plays a special role in the nation's political imagination — a majority-minority state that's home to hippie-dippy San Francisco and Berkeley. O'Reilly's dismissal of its votes is not unique; it has been a common refrain in the wake of the election. Often, race and ethnicity overlap with that argument, with any number of people suggesting that Clinton's big win in the state was a function of ballots cast by hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants (that is, Mexicans). This isn't the case, of course. Trump's rhetoric simply didn't fly in the state. Along with the lefty Bay Area there's the more conservative southern part of the state — and Trump even lost conservative Orange County, making him the first Republican to do so since 1936.

In Tuesday's broadcast, O'Reilly was specifically arguing that places in which fewer people live should have disproportionate political power so that presidential candidates are forced to campaign in those places in order to win. In other words, he's suggesting that the power of the popular vote should be muted to give more power to the minority of Americans who live outside of cities. Eighty percent of the country lives in an urban area and those who live in rural areas are disproportionately white. O'Reilly is suggesting that those rural voters deserve a special privilege — more weighted electoral votes — and he's reinforcing that argument by pointing out that it will benefit whites. Privilege for whites. White privilege.

There is a “white establishment,” of course. Congress is overwhelmingly white — more heavily white than the population as a whole. The Senate is even whiter than the House; nearly as many Kennedys have been elected to the Senate as have black people. Not coincidentally, the Senate also gives disproportionate power to less-populated and often whiter states. (You've heard it before: Wyoming and California get the same number of senators.)

Moreover, there's a direct overlap between race and partisanship, as we noted in July. The Republican Party is a mostly white party; the Democratic Party is more diverse. (The overwhelming majority of the nonwhite members of the House are Democrats.) O'Reilly notes that white men have gravitated to the GOP, which is accurate and which makes the racial split more stark.

Race and party are tightly intertwined. The priorities of the parties reflect their membership, and therefore talking about partisan opposition often overlaps with talking about racial tension. That also means that defenses of the power of Republican voters overlap with defenses of the power of white voters.

Another way to frame O'Reilly's central premise is this: In the face of a diversifying American population, should protections be maintained that continue to support the political dominance of white people? A lot of white people, including O'Reilly, would say yes. A lot of nonwhite people would presumably say no.

On Jan. 20, the power structure of the federal government will be dominated by the Republican Party. The new establishment will be more white, will be acting on behalf of a heavily white party and will be less inclined to answer the preceding question in the negative. Nonwhite voters preferred Clinton and white voters preferred Trump (generally, though not universally).

It's the preference of the latter group that carried the day — and O'Reilly's entire argument is that it deserved to.

By Alyssa Rosenberg October 7 at 5:53 PM

Imagine a married man in public life was caught on tape talking about his failed attempt to seduce a married woman. Imagine that man continued by talking about that woman’s “big phony tits,” how his star power meant that he could just walk up to any woman he wanted and kiss her, and how his go-to move was grabbing women by their genitals. After you got over your rolling wave of nausea, imagine that this man was also on the record as saying that a woman, let’s say a rival of his in business, should be held responsible for her own husband’s extramarital sexual behavior. You’d be disgusted, right?

But this is 2016. That man is Donald Trump, and he actually did get filmed saying those things on a bus with then-“Access Hollywood” star Billy Bush in 2005. And given that Trump’s go-to move on the campaign trail this season has been to suggest that his rival for the presidency of the United States, Hillary Clinton, is somehow responsible for her husband Bill’s repeated betrayals, are we now supposed to ask why Melania Trump didn’t do a better job of acting as her husband’s keeper?

Oh, except that Trump is also filmed on that same tape hugging soap opera actress Arianne Zucker and declaring “Melania said this was okay.”

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote that certain leading Republicans, including Trump and his close adviser Rudy Giuliani, who declared Hillary Clinton too stupid to be president for the sin of retaining some faith in her husband, were mounting an astonishing display of public contempt for American women. I didn’t need more evidence to be convinced that these men’s attitudes toward women are ugly and hateful. But this tape of Trump, published by my colleague David Fahrenthold, certainly adds a new dimension to this nastiness.

The message is clear, if contradictory. Cool wives give their husbands passes. Bad wives fail to restrain their husbands’ wandering hands and other body parts, but they also immediately acknowledge their husbands are cheating, and … what? I’ve never been clear on this part of the equation. Are the cheated-upon supposed to shut up about it so their husbands can have their fun? Get out of the way without a fight so their husbands can marry someone younger and hotter and in turn be discarded for someone else? Cast some sort of sorcery over the country so their own existences are forgotten, and their cheating husbands can move forward as paragons of virtue?

Like everything else about Trump’s campaign, this tendency to blame women for failing to restrain their husbands, or failing to give their husbands license to do whatever they want, or both simultaneously, somehow, is spectacularly self-interested. Donald Trump wants to live in a world where Hillary Clinton is a moral failure for staying in her marriage, but he can arrogantly describe behavior that most decent people would consider harassment and assault, leave his marriages, repeatedly insult woman and be considered a leader and an exemplar.

Misogyny isn’t just about keeping women down. It’s about creating special zones of reality and morality that allow men to do whatever they want, without consequences to them, and without regard for anyone else.

Women shouldn’t be asked to restrain their husbands in the absence of those men having functioning consciences and the ability to control themselves. But we all have a powerful responsibility to keep Donald Trump as far as possible from the White House.

Alyssa Rosenberg blogs about pop culture for The Washington Post's Opinions section.

                                  CHAOS and DARKNESS vs OPTIMISM

I am writing you today to express my deep pride in the movement – the political revolution – you and I have created together over the last 15 months. When we began this historic campaign, we were considered fringe players by the political, economic and media establishment. Well, we proved them wrong.

We showed that the American people support a bold, progressive agenda that takes on the billionaire class, that fights for racial, social, economic and environmental justice and that seeks to create a government that works for all of us and not just the big campaign donors.

We mobilized over 13 million voters across the country. We won 23 Democratic primary and caucus contests. We had literally hundreds of thousands of volunteers across the country. And we showed – in a way that can change politics in America forever – that you can run a competitive national grassroots campaign without begging millionaires and billionaires for campaign contributions.

Most importantly, we elevated the critical issues facing our country – issues the establishment has pushed under the rug for too long. We focused attention on the grotesque level of income and wealth inequality in this country and the importance of breaking up the large banks who brought our economy to the brink of collapse. We exposed our horrendous trade policies, our broken criminal justice system, and our people's lack of access to affordable health care and higher education. We fought aggressively to address the crisis of climate change, the need for real comprehensive immigration reform, the importance of developing a foreign policy that values diplomacy over war, and so much more.

We have shown throughout this election that these are issues that are important to voters and that progressive solutions energize people in the fight for real change. What we have accomplished so far is historic – but our work is far from over.

This movement of ours – this political revolution – must continue. We cannot let all of the momentum we have achieved in the fight to transform America be lost. We will never stop fighting for what is right.

It is true that in terms of winning the Democratic nomination, we did come up short. But this election was never about me or any candidate. It was about the powerful coming together of millions of people to take their country back from the billionaire class. That was the strength of our campaign and it will be the strength of our movement going forward in the months and years ahead.

In the coming weeks, I will be announcing the creation of successor organizations to carry on the struggle that we have been a part of these past 15 months. I hope you will continue to be involved in fighting to transform America. Our goal will be to advance the progressive agenda that we believe in and to elect like-minded candidates at the federal, state and local levels who are committed to accomplishing our goals.

In terms of the presidential election this November, there is no doubt that the election of Donald Trump as president would be a devastating blow to all that we are fighting for. His openly bigoted and pro-billionaire campaign could precipitate the same decades-long rightward shift in American politics that happened after the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980. That rightward shift after Reagan’s election infected not just politics as a whole but led to the ascendancy of the corporatist wing of the Democratic Party – an era from which we are still recovering.

I cannot in good conscience let that happen.

To have all of the work we have done in elevating our progressive ideals be dashed away by a complete Republican takeover of Washington – a takeover headed by a candidate that demonizes Latinos, Muslims, women, African Americans, veterans, and others – would be unthinkable.

Today, I endorsed Hillary Clinton to be our next president. I know that some of you will be disappointed with that decision. But I believe that, at this moment, our country, our values, and our common vision for a transformed America, are best served by the defeat of Donald Trump and the election of Hillary Clinton.

You should know that in the weeks since the last primary, both campaigns have worked together in good faith to bridge some of the policy issues that divided us during the election. Did we come to agreement on everything? Of course not. But we made important steps forward.

Hillary Clinton released a debt free college plan that we developed together which now includes free tuition at public colleges and universities for working families. This was a major part of our campaign’s agenda and a proposal that, if enacted into law, would revolutionize higher education in this country.

Secretary Clinton has also publicly committed to massive investments in health care for communities across this country that will increase primary care, including mental health care, dental care, and low-cost prescription drug access for an additional 25 million people. Importantly, she has also endorsed the enactment of a so-called public option to allow everyone in this country to participate in a public insurance program. This idea was killed by the insurance industry during consideration of President Obama’s health care program.

During the Democratic platform proceedings in St. Louis and Orlando, we were victorious in including amendments to make it a clear priority of the Democratic Party to fight for a $15 an hour federal minimum wage, expand Social Security, abolish the death penalty, put a price on carbon, establish a path toward the legalization of marijuana, enact major criminal justice reforms, pass comprehensive immigration reform, end for-profit prisons and detention facilities, break up too-big-to-fail banks and create a 21st century Glass-Steagall Act, close loopholes that allow big companies to avoid taxes by stashing their cash in offshore tax havens and use that revenue to rebuild America, approve the most expansive agenda ever for protecting Native American rights and so much more.

All of these progressive policies were at the heart of our campaign. The truth is our movement is responsible for the most progressive Democratic platform in the history of our country. All of that is the direct result of the work that our members of the platform committee did in the meetings and that you have been doing over the last 15 months.

But none of these initiatives will happen if we do not elect a Democratic president in November. None! In fact, we will go backward. We must elect the Democratic nominee in November and progressive Democrats up and down the ballot so that we ensure that these policy commitments can advance.

It is extremely important that we keep our movement together, that we hold public officials accountable and that we elect progressive candidates to office at the federal, state, and local level who will stand with us.

As part of that effort, we still have a tremendous amount of work left to do in the Democratic Rules Committee that will be meeting in the coming weeks. We have to enact the kinds of reforms to the Democratic Party and to the electoral process that will provide us the tools to elect progressive candidates, to allow new voices and new energy into the Party, and to break up the excessive power that the economic and political elites in the Party currently have. As with our fights on the platform committee, that will only be possible if we stand together.

You should know that I intend to be actively campaigning throughout this election season to elect candidates who will stand by our agenda. I hope to see many of you at events from coast to coast.

In conclusion, I again want to express my pride in what we have accomplished together over the last year. But so much more must be done to make our vision a reality. Now more than ever our country needs our movement – our political revolution. As you have throughout this historic campaign, I ask for your ongoing support as we continue through the fall and beyond.

On a personal note, I cannot say with words how appreciative Jane and I are of the kindness, dedication and love we experienced from so many people across the country. We are deeply touched by it and will never, ever forget it.

Please let me know that you will stand with me to defeat Donald Trump, and to elect candidates who will stand by our agenda as part of the future of our political revolution. Add your name now.

Forever committed, forever fighting, forever forward,

Bernie Sanders

Hillary Clinton’s announcement video that kicked off her 2016 presidential campaign will go down as one of the great works of political advertising and strategy in modern history. Decades from now Poli-Sci majors will be writing papers about that piece and what it meant to the 2016 election.The candidate doesn’t even appear in the ad for the first 90 seconds. The visuals are a snapshot of very likable people, your fellow Americans, going about their daily lives. The mix of people is diverse, middle class and represent broad archetypes that will resonate with the average viewer. The characters depicted are real, approachable and totally believable. These people are your friends and your neighbors and they slip Hillary Clinton, someone who is most definitely not middle class, into this river of average Americana. Yet, for all its technical perfection, that’s not the real brilliance of the piece.

The real brilliance of this piece is that it’s inviting Republicans to stick their head in a noose. It’s pretty much a foregone conclusion that Republicans will respond with attack ads. By being so consistent, the GOP has made themselves predictable and this ad is calculated to capitalize on the contrast.

Instead of coming back with their own positive vision for America and actually arguing issues, Republicans will come back with attacks. That will be a strategic a blunder of monumental proportions and the announcement ad is engineered with that response in mind from the very first frame. The great thing about Republicans as an opposition is they can be counted on to shoot themselves in the foot and the extremist faction of the party, which can’t keep their mouth shut on a good day, will rise to the bait starting on Monday morning. Instead of talking about the issues, Republicans are going to spend all of next week talking about Hillary Clinton.

What the ad did is put Clinton in the midst of a crowd of Americans and makes her campaign about them. So when Republicans start attacking her, by extension, they’ll be attacking their fellow Americans.

The ad is also overwhelmingly positive so the contrast between Clinton’s positive message and the Republican response will be immediate and glaring. Part of the handicap Republicans are faced with is they have no positions to run on. Gutting Social Security and Medicare isn’t much of a platform and the public is finally catching on, after only 40 years, that supply side economics is a sham and tax breaks for billionaires don’t buy us anything. Bombing Iran is not going to play well next to that ad.

Since they don’t have any issues to run on, the billionaire’s club that the GOP has become will almost certainly go negative in a big way. They can’t help themselves and don’t have a lot of options in either respect.

The smart response would be for Republicans to ignore Clinton altogether. Acknowledge she’s in the race and go back to their business. That would be smart, so there’s no real threat Republicans will do that. They’ll stick their head in the noose and climb over the rail because that's who they've become.

Whether you like Clinton or not your choices in this election are not going to be between competing policy ideas. Your choice in the 2016 race is going to be between crazy and not crazy. You can vote for the nice lady in the Clinton ad or the nutcase behind Door Number 2. For the overwhelming majority of Americans that choice is going to be a no brainer.