2016, Now: This Week’s Recommended Reading


Here at Flavorwire, we pride ourselves on not only writing some of the best content on the Internet, but keeping an eye on all of the great writing that other folks on the ‘net are doing, too. This week, this item is a little different than usual, because the world’s very different than usual (or aspects of its ugly, pervasive sameness have won a battle been brought further to the surface.) For, America has just elected its next President. And that President is Donald Trump. The middle of the week was marked by fear — and it’ll likely remain that way for a while — but there’s also been a pervasive sense among people to seek information, and to figure out how they can activate themselves in the chilling midst of the mainstreaming of hate.

Hillary is the second Democratic presidential candidate not to have won the electoral college in two decades, but to have won the popular vote. And, interestingly, if we’re talking popular vote, the only Republican to have won it — as in, the only Republican to have won an election through a truly democratic means — was Bush against Kerry, in 2004. In every other election since 2000, including this one, the actual majority of the population has nominated a Democrat. And yet, here we are again. The New Republic has published a piece on the archaic, gross (yup, you guessed it: slavery has to do with it) origins of this system by which we still determine our elections. Scott Lemieux writes:

The Electoral College was essentially the product of two imperatives, neither of them very attractive. First…the Electoral College was meant to act as a “filter” between the people and the White House. And while the idea that the electors should exercise independent judgment quickly became discredited, the Electoral College remained to potentially bequeath the White House to a candidate who is not the choice of the people. The second major purpose accomplished by the Electoral College was to protect the interests of slaveholders. Slaves, of course, did not vote. But the Electoral College meant that slaves (who were counted as three-fifths of a person for the purposes of apportionment) would give the South extra clout in the Electoral College.

Moze Halperin

And dipping into the archives of people being against the electoral college, this article from right after the 2000 election, on this very day in November, is extremely sad in its foreshadowing, and in its proof of the way the country is so slow to change. This New York Post article sees Hillary Clinton, in 2000, discussing how she wanted to get rid of the Electoral College:

“We are a very different country than we were 200 years ago,” Clinton told reporters at the Albany Airport, on the first leg of her fly-around tour upstate.“I believe strongly that, in a democracy, we should respect the will of the people . . . That means it’s time to do away with the Electoral College and move to the popular election of our presidents.”

Moze Halperin

Meanwhile, back in the present, Jezebel has shared a list of “pro-women, pro-immigrant, pro-Earth, anti-bigotry organizations” to look into supporting in the wake of the Trump election, along with links to donation and volunteer sign-up pages. And Charles Pulliam-Moore writes for Fusion about the The “Oh Shit! What Should I Do Before January?” Guide, a crowdsourced set of tips started by Brooklyn performance artist Ariel Federow, with whom Pulliam-Moore spoke:

Federow was careful to explain to me that while this particular project began as an idea she had, the guide as it exists now is the product of hundreds of collaborators flocking to a single Google Document. Currently, the guide lives as an open Google Doc that literally anybody can contribute to with the hopes that people from a broad variety of backgrounds bring something valuable to the table.

Moze Halperin

I’ve spent most of yesterday and today writing about the election (apart from the time I spent writing about Leonard Cohen), and in doing so I’ve found myself revisiting a lot of pre-election commentary. Unsurprisingly, most of it has, with the benefit of hindsight, been sadly misguided — except this piece from Michael Moore, which wasn’t only right, it was downright prescient. Way back in July, Moore predicted exactly how this election would play out, suggesting that Trump would win Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — and in doing so, propel himself into the White House:

From Green Bay to Pittsburgh, this, my friends, is the middle of England – broken, depressed, struggling, the smokestacks strewn across the countryside with the carcass of what we use to call the Middle Class. Angry, embittered working (and nonworking) people who were lied to by the trickle-down of Reagan and abandoned by Democrats who still try to talk a good line but are really just looking forward to rub one out with a lobbyist from Goldman Sachs who’ll write them nice big check before leaving the room. What happened in the UK with Brexit is going to happen here.

Tom Hawking

We’re living in a country where the President-Elect is Donald fucking Trump, a fact about which basically nothing is funny. This piece is about as close as we’ll ever get to comic relief — Ashley Feinberg, formerly of Gawker and now of Deadspin, follows the Trump-never-really-wanted-the-Presidency theory to its conclusion:

Unfortunately for Donald Trump and everyone else in the world save Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump is about to be the president. And as miserable at is for us, there is one small, saving grace amidst the despair: Donald Trump looks like he wants to die. Yesterday, Trump made his way to the White House for his first meeting with [Barack] Obama as President-elect. As many noted, in the photos of their meeting in the Oval Office, Trump looks absolutely terrified. As well he should be — this is a man who has absolutely no business running anything, much less the United States. And apparently, he knows it.

— Tom Hawking