11 thoughts on “The Electoral College”

    1. 3 mins after cutout, it automatically trims from 2.3 to 0.8. I can see other things the pilots could do (e.g. cut throttles when the clackers started going, but that’s not in the checklist for the initial problem), but it seems the key thing was the aircraft was doing something the pilots didn’t command it to do.

      1. When I looked at the flight data in the report, you can see where they turned off the STAB TRIM cutout switch. The report says the copilot told the pilot that the manual trim was inoperable. I found that kind of odd, but then found it explained in the video below.

        In the data, just before the final nose over you can see the pilot trying to apply up trim, which means they must’ve turned the STAB TRIM switch back on, which is what I would do if the manual system was inoperable – try the powered trim system again. But then MCAS intervenes again and dooms them. I think the report says the STAB TRIM cutout switch was found in the off position, so they must’ve turned it off again right after than last and fatal MCAS intervention.

        Youtube video of a 737 pilot discussing the report

        The video explains that when the plane is seriously out of trim, nose down (his instructor would sneakily do that intentionally), the stab trim jack screw has so much force on it that the pilot can’t apply enough torque with the wheel to move it without unloading the jack screw by nosing the plane over. That frees up the trim wheel so the pilot can crank in more up trim. Mechanically, the leading edge of the stabilizer is full up and the jack screw needs to push it down against a monstrous aerodynamic load. Nosing over eases the loading.

        But the pilots on the Ethopian Air flight didn’t have enough altitude to nose the plane over to unload the jack screw.

        At the end of the flight data you can see the pilot make two brief attempts to use the electrical controls to move the jack screw, and the stabilizer did slightly move, but not much. He was severely overspeeding the aircraft in dense air, so perhaps even the electric motor barely had enough torque to overcome the forces. However, going with the force is easier, so MCAS had no difficulty in engaging and making the nose down problem worse.

        I’m don’t know that Captain Sullenberger could have saved that aircraft.

        As an aside, Ralph Nader’s niece died in the crash and the family is suing Boeing.

  1. Good op-ed but it should be pointed out that political parties operated in all the states and while a state might go one way in a Presidential election, that doesn’t mean that state didn’t have pro-slavery elected officials.

    Granted that is outside the scope of the op-ed but its important because some people think of things as North vs South or slave states vs free states and that isn’t exactly the case.

    This gives rise to the claim that there were Southern Democrats, a distinct party of its own, rather than just Democrats.

  2. If not for the Electoral College, there’s no way that there would have been a US at all. Smaller states would have been overridden by Virginia.

    1. More to the point, they wouldn’t have agreed to join.

      And, if the electoral college goes away and America is run by a few huge Democrat cities, the small states won’ t have any reason to remain.

  3. I find it astonishing – and laudable – that an historian of obvious liberal leanings has the intellectual honesty to reverse the conclusions he had published less than a year before. Further, his train of thought was very carefully laid out, and vetted by an his own devil’s advocate process. And his current position is definitely not part of the narrative. So kudos, Sean Wilentz. We need more people like you everywhere on the political spectrum.

    1. If the only way you can interpret History is through the lens of the Dialectic of Class Struggle then there is some logic to this approach. The US Senate, and the EC, were parts of an effort to constrain “the lower classes” from direct political power. The slaves being the “lowest class” of workers.

      Take out the Electoral College and there is little reason to keep the US Senate. Just go full-on Parliamentary System and make the Leader of the House a Dictator …. it would have the charm of being honest about what was going on.

  4. I hope all of those folks who are now screaming for the EC to go away don’t like eating, because if they get their way, you can say goodbye to the vast majority of farming in this country.

    The votes of the big cities will rule, which means that politicians will want to make them happy (read – give them money). More and more people will follow the money, leading to vast areas of this country being ghost-towns. Those states like Iowa, Nebraska, etc are our farming centers and won’t really exist.

    But hey, “Buy Organic”.

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