Showing posts with label Electoral College. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Electoral College. Show all posts

Friday, December 16, 2016


Dahlia Lithwick of Slate and law Professor David S Cohen from Drexel University in The New York Times:
There's no shortage of legal theories that could challenge Mr. Trump'a anointment, but they come from outsiders rather than the Democratic Party. Impassioned citizens have been pleading with electors to vote against Mr. Trump; law professors have argued that winner-take-all laws for electoral votes are unconstitutional; small group of Hamilton Electors is attempting to free electors to vote their consciences; and a new theory has arisen that there is legal precedent for courts to give the election to Mrs. Clinton based on Russian interference, All of these efforts, along with grass-roots protests, boycotts and petitions, have been happening without the Democratic Party. The most we've seen is a response to the C.I.A revelations, but only with Republicans onboard to give Democrats bipartisan cover.
Clinton won nearly 3 million more votes than Trump. Trump won by 1% in Pennsylvania, but he received all 20 electoral votes, which disenfranchises the people who voted for her in the state and in all the other winner-take-all states. Why not support the Hamilton electors in the Electoral College in doing the job as described in The Federalist Papers #68? Why have the Electoral College at all if it's never to be used for it's proper purpose?
It was desirable that the sense of the people should operate in the choice of the person to whom so important a trust was to be confided. This end will be answered by committing the right of making it, not to any preestablished body, but to men chosen by the people for the special purpose, and at the particular conjuncture.

It was also peculiarly desirable to afford as little opportunity as possible to tumult and disorder. This evil was not least to be dreaded in the election of a magistrate, who was to have so important an agency in the administration of the government as the President of the United States. But the precautions which have been so happily concerted in the system under consideration, promise an effectual security against this mischief.
Tumult, disorder, and mischief abound in Trump's leadership and in his team. Democrats generally fight fairer according to Marquess of Queensbury-like rules and traditions, and Republicans take off the gloves and fight unbound by tradition and unwritten rules, which makes the fight assymmetrical, leaving Democrats at a disadvantage. As witness, during the writers' joint appearance on Chris Hayes' All In, Lithwick notes the 300 days the nomination of Merrick Garland languished in the Senate with no forward movement. Sorry, I can't get the embed link for the video to work, but you can try this link and look for the title Should Democrats act more like Republicans?.

If electors choose not to vote for Trump and write in another name besides besides Clinton, and no candidate receives the required 270 votes, the decision would go to the House of Representative. Of course, the majority will vote for Trump, but then the responsibility for the Trump presidency and its consequences will rest entirely in the hands of Republicans.

My post is not about laying blame for what's past, but rather about what Democrats do now. The electoral vote is on Monday, November 19, so there's very little time. Is there a way to stop the Putin-Trump co-presidency of the world?

Monday, November 5, 2012


George Caleb Bingham (1811–1879), The County Election, 1852. 
Saint Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, MO

No people of color nor women are in line to vote in 1852. I see possibly one black man in the picture, but he's pouring more drink.  More than one man appears drunk.  (What happens today when a person arrives at the polls under the influence?  Googled a little; didn't find much.)  So now people of color and women who are citizens of the US, get to vote, except in states where less-than-honest-and-upright Republicans run the show and make it difficult for people of color to vote, because - Hey! - "those people" usually vote for Democrats.  I'm not aware that Republicans try to suppress women's votes, because, believe it or not, there are women who vote Republican.

Anyway, here in the greatest democracy in the entire world, we do not elect the president and vice-president by popular vote.  The voters in individual states elect members of the Electoral College, who then elect the president and vice-president.  All states but Nebraska and Maine have winner-take-all laws, whereby the candidates who win the majority of votes are allotted all of the states' electoral votes.  Therefore, in very close elections, it is possible that candidates who receive a majority of the popular vote could lose the electoral vote.

Each state has its own rules for elections and voting processes.  The voting systems used by the various states are a decidedly mixed bag, and, with each election, there are problems and controversy, some of which nearly always end up in in court.  If you recall the hanging chads controversy in Florida in the Bush/Gore election in 2000, you know that the US Supreme Court elected George W Bush.  It seems to me that uniform rules and processes at least for national offices, such as president, vice-president, and the members of Congress, might be a better idea, with the entire country using the same processes, voting machines or ballots, rules for early voting, etc., but that is not likely to happen any time soon, surely not in my lifetime.

So here we are in this year 2012 better off than in 1852, but with a long way to go before we the people are confident of free and fair elections.

 Painting from Picturing America.
Besides commenting on American electioneering in general, The County Election records a particular political event. As many of Bingham’s contemporaries would have known, the painting depicts Election Day 1850 in Saline County, Missouri, when the artist himself was running for a place in the State Legislature.
Note: I corrected the date of the election depicted in the painting and changed the link to a source with more accurate and detailed information.