Tuesday, December 6, 2016

HAIL MARY POLITICS


My thoughtful liberal friend Al has favored me with a reading list of several websites and blogs advocating that the Electoral College go rogue on December 19th and either elect Hillary Clinton or some as yet unidentified compromise candidate. Anybody but Donald Trump.

The anti Trump sentiment common to those writings is pervasive. He is called all kinds of hateful names and accused of all kinds of wrongdoing.

No matter that over 60 million Americans voted for the Donald. No matter that he won more than 300 electoral votes. The hue and cry against his victory has included tearful college students who are too distraught to go to class, and politically naïve teen agers who have marched out of school to parade down the avenue in protest of the national election.

All of which is by way of a contrast with the famous exchange during the last Presidential debate in which Chris Wallace asked both candidates if they would accept the results of the election and concede if they lose.

Trump dodged that question, saying that he felt the election was being “rigged” and insisting that he would not agree in advance to concede, but would wait to see what happens. Mrs. Clinton, on the other hand, was adamant that a losing candidate ought to concede graciously, which has been the tradition in America. She agreed with Wallace that concession begins the national healing process.

So what has actually happened? The losers are mad. They cling to every far fetched hope or strategy which might reverse the election results.

We are favored with scholarly essays about the creation of the electoral college and the intention of the Founders. We are told that legally the electors can vote for anyone, even though several states have laws requiring their electors to vote for the candidate who carried their state.

The fact, of course, is that presidential electors are chosen by the political parties, and their loyalty is sufficient to assure that the vote will go as it always has; to the candidate who wins in each state. The effort to get the Electoral college to ‘go rogue’ has been compared to a desperate, last minute, “Hail Mary” pass in a football game.

There are valid arguments which favor improvement of the electoral college system. A number of responsible citizens have argued in favor of simply electing the President by the popular vote.

That idea has merit, but certainly it cannot by superimposed on an election which was conducted under the existing electoral college rules. Donald Trump conducted his campaign in a manner designed to win a majority of the electoral college. No doubt Hillary Clinton did, too. They both vied for the ‘swing’ states.

If the election was to be based on the overall popular vote, surely the candidates’ strategies would have been different. Under the present system, no sensible Republican will spend time, money and effort trying to win votes in California and New York. Ditto Illinois and Massachusetts.

The fact that Hillary won the popular vote is irrelevant. The election wasn’t about the popular vote. It was about the electoral votes in each of the several states.

The electoral college consists of 535 electors; each state getting a number of electors equal to their total representation in Congress. Because there are 435 Representatives in the House and 100 Senators, the Electoral College is 81% representative of the people and 19% representative of the States.

This ratio has been static for over one hundred years because the House of Representatives is frozen at 435 members. The Founders of our nation intended that the House of Representatives would expand as the population increased. It hasn’t, for the simple reason that incumbent members of Congress do not wish to dilute the power of their offices.

The British House of Commons has 650 members representing 64.1 million people. If the U.S. House were equally as representative we would have 3,200 Congress members. In that case the number of Electoral College votes allotted to the States rather than people would amount to only 3% of the electoral votes.

Bottom line, the Electoral College is no more archaic than the House of Representatives. What America needs is constitutional reform.

3 comments:

  1. Amen! And isn't this a timely comment that segues well with your book! The next edition will need a chapter on the Electoral College!

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  2. ". . . Mrs. Clinton, on the other hand, was adamant that a losing candidate ought to concede graciously, which has been the tradition in America. She agreed with Wallace that concession begins the national healing process.

    "So what has actually happened? The losers are mad. They cling to every far fetched hope or strategy which might reverse the election results."

    Judge,

    You can count me among the "losers" who are (desperately, I admit) clinging to a hopeful Hail Mary, but to my knowledge Hillary Clinton has been silent regarding these efforts. Her campaign is participating is some recounts. Also, she did make a pre-scheduled speech at the Children's Defense Fund.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UH8asjCdvc0

    If any of your readers are interested, here is a news story from noontime Monday (12/5) about the organized efforts of would-be rogue electors in Colorado and Washington to orchestrate voting for a Republican other than Trump. Even some Democratic electors pledged to Clinton apparently are speaking of joining the Republican rogues in voting for a Republican Trump alternative.

    http://www.politico.com/story/2016/12/electoral-college-rogues-trump-clinton-232195

    As far as I can tell, the locus of the Republican rogues is at the Hamilton Electors website.
    http://www.hamiltonelectors.com/#masthead

    Free legal defense counseling and services are being offered to advise and defend any rogue electors who request same by the newly formed Electors Trust.
    http://www.electorstrust.org/

    And at least one Republican elector, Christopher Suprun of Texas, has been all over the media with his declaration that his cannot in good conscience vote for Trump.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/05/opinion/why-i-will-not-cast-my-electoral-vote-for-donald-trump.html?_r=0

    As I said in my note to you, the run-up to December 19th (Electoral College meeting day) should be very interesting this cycle, especially because your assumption that party-appointed electors will stay in line is proving to be increasingly incorrect.

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  3. Frankly, I feel the college kids are exposed to the liberals teaching at the colleges, and therefore, don't have a balanced view of our political system. They have shown themselves to be babies having a tantrum over the election results. boohoo to them. I experienced this liberalism when I was in college in the early 1970's. Fortunately, I grew up in a conservative home and benefited from those opinions. I also took Hillsdale College course on the Constitution and learned a great deal, more than in high school!

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