This blog is not dead; merely on hiatus as my life took a rather remarkable left turn into chaos, excitement, and surprising new opportunities. I’m back.
My blog says I’ll wade into the controversial, so here it is.
I’ve closely watched this attack on the Electoral College because Trump won 3 million less popular votes than Hillary. It is dangerous.
First off, the votes. There is a potential (flimsy evidence I admit, but it’s there) that about 3 million illegal aliens voted. Walter Williams, a highly respect African-American economist and columnist, brought this up. If true, those votes DO NOT COUNT, and Hillary’s “popular lead” doesn’t exist.
If that accusation is NOT true, fine. But Hillary still ignored the Electoral College map and Trump didn’t.
Let’s move on to the supposed Russian hacking. I get the CIA’s position (they’ve made it public enough). But the FBI and the Director of National Intelligence BOTH do not believe the CIA. Hearings MUST be held; our cyber security is a JOKE. But don’t blame the Russians for Hillary’s failure. Blame Hillary. She IGNORED the states she needed to win the Electoral College. Trump didn’t. Had Hillary spent time in Wisconsin, for instance, she might have turned the tide.
Which brings us to the election and the Electoral College.
The Electoral College exists to protect us from the dangers of direct democracy AND to force presidential candidates to pay attention to the WHOLE country (which Hillary did NOT do). Without the College, presidential candidates can hit the big states (Texas, California, New York, etc.) and ignore the rest. Before you bemoan the “undemocratic” system this is, think about the branches of government we already have.
Each state has representatives in the House to give as direct representation as possible to local populations. Each state also has two senators to give the state as a whole representation. Both representatives and senators are selected by direct elections.
However, as California demonstrates, states with huge populations in one area (southern California, for instance) can have one part of the population dictate and, effectively, disenfranchise the rest of the state. There is a movement in California for the northern part to secede and becomes its own state because the super-population of southern California sucks up pretty much all the representation in both Sacramento and Washington, D.C.
Now to the DANGER of direct democracy. Tyrants and dictators LOVE direct democracy. Tyrants only need a simple majority, whipped into an emotional frenzy and not thinking critically, to win and start their campaign of terror (see the French Revolution in the 18th century and Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela in the 21st century).
To put it in simple (if absurd) terms: say you have a population of 100 in a town. 51 redheads, and 49 brunettes. There is debate on what do with income. A referendum is floated in the town to allow the redheads to take up to half the income of the brunettes. Well, by this town’s constitution a simple majority is needed for such a referendum to pass.
The measure passes by 51 votes (all redheads, by the way). A simply majority just legally instituted what could be defined as government-sanctioned theft. A simple majority just said one hair color has the right to take the money of another person with a different hair color.
But wait, you say—the courts will strike this down!
Nope. The courts are staffed by judges who were appointed by the redheads since they dominate the direct democratic system by virtue of their numbers. The brunettes are officially screwed and must give half their paychecks to the redheads…to people who did not earn the money they are now taking.
This is the logical result of simple, direct democracy: tyranny.
The Electoral College prevents both the tyranny of the majority AND the tyranny of the minority. It ensures presidential candidates MUST canvass the WHOLE country since the president is supposed to be the representative of ALL OF US.
Don’t like Trump’s win? That is fine, and there is a solution. Get motivated in the Democrat Party and rebuild its grassroots efforts in the states Trump won and Hillary lost…and then make sure the next Democrat candidate actually pays attention to those states.
In the meantime, those who are pressuring electors to be faithless and not vote for the candidate who won their state are missing another point of the College. The College was only meant to deny a candidate their votes if evidence came up after an election that said the candidate was unfit or criminal. Trump is neither unfit nor criminal. To re-reference the “Russian” hacking allegation…if the Director of National Intelligence is saying the CIA’s report is based on flimsy “suspicions” but no hard evidence, then no hard evidence has come forth to indicate the American people were taken for a ride by Trump. Therefore the Electors should remain faithful to their states and vote for the candidate who won their states.
It is just possible Trump won not because of racism, sexism, or homophobia (I’m a gay man who voted for him; I don’t rightly consider myself homophobic, you know!). It is possible he won because he had a strategy that focused on the Electoral College while bringing a message of change the American people wanted. It is just possible Hillary lost because her strategy ignored these same states and also offered a message the American people decided they did not like. It is possible she was simply the weaker candidate. No harm, no foul, and no insult to those who voted for her. They voted their conscious, and it reflects great credit on them that they took the time to vote for whom they believed in. However, that does not negate Trump’s win or the integrity of our system’s safeguards against tyranny.
Just a historical note of rationality: when Jefferson cleaned Adams’ clock in 1800, all Jefferson’s opponents freaked out that the Republic was dead. This was repeated when Andrew Jackson took the White House in 1829. Hell, the Republic WAS falling apart when Lincoln took office in 1861…but he pulled it all back together. After McKinley’s assassination in 1901, Democrats and Republicans alike thought Theodore Roosevelt would destroy American democracy. FDR was roundly panned as a socialistic hack who would ruin us in 1933. Ronald Reagan was labeled a warmonger who would start a nuclear war by his Democratic opponents in 1981. George W. Bush was so hated people openly called for his assassination to save the nation (true story—go look up Michelle Malkin’s excellent documentation of this horrid “assassination fascination” from 2001 – 2008). When Mr. Obama won his historic victory in 2008, many of his opponents said it was the end of the world and the nation would break up in separate ethnic factions.
Funny thing, but we’re still here. Presidential elections have been heralded as the “end of the world” for over 200 years now…and we’re still here. Imperfect, striving to be better, but still here. For those who don’t like Trump, take a breath and calm down. The nation will survive and you will have a chance in 2020 to hire a new president.
In the meantime, let’s see what tomorrow’s vote of the Electoral College brings!