Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Electoral College Is Completely Useless (Part Deux)

Psst....wanna know a secret about the Electoral College?

As I noted in the previous post, one of the reasons the Founders, especially Alexander Hamilton, designed the Electoral College was as a supposed fail-safe to prevent a dangerous and unqualified demagogue (especially one with foreign entanglements) from becoming President of the United States. (The 2016 election most ironically proved otherwise) Hamilton basically laid out the Federalist case for the Electoral College thusly, albeit combined with the sort of sneering elitism that even the most rabid Trump supporters would ironically claim to dislike today.

But there was also a much darker reason behind the creation of the Electoral College.  To put it bluntly, it was explicitly designed to protect--wait for it--SLAVERY.  In fact, that was the only way to get the Anti-Federalists in the southern slave states to sign on to the Constitution at all.  That is why less-populous states get a disproportionately large amount of electoral votes (since slave states often had as many slaves as free citizens and each slave only counted as 3/5 of a person in the census and was not allowed to vote).  And to this day, the Electoral College remains a bastion of white (sorry, "rural") privilege for the same reason.

Thus, the Electoral College is obsolete and currently serves no useful purpose anymore.  In fact, the winner-take-all aspect, over and above the small state bias, was the primary reason Trump won the election despite getting nearly 3 million fewer votes than Hillary, so it actually does more harm than good to this country.  Allocating electoral votes proportionally in each state instead of winner-take-all would go a long way to fixing it, and indeed Hillary would have won the electoral vote by changing just this aspect of the system.  It would also make it harder to effectively cheat as well.  But it would not solve all problems, and would in fact create a new problem--third-party candidates throwing the election into the House of Representatives when no one gets 270 majority--unless candidates with a de minimis amount of the popular vote (say, 5%) are then denied any electoral votes and/or only the top two or three candidates actually counting.  Therefore, all things considered, the very best and simplest solution is to abolish the Electoral College altogether, and elect the president by straight national popular vote going forward.

Of course, abolishing it entirely would require a constitutional amendment, and would thus be quite a long shot indeed, but there is a way to make it irrelevant by 2020.  The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC) is the way to do it, making it so that that only the winner of the national popular vote would win 270 electoral votes and become President, while still technically keeping the Electoral College in place.  Sign and share!

The Electoral College Is Completely Useless

On December 19, 2016, that 18th century relic known as the Electoral College effectively rubber-stamped Donald Trump as the 45th POTUS, proving that it is utterly useless in what Alexander Hamilton designed it for, i.e. preventing dangerous demagogues (especially with foreign entanglements) from ascending to the highest office in the land.  Only six Electors defected (four from Hillary, two from the Donald), which was nowhere near the 38 required to flip the election or 37 required to throw it to the House of Representatives.  Thus, no overall change.

Hillary won the popular vote by nearly 3 million, but still lost the electoral vote due to the winner-take-all aspect of the way electoral votes are allocated to the states.  As a result, barring a miracle of miracles involving Congress and/or the courts, we will end up exactly the type of president that the Founders warned about.  Thus, going forward we at the TSAP have this to say to the Electoral College:  YOU'RE FIRED!  (As your buddy would say)

Here is the letter I wrote to the Electors that were pledged to Trump, in an attempt to sway them:

Dear Electors,

My name is [Redacted] from [Redacted], NY.

I am gravely concerned about the clear and present danger that Donald Trump poses to the United States of America as well as globally. He has shown reckless disregard for even the most rudimentary responsibilities that come with the awesome power of the office of the presidency. He has behaved in a blatantly racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, narcissistic, and dictatorial manner. He has ignored intelligence briefings, recklessly pokes every proverbial angry bear he can find globally with his tweets, nominated the worst possible candidates to his cabinet, avoids the media, reneged (or plans on reneging) on most of his campaign promises, and has apparently received help via hacking, propaganda, and election sabotage from his buddy Vladimir Putin, an authoritarian dictator who is clearly no friend of the United States as of late. FBI director James Comey also played his own role in sabotage his opponent with a phony scandal while simultaneously ignoring Russian hacking. In spite of such sabotage and skulduggery, Hillary Clinton still managed to win the national popular vote nonetheless by nearly three million votes--just not where those votes really mattered due to the winner-takes-all aspect of the Electoral College system. And while the (curiously aborted) recount efforts have not proven anything, they have not actually disproven anything either, and several "irregularites" benefiting Trump in crucial swing states have been found to one degree or another. In other words, a dangerous demagogue who is woefully unqualified and unfit for command--the kind that the Founders warned about and in fact created the Electoral College in order to prevent--ironically has managed to ascend to the presidency thus far.

In light of the above facts, please do the right thing and vote for Hillary. Doing so would be good for America and good for democracy overall. And if you somehow can't bring yourself to do that, at least vote for someone other than Trump. Our nation and world literally depend on it. Whether you vote for Trump or not, your decision is certain to anger roughly half of the population either way, so you might as well do it for good and vote your conscience.

Thank you for your time and consideration, I appreciate and respect the role you serve in our electoral process.

(Ajax the Great)

Clearly, if that couldn't sway them, nothing would.  They clearly had their minds made up.    But truly hindsight is 2020--pun intended, of course.  That is the year we must RE-DEFEAT TRUMP.  Bigly.  If he is still even in office at that point, that is.  At the rate he is going, if he is not disqualified before taking office, he is very likely to get himself impeached, resign in disgrace, or even die in office due to either poking the wrong angry bear one too many times (which he apparently luuurrrves to do) or simply having a massive heart attack from his fiery temper, stress, junk food diet, obesity, and sedentary lifestyle.  Believe me.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Why Trump Must Be Disqualified Before Taking Office

On December 9, 2016, it has been revealed that Russia has been meddling in the presidential election in an attempt to help Donald Trump win.  At first it was thought that Russia was just trying to undermine confidence in our electoral system, but it now appears that they were attacking Hillary in order to help Trump.  That includes both illegal hacking as well as the creation and dissemination of "fake news", aka propaganda.  So why would they do that?  Well, Trump seems to have some explaining to do.  From his alleged business interests in Russia to his praise of Putin to his cabinet picks with connections to Russia to his foreign-policy platform that basically reads like the ultimate Putin wish-list, the Russian regime seems to really want Trump for POTUS--dare I say, as Putin's puppet in the White House?

And Republican Senator Mitch McConnell as well as FBI Director James Comey (remember him?) both allegedly knew about it and helped cover it up.  That's right--a foreign power (if not a foreign enemy) blatantly interfered with an American presidential election, and these two supposedly swept it under the rug in order to help Trump win.  Seriously.  It's beginning to look a lot like TREASON, everywhere Trump goes...

Therefore, at a minimum, Trump needs to be disqualified from the presidency before he takes office in January, and Hillary needs to be declared the winner by default.  Yesterday.  And there is apparently at least some precedent for doing just that, as federal courts have ruled for a 1994 local election in Philadelphia.

Imagine if it were reversed, that is, if instead Hillary had won by the skin of her teeth via the arcane math of the Electoral College system while losing the popular vote.  And then it were revealed that Russia or some other foreign power had meddled in the election to help her in like fashion.  Truly the Republicans would be up in arms about that, as they should be.  Yet except for John McCain and Lindsey Graham, they have been strangely silent for some reason.  Gee, I wonder why?

And Trump's reaction to this news?  He basically just attacked the messenger (i.e. discrediting the CIA in this case) without actually refuting the allegations.  Yep, that's real normal behavior for an incoming President.  Electors and Congresscritters, take note.

UPDATE:  On December 19, the Electoral College overall did end up rubber-stamping Trump's "victory".  Only six electors defected--four from Hillary, and two from Trump, thus no effect on the outcome.  But there is still a chance to disqualify him via the courts and/or Congress, though that window is closing fast.  After inauguration on January 20, 2017, the only legal option left would be impeachment, particularly via the Emoluments Clause.  He does have a ludicrous amount of conflicts of interest, including numerous foreign entanglements of which he refuses to divest.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Real Election-Rigging Scandal You Probably Don't Know About

Though there is already plenty of evidence of "irregularities" and "errors", nearly all of which favoring Trump, in key swing states, and even some evidence of possible machine tampering in Wisconsin, the truth is that tampering and hacking are really NOT the biggest problems in terms of potential election rigging.  As author and pundit Greg Palast notes, much, much larger are the problems of voter suppression, discarded votes, and related systemic issues that worked in Trump's favor.  Such problems tend to be far more prevalent in Republican-controlled states, and (not coincidentally) tend to disproportionately disenfranchise people of color and other voters who are statistically likely to vote Democrat.  And most of it is effectively legal.

Note that Republicans are always the ones who push for suppressive and overly stringent voter ID laws, which are basically a solution in search of a problem given that in-person voter fraud is much too rare to have meaningfully affected any election thus far.  They even repeat the same tired, old debunked canards about illegal immigrants and dead people voting in order to justify both voter ID laws as well as other suppressive measures like Crosscheck, a computer which is used to purge "questionable" voters from the election rolls.  And purged voters who find their names mysteriously missing on the rolls are either turned away or, if they request it, given "provisional" ballots that all too often end up in the trash and are thus "placebo" ballots.  Also, many states permanently revoke the right to vote from convicted felons even after they have paid their debt to society--and due to institutional racism, this disproportionately affects people of color.  Add to this the fact that poor people and people of color statistically tend to get the worst voting machines (i.e. more likely to malfunction) at their polling places, voter intimidation, and stuff like that, and you have a recipe for massive disenfranchisement of likely Democratic voters.  And make no mistake, none of this is any sort of accident, this is all by design.

And since the Supreme Court essentially gutted the Voting Rights Act in 2013, things have only gotten that much worse since. That was done despite common knowledge that racial gerrymandering and voter suppression of people of color would most likely increase as a result of such safeguards becoming unenforceable in practice.

So yes, the 2016 election was rigged, even if there was no tampering.  Just like every election before it, to one degree or another.  And it was rigged in favor of the party of the privileged, which is none other than the GOP.   After all, as Greg Palast famously said, America is "the best democracy money can buy".

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Don't Fear The Recount

Listen, Donald, you ultimately brought it on yourself.  All of this talk about the election being "rigged" when you thought you were gonna lose, and had lost all three debates, claiming that you may not accept the results of the election.  Then when you surprisingly won by the skin of your teeth due to the mathematical quirks inherent in the Rube Goldberg machine known as the Electoral College, you gloated about your victory.  Even one of your own pollsters said that you literally won by FIVE FREAKING COUNTIES.  Then when you saw that Hillary had won the popular vote by well over 2 million votes, you had to resort to a debunked conspiracy theory to accuse the Democrats of voter fraud by non-citizens in a desperate and disingenuous attempt to explain away the fact that you actually lost to a woman in terms of the popular vote.  BIGLY.  And now you are not only disparaging the recent recount efforts, but you are actually trying to block it by literally making a federal case out of it a la Bush v. Gore.  Honestly, if you are so confident that you have won fair and square (while simultaneously being concerned about alleged skulduggery on the part of the Democrats), you should have absolutely nothing to fear from a recount, and in fact you should welcome it so as to ensure the integrity of our electoral system.  The fact that you are trying to block it will just undermine what little legitimacy you have left. 

We all know that if the situation were reversed, and you had won the popular vote but lost the Electoral College, you would not have conceded the election the next day like Hillary did, and in fact you would have been whining and demanding a recount immediately.  So don't give me that.  As you like to say, "Sad."

Congratulations, Donald, you have proven that it is actually possible to be both a sore winner AND a sore loser at the same time.  Seriously.  Keep digging your own grave, as you are doing a truly marvelous job of that.  Believe me.

Oh, and by the way, while there is no credible evidence of Democratic voter fraud in this election, there is indeed plenty of evidence of "irregularites" and "errors" in key swing states.  And practically all of these discrepancies are in one direction--yours.  Things that (should) make you go, hmmmm.