Nov 09, 2016 Give power to the people by eliminating the electoral vote – plus where to go from here
Donald Trump has won the electoral vote but may have lost the popular vote. The polls — never perfect, as each voter is an individual, and polls do not query every voter — predicted Hillary Clinton’s popular vote win, but could not have been as reliable for predicting the outcome of the electoral vote, where the winner in each state takes all that state’s electoral votes.
NPR reports: “As of 7:20 a.m. ET, Clinton had amassed 59,059,121 votes nationally, to Trump’s 58,935,231 — a margin of 123,890 that puts Clinton on track to become the fifth U.S. presidential candidate to win the popular vote but lose the election.” That is a razor-thin margin that underlines how important is each of our votes.
Good luck, though, eliminating the electoral vote soon. The electoral presidential voting system has always governed American presidential elections, pursuant to Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution. Despite complaints against the electoral college over the generations, it stays in place. Eliminating the electoral college requires a Constitutional Amendment, which involves approval by two-thirds of the federal Senate and House (unless two-thirds of state legislatures so request), plus the ratification of three-fourths of the states. The Constitution has not been amended since the 1992 ratification of the 27th Amendment, which requires an intervening House election before Congressional members’ pay raises take effect. We cannot expect the current Republican-controlled Congress to put on their agenda the elimination of the electoral college that put a Republican president back in the White House after eight years.
The November 8, 2016, election lays bare the nation’s deep political divide. Trump won the electoral vote both with rabid supporters and those who found him less distasteful than Clinton, and Clinton seemingly won the popular vote in similar fashion.
How many people who might have not voted at all or might have voted for Clinton or Congressional Democratic candidates, voted Republican to thumb their noses at the smugness of so many pundits and Trump opponents loudly voicing their expectation of a nearly guaranteed Clinton win and possibly great Democratic inroads with the Senate and House elections?
Part of winning battles is knowing where the battlefields are, the battlefields’ terrain, and the people fighting and their strengths and weaknesses. This election has revealed very clearly where the fault lines are among the voters.
Donald Trump ran as a contrarian whether or not that was because he saw his run more as a competitive game without sufficient planning and strategizing nor the ability to do either, or because he and his team were more shrewd than people were willing to give him credit for.
Hillary Clinton remained her overly-scripted, overly-wooden self who has long been too challenged to go off script, show her real self, and truly connect with people. Then again, I have called Obama out for being too scripted, wooden and careful in his speeches, but he was able to connect better with people than Clinton. Perhaps people saw him as understanding them better than does Clinton, who was myopic in accepting so many millions of dollars for speeches to Wall Streeters, was too smug about her having used a private email server as Secretary of State, and has a former president husband (who lied under oath about his affair with Monica Lewinsky) whom probably few people wanted to see anywhere near the White House, let alone influencing a Hillary Clinton administration (which he would have).
During the Democratic primaries, plenty of people preferring Bernie Sanders appealed to the now-revealed wrong idea that Clinton was more electable in a general election than Sanders, who appealed to millions of the same disaffected voters who chose Trump. I reluctantly voted for Sanders in the primary, and even donated to his campaign, which was the first time I have donated to any candidate.
Now is time to make Trump a one-term president, by making it attractive to him to bow out of the 2020 campaign when he is 74 years old, and by mobilizing the right Democratic candidates early on, to beat him (because a third-party presidential win is far off in the future).
Now is the time to put pressure on Senate Democrats and Republicans who will not automatically confirm Trump nominees, to spend heavy energy on evaluating, questioning and voting the right way on each of Trump’s nominations to the Supreme Court (one vacancy already exists) and the lower federal courts, as well as his nominations for cabinet members and other high officials. However, only a majority vote is required to approve such nominations, and the Republicans have won a majority in both Houses.
With Trump’s Supreme Court and lower federal court judicial appointments, Americans will suffer for decades to come, as these are lifetime appointments.
To the extent that Trump won because of voters more willing to risk the unknown of Trump than the known of the current political, governmental, military, national security, and economic state of affairs, Trump will reveal himself enough in the next four years to hopefully write the script for his own undoing for the 2020 presidential election. Until then, we must keep our guards up, as with every presidential administration and with every lineup in the nation’s remaining federal, state and local governmental offices.