Warning…this post concerns civics…not politics.
Or is it just a matter of a lot of people failing high school civics lessons?
Or is it a matter of millennial who’ve been brought up that everybody gets a trophy whining?
Or something else entirely…I just can’t figure out what the heck is wrong with people.
Let me say this this is not a political post. I could give a rat’s ass who you voted for in the election last week. This country is a constitutional federal republic…not a democracy as many may think…and it’s your right to vote for the candidate of your choice on Election Day. What isn’t your right is to attempt to change the outcome because you don’t like it. What isn’t your right is to demand that the Constitution be changed illegally just because you don’t like what it says…there’s a way to amend the Constitution…see below…but any fool should know that rioting in the streets ain’t it.
Around these parts…we were a house divided. I ain’t telling ya who voted for who since it’s a secret…let’s just leave it at “it weren’t unanimous”.
Now before you get going and say that Bush vs Gore was an attempt to change the outcome of an election…it wasn’t. It was using the state mandated procedures for close elections to conduct a recount and the rules for deciding whether a recount was required/optional and when/how said recount starts, stops or ends and how it’s conducted.
So…this democracy thing. A democracy is where the population gets together town meeting hall style and votes. Back in ancient times…Athens had one. Rome didn’t for much the same reasons the US doesn’t. In more modern times…a pure democracy is just no longer feasible as nations became too large and the population too spread out with slow/limited communications for that to work. Yeah…we’ve got the internet today but communications was not the primary reason for abandoning a pure democracy. The founding fathers were also a bit worried about using a popular vote because (a) it was pretty uncommon for large countries back when the US Constitution was adopted and (b) they were concerned that landowners…basically the aristocracy…might get their interests outvoted by the uneducated masses numerical advantage.
So…the founding fathers established the Electoral College instead…with proportional representation based on each state’s population and left the selection of the electors up to the states. Back in the day…they were appointed by the state but in more recent times the electors are elected by voting for candidate A or candidate B (or C) for President. Granted the Electoral College concept might have some disadvantages…but it was a compromise at the time and the founding fathers thought it was the best way forward.
Anyways…we had the election the other day and according to the tally Mr. Trump has an Electoral College majority over Secretary Clinton…and hence he and not she is the President Elect. Our current President and Secretary Clinton have accepted this fact. In fact…76% of her supporters according to a Gallup poll released yesterday have accepted the outcome as legitimate.
Given all that…what’s with these morons.
As I write this…over 3 million votes have been placed on a petition at change.org calling on the Electoral College to disregard the outcome of the election and elect Secretary Clinton as President instead of Mr. Trump.
There are numerous problems with this…first off it’s completely unknown how many of those votes come from US citizens and how many come from foreigners who have none/zero/zilch say in elections in the US of A. Second…it’s not gonna happen anyway…members of the Electoral College are almost exclusively chosen by their respective political parties and the likelihood of say Democratic electors in states that the Secretary carried voting for Mr. Trump is about as vanishingly small as the opposite. Second…the results of the Electoral College vote have to be accepted by the Congress…and with Mr. Trump’s party holding majorities in both houses both before and after the election…well, this ain’t happening either.
Then there are those 10s or 100s of thousands depending on who’s doing the counting…and it might be claimed to be millions by this afternoon…who are demonstrating in then streets calling for a change in the outcome and carrying signs that say “Not My President”.
Well…again…there are numerous problems with this.
First and foremost…it’s not right. We had an election…he won…and it’s time to move on. Believe it or not…after Bush/Gore and after Obama/McCain and Obama/Romney…the sun still came up the next day for those on the losing side…and Western Civilization as we know it didn’t come to an end. Sure…there were a minority of citizens who carried on about silly stuff…but for the majority of our citizens the winner became our President even though we may or may not have agreed with his policies. There weren’t demonstrations in the streets by tree huggers after Gore lost…and there weren’t demonstrations in the streets by caucasian folks after McCain and Romney lost. Even around our house…and we most definitely didn’t vote for our current President…still recognized President Obama as the leader of our great nation. We lost and we moved on.
I’ve been seeing the protestors in the streets on the news…and the vast majority of them appear to be what would be called Millennials…a generation brought up by helicopter parents who insisted in no winners and no losers…and everybody got a trophy even if it’s for best T-shirt. Heck…even Connie and Neil’s human kid got them for various and assorted things while he was growing up…but he was taught at home that sometimes you win, sometimes you lose…and that you get over it and try harder next time. I wonder how many of those protesting morons actually voted last week…or did they just stay home until their candidate lost…too interested in their cell phones to get off their lazy asses and go to the voting station.
Do they not understand how elections work? Do they not understand how the Constitution works? Do they think they should get their way just because they say so? The Electoral College and the Presidential election process are the law of the land as specified by the Constitution ratified in 1788…and there is no, repeat no, repeat ZERO possibility that demanding that Congress pass a law overturning the Electoral College can change the Constitution…or that the results will change simply because you want them to. It ain’t like college campuses where at the presence of a few signs the administration will buckle and institute safe places or trigger words that can’t be uttered on campus.
Secretary Clinton is…as of this writing…in the lead in the national popular vote by about 600,000 votes…thus the strident claims by demonstrators that she “won” the popular vote and deserves to be elected by the electoral college. Turns out though…that she may or may not have actually won the popular vote. She does currently lead in the counted popular vote but not necessarily in the cast popular vote. There are about 7 million absentee ballots which have not been counted at all…this is because states don’t bother counting absentee ballots unless there are more absentee ballots than the difference in the election day vote totals. If there aren’t enough absentee ballots to change the results…they don’t get counted. Now historically…most absentee ballots are cast by members of the military and their families…and historically absentee ballots tend to break about 2/3 Republican and 1/3 Democrat. If all of these ballots were counted and the historical averages were attained…Mr. Trump would pick up about 4.7 million votes and Secretary Clinton about 2.3 million votes…an he would be leading in the popular vote. Since the federal government has no power to require states to count all votes cast absentee or otherwise…election procedures are left to the states by the constitution…it’s clear that we really don’t know who won the popular vote.
None of this popular vote nonsense matters though…the electoral college system comes straight out of the constitution and isn’t easily changed. The founding fathers deliberately set it up so that it’s hard to change the constitution…to prevent the whims of a few or a temporarily popular idea to become part of the constitution.
Their human kid…and many others…characterize the constitution as a moldy, outdated 250 year old piece of paper that shouldn’t be paid attention to…it should mean what we want it to mean instead of what it says. Those of earlier generations…particularly those with military service who swore an oath to it…have different ideas about the validity of the constitution.
For those of you who might have failed (or slept through) high school Civics class…there is one and only one process for amending the US Constitution. Again…this was a compromise back in 1787…but it’s served us pretty well through the years and it’s frankly amazing that the concepts in a 200+ year old document are still relevant today and haven’t been overcome by technical and technology innovations.
First…an amendment must be proposed by either a 2/3 vote in both houses of congress…thats’s 67 Senators and 290 Representatives…or they can be proposed by a Constitutional Convention which must be called for by 2/3 of all state legislatures…that’s 34 states since the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and other territories ain’t states.
Second…the proposed amendment must be approved by either the legislature or a state ratifying convention in at least 3/4 of the states…that’s 38 states.
Third…well, there is no step 3 and there is no other process by which the electoral college can be abolished…although I suppose there could be a constitutional amendment to change the rules for constitutional amendments…but that amendment would have to be ratified by the old process before it took effect. Or there’s that whole let’s have another Constitutional Convention, toss the old one out and write a new one idea…but yeah, that probably ain’t gonna happen either.
Now what about this whole “popular vote—will of the people—majority rules” thing. While I can agree that at least theoretically this has might be a better idea and it does have some valid points…the Electoral College is still the best way to proceed in my view. It’s for different reasons than envisioned by the founding fathers…but at least in my thoughts the reasons are valid and should overrule the single popular vote concept.
The biggest reason that it should remain is that elimination of the Electoral College would basically eliminate and disenfranchise the voters in small states and concentrate the electing power of the people in the hands of large cities. For example…let’s consider New York City. Like most large cities…NYC over the years has become a Democratic stronghold because the policies of that political party tend to favor large cities and their inhabitants. Places like Idaho tend to be Republican for the same reason. Let’s consider population…NYC has 9 million people and while not all of them are voters the numbers are easier to figure out than eligible voters. Idaho has 1.6 million people and is the 39th largest state by population. In fact…you have to add up the 10 smallest states by population to be approximately equal to NYC. Now add in LA, Chicago, Detroit, Boston, Washington DC, Houston, etc and you can what going with a strict popular vote would do.
No national candidate would…ever again…bother to campaign in New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island, Montana, Delaware, either Dakota, Alaska, Vermont, or Wyoming (those are the 10 smallest population states) because it simply wouldn’t matter…campaigning in NYC and Philadelphia would get more votes. As a practical matter…they would campaign in NH, ME, RI, DE and VT since they’re in the northeast and are relatively small so it’s not hard to go there while you’re in the NYC or Philadelphia area.
Now personally…I think that it would be fairer for states to allocate electoral votes based on the same method that Nebraska and Maine do…the state popular winner gets the 2 electoral votes based on Senate seats and the others based on House districts are awarded based on the popular winner in that district. That seems fairer to me…and close in concept to a popular vote election. I’ve got no idea how this would have changed last week’s election…haven’t seen anything on it on the web and I don’t have enough interest to figure it out myself…but go ahead and do it if you want as the numbers are all out there in the internet and let me know in the comments. Me…that would cut into my beer drinking time:-)
I ain’t gonna say that there aren’t conflicting opinions that support going to a popular vote for the Presidential election…but see above if you want to change it. Again…follow the process.
In summary…I’m appalled not by the outcome of the election…after all it’s an election and by definition there’s a winner and a loser…but I am appalled by the outrage being expressed and by the demands to overturn it because “my candidate didn’t win”. I wouldn’t be appalled if Secretary Clinton was the winner either.
Bunch of whining assholes if ya ask me…they need to sit down and shut up…and maybe vote next time in the hope that their candidate will win. Seems like we’ve reared and educated an entire generation of me first whiners who don’t know the first damn thing about how government works, think they should be handed 100K+ salaries just because and have to go to their safe place whenever anything mildly controversial is said. What happened to going to college to be challenged intellectually, having reasoned but polite discourse/debate, and learning that something other than your particular viewpoint not only exists but is a good thing.
Speaking of “the process”…how about the Alabama Crimson Tide yesterday. Both the offense and defense did their jobs and they came out with a run away win and clinched the SEC Western division when Auburn lost to Georgia later in the evening. We’re in the SEC Championship in Atlanta regardless of the outcome of the Iron Bowl two weeks hence…but the Tide will rightly be favored in that game. They might lose…after all it’s the biggest game of the year in the state and the clearly “superior” team has lost many times through the years. That’s why they play the game of course…any given team on any given Saturday and all that. Georgia is now coached by Kirby Smart who was the defensive coordinator under Nick Saban for many years at Alabama…he’s been completely Saban-ized over the years and his defense is starting to look remarkably similar to Alabama’s and the offense is trusted to not make mistakes and score enough points to win.
***Added this below later on**
Found out some more stuff that I thought was applicable to my discussion above later on…decided to just add on rather than edit what I originally said.
The following states contain more than 50% of the US population in total…NY, CA, FL, and TX. Do we really want those 4 states to control elections?
Concerning the possibility of an amendment to change the Electoral College to popular vote…even if Congress approved the amendment for submission to the states…if 13 states vote against it then it’s not going to be ratified. There are 15 states with 5 or less electoral votes…it’s hard to see any of those states voting to dilute their national election significance.
Another illustration of the 50% of population and concentration idea. The blue areas on this map contain in total >50% of the US population. Should those small areas be allowed to overrule the remaining 95% of the country’s landmass?
Here’s the Trump/Clinton voting map broken down by congressional district. Note how it almost duplicates the above population map.
What these two images really show is that large city populations as shown in the one above tend to vote Democratic. Rural and non urban areas tend to vote Republican. This isn’t because the rural/non-urban people are deplorable…and it’s not because the inner city residents are minority or poor. It’s because different segments of the population want different things. Poorer people in the cities want more social safety nets and what Republicans would call social giveaway programs. Rural/non-urban want the government to mostly stay out of their business and not do what Democrats would call social responsibility and Republicans call redistribution of wealth. Redistribution of wealth is what normally happens under socialism or communism…and we’ve seen how well that works out. The USSR failed miserably…and while socialist states like Denmark/Norway/Sweden are doing reasonably well…their tax burdens are large and driven by Robin Hood-ism…take from the rich and give to the poor. Not so sure how well that’s working either.
OK…on to interesting stuff.
Most apropos for a post election week post.
Second most appropriate…I’m going with the Founding Fathers and the 99.8 million who didn’t bother to exercise their voting rights…you don’t get to complain about the rules if you’re not playing the game.
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Where baby airplanes come from.
This totally needs to happen.
Anybody ever had Amazon do this to their purchases…we have. Bubble wrapped bubble wrap.
I can get behind this sign.