The day, the week and the lame 2.5 months after the election of Donald Trump

"Presumably the framers of the Constitution created the Electoral College for a reason. Citizens of the United States don’t directly elect the president or vice president; we choose “electors,” who usually pledge to vote for particular candidates. But what if the candidate that the electors are prepared to vote for wasn’t the choice of the majority of voters? And what if he poses a clear and present danger to the United States, and is guilty of moral turpitude? Would it not be within the province of the Electoral College not to vote for him? Might it even be the elector’s constitutional responsibility not to vote for him? Isn’t this what the framers of the Constitution had in mind?"  - Robert Reich, November 10, 2016.

Written by Bo Elder on Thursday November 10, 2016 - Permalink - Category: Election 2016

Well, the American people have spoken.

The election is over, the votes have been counted and we're left with on fact: On January 20th, Donald J. Trump will be sworn in as the 45th President of the United States.

He'll be sworn in, likely on a historical bible (probably not his own, or his immediate family) and the oath he will take will include the words, "that [he] will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."  This despite the fact that Donald Trump has neither read, nor understands, the Constitution of the United States. 

One of the provisions of the Constitution of the United States is the one concerning the Electoral College - an anachronistic system that will put Donald Trump in the White House, even though he did not earn a plurality of total votes cast.

"Presumably the framers of the Constitution created the Electoral College for a reason. Citizens of the United States don’t directly elect the president or vice president; we choose “electors,” who usually pledge to vote for particular candidates. But what if the candidate that the electors are prepared to vote for wasn’t the choice of the majority of voters? And what if he poses a clear and present danger to the United States, and is guilty of moral turpitude? Would it not be within the province of the Electoral College not to vote for him? Might it even be the elector’s constitutional responsibility not to vote for him? Isn’t this what the framers of the Constitution had in mind?"  - Robert Reich, November 10, 2016.

That honor goes to Hillary Clinton, who as of Thursday evening, November 10, has received 60,071,781 votes (47.7%). Donald Trump's vote count is 59,791,135 votes (47.5%) - a difference of only 280,646 votes. Nevertheless, in the Electoral College, the electoral vote numbers are 228 to 290 - a difference of 62 electoral votes. To put that in perspective, that's the total number of electoral votes from Montana, Wyoming, Iowa, Wisconsin, Mississippi, Alabama, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut.

A big problem with the Electoral College method of picking Presidents is that candidates do not have to focus on all areas of the country. If you're a Republican, you can ignore visiting states like Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, and nearly all of the Southern states. If you're a Democrat, you can safely ignore New York, California, Maryland, Massachusetts, Vermont, Rhode Island and nearly a dozen others. There are some states, however, that you're going to pay very, very close attention to. The so-called 'swing-states'. The image below shows the concentration of visits and money spent by candidates Kerry and Bush in the various states during the final five weeks of the 2004 campaign:

Disenfranchisement of millions of voters means that Democratic voters in Texas, or Republican voters in California and New York have basically thrown their vote away - arguably, they might as well have never pulled the lever for their preferred candidate. With the Electoral College, it's all or nothing. All of the 33 electoral votes in Texas go to Donald Trump. All of the 55 electoral votes in California go to Hillary Clinton. And rural America gets to pick the winner.

Half of the votes I've cast in my life for President have not counted.

For the fourth time in our nation's history, we'll have a sitting President who did not earn the People's vote, and yet he will still sit in the Oval Office in January 2017.

Good luck to us all.