Since I spent so much of election season urging all of you to vote, I figured I needed to do at least one post-election blog entry on the 2016 Presidential Election.
Donald J. Trump is President-Elect of the United State United States. He won the Electoral College vote, which is what counts in our system. As of this writing and with two states still completing their vote counts, Hillary Clinton appears to be winning the popular vote, currently 60,467,601 to the President-Elect’s 60,072,551. Only Michigan and Vermont have incomplete results and I’ll update this entry once those are done.
Over on Facebook, I have seen some assertions that Donald Trump won the popular vote as well as the Electoral College. If you wish to challenge the vote numbers I got from Politico, the only thing I’ll accept are vote totals from a given state’s election office, which you can find from the USA.gov directory of state election offices. If you find state numbers that differ from Politico’s let me know the specific state and the specific vote totals you found and I’ll have another look at the numbers.
In any case, for purposes of determining who is President of the United States, IT JUST DOESN’T MATTER that Clinton won the popular vote. It hurts me to say this and I wish it weren’t true – but it is. Until we have the state led National Popular Vote compact OR the Electoral College is abolished through a Constitutional Amendment, the Presidency is determined by votes in the Electoral College. Under that Constitutional process, Donald J. Trump is President-Elect of the United States.
Technically, the Electors of the Electoral College do not meet until December 19th and technically there is nothing under the Constitution that says they have to respect the results of their state. They could, in theory flip the election to Hillary Clinton or even to someone we haven’t heard of. This is why there are petitions circulating asking the Electoral College to dump Trump. But this is very unlikely to happen and I personally do not want to happen, as much as I think Hillary Clinton would have been a much better President than Donald Trump. So why won’t they change?
- Electors are usually partisans of their candidate and have pledged their vote to their party. They’re coming into the Electoral College believing their candidate is the best choice for President.
- If the Electoral College flipped the election to Clinton, it would set a precedent that any election result could be changed in future elections. Parties would try to the flip the Electoral College EVERY SINGLE ELECTION, regardless of the results. It would usher in a period of extreme political instability. Hillary Clinton herself understands this well which is why she is not contesting the results and we should follow her lead.
None of the above means I think Donald Trump will be a good President or that I approve of the Electoral College. No on both counts.
But as much as I find President-Elect Trump worrisome for many reasons (misogyny, racism, zero governmental experience, so easily provoked) he’s still President Elect of the United States.
Because of this I want him to succeed and not fail — at things beneficial to the country. Congressional democrats should NOT give him the Obama treatment as tempting as that would be. They should not dismiss Democratic or independent sounding ideas just because they are Trump branded. They should not try to block votes on appointments – they should insist on multiple hearings and extreme vetting of Trump’s picks. They should be prepared to find ways to do this vetting themselves if the Republicans are in a rubber stamp mood.
They and we should stand firmly against anything bad for the Country proposed by new Administration. We should reject efforts to place restrictions on any religious group or new barriers based on race, gender or orientation. We should be prepared to back up our opposition with economic boycotts and civil disobedience.
Last night President-Elect Trump and his family were interviewed on 60 Minutes. There were a few hopeful signs, like his seeming acceptance of marriage equality (not shared by his Vice President Mike Pence or new “Chief Strategist” Steve Bannon). When directly asked by Stahl what he would say to people using racial slurs to harass in his name, he told them to stop. This wasn’t as convincing as I would have liked, because he claimed not to know it was going on. But the man is a Twitter enthusiast. It’s hard to believe he didn’t see some of the things going on. But he didn’t deny these slurs were happening and agreed that it was a bad thing.
Another bit of good news – thanks to Trump, the Trans Pacific Partnership is dead. Trump, and Congressional leaders of both parties agree. But then he appointed the former head of the alt-right, birther news site breibart news as his “Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor.” I don’t find that a hopeful sign at all.
But, since you have to go with the President you have and not the President you hoped for, I wish President Trump well to the extent he helps working families, rebuilds infrastructure and works to bring people together. I do want him to remember that more people who came to the polls voted for someone else and act accordingly in a non-vengeful way.
Electoral College FAQ (US National Archives) – https://www.archives.gov/federal-register/electoral-college/faq.html
2016 Presidential Election Results (Politico) – http://www.politico.com/2016-election/results/map/president
Constitutional Amendment Process (National Archives) – https://www.archives.gov/federal-register/constitution
Key Dates for the Electoral College – https://www.archives.gov/federal-register/electoral-college/key-dates.html
Restrictions on Electors – https://www.archives.gov/federal-register/electoral-college/electors.html#restrictions
Trump election: Priebus and Bannon given key roles (BBC) – http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-37970146
President-elect Trump speaks to a divided country on 60 Minutes – http://www.cbsnews.com/news/60-minutes-donald-trump-family-melania-ivanka-lesley-stahl/
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