Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Ironic, Trump defends Electoral College that was created to keep him from being President.

Trump's "rigged election" threat and criticism of the Jill Stein recount have sent a chill into the entire electoral process. It will probably result in Trump becoming president.

The electoral college was designed to specifically keep guys like Trump out. But with Trump's backing, and endless threats against anyone calling into question his electoral college win, will the electoral college be afraid to do its job? You bet.

Vox had a great piece on this, with the featured section below that spelled out why the electoral college should reject Trump outright. Compare the reasons why the founding fathers created the electoral college, and the three ploys used by Trump that require the college stop him:
Constitutional history makes clear that the founders had three main purposes in designing the Electoral College.
The first was to stop a demagogue from becoming president. At the Constitutional Convention, arguing in support of the Electoral College, Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts said he was “against a popular election” for president because the people would be “misled by a few designing men.” In Federalist No. 68, Alexander Hamilton wrote that the electors would prevent those with “Talents for low intrigue, and the little arts of popularity” from becoming president. They would also stop anyone who would “convulse the community with any extraordinary or violent movements.

The second goal was to stop foreign interference in election. In the founding period, the framers were extremely concerned about infiltration by rivals including Great Britain. In Federalist No. 68, Hamilton wrote that one major purpose of the Electoral College was to stop the “desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils.” He said that the college would “Guard against all danger of this sort … with the most provident and judicious attention” from the electors.

The third goal was to prevent poor administration of government. This is a less well-known purpose of the Electoral College, but it is again expressly discussed in Federalist No. 68. Hamilton wrote that “the true test of a good government is its aptitude and tendency to produce a good administration,” and for that reason, he said, the electors should be “able to estimate the share which the executive in every government must necessarily have in its good or ill administration.”
This election has three aspects that have brought the Electoral College back to relevance.
First, Donald Trump is the first unquestioned demagogue to become a major-party nominee in our country’s history. On his quest to the general election, he stoked prejudices and passions to flout fundamental constitutional norms, such as our freedoms of the press, religion, and peaceful assembly. 

Second, there’s incontrovertible evidence that Russia interfered in the campaign, by hacking the email accounts of top Democratic officials and cooperating with WikiLeaks’ parallel campaign to undermine Hillary Clinton campaign. Meanwhile, Trump has business entanglements in Russia and other foreign countries, the extent to which are unknown because Trump has not released his tax returns.

And third, his opponent, Hillary Clinton, is on track to win the popular vote now by over 2 million votes — over four times Al Gore’s narrow margin over George W. Bush in 2000 — a factor electors ought to be able to weigh, whether or not they think it is conclusive.
The Electoral College was designed precisely for such extraordinary instances. As Jeffrey Tulis, Sanford Levinson, and Jeremi Suri (respectively professors of political science, law, and history) recently argued in the New York Daily News, “Our Founding Fathers created what we now call the Electoral College to protect our country against the precise danger we now face: a demagogue who has manipulated and bullied voters, exploited fears and now threatens the very foundation of our republic.”

2 comments:

toto said...

Now 48 states have winner-take-all state laws for awarding electoral votes.
2 award one electoral vote to the winner of each congressional district, and two electoral votes statewide.
Neither method is mentioned in the U.S. Constitution.

The electors are and will be dedicated party activist supporters of the winning party’s candidate who meet briefly in mid-December to cast their totally predictable rubberstamped votes in accordance with their pre-announced pledges.

The current system does not provide some kind of check on the "mobs." There have been 22,991 electoral votes cast since presidential elections became competitive (in 1796), and only 17 have been cast in a deviant way, for someone other than the candidate nominated by the elector's own political party (one clear faithless elector, 15 grand-standing votes, and one accidental vote). 1796 remains the only instance when the elector might have thought, at the time he voted, that his vote might affect the national outcome.

States have enacted and can enact laws that guarantee the votes of their presidential electors

The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld state laws guaranteeing faithful voting by presidential electors (because the states have plenary power over presidential electors).

If any candidate wins the popular vote in states with 270 electoral votes, there is no reason to think that the Electoral College would

Democurmudgeon said...

Thank you for that electoral college insight. I know, it's pretty hopeless, as usual.