Saturday, January 7, 2017

Electoral College Nonsense

As I have said before our nascent democracy is in serious danger.
Separation of powers (and other constitutional concepts) is under attack. Most recently by the GOP Senate refusing to consider Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to sit on SCOTUS after Antonin Scalia died in February of last year. That nomination died when the 114th Congress adjourned sine die. Now of course the Democrats in the Senate are proposing to pay the GOP majority back by refusing to confirm any Trump attempt to fill the Scalia vacancy. Now Republic suffers from the childish antics of both parties. Their excuse for this constitutional outrage and massive dereliction of their own duty was that Obama had less than a year remaining in office and therefore he should forfeit his presidential power and I might add, his duty to nominate and appoint officers of his government for his remaining time in office because of the timing of Scalia’s death. That was one lousy syllogism. But that didn’t keep them from standing up and loudly proclaiming that they wouldn’t consider any judicial nominations the President might put forward.
This was effectively a partial coup and it was without question a violation of both the Senate’s obligation to “advise and consent” and its concomitant obligation to advise and not consent to Judge Garland’s nomination. This was an absolute abdication of its duties under the Constitution and effectively cut the President’s term almost a year prior to its natural termination on January 20th of this year. By acting in this way the GOP has increased the chances the Nation will have a judicial system that ultimately will speak out of both sides of its mouth depending on which side was the prevailing party in the Circuit.
This past year’s presidential election’s outcome was determined by an archaic system of election that the founders created in order to allegedly prevent mobs from taking over the office and certainly to further insulate the institution of slavery from being upended by their greatest fear: slave rebellions. Their fear of common un-propertied white men voting or at the helm of the ship of state was exceeded only their fear of slaves rebelling against their masters and bringing down the entire agricultural economy then in place. Now as Donald Trump serial liar prepares to take office and wreak havoc on the Republic we are seeing how that system isolates the office of President from its constituency the people of the this nation. It is absolutely past time to consign the electoral college to the trash heap of history, along with Donald Trump.

1 comment:

  1. Good political spirit, wrong political focus.

    First of all, you are spot on in blaming both parties for political nonsense. However, you make your argument about the Supreme Court nominee from a completely one-sided standpoint. The tactics that the Republicans used is, of course, known as the "Biden Rule" as it was employed during the final year of George W. Bush's presidency to defer the appointment of the next Supreme Court Justice to the Obama Administration.

    The key fact then, and now, is that the people elected majorities to the senate. Democrat in 2008, Republican in 2016. If people do not like the way the senate behaves, they are the ones ultimately responsible for altering its composition - as they did by tossing the Democrats out after forcing through ObamaCare with their own political maneuvers against the will of the people. There is no doubt that one day Republicans will be removed from power in the Senate; perhaps not over the Supreme Court delay, as President Elect Trump's victory was due in no small part to the fear of a liberal Supreme Court continuing to erode our rights as citizens.

    As for the Electoral College, it was hugely important at its inception as it remains today. The Federal Government exists to not only serve the people, but to serve the states. Therefore, a balance is necessary to distribute the votes both by population as well as by state representation. Donald Trump won a clear majority of states, Hillary Clinton won a clear majority of people. In the end, Donald Trump won a greater percentage of states than Hillary won of people, so the states carried the day in 2016. As designed.

    The other factor in the establishment of the electoral college was to ensure that a candidate who was wildly popular in a specific region of the country could not be elected to rule over the rest of the country. The system, by design, forces a candidate to work to represent the ENTIRE country.

    And, again, we saw this function perfectly in 2016. Hillary Clinton was wildly popular on the liberal coasts, while not popular across the heartland. She racked up huge victories in the liberal population centers. Amazingly, if you remove just New York City and Los Angeles County from the vote, Donald Trump wins the popular vote by over two million ballots. The founders did not want a president determined by the population of two population centers, so the electoral college was established to prevent the very circumstance that would otherwise have happened in 2016.

    I am not a Donald Trump supporter, nor have I ever been. But I do respect the Constitution, and look to see its wisdom even when it decides things that don't go my way.