On an Electoral Reflection

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This idea has festered in my mind long enough, so it’s time to get these thoughts of this true independent’s chest.

For about 5 weeks following the November 2016 election, a good thing happened. We heard a lot about the Electoral College – a system we learned about in school – a system we hear about every 4 years – a system many people know little about – let alone Federalist Paper No. 68 (and I say that with confidence).

Election 2016 was interesting in many ways. It was not only the third time in US history the candidate who won the presidency lost the popular vote, but 2016 marked the highest vote differential of the three (0.8%, 0.5%, 2.8%). What if Mr. Trump won the popular vote by 2.8% but Mrs. Clinton won the Electoral College? Surely the messages would be predictably reversed.

Since the election, we heard some voices declaring that it’s time to amend the Constitution to disband the Electoral College in favor of a popular vote. The losers were the complainers while the winners boosted about the wisdom of the Founding Fathers.

Framing the US Constitution was not a meeting of wise men stroking their beards while contemplating decisions for a document to serve as the foundation of a new country. Discussions were fierce. Egos were bruised. Not every person got their way but, in the end, a collective wisdom prevailed – a wisdom guided by those seeking what would serve the common good for all and for a nation.

Although small states and slave states had issues with the popular vote, the Founding Fathers were skeptical about the voters especially if the popular vote yielded an unwise decision. So, the Founding Fathers wanted a system to act as a check-and-balance on the voters. After all, the Constitution provided of system of checks and balances within the government. The Electoral College was a way to do so other than using state legislatures or the House of Representatives.

In Federalist Paper No. 68, Alexander Hamilton explained the Electoral College was to, “ensure that the office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications.” The best analogy I heard was the Electoral College being akin to a judge reviewing a jury’s decision (which they can do).

Was 2016 the time Alexander Hamilton had in mind? Maybe.

Is the Electoral College’s role as a check-and-balance against the people’s vote necessary in the 21st Century? Absolutely, so I unquestionably stand with the wisdom of the Founding Fathers supporting the existence of the Electoral College.

The Founding Fathers envisioned the Electoral College to be composed of people “selected by their fellow citizens from the general masses, will be most likely to possess the information and discernment requisite to such complicated investigations.”

The Founding Fathers also envisioned the members of the Electoral College to do the right thing. To be of independent mind in the face of adversity. To represent a nation, and then fulfill their Constitutional responsibility by doing what is right for the nation.

If it’s not the voters, not the Constitution, not the concept of the Electoral College, is there a problem? If so, where?

The problem obviously lies is the implementation because the Constitution left the selection process to the states, which would be state legislatures that are elected by the people. Although practical on paper, the adopted methods by the states are not the way to implement the desires stated Federalist Paper No. 68. States developed processes based on the political parties – therefore the political parties hijacked the check and balance to have a system that favors them.

Who picks the electors? The political parties.

Who do the political parties select? Loyalists, local party leaders, local officials, donors,etc.

If each party in a state has electors, who has the final vote? In most states, the party of the presidential candidate who won the popular vote in that state become the electors.

Can electors change their mind, thus go against the state’s result? In some states, yes – but in most states, No! Electors who do not follow their prescribed vote may face fines, legal charges, dismissal, and/or replacement.

Are these electors the ones “most likely to possess the information and requisite for such a complicated investigation” and “free from any sinister bias”?

Absolutely not! The electors are party hacks put in place by the party hooligans to follow the party’s self interest – NOT for the people and NOT for a nation as the Federalist Paper clearly explains. The electors are present for the party under the ruse of acting for the nation. The Electoral College is not even remotely close to what the Founding Fathers envisioned for the nation and its people.

The parties are interested in themselves. The parties are interested in adopting their preferences upon the people. The parties only see the world through a biased lens with the settings they prefer. In other words, the parties are not the unbiased, high-minded people who will look out after the best interest of a nation if and when the people make a mistake!

In the farewell address of this nation’s first president, George Washington was correct.

[Political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.”

George Washington
Saturday, September 17, 1796

Abolition of the Electoral College is not the answer. Giving power the popular vote is not the answer. Reforming the Electoral College process is the answer, but there is a problem because that requires those with power would have to relinquish the power – and we know that’s not going to happen.

Opinion in the Shorts: Vol. 274

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Tough week for the stock market (US and elsewhere). A note for Republicans – You can blame President Obama if and only if you are willing to give him credit for the market run since he took office (Jan 2009). Meanwhile, the shoe also fits the other way – That is, the Democrats giving the President Obama the credit for past growth should be blaming him for this past week. In my view, markets are more complex than that.

Many are wondering why Donald Trump (R-NY) is high in the polls. The answer is simple. Trump is the candidate for people seeking affirmation – not information. The Bloviator has the knack for telling people what they want to hear, regardless if the statement is true or false. Case in point, here’s the most recent scorecard from PolitiFact regarding Trump’s bloviations.

TrumpOmeter

Can you recall one person being about to do so-many phone-in interviews on TV? It is so with Mr. Trump, which tells me that the media is part of the problem because they are taking him whenever they can for ratings … thus limiting their challenges because they don’t want him to say “No” to the airtime.

Last week, Gov. Walker (R-WS) made three contradictory statements about birthright citizenship granted by the 14th amendment – yet the campaign described them as consistent. I guess that also means they see the situation as having no choice. Earth to Walker campaign – some us aren’t stupid.

The presidential election process is too long in the US. If the lengthy time is so important to the parties, the candidates, and all the donors, what about the taxpayers? Are some of us getting cheated. I have a suggestion that these people will hate. Sitting governors, senators, and representatives were elected by the people of their state (or district within the state) to represent them – yet a national campaign takes much time. In order to seek a national office, just resign your state-elected office. The choice involves cake or ice cream – not both.

Opening Night for Dance: The Musical was a smashing success! Two bits of good news: Act 2 is scheduled for Sept. 8th, plus, I’ve added an additional act. For those needing to know more now, see the Hear Ye page. Also, special thanks to Dale for her excellent job as the theater’s maître d … even if the WP gnomes are blocking me from commenting on her blog.

You may recall that Marina provided the artwork for my On Blue post. Here’s a post from Resa featuring a clothing item she purchased of Marina’s work.

My pastor read my post my post about predestination. Here’s something he wrote to me, How do you have such nice, generous people in your comment section? The civility is refreshing. … A tip of the cap and a round of applause to my blogging community!

No Explore post this weekend, however, there will be a Salute post. Of course, the burning question is – salute what? Hmmmm …. it’s subtle.

If there is anyone interested in playing a free, no-pressure version of fantasy football, let me know and I will email you the information.

To lead you into this week’s satire, here’s The Onion’s explanation of how Donald Trump (R-NY) continues to lead in the polls.

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Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Man spends entire weekend binge-watching neighbor
Report: 1 in 3 Americans will get dessert if someone does
Guantanamo Bay begins construction on Senior Care wing
Q-Tips introduces new multi-speed electric ear swab
Man to undergo extensive interrogation by co-workers about where he got falafel
Scientist confident artificially intelligent machines can be programmed to be lenient slave masters

Interesting Reads
Street artists in Ghana
About Neil Armstrong
Restoring a famed piano
A report on mobile messaging and social media
A planet’s habitation

To send you into the weekend, here’s a twofer. The first one is a leftover from Opening Night. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.


On the Next “Debate”

Tuesday brings another presidential debate, which actually means more none answers and maneuvering the answer toward the scripted response. Unfortunately, because the event will not be using my rules, I doubt if I’ll watch. By the way, I’ll be making a special announcement during the debate, hopefully during the first 20-40 minutes!

Before we get started, here are good resources to fact-check the VP candidates and their answers.

I added another twist to this event with an independent Answer Rating Panel. Assuming I don’t banish the candidate to the Cone of Silence, each panelist will score the response from 1 (low) to 5 (high). However, the score is not if they agree/disagree, but how well the candidate answers the question. Given the rules, time will tell if the panelist will get a chance to rate an answer.

I diligently searched for independent minds to help inform American voters. Without any further adieu, here are your Answer Rating Panelists.

My questions for Gov. Romney
1) You have commonly referenced the United States being “On the road to Europe”. You have also mocked Europeans on numerous occasions by not waiting to drag America down to Europe’s standards Yet, when you were in Europe, we refused to answer what you meant by that and other similar comments. What’s good about Europe?

2) Given your statements on Afghanistan, what is the difference between your plan and the president’s?

3) How would you respond if Germany wanted to have a military base in the U.S.?

4) Forbid this would happen, but here’s a scenario. The U.S. military enters a new military conflict in country XYZ. Would your administration finance the operation on or off the books?

5) Shortly after crediting the military and intelligence professionals Shortly after crediting the military and intelligence professionals for their infliction on Al-Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan, including bin Laden’s death , you stated ” I will vigorously pursue the terrorists who attacked our consulate in Benghazi and killed Americans.” …. So I want to ask – While you are on your solo, covert mission as Mittbo the Nemisis, who will serve as president?”

6) Your tax cuts cost money. Your expansion in military spending costs money. Meanwhile, cutting funding to PBS and Planned Parenthood doesn’t put a dent in financing those ideas. You mention closing loopholes. In order to help the American people understand your position, I gave you a checklist of deductions and loopholes for individuals so you can check Yes or No regarding whether you favor or against removing this item. Let’s now show how you answered.

7) This is about the campaign. You accused the Obama campaign about its dishonest, deceptive, divisive, distorted, misleading, and out-of context information.

  • Please give 3 examples of this.
  • By making the previous accusation and supporting it with examples, are you also saying your campaign has not used dishonest, deceptive, divisive, distorted, misleading, and out-of-context information?
  • So, are you also saying that the independent fact-checking reports have not been truthful with their findings?

8) You previously stated, “The president has to spend three years working in business before he becomes president of the United States. Then he or she would understand that the policies they are putting into place have to encourage small business to grow.” Does your running mate meet these qualification?

9) Instead of the government bailout, you favored the banks helping the auto industry. What would you have done if the banks, for whatever reason, decided not to help the auto companies?

My Questions for President Obama
1) In your 2008 campaign, you strongly wanted to close Gitmo, and one of your first year acts was to start the closing process. Because Gitmo is still open, how did you underestimate the process?

2) How would you respond if Great Britain wanted to have a military base in the US?

3) Tax increases seem to be the focus of your plan to increase revenues. Respond to the nonpartisan economists that mention the additional need for other revenue streams.

4) In terms of federal revenues as a share of GDP, additional taxes from those making more than $250,000 is only a small revenue stream. With that in mind, how do you propose to increase federal revenue?

5) Congress enacted and you signed Dodd-Frank to tighten up the financial sector. Why was this needed because the actions from the industry were legal. After all, the Justice Department has did not prosecute anyone involved in the financial collapse.

6) Many voters want bipartisan cooperation. During your term to date, was your biggest mistake why this did not happen?

7) Should the U.S. Supreme have another independent swing-vote justice?

8) In order to increase the supply of doctors, should the U.S. encourage immigration of doctors?

9) With America greatly reducing pollution in the past 50+ years, should Americans face a carbon tax while the greatest polluters today are in other countries?

10) Who made the decision to have someone tickle VP Biden’s feet during his debate with Rep. Ryan?