After all the protests, the petitioning, the grandstanding, the misinformation and bad law and false history, after all the harassment and intimidation aimed at getting state electors to violate their pledges, duty and the trust of theirs state voters, all designed to keep Donald Trump from attaining 270 electoral votes and thus forcing the Presidential election into the House of Representatives for the first time since 1876, the results were just another humiliation for the Democrats and Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump was officially elected President of the United States, and it wasn’t close.
Four Democratic electors in Washington, a state Clinton won, voted for someone else, giving her just eight of the state’s 12 electoral votes. They will be prosecuted, apparently, for breaking a Washington statute. Colin Powell, a Republican, received three of the faithless elector votes and Native American tribal leader Faith Spotted Eagle received one, apparently because one elector decided that rather than vote for Senator Elizabeth Warren, a real Native American was preferable. Single electors in both Maine and Minnesota attempted to cast ballots for Bernie Sanders, but state laws requiring electors to follow the statewide vote invalidated both rebellious ballots. One Hawaii elector did vote for Sanders, an especially outrageous betrayal of the vote since Hawaii went to Clinton even more decisively than California. Never mind: this unknown, unvetted, undistinguished citizen decided that no, he or she knew better. That’s the model Democrats were promoting.
The one Republican elector, Texas’s Christopher Suprun, of Texas, who had trumpeted his intention not to vote for Trump despite his state heavily favoring the President Elect voted for Ohio Governor John Kasich as promised, and another Texas elector defected to vote for Ron Paul. Thus the almost six week Democratic push to use the Electoral College to pull victory from the jaws of defeat had the net effect of increasing Trump’s Electoral vote advantage over Clinton by three, with Hillary Clinton becoming the candidate with most defecting electors in over 200 years.
George Will’s favorite phrase “condign justice” leaps to mind. First the Wisconsin recount increases Trump’s vote total, and now this.
Three Ethics Observations from one of the most embarrassing spectacles in U.S. election history:
1. Ironically, the Electoral College functioned exactly the way the Founders intended it to, and rescued the nation from a regional candidate. Trump won the nation, and Hillary was elected Queen of California. The country wanted radical change, while the huddled socialists, crypto-Marxists, radical college students, illegal immigration fans and nanny state addicts were happy with things as they are. California is a complete outlier, virtually a one-party state. As an analysis by Investor’s Business Daily points out, between 2008 and 2016, the number of Californian’s who registered as Democrats increased by 1.1 million, while the number of registered Republicans dropped by almost 400,000. Republicans in the state stayed away from the polling places because they had nobody to vote for in many places. Two Democrats, and no Republican, were on the ballot to replace Senator Barbara Boxer. Nor were there Republicans on the ballots for House seats in nine of California’s congressional districts. At the state level, six districts had no Republicans running for the state senate, and 16 districts had no Republicans running for state assembly seats:
Such Republicans as there were knew Clinton was going to win the state and its 55 electoral votes, so there was little motivation to cast a ballot.Clinton was getting all 55 votes, no matter what. Thus Trump received 11% fewer California votes than John McCain did in 2008, as the number of registered Democrats in the state climbed by 13% since then. If California had voted like every other Democratic state — where Clinton averaged 53.5% wins — Clinton and Trump end up in a virtual popular vote tie. laws requiring electors to follow the statewide vote invalidated both efforts.
If you take California out of the popular vote equation, then Trump won the rest of the country by 1.4 million votes. The Founders installed a system that favors a candidate with broad-based appeal over all the diverse regions and cultures of a large nation, and that isn’t going to be easily dominated by a large voting bloc that is atypical of the rest of the population—like California in 2016.
2. Writer Daniel Brezenoff, the originator of the Change.Org Electoral College Petition , appeared on Tucker Carlson’s show on Fox News to collect his Andy Warhol Fifteen Minutes of Fame chip. He repeated his undemocratic logic for overturning the election. Carlson accused Brezenoff of “resorting to less democratic means, putting the decision in the hands of even fewer people,” to which Brezenoff, who initially filed his petition using a fake name, responded, “That’s right, to protect the Constitution from an unfit President!”
The answer is smoking gun evidence of what was really afoot here. Brezenoff thought Trump was unfit, and I thought Trump was unfit, but the election showed that millions of citizens felt differently. We can’t ethically, logically, fairly, reasonably and Constitutionally come back after the election and say that a handful of not-especially-qualified electors are going to reverse the election result because our view is the right one.
We lost. The fact that we don’t like the result and are positive the winners just don’t understand is not sufficient to justify what the Democrats and progressives like Brezenoff were advocating.
3. It is disturbing and shocking—maybe I shouldn’t be shocked, but I am— that no prominent Democratic leader publicly condemned the effort to turn electors faithless. Silence, as the legal maxim goes, implies consent, and the petitioners, historical frauds, harassers and intimidators all did their worst on behalf of the Democratic Party. Nothing but harm could come to the party and its member progressives from such an arrogant, defiant and futile scheme, and nothing but further division could have come from a success, which basic civic literacy should have informed party leaders was impossible. Nonetheless, they said nothing–Pelosi, Reid, Shumer, the Clintons, Jimmy Carter, Bernie, Elizabeth Warren, the President. Nothing. Was it cowardice, and the fear of tempting the rabid, angry Left from coming after them, mouths foaming? Or was it that they were willing to benefit from a Hail Mary pass, even one that destabilized the government and society? (Bernie Sanders was especially cynical, telling interviewers before yesterday that he thought the Electoral College was beneficial, then calling for its elimination after the voting was over.
The worst, of course, was Hillary Clinton. Had integrity meant anything to her, she would have known that her unequivocal condemnation of Donald Trump for suggesting that he might not “accept the results” if he lost the election mandated a “Stop this nonsense now” message to her traumatized and infantile supporters. She couldn’t mount the guts and principle to do it. A miniscule-to-the-vanishing-point chance that somehow, through some combination of luck and cosmic intervention, a elector uprising would give her the power she craves was sufficient to inspire Hillary to even surpass the hypocrisy she had displayed by joining in Jill Stein’s ridiculous recount efforts.
It was said of Hubert Humphrey that in his passion to attain the Presidency, he proved himself unworthy of it. Hillary Clinton has made Hubert Humphrey look wonderful in retrospect.
To be fair, so has Donald Trump
NEXT in Part II: Heroes, Dunces, Villains and Fools