The Electoral College’s Day Of Reckoning, Part I: Revelations


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

41 thoughts on “The Electoral College’s Day Of Reckoning, Part I: Revelations

  1. I think from now on, Republicans in uncompetitive districts in places like California with virtually no voting interest on the ballot should deliberately eschew voting. The desirable outcome from this would be more presidential elections where Republicans win the Electoral College vote but lose the popular vote.

    Given their performance in the aftermath of this election, a few million more Democrat heads exploding would seem like a fun thing to watch. I didn’t (and never could) vote for Trump, but the Democratic reaction and their guaranteed bloody-mindedness going forward makes me want this angst to last and last.

    I probably should apologize for this, but at this particular moment, after having seen the party that concern-trolled the country over the possibility Trump might cause a ruckus if the vote went against him blow up in a bloody spew of flesh, bone, and gore (but surprisingly few brain fragments), I just can’t feel anything but an overload of schadenfreude. Unethical? Yes. Satisfying? Immensely.

  2. ”one elector decided that rather than vote for Senator Elizabeth Warren, a real Native American was preferable.”

    Ooooh, now THAT’LL leave a mark!

    And the timing? Oy Gevalt!

    The 20th Anniversary of the Fordham Law Review’s curious reference to the manifestly pasty Warren as Harvard Law’s ”1st Woman Of Color” fast approaches.

    Which leaves me with but one response; for that I’ll toss over to the late Bea Arthur’s “Maude:”

  3. So….is this the summary?

    Trump 304
    Clinton 227
    Colin Powell 3 (WA via Clinton)
    Faith Spotted Eagle 1 (WA via Clinton)
    Ron Paul 1 (TX via Trump)
    John Kasich 1 (TX via Trump)
    Bernie Sanders 1 (HI via Clinton)

    With Electors being replaced for violating oaths:
    1 Minnesota (Bernie Sanders via Clinton)
    1 Maine (Bernie Sanders via Clinton)
    1 Colorado elector (John Kasich via Clinton)

  4. “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[.]”

    You didn’t mean George Wallace instead of Hubert Humphrey??

    • Thanks for asking the question. I had not heard anything about Humphrey “proving himself unworthy” of the Presidency before, so I was wondering about the source and reason cited. I wondered if it was because of his kowtowing to Johnson, who reportedly threatened Humphrey. But maybe the reference shouldn’t have been to Humphrey at all?

    • No. The point of the Humphrey quote was that he passionately disagreed with LBJ’s handling of the Vietnam war, but toed the line to get the Presidential nomination, thus betraying his core principles.

      • Imagine if HHH had blown the whistle on LBJ’s threat. Johnson was a monster and a bully, and intimidation was his main — and very effective — modus operandi. Poor Humphrey. Caught between the towering LBJ and the disappointed anti-war activists. He played the political cards he was dealt and lost. Had he made the threat public, he would certainly have lost anyway. Imagine if he had been able to stand up to LBJ and had won the election. Imagine those consequences.

  5. It’s actually come to me in the last 10 or 15 minutes, almost like an epiphany, that I feel that the electors should be unbound by laws. These are people that are selected by the winning nominee’s party of the state. They should have the flexibility to vote in the best interests of the country. Am I saying this was one of those times? No. But what if Trump and Pence were killed in an air disaster 3 days ago? Are they still bound to vote for dead men? The laws would suggest yes and that we’ll just go down the successor path to fill the vacancy. Wouldn’t it be better to have the electors pick someone and empower them with a mandate?

    I get it. I do. I’m on the side of people abiding by their oath and casting their ballot according to their state’s election results. But in my mind, in Colorado for example, our 9 electors are the property of the Democratic party and if the State Democratic Party told them to vote in some other way than for the specified nominee, then that’s their business. I think, if anyone is to be charged with being a faithless elector, the charges should come from the party that carried the state. They are the ones that were harmed directly. The people were harmed indirectly.

    I don’t know if I’m being clear in this nuance, so I’m hoping it’s not lost in translation.

    • I followed the arguments between Jack and and pro-faithless elector crowd regarding the Founder’s intent.

      Essentially the argument boiled down to “The Electors must vote for the good of the country as was their original intent” and “The Electors must vote their pledges as tradition has determined THAT to be the constitutional process”.

      This was an odd False Dichotomy in my opinion.

      There is the 3rd route, which you allude to: That YES the Electoral College IS empowered to ensure that the nation is not being swayed by temporary self-destructive passions or being swayed by direct external forces or internal criminality….but that NO, this is NOT one of those times, therefore the Electors had no obligation to vote any other way.

      • But what kind of legally imposed qualifications would there be?

        Certain level of education? Utopianism
        Certain level of income? Aristocracy
        Certain level of _________? Whatever accusation floats.

        No, I feel like any solution is just a band aid on an already unethical situation.

        I’m still undecided about winner take all laws. I think that’s a serious problem. And I also think leaving most of the effort of selecting electors to the Parties and not to the actual state legislatures is another problem.

        But then you have to bridge the gap to protect situations where a state goes whole heartedly for a particular presidential candidate that the particular state legislature opposes ideologically.

        • I wouldn’t impose qualifications. I think having the winning party make the selections based on their best ability to discern that the people they select will do as the party dictates is actually a great process. The parties will pick the most involved and most passionate and ardent supporters they have to carry that honor…and if they violate that honor, it’ll be for an understandable reason. In my mind, a cleaned up process would be (we’ll use CO again for example) the winning party, the Democrats, select 9 Electors and 9 Alternates. When they show up to vote, the Electors sign the vote and the Party Leadership signs as well. If the Elector goes off-script, the Party Leadership has an option to replace with an alternate until s/he runs out of alternates, in which case, the last ballots, even off-script, will have to count.

          Systems need Chaos to stay healthy. We have to keep chaos in our system because perfect systems are doomed to fail.

        • Also – I’m with you on the “winner take all” laws. I’d prefer everything to be proportional. However, if the red states are proportional and the blue states are not…well…we know how that ends….and vice versa. I’d support proportional across the country, but not hodge-podge.

          • I don’t necessarily like the concept of “proportional” though. May as well just have a direct national election. It defeats the purpose of balancing the cultural regions of the nation.

            Like I said. I’m undecided on this as I see the pros and cons of several hypothetical options available.

          • Maybe I am just math challenged today (or ever, as the case may be 🙂 ), but how is proportional different from popular vote? assuming that the proportion is allotted by popular vote?

            No snark, real question

            • It would be extremely close to popular vote, but not *perfect* as the averages still skew by the fact that every state would have an additional 2 Electoral votes than the votes gained by the proportional assignment of Electors from the Census.

              Meaning that Smaller population states would tend to have a *slight* edge weighting their vote as it compares to national average.

              I ran the numbers this go around, and it would have meant, by pure numbers, the nation would have distributed Electors almost perfectly compared to the popular averages (though Clinton would have gained 1 more Elector than the national percentages said she should have had).

              BUT, that only assumes each state assigning Electors proportionally to the State vote. That DOES not take into consideration if the system is set up that way, or set up into districts representing single Electoral votes, with the Elector of that district relying entirely on the popular outcome of that district.

        • A weighted point system wouldn’t be hard to set up. Education plus acumen about political science plus accomplishments plus demonstrated character plus evidence of objectivity and fairness minus points for obvious things.

          Ethicists would get a pass, of course.

          • “Education”

            Because the halls of academia are pouring out people who can be objectively relied upon to have a solid view on political leadership…

            “acumen about political science”

            Huh? Political science: the study of voting and election statistics and demography to determine how best to game elections to increase your party’s wins.

            No. I don’t need Machiavellians handling that kind of decision making.


            Like what?

            “demonstrated character”

            Like what?

            “evidence of objectivity and fairness”

            Who’s gonna decide what objectivity is?

            Seems to me, that if we are going to rely on “qualifications” in this situation, the only reliable qualification is if the elector is voted on by a majority of those during the election.

            The more I think about it, the more I think Tim LeVier is accurate that the system, as set up, though not perfect, is closer to perfect than the alternates anyone else is suggesting.

  6. 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.

    Why do you keep doing this? California had the sense to not elect the least qualified and least ethical presidential candidate in at least a generation, and we’re the bad guys? We’re the irrational weirdos?

  7. Nothing incites bullying more than self-victimization. Never has a country had so much a-weepin’ and a-wailin’ in the absence of imminently falling bombs.

  8. I think that secretly Hillary felt she could somehow win the presidency and her syncopants encouraged her belief that she would be queen. Why would she call off her running dogs when she knew that she was truly the Fairest of Them All?

  9. “Republicans in the state stayed away from the polling places because they had nobody to vote for in many places.”

    This was true in my own district in Northern VA as well. I was so disgusted that Gerry Connolly was running unopposed that I wrote in “This is a deliberate non-vote.” How hard is it for a major party to just get someone on the ballot?!? Hell, I would have let them put MY name on there if I had known.


    P.S. In case you’ve noticed, Jack: Same old me, new email address. Should have changed it a long time ago.

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