Cut The Whine – Read The Instructions!

donI read an interesting article last week that ask: “What if a government held an election, and nobody voted?´ I must admit it was something that I had never contemplated but, what if?

For those who believe that Obama would just continue his rule, possibly by declaring martial law, think again. Article II, Section I of the constitution sets a presidential term to 4 years and the 22nd Amendment limits his election to no more than twice. And, thank God, his 8 years are almost up. The only way Obama could stay in office would be to declare himself dictator but for that to happen he would have to have the unanimous support of the U.S. military, which we know he does not have.  In essence, he would be drug out of the White House and arrested. 

So, if we had an election and no one voted, according to the Presidential Succession Act of 1792, the Speaker of the House would become acting president until a new election was held. However, if voters successfully boycotted the presidential election I have serious doubts that a second election would work.  Since this has never happened in the history of our Country, I have to assume that the House of Representatives would have the power to either choose a new president or allow the Speaker of the House to serve four years.   Either way, this goes against everything our founding fathers envisioned.

Of course I don’t think our founding fathers foresaw a Donald Trump campaign I am so sick of the Don’s  whining and threats concerning an “unfair election process,”  a whine that seems to have been picked up by his numerous uninformed supporters.  He even admitted to CNN’s Chris Cuomo that  of course he whines, “I whine because I want to win and I’m not happy about not winning and I am a whiner and I keep whining and whining until I win.”  How childish can one get?  I have news for the Trump and his supporters – no one is entitled to be president by virtue  of how much they can bully, threaten or whine.  The Don is making a mockery out of the election process but, isn’t that why he is running – to assure that Hillary gets elected?

Trump has no understanding of how his party actually works and he doesn’t care. All he cares about is winning, regardless of any collateral damage. The huge irony is that we have a representative democracy to prevent people like Trump from attaining power based on simple majority vote. It was put best by Marvin Simkin who said, “Democracy is not freedom. Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to eat for lunch. Freedom comes from the recognition of certain rights which may not be taken, not even by a 99% vote.” Thus, our republic and our complex primary systems are a healthy mix of majority and representative rule. Our government was designed for slow and incremental progress as opposed to satisfying reactionary and momentary whims absent any thought of consequence.  This is why the argument that “outsiders” are best equipped to “fix” government is patently absurd. This is why Trump is making excuses for his governmental incompetence by claiming that the whole system has been stacked against him personally. Trump should have read the instructions first.  The GOP nomination is won by a majority not by plurality.

Our founding fathers considered several means of electing a president. The idea of allowing Congress to choose was dismissed because they felt it would invite corruption into the process. The idea of allowing state legislatures to choose was dismissed because they felt it would erode federal authority by making the president beholding to the states. The third method, a direct popular vote, was also rejected because the Framers feared that without sufficient information about a candidate from outside their state, people would naturally vote for a “favorite” son, giving no one candidate enough votes to win and allowing larger states power over smaller states.   The Electoral College was a compromise that protected the rights of smaller states and the voters in those states. It also allowed states to design their own mechanism, without federal involvement, for choosing their electors, and prevented large-scale voter fraud in any one state from dramatically influencing an election.

When you vote in your state for President and Vice President, you are actually voting for presidential electors, known collectively as the Electoral College. It is these electors, chosen by the people, who elect the president. There are currently 538 electors in the Electoral College who are chosen by each state and the District of Columbia based on the number of representatives in the House plus the number of senators. The outcome of the November vote in each state determines a slate of electors who then make the actual choice of president and vice-president.

In most presidential elections, the candidate who wins the popular vote will also receive the majority of the electoral votes, but that is not always the case. Only 48 states have a winner-take-all based on popular vote. Maine and Nebraska split the electoral vote between the winner of the statewide popular vote and the winner of the congressional district vote. There are also times when some electors abstain from voting or vote differently than they pledged to vote. Yet, despite 11th hour changes within the Electoral College, only four candidates in U.S. history have won an election by losing the popular vote.  

A candidate must receive 270 of the 538 votes to win the election. In cases where no candidate wins a majority of electoral votes, the decision is thrown to the House of Representatives by virtue of the 12th Amendment. The House then selects the president by majority vote with each state delegation receiving one vote to cast for the three candidates who received the most electoral votes.

On the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December, the electors meet in their respective state capitals to officially cast their votes for president and vice president. These votes are then sealed and sent to the president of the Senate, who on Jan. 6 opens and reads the votes before both houses of Congress. The winner is sworn into office at noon Jan. 20.

“Mr. Trump: We are so sorry to have to inform you that the rules do, indeed, apply to Your Majesty and that Your Divine Trumpness was aware of these matters from the start.” Clete Wetli

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