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Thursday, November 10, 2016

ELECTION RESULTS 2016 ..... Can Somebody Please Explain the Electoral College to me


THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:

ELECTION DAY 2016 ...............

PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES .......

DONALD TRUMP ELECTED
AS THE 45TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES

Historic, unprecedented, shocking, and clearly the biggest upset in American political history.  Nobody could ever have seen this moment coming when Trump announced his run for the presidency 17 months ago.  In an historic year, (with the Cubs winning the World Series), it should have come as no great surprise, that a person never to have held elected office, and whose claim to fame was "acting" as the host of a TV show called "The Apprentice" was elected as our next President.  For many decades to come, political scientists will analyze and dissect every aspect of this election to figure out how and why Donald Trump won.

But we have a more important question:  What the hell is the Electoral College and why does it still exist? 

Picture this.  You are a tourist in a foreign country, say Paris, France.  You are sitting in a cafĂ© and discussing the US election with your French waiter (who speaks fluent English).  He asks you the following question: "So, I understand that your election was recently decided and that Hillary Clinton received 59,814,018 votes and Donald Trump got 59,611,678 votes.  By my math, she garnered 202,340 more votes and she is your next President, No (that's how the French speak)? But I read in Le Monde (it's a French newspaper- ask Rumpole about it) that Donald Trump won the election.  How can tis be (think French accent)?

I'm curious, enlighten me on how you would explain to your friendly French waiter what the hell is going on in the greatest country in the world that claims to have the most successful democracy where your country was founded on the principal of "one man/person, one vote". 

This is the fifth time in America history, where the elected President will have received less popular votes than their opponent but enough electoral votes to win the presidency.

It happened in: 1876 (Rutherford B Hayes over Samuel Tilden - and boy was that a mess of an election); 1888 (Benjamin Harrison over President Grover Cleveland); famously in 2000 with Bush v. Gore; and now again in 2016.  In also happened in 1824 (John Quincy Adams over Andrew Jackson, but that election was decided in the House of Representatives under the provisions of the 12th Amendment).***

We thought about inviting Rumpole to debate His Honor Judge Milton Hirsch on this topic.  Maybe they can email each other and take a side and each post an argument on why we should or should not continue to decide our presidential elections by the Electoral vote instead of the popular vote.  Gentlemen, are you all in???

For now, we'll just ask our loyal and faithful Justice Building Blog readers to chime in on their arguments for and against the EC.  Have at it.

In other election news (winners in BLUE):

MIAMI-DADE CIRCUIT COURT

GROUP 34 RUNOFF

Mark Blumstein v. Luis Perez-Medina
393,437 ..................   375,531

GROUP 52 RUNOFF

Carol "Jodie" Breece v. Oscar Rodriguez-Fonts
372,480 ..........................  376,551


NORTH OF THE BORDER .....

Circuit Court Group 15 Runoff

Barbara Duffy v Miami Dade ASA Abbe Rifkin
356,839 ..................................  232,254

SOUTH OF THE BORDER .....

In Monroe County, former Miami-Dade ASA Catherine "Cathy" Vogel, who was elected to the job of State Attorney for the 16th Judicial Circuit four year ago, lost her job to the man she beat in 2012, Dennis Ward.  Final totals: 20,525 - 19,173.

***The Twelfth Amendment requires the House of Representatives to immediately go into session to vote for president if no candidate for president receives a majority of the electoral votes (since 1964, 270 of the 538 electoral votes). In this event, the House of Representatives is limited to choosing from among the three candidates who received the most electoral votes for president. Each state delegation votes en bloc – each delegation having a single vote; the District of Columbia does not receive a vote. A candidate must receive an absolute majority of state delegation votes (i.e., at present, a minimum of 26 votes) in order for that candidate to become the President-elect. Additionally, delegations from at least two-thirds of all the states must be present for voting to take place. The House continues balloting until it elects a president.

The House of Representatives has chosen the president only twice: in 1801 under Article II, Section 1, Clause 3 and in 1825 under the Twelfth Amendment. (In the election of 1800, candidates Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr each ended up with 73 electoral votes). (In the election of 1824, none of the four candidates for President received a majority of the electoral votes. This election is the only time since the passage of the 12th amendment that the House of Representatives decided the outcome. Andrew Jackson 99 and John Quincy Adams 84 were the top two vote-getters with Adams getting the nod from the House).


CAPTAIN OUT .......
Captain4Justice@gmail.com

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

The electoral college was put in place to make America great again! That's all you need to know.

Robert Kuntz said...

The EC exists so that California, New York, Florida and Texas do not have an inordinate amount of influence over more or less everyone else in the country.

Since even the least populous state gets three electors (2 for their Senators, 1 for their Congresscritter) they have some slight hedge against the total domination of the states and regions where the population is concentrated.

The EC made sense in 1789, when the population was beginning to be split unevenly between town and country -- it makes even more sense now that the divide is even greater.

Also, don't assume the outcome of this election would have been different in a direct election. Under the current system, the Team R candidate spends NO time or money in California or NY, for example, since he cannot possibly win those states. Likewise, the Team D doesn't bother with LA or MS or WY. In a direct election system, the Team R and Team D candidates would campaign more broadly, with the Team R spending lots of time and money in CA and NY. It's by no means certain HRC's slight popular vote advantage would have been sustainable if Trump were actually fighting for votes in those states. Maybe; maybe not.

Anonymous said...

http://thefederalist.com/2016/09/16/the-electoral-college-still-makes-sense-because-were-not-a-democracy/

Anonymous said...

The Electoral College is one of those strokes of genius that the Founding Fathers put in the Constitution and it prevents a few highly populated states from having an undue weight that disproportionately decides elections for the entire nation. It also helps isolate problems within states (like those in Florida in 2000). Just imagine if one or two states were to decide every presidential election by their sheer population numbers leaving the restof rhe nation essentially disenfranchised.

Philip Maniatty said...

My understanding of the argument in support of the Electoral College is that it makes the candidates pay attention to the smaller states. The number of electoral votes of a state is based on the total of their 2 U.S. senators, plus the number of congressional districts. I think D.C. gets 4 electoral votes. This brings the total to 539, which is why 270 is the magic number. Without the Electoral College, the candidates would focus much more on the big states like Florida, New York, California and Texas and wouldn't bother with a place like my home state of Vermont.

Anonymous said...

Amazing point about the Electoral College and the simultaneous mention of the Cubs. In the WS, the total amount of runs was 27-27 but Chicago won. What an injustice! But wait: the rule by which everyone played was that there are 7 separate games so that the cumulative score is totally irrelevant. Otherwise the Yankees would have crushed the Pirates in '60, 53-34. Ditto the Electoral College. Each campaign is structured to win NOT THE POPULAR VOTE but 270 electoral votes. That is just the way the game is played and always has been. I doubt very much you would be bemoaning the result if Trump spent half his time in rural California and upstate NY and pulled his popular vote total to greater than Hillary's while losing PA, WI, and MI by razor thin margins and thus his electoral victory.

CAPTAIN JUSTICE said...


Phil M:

DC actually gets three Electoral Votes bringing the total to 538. That is why there was some discussion that each candidate could conceivably end up with matching 269 EC votes.

Philip Maniatty said...

Captain Justice is correct. D.C. gets only 3 electoral votes.