In the news these past weeks you may have noticed a rampant spasm among supporters of Hillary Clinton calling for her immediate declaration as president-elect.
You’ve seen frantic recounts in certain states that have since fizzled. But I’m talking about something else here; something that likely makes no sense to most onlookers including many in the USA.
You see, Donald Trump having won “the most votes of most states” in the USA last month isn’t yet president. And it’s not technically because Barrack Obama’s term hasn’t ended.
It’s because the votes of US citizens don’t directly count when it comes to presidential elections.
Rather, it’s 538 women and men forming a group called the “Electoral College” who cast the only votes that matter. It’s the Electoral College that elects the President and Vice President of the United States. These people are called “electors”.
When citizens go to the polls, they’re voting for a number of electors affiliated with their candidate’s party. So say a state like Massachusetts has “11 electoral votes” and its majority casts a vote for Hillary Clinton, then 11 Democratic electors from that state, not Clinton, have actually been “elected” there. These 11 then take their place in the Electoral College.
Sound weird? Try this. How must these electors then vote?
Just 29 states and the District of Columbia, require that their electors “pledge” to vote for their associated party. In our example, this would mean that our 11 Democratic electors are assumed to vote for the Democratic nominee for president and vice president or be fined.
Yet, penalties have never been enforced meaning electors in every state can pretty much vote for whomever they choose so long as both president and vice president from the ballot paper don’t come from their home states.
It’s this ridiculous quirk of law that Clinton supporters are praying for and actively lobbying to exploit. Much as Gore’s supporters did versus Bush in 2000.
The rationale is this: just as Gore won the popular vote and Bush didn’t, so with Clinton versus Trump. Therefore, “the people have spoken” that she and not Trump be president.
Thing is, this tactic failed in 2000. And it will fail again tomorrow when the Electoral College meets. Its actual outcome is announced by Congress on January 6, 2017.
Some have claimed that the Electoral College holds a fiduciary duty: that it exists as a final arbiter to prevent a “demagogue” from ever taking hold of the US presidential reins.
The problem with this argument this time around, is that there’s no demagoguery in 2016.
Trump didn’t win the popular vote. Ergo, people weren’t swayed by a tyrant at the ballot box. There’s just millions of very hurt losers, victims of the most emotional election since JFK’s fight in 1960.
What about reports of Russian hackers influencing the people’s outcome? Well, this certainly explains the media ramp up this past week. Isn’t this proof of malfeasance?
But the answer, thankfully for US security, remains unchanged. Clinton won the popular vote, so the Kremlin obviously failed.
What about racism? This is where the crux of the Democrat’s argument should lie. Isn’t Trump tearing America apart with anti-Muslim, anti-Latino immigration bans? Isn’t Trump’s promised Mexican Wall the equivalent of driving Europe’s Jews into ghettos? Isn’t Trump thereby, a proxy for the Ku Klux Klan’s manifesto of hatred?
Once again, it’s a case that falls flat. Obama hasn’t declared White Supremacy a “clear and present danger”. A border wall doesn’t equate to a Nazi program of “resettlement”. Nor does a policy of caution indicate anything other than America is currently “at war with radical Islam”.
What about misogyny? While a million women may march to Washington come Trump’s inauguration, the question is where were the crowds opposing Bill Clinton and JFK, both egregious womanisers?
And where were the million voices raised in anguish against domestic violence killing women every day of Obama’s reign and of presidents before him?
Unfortunately, for Clinton supporters the US Constitution and precedent have spoken. Given that only 157 of over 22,000 electors have ever proven unfaithful to their pledge and most of these occurred facing dead candidates, Trump will be hailed chief.
For if 38 Republican electors unprecedentedly changed their pledge in this one election alone—and voted against their party’s wishes handing Clinton victory—the geopolitical chaos would be unimaginable.
Financial markets would plummet: the USA’s global veneer would melt.
No, Trump will be elected President of the United States. If for no other reason than you can’t celebrate a person’s name emblazoned on facades across much of Manhattan, give him breakthrough ratings on TV, turn a blind eye to his excesses without any semblance of protest and only then complain when he beats your candidate to the prize.
Thinking so is not merely immature. That millions in the USA believe it’s possible reflects a journey already underway on a road to a social disconnect rivalling the 1970s.
While Microsoft buys a collection of bytes called “LinkedIn” for 26 billion dollars and America’s children sleep on the streets.
And no one blinked.
© 2016 Adam Parker. You’ve just read a Parkerpinion.
Main picture: Freedom at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington, DC. Author’s photo.