Archive for the ‘US Elections’ Category

Clinton was a loser and a bad choice

Electoral college 2

This explains what happened–and the Russians weren’t responsible

I was curious since the popular vote doesn’t really matter in Presidential Elections (after all Clinton won that with one of the largest percentages in a US election). The Electoral College is the real decider with only 270 electoral votes needed to win. So, I went to 270toWin to play with their interactive Electoral Vote map.

First off, there are 2,250,000,000,000,000 possible outcomes with the Electoral College system! (Long explanation on that), but it didn’t take too many states to flip for Trump to have won. That means it was a real gamble to run a candidate as unpopular as Clinton since there were no guarantees that New Hampshire, Nevada or Virginia wouldn’t have voted for Trump. Or that Michigan, Pennsylvania, or Wisconsin would vote for Clinton.

There were four states, New Hampshire, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, which were all decided by less than 1% in 2016, with Michigan the closest. That state was won by about .23% – that’s only 2,300 votes per one million votes cast. Donald Trump won three of these four states, none of which had been won by a Republican in a generation. Those 46 electoral votes put him across the 270 he needed to win. Interestingly, despite a fairly competitive election, only four states were decided by 5% or less in 2012; that number grew to 11 in 2016.

The thing is that winning any of one of those four states would mean Trump would be President. Or that Trump’s electoral college win could have been much higher!  Remember the popular vote has no relation to the Electoral College numbers. All one needs is to get the largest number of votes to get ALL the Electoral College votes in most states.

There would still be a possibility that Trump could have been president even if all four of those states have voted for Clinton (and Delaware and Nevada had voted for Trump). That is because the Electoral College result would have been a tie (269-269). That means the election would be sent to the House of Representatives with each state delegation getting one vote (a similar activity takes place on the Senate side to pick the Vice-President). In the case of a tie, the election for President is decided in the House of Representatives, with each state delegation having one vote. A majority of states (26) is needed to win. Senators would elect the Vice-President, with each Senator having a vote. A majority of Senators (51) is needed to win.

It would have been highly likely in the case of a tie that the election would remain undecided after the Electors voted. That means Congress would meet in joint session on the first day in January to count the electoral votes (this count happens whether the election is close or not). If no candidate has reached 270 Electoral Votes, then the House and Senate take over and elect the President and Vice-President, respectively.

It seems likely Trump would have been president given the current US legislature is solidly Republican had there been a tie.

Toss in it is possible to win the Electoral College with only 11 States (California, Texas, New York, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Georgia, North Carolina and New Jersey). However, nobody has been elected President since 1900 by winning fewer than 23 states. (Take the quiz at 270towin to see where I got these figures)

Anyway, While the democratic party is responsible for picking a loser like Clinton, it seems to be more that the anti-democratic nature of the US elections needs to be addressed.  After all, the only way the Russians could have influenced the US presidential election would be to have somehow created the Electoral College since that is what really put Trump in office.

See also:

Why Trump Had an Edge in the Electoral College

Five myths about the electoral college

Abolish the Electoral College

I am amazed that this institution has not gone away long ago, or at least been reformed.  This past election has demonstrated that most of the reasons for its existence are fatuous.

lets start with:

It prevents foreign interference in US elections

This reason comes from The Federalist Papers, No 68:

Nothing was more to be desired than that every practicable obstacle should be opposed to cabal, intrigue, and corruption. These most deadly adversaries of republican government might naturally have been expected to make their approaches from more than one querter, but chiefly from the desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils. How could they better gratify this, than by raising a creature of their own to the chief magistracy of the Union?

This seems to make  any allegation of foreign interference (read Russia) absurd if the reasoning behind this institution is sound.  I am surprised this hasn’t been brought up as a reason that any investigation into this is just silly.

It prevents an incompetent from becoming president

The 2016 US election was one of duelling idiots. While one may defend Hillary Clinton as Threat not chicebeing well educated, she certainly lacked the knowse to deal with the election process (I refer you to Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes book Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign for documentation of her lack of political savvy, but that was pretty obvious to anyone watching the campaign). [1]

On the other hand, the US has been saddled by someone who appears to believe he wouldn’t have won.  I could get into Trump’s  candidacy, but this is a really bad one if this is one of the reasons for having the electoral college.  I’d toss in the 2000 election as another example of the wrong person becoming president.

More reasons

I found Richard Posner’s Slate article defending this anachronism.  In defence of Posner, his article was written in 2012 before this past election fiasco.  Posner gives the following reasons to keep this:  Certainty of Outcome, Everyone’s President, Swing States, Big States, and Avoiding Run-Off Elections. I have to admit that the learned judge seems to be offering confused reasons.

Certainty of Outcome is a bad one for the learned judge to begin with since Gore won the popular vote by over 500,000 votes in 2000 and Clinton won the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes (2,868,691).  I found it hard to find  a graph which gave the popular votes in the 2016 election, as opposed to graphics that showed the electoral vote, since this number is so disparate it makes this argument risable. [2] It would seem more certain in a truly democratic society, or at least one that likes to pretend to the rest of the world how great its democracy is.

Or is that pretence a relic of the cold war?  Now that democracy is no longer an issue the US can get rid of its pretending its democracy is somehow better than the rest of the world.[3]

Everyone’s president is a truly laughable assertion under Trump.  How many people DIDN’T vote in the last election? Then there are people like me who voted for third parties.

The reality of the “everyone’s president” argument made by Posner is silly is that he then goes on to “Swing States” and “Big States”.  Posner is trying to use the founder’s belief that somehow the Electoral college prevents regionalism.  Then he goes into the glaring examples of regionalism.  It was Clinton’s failures in swing states that cost her the election!

Bottom line on those three arguments: you can’t claim that somehow the electoral college prevents regionalism when regionalism is what ended up costing the election of someone who won the popular vote by 48.5% (as opposed to the electoral college winner who won by 46.4% of the popular vote).

Reading Posner’s article, the 2016 election points out the flaws in his arguments: the electoral college serves no point other than to be anti-democratic, which gets into “run off elections”.

Those would be small prices to pay if they would be the cost of having the democracy the US has presented to the rest if the world through the last part of the 20th Century and the beginning of this one.

The problem is the electoral college is an anti-democratic institution which is an extreme danger to the electoral process.  The sad part is that the travesty caused the electoral college is again being ignored.  I noticed that the democrats were blaming everything except this fossil for their loss.  Now, the silliness of foreign influence in US elections overlooks a reason given for this artefact.

The 2016 Presidential election has demonstrated that this institution needs to be abolished, or drastically reformed.  Its existence has led to a constitutional crisis (not that the US hasn’t been on the verge of one since its inception).  But this one is one of proportions that can no longer be ignored.

The real bottom line here is that the US system of elections is in drastic need of an overhaul: does it take a Constitutional crisis to force this to happen?

notes:

[1] disclaimer: I voted for Jill Stein for many reasons other than just the “democratic” party running Clinton, but her choice was one of many sickeners the party gave me.  The entire US election process makes me sick, but the duopoly really disgusts me.

[2] I knew Clinton was going to lose when the election results focused on the electoral votes as opposed to the popular votes.

[3] there is little difference between a republic and a democracy in modern political science.  Besides, the French Revolution pretty much put paid to most of the anti-democratic v republican beliefs of the founders.

[4] Here is my wish list of changes to the US system of elections.  Only Jill Stein and the Greens seems to be willing to mention them:

open debates run by an impartial body like the League of Women Voters, shorter election cycles, open primaries, ranked choice voting, return of the fairness doctrine and equal time rule (Trump used the lack of it to get shitloads of free publicity), campaign finance reform–if not publicly funded campaigns, easier access to the ballot for parties, reform or abolish the electoral college, end gerrymandering, handcounted paper ballots or receipts, and I am sure that is only the beginning.

President Trump?

I guess it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I am not a fan of Hillary Clinton.  My reaction to hearing she would be the Democratic choice back in 2015 was “what the fuck are the democrats thinking?”  I went for Bernie and made the Demexit a little after the AP called the primary for Clinton.

That said, this pretty much sums up what I feel about the US election

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FJonathanPieReporter%2Fvideos%2F1044777035645189%2F&show_text=0&width=560

Posted 11/11/2016 by lacithedog in Uncategorized, US Election, US Elections

Yes, it is a problem.

I have to admit to wondering when and where the email thing will take us.  She HAS violated a couple of laws relating to FOIA and keeping government records, which happen to only incur civil penalties. They also only apply when someone is still in government office.  That’s good for the Clinton camp since she hasn’t done anything criminally illegal that she has been convicted of (RefCo was a close call).

Yet.

The real issue for me is the FBI investigation, which Clintonistas would like to think is somehow irrelevant and innocuous.  Hardly. The Feds aren’t too keen on wasting time if there is no case to be had.  They like winnable cases. The fun part is guessing what laws and by what parties.

The whole private server thing is pretty obvious in that She didn’t want to be under public scrutiny, despite laws to the contrary.  Toss in the Clinton Foundation for an interesting twist to this story.  My guess is that there is some form of mixing the position as Secretary of State with Clinton Foundation business, which is a serious no-no.

We can toss in the bit about her server being hacked as well with all those secrets. Ultimately, the emails are on Wikileaks.  Anyone who tries to even imply she doesn’t have a problem will be laughed off by me.

Doing a search on Clinton Foundation reveals a treasure trove of information about how this whole thing could blow up (and explain my last post).  The issue isn’t a “right wing conspiracy”, “left wing conspiracy”, “Bernie Bros”, “Obama Bros”, and so on:  It’s that Hillary is Hillary’s own worst enemy.

Her penchant for secrecy was one of the many things that cost her the nomination in 2008.

There is another post here on how this election is a prime case for how the US political system needs to be totally overhauled, but the fact that Hillary Clinton is even remotely considered for being President is a serious biggie. She will go into the arena with a set of political baggage which makes it laughable that anyone in their right mind would have considered supporting her.

That would be amplified if there are indeed federal criminal indictments, which would most likely be followed by convictions (see federal conviction rate if you don’t believe me).  Federal Criminal Practice isn’t really a trial practise, it’s “let’s make a deal” to try and get the best terms and sentence.

The really bad part of a Clinton nomination is that the Scandals will be hashed out very publicly, which is something most Clintonistas have been in denial about all along. But I have  feeling that the email circus is going to be the final word in Clinton Scandals.

Posted 19/05/2016 by lacithedog in Uncategorized, US Election, US Elections

The rightward trend in US politics.

Sure it’s a cartoon, but Ted Rall hits the nail on the head:

That about says it all…

or why I hate US elections and am happy that I have somewhat insulated myself from them:

Posted 03/05/2012 by lacithedog in US Election, US Elections, US politics

Counterproductive politics

There is an interesting interview on today’s Newshour about the rise of the religious right in the US. One of the interviewees points out that the number of evangelical Christians in the US is declining due to its involvement in religion.

I’ve found that gunloon comments tend to reinforce my belief that the US needs gun control due to the fact that these people are not responsible and have no idea of what right the Second Amendment was intended on protecting. Add in that the institution of militia is pretty much an anachronism. In fact, the militia was irrelevant at the time of the Revolution (see Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations).

Anyway, we have already seen that the Heller-McDonald decisions have nor resulted in much in roads being made in the field of gun rights. And as the word of Revolution go “if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao, you ain’t going to make with anyone anyhow”.

Perhaps saying that a variant of “Political Power comes from the barrel of a gun” will backfire on them as badly as failing to heed that religion and politics should not be intertwined.