Prayers for the Faithless
By Doug Lawless
It has been two weeks as I write this. Two weeks since progressives all over this nation got what they wanted by succeeding in making sure that Hillary Clinton did not get elected President of the United States of America.
It’s weird; I haven’t been invited to any victory parties. Maybe they’re all pissed off at me for casting my vote for the only candidate that could have saved us from a Trump Presidency?
Or maybe they are coming to grips with the fact that chipping away at the support base of Clinton while the Ku Klux Klan and Nazis and brainwashed/ignorant Christian groups were building up Trump was a MASSIVE MISTAKE.
Whatever it was, one thing is certain. We, as a nation, are well and truly fucked.
Unless something amazing occurs, that is.
Most people believe that the 2016 presidential election was over once television networks called it for Trump some hours after the polls closed on November 8th. And that’s true, to a degree.
When the smoke cleared it appeared that Donald John Trump, the billionaire who couldn’t pay his bills, the American with no allegiance to or understanding of the things that made his country great in the present, the midget with gigantism everywhere but his hands, had taken enough electoral votes to secure the win.
Even now we don’t now the exact final vote tally, but as I write this CNN has it as this:
See any problem with that count?
Unless you are one of the staunch Trump supporters that have suggested to me recently that he is actually winning the popular vote (because conspiracy), you might be able to understand that the number for Clinton is, in fact, the higher number.
Hillary Clinton has received 1,825,768 more votes than Donald Trump. Current estimates suggest that the number she is ahead will go higher as the last results trickle in, but for right now, we’ll use these numbers.
To put this in perspective, in the 2012 presidential election, Barack Obama ended up with 65,915,795 votes, which was the highest number of votes cast for any person in U.S. history. Mitt Romney got 60,933,504 votes that year, which is more than what Trump has currently, but less than what Clinton has.
Wrap your head around that.
Trump got less than the republican loser in 2012 and he won.
Clinton got more than the republican loser in 2012 and she lost.
Something is wrong with this. Something is definitely off.
Over the last few days I’ve heard people talking about this, saying things like “take it up with founders if you have a problem with it” and “fair is fair, we all knew these were the rules.”
Clearly, from a pure numbers perspective, fair is not fair. And while I can’t take it up with the founders because they are all dead, I do know that they allowed slavery, so they were far from perfect in their judgment.
I encourage anyone reading this who doesn’t have a firm grasp of what the Electoral College is and how it came to be to look it up. I am going to give a very simple overview that will almost certainly miss all sorts of points beyond the single one I am zoning in on.
There are 538 Electors. This is where the name of the website 538.com comes from, although I am not sure if they plan on keeping it. At last check, WeShitTheBed.com was still available.
435 of those Electors represent the 435 members of the House of Representatives. 100 of those Electors represent the 100 members of the Senate, and 3 get thrown in for Washington, DC… just because.
Can anyone see the problem with this yet?
(Hint: it’s the Senators. Mostly.)
The House of Representatives is made up of members from 435 districts and it is based on population, but there are 2 Senators from any state regardless of how shitty and unlivable it is. This already gives less populated states far more power over aspects of our government than they should have.
When you add in the fact that garbage states that no one wants to live in automatically get two free Electors, it puts a whole pile of thumbs on the scale when electing the President. What is comes down to is the fact that less populous states where people are more likely to hold conservative ideals, while simultaneously contributing less to the country economically, have more power in electing the President than the centers of population, culture, and industry that provide the lion’s share of our revenue.
It’s bullshit. And it robbed you of your rightful President.
These are the 10 states with the lowest population in the country, as of the 2015 estimates. (District of Columbia included because it has Electors). Also included are their populations and current number of Electors.
Wyoming 586,107 / 3
Vermont 626,042 / 3
District of Columbia 672,228 / 3
Alaska 738,432 / 3
North Dakota 756,927 / 3
South Dakota 858, 469 / 3
Delaware 945,934 / 3
Montana 1,032,949 / 3
Rhode Island 1,056,298 / 4
Maine 1,329,328 / 4
That is a total of 32 Electors representing 8,602,714 people.
Now compare that to the states with the closest number of Electors to 32.
New York and Florida. They have 29 Electors each.
The population of New York is 19,795,792
The population of Florida is 20,705,791
Each state has more than twice as many people as the lowest 10 combined, and yet each state has 3 less electors than that combination.
Why? Why should that be?
Why should the occupants of the ten least populated areas with Electors have votes that are more than twice as powerful as the votes of people in New York or Florida?
The reason is those two free Electors that represent the Senate. Take those out and the example above looks a bit different.
Let’s set Wyoming’s population of 586,107 as the baseline for 1 Elector and do away with the nonsense idea that each state gets two free like somebody flinched.
The bar for additional electors would then be 1 more at 1,172,214, which would mean technically only Maine would be eligible for more than 1 Elector.
We can be fairer than that though. Let’s use rounding rules for population over the halfway mark. That would make the number for an additional Elector 879,161.
With these rules in place the bottom 10 now look like this:
Wyoming 586,107 / 1
Vermont 626,042 / 1
District of Columbia 672,228 / 1
Alaska 738,432 / 1
North Dakota 756,927 / 1
South Dakota 858, 469 / 1
Delaware 945,934 / 2
Montana 1,032,949 / 2
Rhode Island 1,056,298 / 2
Maine 1,329,328 / 2
That is a total of 14 Electors representing 8,602,714 people.
Now, by this reasoning, New York and Florida must change as well.
New York 19,795,792 / 34
Florida 20,705,791 / 35
Even without the 2 free Electors, these states got additional electoral power based on their populations. Which seems fair, since they have more people.
I mean, I’m just a stupid guy with a bad attitude, but that seems better to me. Closer to democracy, or something.
So why don’t we just run the numbers across the board and see how this election plays out from a proper electoral standpoint?
I was annoyed to discover that it doesn’t work. Even if you attempt to reset the numbers, as I did in the examples above, you still get Trump running away with the election from an Electoral College standpoint. It ends up looking like Trump 305, Clinton 235. And maybe that makes you feel better about what happened? I don’t know. I’m still hung up on the idea that when the dust has settled just over 2 million more Americans will have voted for the loser than the winner. This whole “winner take all” approach in swing states like Florida really throws things out of whack.
Trump lost the popular vote by over 2 million, but he is currently the President-Elect because of about 5% of that amount spread throughout wins in three key states. Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin.
106,000 votes made him the winner. Over 3 million more people in California voted for Clinton than Trump, but it’s those 106,000 in the swing states that really matter.
Here’s how it breaks down:
Pennsylvania: Trump wins by 1.2%, roughly 68,000 votes out of nearly 6 million.
Michigan: Trump wins by 0.6%, roughly 11,000 votes out of over 3 million.
Wisconsin: Trump wins by 1%, roughly 27,000 votes out of over 4.5 million.
And just like that you get a President the majority did not elect.
There may be hope, however.
The general election in the USA occurs on “the Tuesday next after the first Monday in the month of November” according to federal law. That is the election that makes you think your voice matters. To be fair, your voice does matter for local ballot initiatives and for selecting local, state, and national representatives. For everything on your ballot, except for the presidency, the person with the most votes wins. When it comes to who will lead the nation, however, there exists a buffer between what the public prefers and what will actually happen: The Electoral College.
The Electoral College is made up of people who are selected by their political parties to represent their state at the real election for President. This year, 2016, that election will occur on December 19th. If the republican wins the state, a slate of electors from that party will cast the votes. Same thing for the democrats. I honestly have no idea what would happen if a third party candidate won, since that hasn’t occurred since Lincoln shook things up.
**And then got shot in the head.**
In theory, the Electoral College vote should rubber stamp the will of the people. An election like the one we are currently suffering makes it clear that is not really the case. If they vote the way the states came in this time they will elect a candidate who received millions (plural) fewer votes than their opponent.
That’s just wrong.
People say that at one time it was necessary to make this compromise so that slave-owning states would join the union without the threat of direct democracy threatening their way of life. I’m sure that is an oversimplification, but I have about 2 million fucks not to give at the moment.
On December 19th there will be a scam election that installs an illegitimate President into power on January 20th, 2017 unless something incredible happens.
And something incredible can happen.
The Electors can decide to not vote for Trump.
It’s not likely, but not all states in the country have laws that require Electors to vote the way the public suggested. Therefore it is possible that by the time we reach December 19th enough of the people entrusted to pick a President for you could have decided to take their vote away from Trump.
Why would they?
A guy like me would answer that question by saying that honest, fair-minded Americans might notice that this time around the system failed and their vote does not represent the will of a majority of their fellow citizens if it goes to Trump. They could switch to the actual majority vote winner and take one for the team.
I think we all know that is highly unlikely as things sit currently.
As I write this, December 19th is still nearly a month away. As we have seen in the past, one month is more than enough time for Don John to inflict real damage on himself. Something serious could come out that is bad enough to sway votes.
Or worse, the effort to review voting irregularities in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin might turn up the disturbing evidence that Russian hackers somehow managed to install malware into electronic voting machines in those three states that fudged the results. Like they tried to do, and were caught doing, in Ukraine in 2014.
All of that could be possible or is definitely true. You can read about it here:
For the sake of argument, let’s say it is discovered that Russian hacking helped the campaign of the guy who pretended in the debates that he didn’t know Russia was hacking us even though that guy had been briefed by U.S. intelligence officials that they were. A total coincidence, I’m sure, but if such evidence is discovered, what happens?
Seriously. What happens if the guy who stole the election is caught before the Electoral College gets the fix in?
Does he get arrested? If so, who does it? The FBI? CIA? Federal marshals who all want to be cowboys? I would really like to know how that would work.
Maybe we’ll all get to find out.
And even if that happens, the Electors will still have to cast their votes. Will they do the right thing and switch over to Hillary Clinton, the person who should have been the winner all along?
They can. They could.
An Elector who votes against the results of their state election is known as a “Faithless Elector.” Historically, there have been 157 Faithless Electors. Some reports say that as of right now there are six current electors that have indicated they may change their votes. To switch up the results of this sham election, we need six times that many.
Would proof of the Russians hacking our election sway that many more?
I’ve never been much one for praying, but now may be a good time to start.
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