Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Faithless Calls for Faithless Electors

12/20/2016—Now that the Electoral College has voted and Donald Trump has actually been elected, it is time to consider the role of democracy in the United States.

Here is the NBC news lead:
President-Elect Trump Wins Electoral College Despite Cries for Dissent

The Electoral College formalized Donald Trump's election victory on Monday despite protests around the country to encourage GOP electors to abandon the Republican.

The president-elect easily racked up the 270 electoral votes needed to send him to the White House. Interest in the normally mundane voting process spiked this year as opposition to Trump continues to fester, fueled by Clinton's success in capturing over 2.6 million more votes than her Republican opponent.

"Today marks a historic electoral landslide victory in our nation's democracy," Trump said in a statement. "I thank the American people for their overwhelming vote to elect me as their next President of the United States."
The first thing to notice is that there were serious calls for the electors to vote for someone else. This shows how widespread is the demoralization of democracy. The Electoral College is terrible and may get worse. But the only good thing about it is that the electors actually vote for the candidate that the State elected. It is a scandal that Democratic Party leaders did not denounce these calls for the limited nature of our democracy to be frustrated and our votes to become merely suggestions for the electors.

Second, these calls show that we have to get rid of the Electoral College. Even Republicans should worry about the absolute legal right these electors have to vote for anyone they want. That is how the system was set up. If they had elected Clinton, would the Supreme Court have voided the vote? No one knows for sure. Yes, that would have sent the election to the House of Representatives and Trump would have been selected—but, what about the future?

Third, the notion that the people elect the President is still the only legitimate standard in America—that is why we need direct election of the President. Trump’s quote was fine but inaccurate. The American people did not vote to elect him as President. The American people voted to elect someone else.

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