Friday, November 11, 2016

D. A. Cooper: The Electoral College Was Designed To Prevent Trump. You Can Make This Happen

   Or, rather, we can.
   I was just sent this, so I haven't had a chance to really reflect on it much. Of course I've been toying with the idea in the back of my mind for two everybody else...but haven't really been taking it seriously
   As Cooper points out:
Trump can still be stopped. The Founding Fathers foresaw just this catastrophe, and built a fail-safe into the Constitution. It’s called the Electoral College. Alexander Hamilton was explicit: this mechanism was designed to ensure that “the office of president will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications.” In short, it was designed to prevent just this situation: the rise of an unqualified demagogue like Donald Trump. 
You can make it do what it was meant to do.
   It's a Hail Mary, obviously. But it's well within the bounds of reason. If we're going to stick to the Electoral College system, we should stick to the damn Electoral College system--all or nothing. If the Electoral College is what's screwing us, maybe we should try to use it to save us.
   This is not a Democrat-Republican thing. I'd never even consider such a tactic against an ordinary, minimally-qualified GOP candidate. This certainly (IMO) should NOT be used to try to put Clinton or any other Democrat in the White House. The decision would still go to the House, of course...and that's a problem...but if Dems could cut a deal with moderate Republicans, I suppose they might be able to pull something off. Maybe Pence even? Many Dems hate/fear Pence more than Trump...but shut up. This is not about avoiding a conservative President. That would not be a legitimate end. This is about avoiding a mentally unstable, temperamentally unfit, entirely unqualified President.
   It's a long shot...but better to light one candle than to curse the damn darkness...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey I wrote a paper about this, using this exact reasoning as to why the Electoral College isn't so bad, and my professor marked my paper down a few points and remarked "this cannot be a prime function of the electoral college because electors would never deny the presidency to the candidate who received the most electoral points."

I tried to argue that, really, the electoral college's, most important function (and perhaps its only function on some accounts) is to inspire faithless electors to vote against the aggregate.

I'm generally down with the electoral college, and I'll accept its results one way or another. I have my worries about popular democracy, and I've argued against it in recent days even though it would afford my preferred candidate the presidency outright.

The electoral college only ever seems to be an issue in close elections. I don't think we could expect a candidate to win by, say, five points in the popular vote and still lose the electoral college. I don't know the probabilities of that occurring, but I take it that it is nearly impossible. Or perhaps its possible, but only if voter turnout in heavily populated states is highly disproportionate to less populated states.

Now, I wouldn't know what to do if the popular vote had tallied something like an 80-20 total. Would it be okay for "faithless electors" to dissent in this case? I'm not sure how much of a consideration the popular vote should be to the electors. However, I take it that it's not nothing that Clinton has appeared to win the popular vote.

I don't expect the electors to exercise this function, but I think it's definitely worth lobbying electors to reconsider Trump. Even if this occurs, I take it that the most difficult job would ensue from the decision. That is, how would we even begin to make a rhetorical point to supporters of Trump that this kind of action is above board?

Anyway, doubt it will happen, but it's an interesting gambit.

9:16 AM  

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