Third parties

I never told anybody not from a battleground state not to vote for a third party. If it didn’t matter in the end, vote how you truly feel. But I suppose a few Johnson and Stein voters in Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin and Michigan are now having second thoughts. But I dunno….most people who voted Green absolutely believed in voting Green. It’s not like they decided to vote Green in the last week. And most of her following had already held their noses and voted for Hillary, as shown when Stein’s numbers plummeted after the Democratic convention. And I am not sure how many Libertarian voters would ever vote Democrat. Some, sure, but many–most?–were Republicans.

It’s not like 2000 when Nader went into Florida the last two weeks in a big way, telling people why Gore was awful and why to vote for him instead. Crazy Ralph knew damn well what he was doing. He increased his share of the voters by taking them from Gore, and in Florida, which everyone knew was Bush’s only hope to win the presidency. People pleaded with Nader to go elsewhere, but no, he was determined to undermine Gore in Florida. He seemed hellbent on a Bush win for reasons beyond my understanding. Nader was the next best thing to a paid surrogate Bush ever had, an unexpected dream come true. I have never figured out that one at all. Nader denies all that now of course, and gets his rumpled cheap suit all out of shape when someone mentions it. And his followers were the first to jump on the bandwagon when the Supreme Court gave the state to Bush. The raged the loudest, yelling at us Democrats for not screaming loud enough. I wanted to slap them. Neither Gary Johnson nor Jill Stein acted in the same deliberate manner this year to elect a Republican. Well, Stein may have tried a bit–she sounded like she endorsed Trump once, even–but she was no Ralph Nader. Ralph sold out the Madison Square Garden the week before the 2000 election, his clueless if charmingly idealist fans screaming like he was Bruce Springsteen gonna save the world. Jill Stein? No.

Still, had a mess of Green and Libertarian voters switched to Hillary we’d be in a better world now. But oh well. It’s that goddam democracy kicking us in the ass again. So much easier it must be to live in Putin World, where we all know the results ahead of time.

Donald Trump does not by any means represent the will of the majority

The New York Times has projected that once the California, Washington, Oregon and Colorado mail-in and provisional votes are all tallied, which could be a month off in California (where I believe about 5 million votes remain uncounted, breaking for Hillary about 2 to 1), that Hillary Clinton’s margin in the popular vote will be over 1% of the total. The total will probably be over 130 million (maybe 132 million), which means Hillary’s minimum total should be 1.3 million more votes than Trump, perhaps even 1.5 million. Maybe even more. That would be three times more than Gore’s margin over Bush in 2000. It would be about as many votes as Carter had over Ford in 1976, as well as being upwards of three times as many votes as Nixon had over Humphrey in 1968, and a dozen times more votes than JFK had over Nixon in 1968. It would also be equal to Trump’s combined margin over Hillary in the battleground states.

This may seem arcane now, but in a couple months as the Trump Administration gets set to launch their revolution (their term) on the country, Hillary’s margin could be a powerful argument, weapon and call to resistance on the part of those of us who did not vote for him. We will be the majority, and not a small majority. The two previous elections that resulted in revolutionary change were FDR in 1932, where his margin was 14%, and Ronald Reagan in 1980, where he had just under ten percent. Trump will have a -1.5%, that is a negative 1.5% margin. (Obama, in contrast, came in with a more than 7% margin in the popular vote.) Trump will be attempting, in true revolutionary style, to launch a nationwide revolution that changes everything from a minority position. In a democracy, where majority rule is the fundamental concept, there can’t be anything more wrong. This does not mean that there is anything we can do constitutionally to block him, aside from our rights of free speech and assembly. When the GOP retained the Senate we lost our checks and balances. But it does give a moral argument with which we can raise holy hell. Which is all we have going for us right now.

So never forget that Trump does not by any means represent the will of the majority. America has not spoken. The electoral college has spoken. He was just put in power by that archaic constitutional device designed to protect the country from the tyranny of the majority. They feared the French Revolution back then. Yet that very electoral college has delivered the country over to revolutionaries now…one of those ironies the Founding Fathers never considered, apparently. We may be screwed, but we have something to build our resistance upon–that there are more of us than there are of them, and they got into power because of a rigged system.

That’s not exactly good news, but it’s something.

What part of democracy don’t we understand?

I hear a helluva lotta people who ought to know better defending the electoral college. It was designed to keep democracy in check. To make sure the people didn’t elect anyone dangerous. That was the theory. It was used that way just once, in 1824. In 1828 the people who used it that way were swept away in a landslide by a very angry, vengeful electorate. Then in 1876 it was used to break a tie that threatened a renewed civil war, cash switched hands, electors switched votes, and the losing candidate won. Sleazy, sure, but better than another war, they said. In 1888 it just so happened that Benjamin Harrison won sixty five more electoral votes than his counterpart despite losing the popular vote. (Ballot box stuffing in the right states helped Harrison’s cause considerably, it was said.) From 1892 to 1996 the electoral college played no role whatsoever, as the winner always had more popular votes than the loser, so the electoral college was merely a vaguely ridiculous formality performed pretty much unnoticed. It seemed harmless enough.

Then came 2000, and the most conservative presidential candidate since Barry Goldwater (who was probably the most conservative nominee ever) was elected by the electoral college even though he was down half a million votes. I remember railing against that and getting fierce opposition from people defending the vaunted institution. What good is it? What is its point. It’s in the constitution I was told. That, apparently was enough, despite the horrendous damage inflicted upon the people, the body politic, the economy and foreign policy by the Bush/Cheney administration who most people had voted against. There’s a reactionary streak deep in even progressive bones. They like things, some things, left the same way. Me, I was left so bitter I nearly gave up on voting itself. I hated the fact that an archaic machination tucked into the Constitution centuries before invalidated the vote of the majority. Undermined the whole concept of democracy. I dreaded the next time it happened.

Well, it has happened. And only sixteen years later. By the time all the absentee and provisional ballots are counted in California–and there are about six million left to go through–Hillary will rack up a huge popular vote margin. She’s winning those ballots 2 to 1. If there are six million votes remaining, that means she’ll wind up with two million more votes than Donald Trump. That is more than the margin that JFK had in 1960 and Nixon had in 1968 combined, and more than Carter had in 1976. More too than Trump had in Michigan, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Iowa combined, and maybe more than he had in all the battleground states combined. Yet by the rules of the electoral college, Donald Trump wins. The damage he will do the country is so far unimaginable. This is a moral and political catastrophe the likes of which this country has never faced. And it would not be happening at all if we had direct elections. It has been made possible by the electoral college.

We have direct elections  for governor in California, a state of 40 million people. It never even occurs to us that electing a governor that way is somehow dangerous. And it’s not. The notion seems completely absurd. Imagine our own state electoral college, divided by counties, with a minimum three electors from each county (as in the real electoral college) plus amounts based on population. One could win by winning small counties entirely. Imagine that. Imagine how different government in California would be if our governors were elected by residents of small counties up north, in the Sierra and through the length of the Central Valley. Imagine what they would do to the rest of us in the Bay Area and southern California. Imagine the dysfunction. Its sounds absurd, impossible.

Yet somehow electing Donald J. Trump, who may have lost the popular vote by two million, doesn’t seem odd at all to those devoted to the electoral college. It seems perfectly natural, as if that is what the Founding Fathers intended, that we elect extremist right wing politicians. Twice.

What part of democracy don’t we understand?

This was not 1980

This was not 1980. There was not a landslide. Indeed, when the votes are finally tallied in a couple weeks, Clinton will have a margin in the popular vote that could reach two million votes. Most people did not vote for Trump. But enough did in the right states that enabled Trump to win the electoral college. But American did not change like it did in 1980. There is no national mandate for Trump’s vicious, racist ideology. This was the electoral college equivalent of a coup d’etat. So what do you do? You resist. You resist in every way possible, you fight him at every step, until the next election. Remember, this scumbag declared war on the rest of us. He and his followers treated it like war. They screamed bloody threats, waved guns, and promised to put us in jail. His movement–and he loves calling it that, his movement–is probably the most fascist thing we have seen in this country since the nazi-infiltrated German-American Bund in the 1930’s. Trump and his movement have some really freaky tie ins to the far right movements in Europe, to the creepy insane Alt Right in this country, and most bizarrely of all is affiliated with the kleptocratic regime of Vladimir Putin. The most dangerous right wing ideologues in this country will be working in his Administration. There has never been such a threat to American democracy as the presidency of Donald Trump. We can’t afford to lighten up on them for a minute. We are like the French when they suddenly found themselves conquered by the Nazis in 1940. Some collaborated. Some hid and pretended it wasn’t happening. And some joined with others and resisted. It’s your choice.

If you love your country, loathe Donald Trump.

The electoral college is a built in guard against pure democracy, a constitutional means of rigging a presidential election. This is the fifth time it has happened (1824, 1876, 1888, 2000 and now 2016). So Trump was very much correct, it turns out, when he said the system was rigged. Hopefully people will not stop pointing this out, especially as Hillary’s lead keeps piling up. It means nothing, that lead–all that counts is the vote of the electoral college–but it is a constant reminder that this so called agent for change was actually elected by a minority of voters, while nearly all of the majority dislike him intensely. Indeed, he is probably flat out despised by more people than there are supporting him. Does that mean he’s not president? No. Does that limit his constitutional prerogatives in any way? Of course not. He won the most electoral votes. But does that mean, as I keep hearing today, that we have to support him? Not at all. Indeed, it is perhaps a patriotic duty to undermine him. I say hate the racist, misogynist, quasi-fascist sonofabitch. Detest everything he stands for. Everything he represents. If you love your country, loathe Donald Trump.

Rigged election

It’s going on midnight on election night, and there have been a little over six million votes counted in California so far. In 2012 there were over 13 million cast in the presidential election in the state, so there are probably about another seven million to be counted. Hillary is getting a steady 61%, Trump 34%. Which means Hillary has about two million more votes coming to her out of California than will Trump. If you figure that the remaining votes left in all the other states east of here amount to maybe a million and are roughly divided equally–maybe 52% for Trump, 48% for Hillary–that means that the pile of California votes alone will give Hillary a popular vote edge of two million votes over Trump. Add in the uncounted votes from Washington state–a couple hundred thousand more Hillary than Trump–and Hillary might wind up with well above two million more popular votes than Trump.

Back in 2000, Al Gore had a little over a half million more votes than George W. Bush, while still losing the electoral college. And this year Hillary has also clearly lost the electoral college, yet her popular vote margin might be four or five times as big as that of Gore’s. Indeed, Hillary’s popular vote margin might easily be twice that of Trump’s margins in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Georgia and Florida combined. It might even surpass his margin in all the battleground states combined. Think of it. Hillary Clinton was probably more popular than Donald Trump in California, Oregon, Washington and Nevada than Donald Trump was more popular than Hillary Clinton in all the battleground states put together. That is something you don’t notice till long after the states have been divvied up and the electoral college numbers totaled. It’s the kind of thing you have to wait to observe, as the hours pass by and the vote totals out west inexorably climb.

I suspect that then reason that Hillary’s campaign hasn’t conceded yet is that they want to wait until those California and Oregon and Washington votes come rolling in. She wants to concede when she has millions more votes than the Donald. Because that is what everyone will talk about when she concedes, about how she received millions more votes than Donald Trump, but how he won the electoral college anyway. A rigged election, one might even say.

A lotta white men

Most women voted for Hillary Clinton. Most men voted for Donald Trump. A slightly higher proportion of men voted for Trump than women voted for Hillary. But I think what happened was that there was a significant increase in the number of men voting. Usually women vote more, I suspect this time more men voted. This is just a hunch, but it would help account for the fact that Trump got more votes even though more women voted for Hillary. His majority was provided by a big upsurge in white men, mostly baby boomers. I was just thinking this morning about what a baby boomer phenomenon Trump is, and baby boomers are at their peak voting strength right now. All us angry white guys born between 1945 and 1966. I was worrying about that this morning and looked at the polls again and said nahhh, I was just being paranoid.