Trump Pulls a Rabbit out of his Hat

how-they-spent
CNBC Graphic

Congratulations to President Elect, Donald J. Trump. I must admit, I did not see this coming. Sure, Trump had a major movement going, but really, he won? There is no doubt that a large portion of America is fed up with the gridlock and frankly all the bullshit coming from Washington DC. But Hillary Clinton had a $2 billion war chest of cash and out spent Trump by an enormous amount. The chart to the left came from a CNBC report which is linked to the graphic.

Trump also had to fight against a clearly unfair advantage in the media which was really in the tank for Hillary.

Whether or not you like him, if he can run the    government like he ran this campaign, our debt problems could evaporate in less than ten years. That is a big “IF” however.

No matter how you slice it, Donald Trump just pulled off the biggest electoral upset in the history of the United States. He just beat a well oiled, deliciously deep funded candidate with the bulk of the media protecting her six. Trump literally pulled the proverbial rabbit out of his hat.

I hope Mr. Trump is able to be an effective leader. I want the United States to be successful, and I want the best possible outcomes for all Americans. Regardless of his actual performance, we now know that it is in fact possible to send someone to Washington from outside the establishment with out the dirty corrupt insider campaign cash. We can get the rotten special interest cash out of DC if we try, and Donald Trump is a testament to that idea. Bernie Sanders is also a great example of clean cash campaigns.

Many people, mostly on the left are once again questioning the validity of the Electoral College system. My friends the Electoral College is designed to keep a few large states from dictating politics to DC. More than HALF of the total population of our country resides in just nine states. California alone is nearly 13 percent of the total population. Although the entire count is not yet in and two states have yet to be called according to the New York Times, it looks like Hillary Clinton will end up winning the overall popular vote by a very narrow margin, probably less than 1/2 of 1% In a divided nation it is no surprise we had a statistical tie in the final vote. Eliminating the Electoral College would be a huge benefit to the Democrat party as they are by far the largest political party in America and in fact it is the largest political party in the world. This is is precisely why the people clamoring to dissolve the Electoral College are nearly always Democrats. They would love a one party system in America to force their ideas down the throats of a disabled political minority population.

The results of the Electorate often do not proportionately mirror those of the popular vote. Four times previously the popular vote went to the Electoral loser, most recently in the 2000 election in which Al Gore out polled George W Bush by the ultra slim margin of roughly 0.5%. That election was much closer than this one in the Electoral College as Bush only got 271 Electoral votes. This did lead to a challenge in the closely contested state of Florida which had Al Gore won, he would have been President.

map
New York Times Graphic

Trump’s victory was much more clear. He currently stands at 279 (according to the New York Times) with both Arizona and Michigan still uncalled but likely to go Trump. Those will bring him to 306. The popular vote currently favors Hillary but by a margin so slim it may go down as the closest election in US history, potentially knocking the Kennedy-Nixon nail biter of 1960 off the top spot. Kennedy won the popular vote by a razor-thin 4 tenths of a point while Clinton has a slightly thinner lead than that at the moment. it is worthy to note than Kennedy had a comfortable win in the Electoral College with 303 Electoral votes.

In contrast, there have been two 49 state “landslides” in my lifetime. In 1972 Nixon swept all but Massachusetts in a 49-1 win, but he got 60% of the popular vote compared to 98% of the states. In 1984 Reagan got all but Minnesota in his 49-1 thumping yet got “only” 58.8% popular vote.

In the cases where the Electoral winner loses the overall popular vote, it is nearly always the case that the popular winner had a couple of landslides in large population states and the Electoral winner won a bunch of smaller states or had nail biters in big states. It skews the results a bit.

Our entire nation was built on the foundation of leveling the playing field so that smaller states would not be under represented in DC and a handful of large states could not manipulate the path of national politics to the detriment of those living in rural areas. It is a hallmark of our constitution and it is why large states hold a proportional advantage in the House of Representatives but are equally represented in the Senate. It is that slight “over representation” in the Senate that gives smaller states a small disproportionate advantage in close elections. For example, the State of Wyoming is the least populated state with only 564,000 people. It has 3 electoral college votes. 1 for the single seat in the house and 1 each for its two Senators. New Hampshire has more than twice the population of Wyoming with roughly 1.3 million residents but they have just 4 electoral votes. 1 each for the two seats in the House and 1 each for the two Senators. California with its juggernaut population of nearly 38 million people has 55 electors. 53 for the house seats and again the same 2 electors for their Senators.

In 48 states and DC the Electors are “winner take all”. So Donald Trump will win Michigan by the slimmest of margins but he gets all 16 Electoral College votes for that feat. Likewise Hillary won California with about 61% of the vote but she gets all 55 Electoral College votes.

The states of Maine and Nebraska have a system of dividing the Electoral College vote by congressional district and then awarding the Senator votes to the statewide winner. In Maine which has 4 Electoral College votes, Clinton got 3 and Trump got 1. She won the overall vote in that state but lost one of the two congressional districts. It would be interesting to see what the results would look like if all 50 states used the Maine system.

The only downside I see to the Electoral College system is that voters in states that are heavily weighted to one party, like California for example, have a large block of voters in the minority party whose vote for President simply doesn’t count. So nearly 3 million Californians that cast a ballot for Trump really had no chance. On that note however, crunching the numbers, California’s turn out looks really soft.

I believe the Electoral College System is fair and should be left in place. However the states could consider adopting the system employed by the State of Maine to make the results a little more localized but still retaining the balance of urban and rural with the Senator advantage. The Electoral College system is design to allow the states to decide how to appoint the Electors. It should be noted that the founders gave strong consideration to the idea of having the President appointed by the states or elected in the Congress or even state legislatures before coming up with this system. They flat out repudiated the notion of a directly elected President.

So many people think that the USA is a Democracy. It is not. In fact it is a hybrid of sorts, a Democratic Republic. The founders intended for each type of office holder to be elected for different term lengths and by different methods. Originally Senators were elected by the state legislatures and approved by the Governor, the 17th Amendment in 1913 changed them to directly elected officials. I disagree with the 17th Amendment by the way. The only federal officials intended to be elected directly were the House Reps, and they were intended to be collectively powerful but individually weak. the Speaker of the House is a notable exception to the individually weak idea. Unfortunately we have allowed our nation to move more towards a pure democracy and have given too much power to individual members of the house. James Madison explained the perils of pure Democracy in Federalist Paper Number 10:

“Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.”

The government put into place by the founding fathers is simply and inarguably the greatest political system ever created on this Earth! We are well advised to avoid screwing it up.

Post election I am feeling confident. Donald Trump’s comments after learning of his victory in the wee hours of Wednesday morning were gracious and humble. Hillary Clinton wisely chose to wait until the morning to make her concession and her speech was genuine. She showed grace and dignity in defeat and for that she has my admiration. President Obama had rather measured and uninspiring comments after the election but seemed genuinely gracious at the meeting today with Donald Trump at the White House.

The peaceful transfer of power in America is another hallmark of this great nation of ours. trump is highly controversial but we as a nation need to give him a chance to govern. It’s our country and who knows, maybe he will do a good job. I hope so.

God Bless America.

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