The Big Picture –
By Glynn Wilson –
Don’t be so quick to declare the death of American democracy just because voters elected Donald J. Trump president. In my entire lifetime I’ve never seen so many people so interested in politics and public affairs.
People are getting themselves educated even on the subleties of how the Electoral College works. I don’t recall many people being interested before.
Maybe Trump did us all one big favor. His election may have destroyed voter apathy and handed control of the country to the Democrats for a generation.
That is unless this movement to pressure Electoral College voters succeeds to get electors to switch their votes from Trump to Hillary Clinton. If this works — and there’s no indication that it will — even the AP reports that the electoral voters speak and they’re not out for a revolt — that would result in a major constitutional crisis and hand the armed right all the ammunition it needs to launch a civil war.
I know this looks like such a dark day in American political history that it’s hard to look on the bright side. How could there be a silver lining in Trump’s election?
A Trump administration is shaping up to be a monumental disaster in both domestic and foreign affairs, for the economy and the environment, that mainstream voters — Democrats, Republicans and independents — have a right to be horrified.
But if we can just stop freaking out on Facebook for a few minutes and consider the future, what does it look like?
The chances are better than good that after only two years of Trump in the White House, the Democrats will recapture both houses of Congress. This should not be hard to accomplish even if the candidates look like Mickey Mouse and even in Republican gerrymandered districts.
The Democrats are going to be so fired up they will show up and work their tails off to win elections. And the crazy anti-establishment voters who saw in Trump a champion for their racism, homophobia and misogyny will be so pissed off and disgruntled that Trump didn’t keep any of his campaign promises that they will either kill themselves or never vote again.
How could this be bad for the country?
Let the suckers who run for office against the government try to run it and fail, again, and see what voters do.
In case you have been living in Plato’s Cave and have not joined the fight on Facebook yet, even mainstream magazines such as The Atlantic are now arguing that The Electoral College Was Meant to Stop Men Like Trump From Being President. Of course it will not really hand the election to Hillary Clinton. It would throw the race into the House of Representatives to decide. And who do you think the Republicans in control would pick? Hillary Clinton? Are you out of your freaking minds?
This effort is doomed to fail and this story will be over by Monday away.
But let’s take a look at the other side.
I don’t recall ever reading Charles Lane in the Washington Post before today, but in the Facebook link wars, this popped up.
I kind of like it, so I think I will quote from it.
The people of my home state of Alabama should be able to understand it, since it contains a football analogy.
What an outrage: On Sunday, the National Football League awarded the Tennessee Titans a win over the Denver Broncos because they scored more points, even though the Broncos got more total yards than the Titans.
Of course, this is a ridiculous complaint — but not much more ridiculous than the gripes we’re hearing about the fact that Donald Trump is president-elect even though Hillary Clinton got 48.2 percent of the total votes cast vs. 46.1 percent for Trump.
Her 2.8 million popular-vote margin is one of the largest for the electoral-college loser in American history, or will be, once the electoral votes are officially cast on Monday. Still, it is fallacious to invoke this statistical byproduct of Nov. 8 to question the legitimacy of Trump’s victory — as opposed to that victory’s desirability, which is questionable indeed.
As all concerned knew going in, the object of the presidential election game is to win the most electoral votes in what are essentially 51 state-level contests (the District included), just as the object of football is to score the most points. Gridiron teams would play differently under instructions to maximize yardage; candidates would campaign differently if maximizing national popular votes were the prime directive.
Aiming for 270 electoral votes out of 538, both Clinton and Trump focused on 13 swing states; Trump won that contest-within-a-contest by 816,000 votes.
So there you have it.
Oh, one more thing.
“As for the game we have now, Clinton lost,” Lane writes, “and the sooner people accept that, the sooner they can move on to the task of limiting the damage Trump might do in office.”
I agree one hundred and ten percent.
If you care about this country, and you think Democrats are better at running the government than Republicans — or if you think we need more parties, whatever — get busy working on the next election. It happens in two years.
Are you just going to sit around in front of your computers and bitch about Trump on Facebook and cry because Hillary Clinton will not be the next president of the United States?
You see how things can get screwed up if you are not involved. Are you ready to work yet? I think you are.
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© 2016, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.