Alabama Gazette - The people's voice of reason

Bush 2000 versus Trump 2016:

A Tale of Two Victories

 


No doubt my most read text from years of writing for the Alabama Gazette is “Ten Years After” (Jan. 2011 column) explaining how Texas Gov. George W. Bush became the 43rd US president although VP Al Gore received more votes in the general election. Some readers have asked for similar analysis on the recent result where Mr. Trump won the Electoral College with a much greater electoral vote margin yet STILL lost the popular vote by 668,483 (according to AP reports) or even more according to other sources.

“W” was the third US president to win the Electoral College (50.5%/49.5%) without winning the popular vote 50,456,002 to 50,999,897; the 271-266 result fell one short of 538 because a DC elector abstained. In 1876, Rutherford B. Hayes squeaked by Samuel J. Tilden in the Electoral College 185-184, despite losing the popular vote 4,284,020 to 4,036,572. In 1888, Benjamin Harrison won the Electoral College (58%/42%) over Grover Cleveland by a 233-168 margin, while losing the popular vote 5,537,857 - 5,447,129. Cleveland came back to beat Harrison in 1892 as the first and only president thus far to serve two nonconsecutive terms.

The response by a number of Gore supporters (including then NY Senator-elect Hillary Clinton and another big govt. champion Donald Trump) to this inconsistency between the Electoral College and popular vote was to do away with the Electoral College. This debate is nothing new, the only difference for those like Trump is this time the ‘rigged system’ proffered his desired duopoly result. Abolishing electors will not likely happen given the majorities required for an Amendment, unless this simply becomes another Constitutional provision ignored by extremists who’ve ‘progressed’ our Nation toward the mess we’re in today - more on DC electors distortion later.

Widespread ignorance from the pop press explaining why this occurred adds to the ‘fuzzy picture’ which results under the current House of Representatives (HoR) result. States with small populations have a more-than-proportionate influence in the electoral college. It seems unlikely the small States which benefit from the current (unconstitutional) size of Congress, would support a Constitutional amendment to eliminate the electoral college. In fact, Ms. Clinton's position put her publicly at odds with the Senate minority leader at that time (Tom Daschle of South Dakota) from one of the States which benefit the most from the current Electoral College. A State like Alabama (23rd largest State last I checked) wouldn’t see a huge gain/loss relative to other States, but would benefit from a more representative HoR in general.

Trump’s past and Clinton’s now shriller cry for ending the Electoral College is ill-founded to anyone familiar with the structure of the Constitution. The genesis of the inconsistency between the Electoral College result and the popular vote lies not in any fundamental problem with the Electoral College, but specifically the corrupt actions of Congress. A brief overview (Art. 2, Sect. 1) of the makeup of the Electoral College sheds some light on the ever increasing likelihood of more Bush v. Gore outcomes - esp. when the margin of victory is close in some key “battleground” States and “blowouts” in other States. Electors for each State equals the number of U.S. Senators (two) plus the number of individuals serving in the HoR which varies by State population. Since each State is guaranteed a minimum of one representative, the lowest possible number of electors from each State (now including the District of Columbia) in the electoral college is three. The result from the electoral college almost always mirrors the popular vote - esp. if Art. 1, Sect. 2 (30,000 rule) is also followed. Of course if the Electoral College were eliminated (dissolving one of the last vestiges of State sovereignty in our now forced coalition of states) campaigns would be ran/targeted differently. Once it is clear a State (e.g., Alabama or Wyoming for Trump; California or New York for Clinton) will go to one of the duopoly candidates, there’s no incentive to campaign and many voters simply do not show or do not vote in the presidential race. While it is interesting to speculate, we do not know how the popular vote would change and campaigns/voters respond to the structural change. How many more Trump voters would’ve shown in CA - how many more Clinton voters in Wyoming -- who knows?

IF the House of Representatives lives up to its name (i.e., being truly representative) inconsistencies between popular and electoral results are less likely. However, this is not the case. On June 18, 1929, Congress capped the size of the House of Representatives to 435 - - in violation of Art. 1, Sect. 2. As population grows, real representation decreases - or as my friend James Hines explains, “produces a fuzzier picture with fewer pixels.” The Constitution specifies, "The number of Representatives shall not exceed one per thirty thousand, but each State shall have at Least one Representative; ..." In any given State, there must be one representative for the first 59,999 people. At 60,000 people, the State is apportioned a second representative (two representatives for 59,999 would violate the constitutional provision cited above), and so forth. However, this illegal action only formalized the Congress' de facto violation of the Constitution, as the 30,000 ratio has been exceeded throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. At the time of the tight Bush v. Gore Electoral College result we were at about 600,000 to 1. It may be hard for some readers to believe that our esteemed, ethical members of Congress would do anything unconstitutional, but, in fact, it happens on a regular basis.

Federalist (Numbers 55-58) explains the founding fathers were concerned with having too many/too few representatives. Since our United States were intended to be a representative republic, NOT a democracy, the act of capping the size of the HoR reduces the relative political influence of States which are gaining population faster than others. The reason? Even though seats are reapportioned after every Census, ‘small’ States always have a minimum of three electors. Some States (like Wyoming) had not yet reached the 600,000 threshold in the 2000 election, but still get an elector for their one representative, while the most populous State, California, had 54 electors. In effect, California had 18 times as much weight in the Electoral College as Wyoming, which has three votes. This is NOT constitutionally correct representation and gives Wyoming and other ‘small’ States relatively more weight in the Electoral College than they’d have under the constitutional constraint. In 1999, the population of California was 33,145,121, while the population of Wyoming was 479,602. In terms of population California was 69 times larger than Wyoming. Under the 30,000 rule for determining the HoR California would’ve had 1,120 members in its delegation; Wyoming only 15. In the Electoral College California is 1,122 electors; Wyoming would have 17…don't forget the two senators which our framers understood would become insignificant in generating elector totals as population increased. In this case, California's relative influence in the Electoral College would much more closely match relative differences in State population (66 to 1) in close elections.

To demonstrate this abridgement of representation creates the inconsistency between the popular vote and the electoral college (not any fundamental problem with the electoral college itself) Professor David Laband calculated the composition of the electoral college as if representation adhered to the 30,000 to 1 stricture spelled out in Art. 1, Sect. 2. When doing so, Mr. Gore also wins the ‘Constitutionally correct’ electoral vote 4,632 to 4,615. Going back into history and recalculating electoral college results for the 1876 election, Laband found Sam Tilden would have won the electoral college vote by 686-646, leaving the 1888 election as the only anomaly of the first three -- Grover Cleveland wins the popular vote but still falls short in the electoral college by 1,001-702. In all of the other close races in terms of either the electoral college or the popular vote (Carter/Ford, 1976; Nixon/Humphrey, 1968; Kennedy/Nixon, 1960; Truman/Dewey, 1948; Wilson/Hughes, 1916; McKinley/Bryan, 1896; Cleveland/Harrison, 1892; Cleveland/Blaine, 1884; Garfield/Hancock, 1880) the more representative, constitutionally correct electoral college mirrors the popular vote for president.

Its simple arithmetic - occasional inconsistencies between the popular vote and the Electoral College vote in presidential elections is not caused by any deep flaw in the Electoral College. It is driven more by congressional circumvention of our Constitution along with campaigns and voters responding to our current unrepresentative duopoly result. Irate politicians like Mrs. Clinton over the Bush v. Gore result who are eager to fix perceived wrongs associated with our presidential elections would advance their cause more effectively by filing suit to force Congress to live by the law of the land rather than once again trying to amend it. Don’t hold your breath expecting one of our modern extremist (Republocrat) candidates to bring a case of this sort. Mr. Gore had a documentable violation of the Constitution which caused him demonstrable harm - he lost a job. The Bush, Clinton, Dole, Gore, et al types want the status quo result even when it means they must take the back seat for an election cycle or two - representative government is their worst nightmare.

This would move our nation forward to what we were envisioned to become - a more perfect voluntary union to promote the GENERAL welfare over specific interests. To be painfully clear, Congress pulled off a “union” of another sort in 1929, agreeing to cap the number members to 435 so they could raise the price of political favours. Think of then [2000] Congressman Riley taking money from pharmaceutical giant Pfizer to extend patents which apply specifically to them; or more locally, felon Hubbard taking campaign contributions from Farmers to make auto insurance mandatory in our State. I did NOT and still don’t care which extremist won. I don’t think our nation would be in any better shape if Gore had been president rather than W nor better with Trump instead of Clinton - will some parasites fare better under Trump’s corporate welfare and debt increase than Clinton’s social welfare parasites? Yes, but the ever shrinking number of middle class producers will find little difference in being sucked dry these next several years by red tics as we’ve been drained by the blue tics in DC these past years.

I’ve long advocated moving forward to a part-time, constitutionally correct Congress whose members each represent just over 30,000 people with no more staff than a general secretary who serves several members at the same time. No big paychecks (say median income so they may know/care what it is?) nor separate retirements to avoid the SSA Ponzi scheme they’ve created, no skirting the government health insurance they mandate, etc. I’m certain a ten thousand member HoR will have extremists babbling. Feel free to join them as long as you don’t mind an increasingly ‘fuzzier picture’ as James Hines would say. More importantly, this will make campaign money much less of an issue as individuals and specific groups will not be willing to pay much to HoR candidates for wealth transfers in their favour as each member will have such a small net impact (as originally designed) when voting on legislation. Furthermore, it would get a more diverse group into national politics which may provide better candidates than the Bush, Clinton, Dole, Kerry, McCain, Obama, Romney, et al types most voters feel compelled to vote for.

Would a HoR which adjusts to population in this fashion mean little would ‘get done’ in DC? YOU BET! What few bills which would make it through this body for the Executive to consider would indeed be representative of the people - again this is the worst nightmare of the extremists who’ve so long benefitted from the unrepresentative results. The median, productive citizen would be amazed at how much their lives (i.e., general welfare) would improve if the federal government moved forward to only do those few things enumerated really well and left the rest to more competitive State and local governments to accomplish. Hard to imagine a worse group in our nation than the current, unrepresentative body put in power via gerrymandering absurdly large Congressional Districts, with restrictive ballot access laws, and campaign finance laws designed to protect incumbents deciding our future, which is likely to make this era another great contraction in our nation’s economic history if they do not change course. More of the same is not the answer. My point back in 2011 at the ten year anniversary of an electoral college win over the popular vote we observed upheld by the SCotUS was a sound milestone/ reminder to consider making our HoR representative once again - likely to offer better choices than the two politicians of such poor character and integrity offered in 2000. I don’t think any rational person sincerely believes the swamp rats returning to DC will really drain the swamp, but we can dilute the power of the most deleterious rats plaguing us.

Onto the recent Trump 306-232 Electoral College (57%/43%) result over Clinton’s 62,972,226 to 62,277,750 popular vote win. It is only the SECOND time a Constitutionally correct HoR does not mirror the popular vote as in 1888 when Harrison won the Electoral College (58%/42%) over Cleveland by a 233-168 margin but lost the popular vote 5,537,857 - 5,447,129. Clinton sycophants, hypocritically silent (as is Trump this time about the Electoral College) on ‘Super-delegates’ boxing out Bernie for the Democratic Party nomination, are again crying foul and havoc with a result they don’t like. With what appears to be the worst turnout in 20 years by most accounts, I get a tickle out of those who assert Trump somehow has a mandate with such low approval ratings riding the wave of ‘flyover country’ backlash to win without the popular vote under the current distorted result. Let’s be honest, Clinton lost because the union/blue collar vote didn’t show - some say because the pollsters all said she’d win and they didn’t want to show support for one who’d clearly forgotten and didn’t represent them… remember the Howard Dean scream media trashing, now a cautionary tale for the Dems? Most illustrative, Hillary’s pop vote result couldn’t even beat Romney. The number of voters who cast a vote in Senate races and didn’t vote in the presidential election was in the hundreds of thousands. Millennials didn’t show as expected for Clinton - esp. those slighted by how Mr. Sanders was treated by the ‘rigged system’ and many voted for someone other than these two deeply flawed duopoly candidates. So what happened?

Clinton was 38 Electoral votes short. The four States which made the difference are as follows:

FLORIDA‘s 29 electors were lost by 119, 770 votes, the only non-duopoly candidate on all 50 State ballots (Gov. Johnson) earned 206,007 votes. Most polling found the Johnson ticket (the most qualified in terms of actual executive experience) was taking votes from Hillary 2 to 1, prompting the national press to finally cover the only other viable candidate - a.k.a. they “Aleppoed” him. Those who assert Johnson voters would still show to vote duopoly party and more would’ve gone Clinton, most of her 38 elector deficit is covered and only one of the three remaining battleground States listed below changes the result. Nothing new for “Florida, Florida, Florida,” - on average recent presidential results have been determined by just over 10,000 votes in this large Electoral College State on par with New York, only exceeded by California and Texas.

MICHIGAN’s 16 electors were lost by only 11,837 votes, the non-duopoly party candidate earned 173, 021 votes. Again, if the Johnson voters still showed and disproportionately voted Clinton, these two small margin of victory States change the result.

PENNSYLVANIA's 20 electors were lost by 68, 236 votes, the non-duopoly candidate earned 143, 653; another marginal State where Johnson voters can change the result if they still showed and disproportionately vote Clinton. I want to be very clear I’m not asserting Johnson got Trump elected - if forced to vote duopoly (as some totalitarians advocate with so many eligible voters refusing to participate in this corrupt process) I would’ve voted Clinton. Under the current circumstances if Clinton and Trump were the only choices forced upon Alabama, I wouldn’t have participated. I don’t see how anyone could be an accomplice to supporting either of these flawed candidates and hold onto their souls.

WISCONSIN’s 10 electors were lost by 27,257 votes and the non-duopoly party candidate on all 50 State ballots earned 106, 442. Another small margin of victory State that along with Florida changes the result.

So what’s the bottom line with the difference? Just like the unconstitutional 435 limit on the HoR [1929] impacts the observed electoral v. popular vote results, the 23rd Amendment [1961] giving DC electors distorts the outcome from the structure our framers designed. The ten mile square to make DC is federal installation, it wasn’t supposed to have residents just as many folks who work and live on other federal installations have voting residencies in their respective/declared States. The biggest margin of victory for a candidate this Nov. was Clinton’s 93% in DC running up the popular vote difference 248, 670 for that separate block (tied to the smallest State since DC also has no reason for Senators) of 3 electors on Clinton’s side. Sadly, most ‘feel gooders’ about changing the Constitution for the moment fail to understand political change is a fact of life just the ups and downs of climate changes. Little surprise given the current politburo members in DC it would easily go Clinton and less will bother to show to vote Trump. It seems difficult to get ‘Electoral College deniers’ to understand those quarter of a million Clinton votes would otherwise be apportioned to their States of residency which may have made a difference in razor thin margin States like Florida and Michigan. Of course, the other big player in spiking up the popular vote difference was California’s “youge” 2,746,562 pop vote difference where Ms. Clinton won 62% of the vote for those 55 electors, followed by New York’s 1,503,304 difference (Clinton 59%) for their 29 electors. Many argue without the ‘winner takes all electors’ structure more would’ve voted against Hillary... Trump won the 38 Texas electors with a much smaller (53%) margin of victory to offset the 4.25 million difference generated by these two (CA & NY) States. Wyoming’s 70% for Mr. Trump’s 3 electors is a good showing for ‘showman Don’ in the Equality State, but it is only 118, 299 popular vote difference which doesn’t even put a dent in that 4.25 million from Hillary’s two big win elector States.

The failure to get blue collar folks to turn out in general (and more specifically for Democrats who’ve taken them for granted these past decades) is what will really have Hillary keeping Bill up with nightmare screams for years to come - can you hear the Howard Dean echo? - or perhaps feel the Bern NOW? I doubt the Democratic Party will return to their roots and champion low taxes and smaller government to embrace Johnson voters help on the margin in the future. Once Dems got tired of losing to Republicans (who set us on our path of class warfare, corporate welfare, high taxes, etc. imposed by hegemony) their ‘out republicaning’ the Republicans quickly accelerated US in the mess we’ve ‘progressed’ into. The saddest outcome of the 2016 election is an opportunity to dissolve or at least dilute the Republican Party and try to move forward toward liberty is over. Democrats have at least shown ability to change when they tire of losing, maybe more big govt. Trumpster Democrats will also ‘go Elephant’ still leaving enough of the Party to return to her roots. I’m not holding my breath and will continue to make what little difference I can supporting a small block of well defined voters (Constitution Party, Libertarian Party, TEA Party) who beat the margin of victory. It was good to see the Becky Gerritson write-in campaign’s 29,548 votes soundly beat the margin of victory and verify them as a force against Roby (and the Dubina, et al ‘public servant’ types) in our politburo impeding our State.

Months before the Nov. election, the Pew Research Center ranked US 31st out of 35 countries for voter turnout based on the voting age populace, among the mostly democratic nations in the Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development. The study found 53 percent of eligible voters in the US cast ballots in 2012, the last time a presidential election was held, with about 129 million people out of a potential 241 million citizens taking part in the election. Increasingly less competitive ballots and decreasing real representation as participation continues to drop shepherds us to even more extreme results as outcomes are determined by smaller and smaller numbers of voters. Our Sect. of State just installed a member to our State House by eliminating an election. The taxpayer subsidized primary Party result was forced upon us where only 4.2% of eligible voters voted for felon Hubbard’s anointed candidate. The federal courts recently ruled the anti-competitive ballot access laws used to block candidate Fenwick off the ballot are unconstitutional, but Sect. Merrill refuses to reverse his wrongful elimination (hiding behind past Secretaries’ violations) instead of having the election to allow candidates’ and voters’ civil rights. I do not advocate some sort of JIC removal or impeachment, but I did expect more from this Secretary. Keep John and our State in prayer to learn from past mistakes and stop violating our civil rights. It is clear our duopoly result has provided no improvement for the general welfare of Alabama.

 

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