Electoral College Daze

Paul Jacob,

The election isn’t over yet. Maybe you’ve noticed.

Will it ever end?

It wasn’t over when media informed us, before October’s early voting had even begun, that the contest was “all but” decided. At that point, Hillary Clinton held a double-digit lead in most of the polls, while prescient TV pundits bantering with eminent experts relentlessly explained to this nation of numbskulls that Mr. Trump had “no path” to the 270 electoral votes needed to become president.

Nor was it over in the wee hours of November 9th, after the polls closed the night before and the votes were tallied. To the surprise of those same pundits and their speechless pollsters, Republican Donald Trump had turned the regularly blue states of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin to red, thereby leaving Hillary Clinton no path to victory.

The Donald won a majority or plurality in 30 states, winning 306 electoral votes, a solid majority in the Electoral College. He now of course becomes — at least, in any normal year in any usual universe — the next president.

But this is not a normal year.

While it is true that Hillary Clinton garnered nearly three million more votes nationally, besting Trump’s vote percentage by 2.1 points, she just didn’t get her votes in the right states.

According to the clear rules.

For better or worse, the president of these United States is elected by the Electoral College. Unless . . .

Since those wee hours after the votes were tabulated, the bitter debate about the bitter election has accelerated and ballooned out of all proportion. Day after day, Hillary Clinton’s ignoble defeat has been pinned on an ever-growing number of culprits.

FBI Director James B. Comey was to blame for publicly announcing the Bureau had re-opened its investigation of Hillary Clinton’s private email server just ten days before Election Day — due to emails discovered on Anthony Weiner’s laptop, of all places! However, Hillary’s decision to use a private server, for reasons she could never convincingly explain, dogged her.

The fact that WikiLeaks published embarrassing emails showing unfair treatment of Clinton’s rival for the party’s nomination, Vermont’s independent Sen. Bernie Sanders, by pro-Clinton officials at the DNC as well as several instances of media favoritism certainly didn’t help. But allegations that Russian hacking produced those leaks and attacks on Trump for being too complimentary of Russian leader Vladimir Putin garnered more media attention.

ecs_small Electoral College Daze Voters

Those who voted for third party candidates were also fingered. So were millennials reprimanded for giving Hillary only 55 percent of their votes, 5 percentage points less than they gave Barack Obama in 2012. Even though millennials — those 18 to 34 years of age — were the only major age group with a majority voting for Mrs. Clinton.

In past elections, it’s been considered the candidate’s fault when people choose to vote for someone else. But this is 2016!

Then, secret “intelligence reports” were leaked to the papers, reiterating Hillary’s debate stalking point that the Russian government was behind the hacks of the Democratic National Committee. The phrase a “high level of confidence” was repeated incessantly by the secret people illegally leaking secret information that the motive behind the attack was ominous indeed — the Russkies sought not merely to destroy voter confidence in the election, but also to help Mr. Trump win and Mrs. Clinton lose.

It was even “reported” that Mr. Putin personally oversaw the operation. On that point, however, President Obama backed off — changing his tune at Friday’s press conference that not much happens in Russia that isn’t known by Putin. Thanks for sharing.

Proof? Evidence? Appropriate action? None. Instead, we got only lame excuse making . . . and the weird reliance upon an implausible assumption, that Hillary Clinton would have been beloved and trusted by all except for what [truth] WikiLeaks released.

We’re not going to unlearn what was discovered in some Orwellian sense. Next January will hopefully be 2017 and not Year Zero.

And then there was the absolute nadir of political commentary, brought to us by (of course) CNN: the suggestion by one former CIA operative that he was “deeply disturbed by the fact that the Russians interfered. . . . if the evidence is there, I don’t see any other way than to vote again.”

Yup. Take the mulligan and just do the whole election over. Is that hunky dory with everyone?

Desperation showing, Democratic anti-Trumpers next tried to play the constitutional trump: Unite for America’s much-ballyhooed video featuring Martin Sheen and other leftoid Hollywood actors. Speaking directly (yeah, right) to Trump-designated electors, they asserted that the Electoral College was designed to prevent an “unfit” “demagogue” (they mean Mr. Trump) from attaining the presidency, that electors are free to vote their conscience, and that GOP electors can be heroes in Hollywood (no honor more tempting!) if only they’ll cast their vote for someone other than Trump.

In the short film, actors amusingly repeat three times: “I’m not asking you to vote for Hillary Clinton.” The actors also, repeated for emphasis that they “stand with” the GOP electors, who have their “respect.”

If 37 Republican/Trump electors voted for someone else — Mitt Romney, Ted Nugent, whomever — it would, as an actor explains, “give the House of Representatives the option to select a qualified candidate for the presidency.” The House would then be able to elect Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton or the person with the next most electoral votes.

Have our illustrious actors really thought this through? Would the House dare flout millions of voters to make clueless Hollywood celebrities feel better?

Or maybe — just maybe — the election will finally be over tomorrow with the formal balloting by the Electoral College.