THE “COMPENSATORY” NARRATIVE
I have noticed that the leftist pundits, when they strive to “explain” Hillary Clinton’s defeat, they rush to add: “and Clinton, by the way, won the popular vote.” This should be regarded psychologically as a compensatory reaction to her shameful, and not quite narrow-margin, defeat. Unexpected? Sure, if you think about: the whole Democratic Party, the GOP NeverTrumpers, the mainstream media, the confused independents, and most of the international community (who were all living in their own parallel realities, fed by a vicious MSM). Logical? Of course, if you count in: the “silent majority” (who has chosen to screw up the pollsters’ biased questions, and vote to save this nation), the disgusted ones (who decided to stay home or vote for the third parties), and a few others of us, the non-MSM commentators (who have chosen not to be muzzled by the establishment elite and its propaganda arm, the same MSM).
Procedurally, on Dec. 19, 2016 (that is, “on the Monday following the second Wednesday in December of that year,” according to the U.S. Constitution, Article Two, Section 1, Clause 4), the chosen 538 electors of the Electoral College (which is a process, not a place) will meet in their state capitals and vote for president.
On Jan. 6, 2017, (according to the U.S. Code, Title 3, Chapter 1, Article 15) , the U.S. Congress meets to approve the Electoral College vote. In order to become a U.S. president, any presidential candidate needs a minimum of 270 electoral votes (out of the total of 538) in order to be elected president.
The “compensatory” narrative infers two premise situations in which Donald Trump cannot or should not become the 45th President of the United States.
The ‘faithless electors’
I call this “the latent’ or “soft version” of “the popular vote” issue, according to which Trump cannot become President. It has been argued that, theoretically, Hillary Clinton can still get to the magic number of 270 electors, if she can get enough “faithless electors” (who chose either to abstain from voting or to vote “their conscience” and ignore the will of the voters they represent).
One can imagine that, encouraged by the results of the current “popular vote,” some electors might decide to do just that.
In reality, this will not happen because:
(a) There won’t be enough “faithless electors” to make up the difference between the current 290 electoral votes won by Trump and the 228 won by Clinton (to date, the states of New Hampshire and Michigan are still counting their ballots). She will need a lot of Republican “faithless electors” to turn the table in her favor.
(b) Only 31 states out of 50 allow “faithless electors” to cast their vote (the rest of 29 states penalize them if they chose to do so).
(c) Even if a sufficient number of “faithless electors” can change radically the current situation (and there has not been any precedent in which they ever swung an election), the pre- (and also post-) Jan. 20 Republican-controlled U.S. Congress will vote to void these votes.
Questioning the fairness of the Electoral College system
I call this “the overt” or “hard version” of “the popular vote” issue, according to which Trump should not become President. The founding fathers created the Electoral College in order to avoid “the mob rule” of some populous states like California, New York, and Texas against the rest of the country. The current system favors the Republicans, who are in control of more numerous, but less populous, states, while the Democrats dominate the less numerous, but more populous, states.
By repeating “the popular vote,” the liberal pundits and their followers seem to suggest that the Electoral College should be abolished. They do not say this verbatim, but the anti-Trump rioters in several American cities appear to fight exactly for that. Of course, the issue is not new; just ask Al Gore about it. Trump himself blasted this system by tweeting “[t]he electoral college is a disaster for a democracy” when Mitt Romney lost the elections in 2012.
The liberal left is pushing the issue even further, suggesting through social media that states like California should secede. The U.S. Constitution is silent on the issue of state secession.
In 1860, 11 states attempted to secede from the Union and failed in a loss of the Civil War. In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln approved West Virginia “secession” from Virginia. In 1869, the Supreme Court ruled in Texas v. White that individual states could not secede from the Union “except through revolution or through consent of the States.”
‘Popular vote’ has not been won yet
It has been also argued, on the other hand, that Clinton’s much advertised lead in “the popular vote” might not hold. Main reasons:
(a) Clinton may win the number of counted votes, but not the number of votes cast (which include the absentee ballots). This is based on the principle that the absentee ballots are not counted if their number would not influence the election results (in the conditions in which more Republicans than Democrats vote by absentee ballots);
(b) Clinton’s lead is narrow (around 200,000 votes, compared with Al Gore’s 500,000 votes in 2000); it may dissipate, and is not final. Only 120 million out of 130 million votes have been counted so far, and states like Michigan and New Hampshire have not called their final results yet.
The reductio ad absurdum argument
Let’s put all these aside and pretend, for the sake of argument, that Hillary Clinton wins by “the popular vote” and there is no Electoral College. Here, I am giving all the die-hard Democrats this. What will happen next?
I will predict a “Confederate North-Eastern States of America” rebellion pushing for secession.
I would include here 11 “rebel states” (wouldn’t this be ironic?), from the “southern” Maryland up to the “northern” Maine (including DC and Virginia, but not New York). All of them small. All of them controlled by Democrats. All of them constantly complaining for their interests being crassly ignored by the Republican “Union.” And all of them ending up taking their 75 electoral votes with them. Is this the scenario the Left is prepared to pursue? And if the answer is affirmative, then I can only end with Clint Eastwood’s catchphrase: “Go ahead, make my day!” (Tiberiu Dianu, Special to the Saipan Tribune)
Tiberiu Dianu has published several books and over 100 articles in law, politics, and post-communist societies. He currently lives and works in Washington, DC.