Maybe this makes me a weak person, but, even though I have really, really wanted to several times in the past six months or so, I have not posted much about this election. I think, maybe three people read this blog, I have about 100 friends on Facebook, maybe 8o followers on Twitter, and 0 pinnies or whatever you call people on Pinterest. Bear in mind that several of those people overlap. More than limited reach, though, I realize online, I basically live in an echo chamber. In real life, too. In a lot of ways, I have sought that out. I don’t like arguing, I’m socially pretty liberal except in a few core issues where I’m not. I’m not going to go into that that here, though.
What matters for me is that I voted, and I am 100% confident in my vote. No regrets. YOLO. I do not intend to say who I voted for, but you, my three readers, can probably guess, and guess correctly.
In a matter of hours, we will have elected a new President. On January 20, we will have a new President. We, as a nation, should be proud that, in over 225 years, our electoral process, flawed as it is, has been about 98% successful at peacefully handing over the reins of power, often to those promoting differing ideologies.
(The preceding was written early on the evening of Tuesday, November 8, 2016. What follows is…basically, what followed.)
Hilary. I voted for Hilary Clinton. (inconsolable sobbing) I was with her before it was cool, way back in 2006. (end sobbing, cue three days of anger) WTF. WTFF.
As I hunt and peck out these words, about seven weeks have passed since Election Night. I feel like it is already a cliche to compare my feelings to those of someone mourning a loved one. But, I’ma do it anyway.
DENIAL – No. No way. How…? What the…? How the…? WHAT?! There must be some kind of mistake. Did we count the absentees? Are you sure? This can’t be. Maybe I’ll just go to sleep now, and, when I wake up, everything will have changed.
For me, this stage lasted a little under 24 hours. For others, it lasted way longer.
It didn’t quite work, Chris Suprun and Texas’s other faithless elector notwithstanding.
And, poor Keith Olbermann is still in the thick of it.
I applaud his passion, but is it just me, or does it feel like he’s trying to make fetch happen? (It’s not going to happen.) Frankly, I’m not sure if I want it to happen.
I am thinking a lot about our nation. I am no Pangloss (full disclosure: never read Candide) but I kinda like our Constitution. I like how it starts big – “We the People,” as opposed to, say “some guys” – and leaves room for improvement – “a more perfect union” instead of “the most amazing union EVER!!!!! We totally know what we’re talking about, and things should stay the same 4EVAR. FRAMERS 4 LIFE!!!1!! Suck it Patrick Henry!! These are the good ol days people will talk about for the next 229+ years, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility etc.” Bill of Rights? Big fan. I love the way, once in awhile, we realize that things kinda suck for some people, and we should fix that. Let’s make it official.
But, I don’t quite get the Electoral College. Actually, I didn’t realize until quite recently that Electors were people. (Apologies to all my Social Studies, Civics, and American History teachers.) For the longest time, I just assumed each state was given x electoral votes which went to whichever candidate won the state, except for Maine and Nebraska, which divide theirs proportionally – which, by the bye, makes so much more sense to me. But, no – turns out there are actual Electors walking among us, much like the Regents from the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York, if you are in the State of New York.
Every four years, we are not voting for President; technically, we are voting for who we trust to vote for the next President. Or, more accurate to contemporary politics, we are suggesting to an independent person we may not know and who has no real obligation to us who we think they should vote for. Which kinda makes sense but also kinda sucks.
So, if this sucks, what is the alternative?
What I hear most seems to be to do away with the electoral college completely. I guess, then, we would only have the popular vote to consider. I can’t help but find that plan unfeasible, or at least impractical. Take the 2016 Presidential election (…please). According to Politico, there were over 200 million registered voters. David Wasserman at The Cook Political Report counted 136,628,459 votes as of December 15, Clinton leading the popular vote by over two million, or about 2% of the voting population, or roughly the city of Chicago.
That’s kinda a close. But, not as close as the 1960 election between John F Kennedy and Richard Nixon. Kennedy won the plurality by .1% of the vote. Applied to the 2016 election, that is approximately the population of Miramar, FL.
Unfounded speculation notwithstanding, I do not believe there was large-scale fraud on Election Day 2016. As heartbroken as I am, I do believe that enough people in enough concentration voted for a sociopathic, narcissistic, misogynistic, pandering penis wrinkle who wanted to be President the same way some children want to be a princess, or a pirate, or a bear. But, could you imagine if President-elect Princess-Pirate-Bear were correct, and due to shenanigans in Miramar, FL, there was some massive SNAFU in the election count? Only, the residents of Miramar, instead of being localized to their charming corner of Broward County, were spread out across the United States, wreaking havoc on the democratic process. If there were a problem with tabulating the popular vote, I just think our nation of 308 million is a mite too vast to try to pinpoint which 136,000 votes caused the discrepancy.
So, is the Electoral College a reasonable method for national elections? I honestly don’t know. I am not an electorologist. The fine folks at 270towin postulated different outcomes, depending on five alternate electoral methods, compared to the actual outcome. In four out of the five, Princess Pirate Bear still walks away with the Presidency; in the fifth, where electoral votes are allocated based solely on popular vote percentages, while still winning one more vote than Clinton, due to the success of third party candidates in a handful of states, it would have been just under the 270 needed to guarantee the presidency, leaving the decision up to the House of Representatives, like Alexander Hamilton and James Madison intended.
This, of course, discounts the possibility of faithless electors, as well as campaign strategies. Even President-elect Penis Wrinkle admits he would have changed his strategy to pursue the plurality if that would have won the election. But, it doesn’t. So, his team focused on what mattered in the battleground states. Clinton won the popularity contest. All of us who voted for her can pat ourselves on the back for not supporting the sociopathic, narcissistic, misogynistic, pandering penis wrinkle du jour. But, we – voters, volunteers, campaign staff, all the way up to HRC – failed to take into account what matters most to a significant chunk, nearly half, of the voting population.
And, that is a failure. That is what I have been trying to deny for the past two months. I can blame others, I can look for loopholes. But, until I am ready to accept my own blindness in my safe little echo chamber, I am still in denial.