I’ve been shaking my head so much lately that friends probably think it is loose.
The reason? There’s been so much irony since the election. It’s a miracle we haven’t strained our necks as our heads snap around when we hear some of the comments.
Moment 1: A regular part of Donald Trump’s campaign rallies was his claims the election was being rigged by Hillary Clinton and Democrats. But Trump won the election fair and square with 306 electoral votes, 36 more than required.
Instead of basking in his upset victory, Trump began claiming, with absolutely no evidence to back him up, that 3 million fraudulent votes were cast for Clinton by illegal immigrants and dead people.
There’s no way anyone knows who voted for whom. That’s what the secret ballot is all about.
But it’s no coincidence Trump claims there were 3 million fraudulent votes. That’s because the popular vote count shows Clinton ahead of Trump by 2.5 million votes.
When the Green Party filed for recounts in three closely contested states, Trump was furious.
OK, I understand that on one level. But you don’t yap about rigged elections and fraudulent votes if you don’t want officials to respond by recounting the votes in the closest states to make certain everything was on the up and up.
I don’t think there was massive fraud like Trump claims. Neither do state election officials, Democrats and Republicans. And I don’t think there’s any way that enough votes were miscounted to swing the outcome from Trump to Clinton in Wisconsin, Michigan or Pennsylvania.
Donald Trump can’t have it both ways, however — that there was massive vote fraud and that it is improper to have a recount to ensure all votes were proper and were accurately counted.
Moment 2: The popular vote totals now show Clinton significantly ahead by about 2.5 million votes. The Trump camp pooh-poohs the significance of this fact and points to his lead in the more important electoral votes.
But can you imagine the uproar we would be hearing now if it were Clinton who won in the Electoral College while Trump led by 2.5 million popular votes?
There would be a huge push to amend the Constitution and replace the Electoral College with the popular vote to decide presidential elections. Trump would be talking daily about how the election was stolen from him by “crooked Hillary.”
This is the second time in the past 16 years that the winner of the presidency did not receive the most popular votes. This is the fourth time in the past 140 years.
It’s worth noting that the winners in those elections in 2016, 2000, 1888 and 1876 were Republicans. It’s also worth noting that Clinton’s 2.5 million vote lead is larger than the top vote-getter in any of those three earlier elections.
We should have a national discussion about whether we want to eliminate the Electoral College and go to direct election of the president. There are good arguments on both sides of the issue — but the debate won’t occur because the Electoral College has worked out quite well for Republicans.
Don’t talk about not wanting to mess with the Constitution. The founders had barely put down their quill pens when the 12th Amendment was ratified in 1804 to revise the way the Electoral College works. The Constitution was amended in 1913 to change to popular election of United States senators, rather than having them chosen by the state legislatures.
Here are some statistics to help frame the issue:
California, the most populous state with 33,871,600 people in the last census, has 55 electoral votes. That’s one electoral vote for every 615,800 residents. Wyoming, the state with the fewest residents, 493,800 in the 2000 census, has three electoral votes. That’s one electoral vote for every 164,600 people.
In other words, residents of our smallest state have a bigger say proportionally in the outcome of the election than residents of any other state. It’s that way with other states with low populations.
Moment 3: Trump is considering the retired general and former CIA director David Petraeus for secretary of state or another key job. I think highly of Petraeus. He’s quite impressive — except for that matter of him handing over binders filled with classified material to an author with whom he was having an affair.
That the new president is considering Petraeus is rich with irony. For months, Trump and Republicans in Congress pounded away on Clinton’s private email server and their concern that classified material might fall into the wrong hands.
There’s no evidence any did. But we’ve gone from Republicans thinking Clinton belongs in jail because of her email sins to Petraeus, in spite of his more serious transgressions, being in line for a senior role in a Trump presidency.
Now you understand why my head has been spinning like a top.
by Randy Evans