A late friend of mine in Amarillo, William H. “Buddy” Seewald, once told me during the 2004 presidential election season that he was working to “re-defeat” President George W. Bush.
Seewald was appalled at the manner in which Bush was elected in 2000, losing the actual vote by roughly 500,000 ballots but winning the presidency in the Electoral College by a vote of 271-266; and that vote came after the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 to stop recounting the ballots cast in Florida, giving Bush a 537-vote margin out of more than 5 million ballots cast in that state.
Well, Bush won the 2004 election by a relatively comfortable margin.
Now comes the 2020 election and there well might be a revival of the “re-defeat” mantra, this time against Donald John Trump, the current president.
You see, Trump actually lost the vote to Hillary Rodham Clinton, who collected just short of 3 million more ballots than did the guy who “won” the election. Trump won the Electoral College by a 306-232 count; when the electors cast their ballots in December 2016, the final tally ended up at 304-227, with some electors voting for other candidates rather than the two major-party contestants.
What has gotten lost in all the hubbub surrounding that election is that Clinton actually finished where almost all the public opinion polls said she would. She finished with 48.02 percent of the vote, compared to Trump, who collected 45.93 percent.
All the pre-election polling pegged Clinton ahead by about the margin where she finished ahead of Trump. The difference came when Trump narrowly picked off those three states — Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania — that Barack Obama had won in 2008 and2012; those stated provide Trump with the Electoral College majority he needed to win the election.
I don’t dispute that Trump was elected according to the U.S. Constitution. Nor do I dispute the notion to which I subscribe that he needs to be “re-defeated” in 2020.
Wherever he is, I am certain my friend Buddy Seewald would agree.