Tag Archives: Electoral College

How about all those ‘illegal voters’?

While the world is fluttering over a British royal engagement, sexual misconduct among members of Congress, the media and entertainment moguls and that “Russia thing,” let’s turn briefly to one of Donald Trump’s many lies.

It involves his declaration shortly after becoming president of theĀ  United States that but for the “millions of illegal immigrants” who voted for Hillary Clinton he would have won the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election. Hillary collected nearly 3 million more votes than Trump, but the president won where it counted: in the Electoral College.

He defamed local election officials without offering a shred of proof. He just said it. Then he formed a commission to examine voting practices. He sought to obtain previously confidential information about voters to confirm their U.S. citizenship.

What in the world has happened to this made-up “crisis” in our electoral system? Has the president given up the effort to prove something he knew all along didn’t exist?

We’ve already passed the first year of Trump’s election. Coming up is the first year since his inauguration as president, which is really when much of the fun started. He’s been using his high office as a pulpit to spew out lie after lie.

The phony illegal immigrant voting lie ranks up there with the best — or the worst — of them.

Some of us — perhaps many of us — are interested to know how this lie has been resolved.

Where does Trump acquire his political capital?

One of the many things that confound me about Donald Trump is how this man expects us to believe he has this huge cache of political capital stored up.

He keeps yapping and yammering about the “historic” nature of his presidential election victory in November 2016. When you think about it, Trump’s victory was “historic” in a certain context.

He lost the popular vote by record margins to Hillary Rodham Clinton but still managed to win the Electoral College by cobbling together precisely the right pluralities in three battleground states that voted twice for Barack H. Obama. So, there’s a certain bit of history that was made.

But then he took office and began boasting about the “landslide” victory he won. I consider landslides to be of the type that President Johnson rang up in 1964 and President Nixon scored in 1972. The political rule of thumb has been that a winning presidential candidate rolls up “landslide” with a 10-percentage point popular vote; LBJ and Nixon both rolled to victories that exceeded 20 percentage points. President Reagan’s re-election victory in 1984 came close to matching his predecessors’ victories.

The current president has nothing even remotely approaching that kind of political capital as he seeks to push his agenda forward. He doesn’t behave with a semblance of knowledge of just how flimsy his electoral mandate really is.

The 21st century’s first presidential election ended in 2000 with the winner, George W. Bush, garnering fewer popular votes than his opponent. President Bush, though, realized the truth of his election from Day One of his presidency and sought immediately to work with Democrats. He enlisted the late liberal lion, Sen. Ted Kennedy, to help him push some education reforms through Congress.

Has Donald Trump extended anything approaching an olive branch to those who oppose him? For that matter, have Democrats in both congressional chambers sought to reach out to the president?

No on both counts.

Still, it simply demonstrates graphically to me that the president has none of the political capital about which he boasts.

If only he would learn the harsh reality of the nature of his victory.

Still no sign of national unity under Trump

It has been a year since the nation was stunned by the results of its most recent presidential election.

The candidate who won that bitter contest, Donald J. Trump, made a solemn vow to unify the nation, to bring us all together, to bind the wounds that tore us apart … blah, blah, blah.

That’s what is has been: so much blather.

One year after that historic election, we are as divided as ever. Maybe more so.

Has the president delivered on his pledge? Obviously not. What’s worse is to ask: Has the president really tried to deliver? The answer to that is just as obvious. No!

Trump continues to play strictly and exclusively to his base, the shrinking core of voters who stand with him no matter what. You see it in his immigration stance, his views on environmental protection, his hideous tolerance of bigotry (see his response to the Charlottesville riot), his “America first” rhetoric.

A president who took office with zero political capital to spend has acted as if he had it in spades. Trump continues to ignore the numbers, which tell us that he got nearly 3 million fewer votes than Hillary Clinton. Yes, he won the Electoral College — and was duly elected president.

However, the man who pledged to be the president for all Americans has gone out of his way since his election to be anything but what he promised to be.

This division didn’t start with Trump. Barack Obama also presided over a divided nation, as did George W. Bush before him, and Bill Clinton before that.

Still, when a president takes office promising explicitly to do something, one should expect him to follow suit.

Donald Trump has failed.

Trump declares a new culture war

Donald John Trump Sr. just cannot stop getting angry with institutions, people and anything or anyone else.

He’s now declaring a new culture war. He’s stirring up conflict where little — if any of it — exists in the moment.

The president went to the Values Voter Conference and declared his intention to get retail employees to say “Merry Christmas” to customers; he doesn’t like the “Happy Holidays” greeting that some retail outlets deliver to their customers.

Good ever-lovin’ grief, dude! Get a bleeping grip!

Trump unloads

As The Hill reports, Trump’s intent to persuade Americans that there exists some elite class that denigrates their values. He believes they care more about diversity and political correctness than anything else.

What utter crap!

He continues to play to the base that stands with him. He continues to divide Americans along more lines than many of us even knew existed. Now he’s seeking to divide Americans based on whether they insist on receiving Christmas greetings.

Ridiculous.

This angry message runs directly counter to the president’s pledge to unify the country. He won an Electoral College victory while garnering nearly 3 million fewer votes than Hillary Rodham Clinton. He became president with zero political capital to spend. Trump needed to build up that capital by working with Democrats and moderate Republicans on a whole host of legislative priorities.

He chose instead to lob bombs at them.

He’s now heaving political ordnance at Americans while firing the initial shots of this culture war that, in my humble view, is a figment of this guy’s imagination.

It all leaves me wondering whether Donald Trump seems somehow angry that he won the election. How in the world can that be?

Majority questions Trump’s fitness for high office

What do you know about that?

Yours truly has joined a majority of Americans who believe that Donald J. Trump is “unfit” to be president of the United States.

I derive little satisfaction from the Quinnipiac poll. Despite the president’s miserable public opinion standing, he’s still in office. He’s still making a mess of just about everything he touches. He’s still able to tweet his brains out and he gets away with saying the most outrageous, disgusting and occasionally vile statements.

The poll, of course, highlights the partisan divide that splits this country. Fifty-seven percent of independents say he’s unfit; 94 percent of Democrats believe it, too. Meanwhile, 84 percent of Republicans think he’s fit for the office.

I also am among a plurality of Americans who supported Hillary Rodham Clinton’s candidacy in the 2016 presidential election. But that doesn’t mean squat, given that Trump was elected by winning the Electoral College votes he needed to claim a majority and, thus, take the presidential oath of office.

I doubt this latest polling data will bother Trump in the least. He ignores the bad stuff, the so-called “fake” news reports, while relishing and crowing about the positive news he gets on occasion.

The Hill also reports that most poll respondents think Trump is dividing country rather than uniting it, as he promised he would do upon being elected.

But … hey. It’s just a poll. Who needs to know what the public thinks of the job he or she doing? I mean, after all, Donald Trump does work for us — and not the other way around.

Is POTUS getting it, finally?

Pity the president of the United States’s “base” of supporters. Well, actually, I don’t.

They’re suffering acute apoplexy because Donald J. Trump is beginning to show the faint signs of understanding something about the high office he occupies. It is that he even though he didn’t win a popular vote plurality in 2016, he won enough Electoral College votes to become elected and, therefore, he has to deal with the wishes and needs of those who voted against him.

Immigration is the issue of the day.

Trump is sounding like someone who wants to strike a deal with congressional Democrats and moderate congressional Republicans that would give so-called “Dreamers” a path to citizenship and/or permanent immigrant status. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals order issued by President Barack Obama has been rescinded. Trump, though, says he wants to strike some sort of deal to protect the DACA residents, to keep them in the only country they’ve ever known.

You see, about 800,000 of these U.S. residents came here as children — some of the infants and toddlers — when their parents sneaked into the country illegally. The Trump “base” considers these folks “criminals.” Well, their parents broke U.S. immigration law. But does that mean we punish the children for the sins of their parents? Let’s get real here.

The president still wants to build that wall along our southern border. We’ll have to see how that struggle plays out with the aforementioned Democrats and moderate Republicans in Congress. In my mind, the wall is a non-starter. Mexico won’t pay for it. American taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay for something the president said would be financed by another government.

What’s more, the wall won’t make this country any safer from terrorists, and assorted criminals who want to come into this country to do grievous harm.

I don’t feel a single bit of sympathy for the Trumpkins who just can’t stand the thought of their guy working to fulfill the interests of the rest of the nation he now governs.

‘No’ on Hillary in ’20, but not a single regret over voting for her

I feel the need to clarify something I wrote about Hillary Rodham Clinton’s new book and my desire for her to end her public service career.

My strong sense is that the Democratic Party needs someone new, someone not on most of our radar screens, a fresh outlook and approach to public policy problem-solving.

Hillary Clinton needs to step aside.

That said, I want to restate with absolute clarity that I have zero regrets — not one, none — over supporting her candidacy in 2016. I would do so again and again and again — if the opponent were the same person who beat her. Hillary Clinton presented by far the clearest choice I had seen since I cast my first vote for the presidency in 1972.

I wrestled not one instant over whether I should cast my vote for Clinton over Donald John Trump Sr. My pro-Trump friends are entitled to stand my their man and I accept that they believe he’s the best thing to happen to American politics since pockets on shirts. I simply do not agree with them.

Was Hillary Clinton the perfect candidate for president in 2016? No. But compared to the man who stunned her — and many of the rest of us — she looks pretty damn perfect.

Congressional committees tried to pin “Benghazi” on her; they came up empty. The FBI looked for criminality in her handling of the e-mail matter; it, too, came up empty. Gossip mongers kept up the steady drumbeat of malicious rumors that were outright lies.

She worked beside her husband, Bill, while he served as a multi-term Arkansas governor; she served with honor as first lady of the United States; she learned how to legislate as a U.S. senator from New York; she represented U.S. diplomatic interests with competence and skill as secretary of state.

Trump brought zero public service experience to the job as president. I will remain baffled and mortified arguably for the rest of my life over just how this clown ever got elected to this most exalted, highly revered office.

Hillary Clinton’s time, though, has passed. She fired all her weapons in 2016 and missed the target. Trump beat her fairly and squarely where it counted: in the Electoral College. That’s how the U.S. Constitution sets forth how we elect presidents and I accept the 2016 outcome — even through gritted teeth.

Her book “What Happened” lays out her version of what went wrong in her supposedly inevitable march into the Oval Office.

From my way of thinking about it now, eight months after Trump’s inaugural, it all boils down to this basic truth: Hillary Clinton just didn’t wear well with those who wanted a radical change in direction in the White House.

And oh brother … did they get it.

I wish the outcome had been different. It’s time for Democrats to look deeply within themselves for an antidote to the absolute chaos that’s become the hallmark of governance in the world’s greatest nation.

It’s not going to be Hillary.

Trump seeks to spend political capital he doesn’t have

The nation is full of Republicans who identify closely with the Grand Old Party — and who don’t identify with the nation’s top Republican.

The president of the United States, Donald Trump, has done his level best to strip the bark off the hides of leading GOP politicians. To what end remains one of the major questions of the moment.

Matthew Dowd is a true-blue Republican. He’s a Texan with close ties to former President George W. Bush. He’s also a Never Trump kind of Republican. Dowd is a seasoned political operative who knows his way around the Republican Party pea patch.

He said something quite instructive about how these two Republican presidents — Bush and Trump — sought to get their terms in office off and running.

Dowd, speaking Sunday on “ABC This Week,” talked of how President Bush was elected under shaky circumstances. He lost the popular vote in 2000 to Albert Gore Jr. and earned enough Electoral College votes through a U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

What did the president do, knowing he lacked political capital? Dowd recalled how Bush reached across the aisle to work with Democrats on key legislation. He cited President Bush’s partnership with the late Democratic U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy on education reform. He sought out Democrats to craft an immigration reform package as well.

As Dowd noted, that’s how presidents lacking in capital seek to build on their shaky political base.

How has Trump responded? Quite the opposite. He lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by nearly 3 million ballots. He won the Electoral College majority by a total of 80,000 votes in three key swing states that voted twice for Barack Obama.

Trump’s strategy has been to thumb his nose at congressional Democrats. He has sought a Republican-only legislative agenda, except that he cannot manage to bring all the members of his own party — given the wide diversity of ideology within the GOP — under the same roof.

Therein lies a critical difference between Bush and Trump.

President Bush was able to work with Democrats who ran the Texas Legislature during the years he served as Texas governor from 1995 to 2000. He knew how to legislate and he took that government experience with him to the White House in January 2001.

Donald Trump has none of that experience. Zeeero! He ran on his record as business mogul and said he would govern the country the way he ran his business empire. No … can … do, Mr. President.

Nor can the president govern a nation with a population that voted for his opponent by appealing exclusively to his core supporters.

Will the president ever learn that lesson? Uhh, probably not.

Mr. VP? Bush won, you lost in 2000

Al Gore has returned to the public arena in a big way.

He’s pitching a documentary film, a sequel to “An Inconvenient Truth.” The former vice president also has suggested something quite provocative about the 2000 election, which he lost by the narrowest margin possible to George W. Bush.

“I think I carried Florida,” Gore told Bill Maher on Maher’s TV show the other night.

Yep, Gore thinks he won the state that decided the election.

Bush won, Gore lost.

Actually, Mr. Vice President, you didn’t win it. Bush did. The former Texas governor won Florida by 537 votes, giving him enough Electoral College votes to be elected. The final electoral vote total was Bush 271, Gore 266; Bush needed 270 electoral votes to win. Game over.

Yes, we know the story about the U.S. Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision that stopped the recount of ballots in Florida. The five Republican-appointed justices voted to end the count; the four Democratic appointees wanted it to continue.

Moreover, a Knight-Ridder/Miami Herald study suggested later that Bush would have won Florida by an even wider margin had the recount continued.

I’ll stipulate here that I wanted Gore to be elected president in 2000. I was dismayed that the court ruled as it did.

However, the system worked precisely as prescribed by the U.S. Constitution. Although I wanted a different outcome, I never have challenged the legitimacy of President Bush’s election.

Neither should the man he defeated.

Still cannot connect two words directly to each other

I am in the midst of a deepening dilemma.

Donald J. Trump has been president of the United States for 150-plus days and I still cannot connect the words “President” and “Trump” consecutively when I refer to this individual.

It troubles me a little bit. A part of me wants to do it. A bigger part of me refuses to allow it.

I’ve written already that I accept that Trump won the 2016 presidential election. He pulled in the requisite number of Electoral College votes to defeat Hillary Rodham Clinton, who won just a shade less than 3 million more popular votes than the guy who beat her.

The electoral disparity isn’t what keeps me from total recognition of Trump as president. Heck, if that had been the driver, then I wouldn’t have referred to George W. Bush as “President Bush” during his two terms in the White House. The difference is that President Bush stepped into the role to which he was elected. The 9/11 attacks barely nine months into his presidency defined him and he rose to the challenge.

Trump is different. Trump continues to demonstrate — through all sorts of actions and utterances — that he remains unfit for the office. His Twitter tirades provide more than ample evidence of his unfitness.

I’ve been scolded by critics of this blog for declining to attach the president’s title directly to his name. They’re entitled to their view. I am entitled to mine.

With that, I’ll continue to resist giving the president his full measure of respect until he can demonstrate — to my satisfaction — that he has earned it.