Tag Archives: Electoral College

Well, that is some surprise … yes?


Americans have spoken a language I don’t quite understand.

I am acutely aware that my friends on the right will be glad to translate for me the message that voters delivered yesterday by electing Donald J. Trump as the next president of the United States of America.

Let’s see. I opened the blinds on my home office this morning and noticed that the sun rose in the east, the leaves that were on my trees are still scattered on my lawn. The sun is shining.

Despite the language barrier that has developed overnight, I am going to remain steadfast in a couple of core beliefs.

First, Americans have elected a patently unqualified and unfit man to become commander in chief/head of state and government/leader of the Free World. I won’t belabor the point. I’ve made it ad infinitum already on this blog.

The very core of Trump’s campaign was based on dividing people and religious groups against each other. Now he says he intends to unify the country? Good luck with that.

Second, my hope had been all along that had Hillary Clinton won — as every pollster in the country seemed to expect would happen — that Trump would accept the result and offer his support for the new president. I expect Clinton to do that very thing later today.

I, too, accept the result. Do I agree with it? Obviously, no. Given that I believe in our political system, I understand how it works and how we elect presidents.

I hasten to point, too, that when all the votes are counted, Clinton is going to command a significant popular vote majority over Trump. But Trump won where it counts, in the Electoral College. Unlike the 2000 election, which required a 5-4 U.S. Supreme Court decision to stop counting ballots in Florida to elect George W. Bush, there won’t be that headache this time around.

I take small comfort in realizing that few Americans saw this result coming, that they would awaken this morning to the news that Donald J. Trump would be the next president. The pro-Trump partisans stood out like pie-in-the-sky braggarts prior to Election Day.

Now they look like geniuses.

Congratulations to them.

Now I need to clear my head … and learn the language that voters spoke last night.

Chaotic campaign becomes even more chaotic


You want chaos on the election trail? Pandemonium in the board room? Shock in our living rooms?

Welcome to Presidential Election 2016, which is heading for what looks like the wildest finish in history. Why, this might even top the 2000 election, where Al Gore won more popular votes than George W. Bush, but lost the presidency because Bush got one more Electoral College vote than he needed.

I’m not going to predict that this campaign will end with that scenario. The grenade that FBI Director James Comey tossed into the middle of this fight has the potential of upsetting everything we thought about the bizarre nature of this bizarre campaign.

He said he’s found more e-mails that might have something to do with Hillary Clinton’s on-going e-mail controversy. We don’t know what’s in them. We don’t even know if she sent them.

Donald Trump calls it the “mother lode.”

I keep hearing two things: (1) The polls are tightening and (2) few voters’ minds have been changed because of what Comey has said.

Are we really and truly going to elect someone — Trump — who has admitted to behaving boorishly? Are we going to elect an individual with a string of failed businesses, lawsuits, allegations of sexual assault leveled against him?

We’re going to do this because the FBI director has inserted himself and his agency into the middle of a presidential campaign while saying virtually nothing of substance about what he might — or might not — have on one of the candidates?

Am I happy with the choices we face? No. I wish the major parties had nominated different candidates for president. We’re stuck, though, with these. We’re left with a choice. Of the two major-party nominees, the choice is clear — to me.

If only we could rid ourselves of the chaos.

How will the loser concede this election?


Allow me to play out what looks like an increasing probable political outcome.

It is that Hillary Rodham Clinton will be elected the 45th president of the United States of America.

The trend is moving rapidly in her favor in the wake of (a) two debate performances against Donald J. Trump and (b) the continuing fallout from Trump’s hideous statements about women.

So, what might we expect when the loser of this miserable election decides to issue a concession statement?

It’s been said that the winner’s victory declaration will set the tone for the next four years. What’s being said with increasing frequency is that the loser’s concession will be equally important.

Trump has waged a campaign of anger, fear, suspicion, innuendo, invective and bigotry. Listen to his supporters yell “Lock her up!” at those rallies. Listen, too, to them complain about alleged conspiracies involving the “liberal mainstream media” and “politically correct special interests” who are teaming up to “rig” an election that produces a desired result.

They are echoing the statements of their guy, Trump.

The candidate has bitched about a “rigged election.”

Tradition holds that the loser concedes once the election is decided and then declares his intention to work with the winner to heal the wounds opened up by months of bitter campaigning. Recall, though, when Al Gore conceded defeat in 2000, only to take it back when the Florida ballot-counting threw the proverbial wrench into the entire election process.

It’s fair to wonder what kind of concession statement Donald Trump would deliver when the time comes for him to call it quits.

Will he lead his ardent Republican “base” voters into lingering bitterness? Will he make an accusation of election-rigging? If that happens, and no one should be surprised if does, then we’re headed for a very difficult transition as the new president prepares to assume the most cherished role in the nation — if not the world.

My hope is that if he loses — and one is compelled to offer that qualifier until one candidate gets the Electoral College majority required to win — that he does so with a modicum of grace, decorum and good will.

However, my fear is that Trump would hold true to the form that enabled him to secure a major-party presidential nomination. It was a butt-ugly process and my concern is that he very well could make it an equally unattractive concession.

How do you ‘rig’ a U.S. presidential election?


I’m going to crawl way out on a limb.

Hillary Rodham Clinton is going to win several states this fall that normally vote Republican in presidential elections.

I won’t suggest that Texas will be one of them. There are some others, though, that appear vulnerable to an electoral flip: Arizona comes to mind; Missouri, too; maybe North Carolina; and, yes, even Utah. Let me throw in Montana and the Dakotas just for giggles and grins.

Which brings to mind the weird prediction that Republican nominee Donald J. Trump has leveled at the electoral process. He says the election will be “rigged.”

My question centers on how you “rig” a national presidential election in which each state awards its Electoral College votes in a system run by state politicians.

The state’s I’ve mentioned have substantial Republican majorities in their legislatures. Missouri is governed by a Democrat, but it has gone Republican for several election cycles.

Trump, though, suggests that Clinton is going to manage to “rig” the election.


Trump provoked a strong response from President Obama, who today called the “rigging” accusation “ridiculous.”

The president mentioned that it’s impossible for him to understand how a candidate can suggest something like that would happen before the results are in. If the GOP nominee were leading by 15 points on Election Day and still lost, the president said, then he might have reason to question the results.

My point here, though, is that presidential elections aren’t really managed at a single location. They are managed in 50 state capitals, with its hefty share of Republican-controlled legislative chambers and governor’s offices.

Trump’s weird prediction, therefore, sounds like the whining of someone who knows he’s going to lose badly in about 96 days.

But … senator, you cast your vote in secret


Bob Dole says he just cannot support Hillary Rodham Clinton’s quest for the presidency.

The former Republican U.S. senator from Kansas said he’s been a Republican all his life. Donald J. Trump, his party’s presumed presidential nominee, is “flawed,” according to Dole, but he’s getting his vote anyway.

“I have an obligation to the party. I mean, what am I going to do? I can’t vote for George Washington. So I’m supporting Donald Trump,” Dole explained Friday on NPR’s “Morning Edition.”

I think I want to reset this for just a moment.

I have great respect and admiration for Sen. Dole. I admire him for his valiant service to the country in the Army during World War II, for his years in the Senate and for his ability to reach across the aisle to work with Democrats; he and fellow World War II hero Sen. George McGovern, for example, were great personal friends and occasional legislative partners, particularly on programs involving agriculture.

He said, though, that he has to put party first and he must support Trump in his upcoming fight against Clinton.

The reset is this: Sen. Dole can say it all he wants — until he runs out of breath — that he’s going to vote a certain way.

But one of the many beauties of our political system is that we get to vote in private. It’s a secret. We all can blab our brains out over who we intend to vote for, but when the time comes we can change our mind.


I think of Bob Dole as more of a patriot than a partisan.

He had been involved with government for many decades. He ran for president himself in 1996, losing in an Electoral College landslide to President Bill Clinton.

I don’t intend to sound cynical about what Bob Dole is going to do when the time comes to cast his vote. However, his party’s presidential nominee is like a volcano waiting to erupt.

I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Sen. Dole changes his mind over the course of the next few weeks and perhaps decide to keep that spot on his ballot unchecked.

A part of me would like to prove it.

Texas could be in play — for once


Is this the strangest election year you’ve seen since, oh, The Flood?

Consider, then, what just might be coming down the road in Texas, this place where Republicans rule from horizon to horizon and where Democrats seem to have been placed on a witness protection list.

Hillary Rodham Clinton just might — with the help of her probable Republican Party presidential campaign opponent — be able to make this state competitive in the upcoming election.

You can stop laughing now.

Hear me out.

GOP nominee-in-waiting Donald J. Trump appears to be doing everything he can to anger Latino voters. It all started with that hideous campaign launch in which he declared his intention to build a “beautiful wall” along our border with Mexico to keep out the rapists, murderers and drug dealers who, he said, were being sent here by the Mexican government.

Then just the other day he singled out an Indiana-born federal judge who Trump said “hates” him. The judge has a Latino name. Trump called him “a Mexican.” Uhh, no. He’s not. The judge is as American as Trump.

How does this play in Texas? The state’s largest minority group is Latino, who also are the fastest-growing demographic group in the state.

Just suppose the Latino population turns out in massive numbers after hearing the constant barrage of statements that the Republican nominee has made about them. Suppose that Clinton’s campaign team taps into that anger with a concerted effort targeted at reminding that voter bloc of what lies ahead for the country if Trump gets elected president.


Granted, history hasn’t been good for Democrats in Texas. The state’s Latino population so far hasn’t turned out to vote in numbers commensurate with its enormous potential impact.

Erica Grieder, writing for Texas Monthly’s Burka Blog, notes: It seems that empirical evidence on campaigning in Texas deserves an asterisk too, because Clinton has now declared her intention to do something no Democrat has attempted recently: compete in a general election in Texas with the goal of winning. Barack Obama didn’t allocate serious time or resources to try to win the state’s electoral votes in 2008 or 2012.

My earlier prediction — such as it was — that Clinton might score an Electoral College sweep this fall is looking less and less possible, given recent polling data showing a tightening race across the nation.

However, consider this: If Clinton does make Texas a competitive state and closes to within spitting distance of Trump, then she’s likely to win those states that now are deemed too close to call.

Therefore, if Texas does flip from R to D, then I suggest we just might see a blowout in the making on Election Day.

And yes, I can hear you laughing now.

Time to handicap the fall election


This isn’t the first comment written on the upcoming general election for president of the United States.

Having stipulated that I’m a little late stepping into this muck, I’ll now offer what I believe is shaping up for the fall campaign.

Hillary vs. Donald will be the most miserable campaign in most people’s memories.

Hillary Rodham Clinton is now almost assuredly going to face Donald J. Trump in the race for the White House.

As I look at the Electoral College map and read all that polling data, I am left with an inescapable conclusion. It is that unless Clinton gets indicted a month before the election on some made-up charge by a federal grand jury involving the use of her personal email account, she is going to become the second history-making president in a row.

Just as Barack Obama was the first African-American to become president, Hillary Clinton will become … oh, you know.

Not only that, in my humble view she very well could make history in another fashion. She could score the largest electoral landslide perhaps since Ronald Reagan’s re-election victory in 1984. President Reagan won 49 states and 525 electoral votes.

All that’s left, thus, for Clinton is to score a 50-state sweep. I believe it’s possible.

How do I know that? Well, I don’t know it.

Polling data, though, suggest that Trump’s huge gender gap is too big to overcome. Women have something like a 70-plus percent unfavorable view of Trump. Women also comprise about 53 percent of the population; the percentage is even greater among likely voters. Women tend to vote more than men.

That’s one key demographic working against Trump.

Let’s try another one: Latinos.

Trump’s opening gambit during the campaign was to label illegal Mexican immigrants as rapists, murderers and drug dealers, while adding he was “sure there are some good ones, too.”

Now, if you’re a Latino American, do you believe this individual really cares about you? Are you going to buy into his notion that he just “loves Hispanics” because “so many of them work for me”?

Therein lies another gold mine for Team Clinton.

I also will posit this notion: Trump’s hideous standing among Latinos is going to make states such as Texas and Arizona highly competitive for Clinton and the Democrats. New Mexico will vote for Clinton anyway, along with Colorado, Nevada and California.

You want another towering obstacle for Trump? How about those “traditional Republicans” who don’t trust Trump as far as they can throw him. The evangelical voters who comprise so much of the Deep South aren’t likely to stampede willingly to Clinton’s side. Instead, they just might sit this election out, denying Trump the cushion he would need to defeat Clinton throughout Dixie.

The Rust Belt is a goner for Trump. The Great Lakes, the Northeast and New England all are locked in for Clinton.

The Farm Belt? What in the world has Trump done to woo voters who live in Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, the Dakotas, except “tell it like it is”? These states also are full of those traditional Republicans who dislike Trump’s garish lifestyle and his less-than-stellar personal conduct over the years.

The Pacific Northwest will stand firm behind Clinton. Hawaii is for Hillary. Alaska, too.

OK, I’ve just spent a lot of energy in the past few minutes bashing Donald Trump.

What does Hillary Clinton bring to the table? What would commend her?

I get that she’s got a lot of negatives, too. She doesn’t appear to be the most trustworthy candidate in the history of the Republic.

However, she is tough. She is seasoned. She knows how government works. Say what you want about her playing the “woman card,” her gender will work in her favor.

This campaign will not be waged on the high ground. It will be fought in the trenches. Trump will take it there, just as he has done throughout the Republican Party primary. Those who have watched the Clinton organization up close, though, know that Hillary Clinton has surrounded herself with seasoned, battle-tested pros who know how to respond quickly and with maximum effectiveness.

Having said all this, I am the first to acknowledge that I am wrong more than I am right.

On this one,  though, my gut tells me I am more right than wrong.

One final caveat. This election campaign to date has turned every conventional political theory on its ear.

We shall see.

Constitution silent about the nominating game

DENVER - AUGUST 26: Ohio delegate Peggy Tanksley displays her Democratic Party pride during day two of the Democratic National Convention (DNC) at the Pepsi Center August 26, 2008 in Denver, Colorado. U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) will be officially be nominated as the Democratic candidate for U.S. president on the last day of the four-day convention. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

All this yammering and yapping about the delegate selection process has given the 2016 presidential campaign its unique feel.

Interesting, to say the very least.

So-called Republican frontrunner Donald J. Trump is getting wiped out by Sen. Ted Cruz in these caucus states, resulting in Trump griping about the selection process. He calls it “rigged” against him.

Meanwhile, on the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders is wiping Hillary Rodham Clinton out in those caucuses, but can’t seem to make a serious dent in her delegate lead. She owes her lead at the moment to the “super delegates” who pledged to support her; these are the political heavy hitters who are free to declare their support for whomever they wish.

The U.S. Constitution doesn’t say a single word about the nominating process. This belongs to the parties exclusively. They make their own rules and force the candidates to play by them.

For that matter, the Constitution doesn’t even mention political parties. The founders wrote only in terms of governance.

We need not amend the Constitution to create a political party presidential selection system that everyone must follow.

How about, though, if the party bosses were to huddle along with selected members of their respective brain trusts to hammer out a uniform system that both parties could follow?

Is that so hard?

My first priority would be a way to apportion the delegate selection process for primaries and for caucuses that make sense for every state. Why not dole out the delegates in direct proportion to the votes they get in a primary election? But what the heck, perhaps the parties could follow the framework used in electing a president: Give the winning candidate all the delegates up for grabs in the primary state. If a candidate wins a state in the general election, he or she gets all the Electoral College votes in virtually every instance.

The caucuses also could be made uniform in those states that choose to select delegates in that fashion.

This whining and griping about delegate selection — which seems heightened this year by Trump — need not cloud the issue of the nominating process.

This is the most serious purely partisan political activity that occurs; I must add that it’s serious in spite of the picture of a 2008 Democratic convention delegate that accompanies this blog post. We do this only once every four years.

It seems we ought to be able to make these choices without quibbling and quarreling over whether the system is rigged.

Daunting task: explaining U.S. politics to Europeans


Later this year — in late summer — my wife and I are going to face a daunting task.

We’re going to fly to Germany, where we’ll spend time visiting friends and touring the beautiful region of Bavaria. We plan as well to visit other friends in The Netherlands while we’re across The Pond.

OK, that’s not the daunting part. The challenge will occur in explaining the American political system to sophisticated western Europeans.

It’s not that I haven’t had similar challenges before.

In November 2000, we traveled to Greece. Voting in the U.S. presidential election had just concluded — but we didn’t yet have a new president. Vice President Al Gore had collected more votes than Texas Gov. George W. Bush, but the outcome had been thrown into a tizzy over those “hanging chads” in Florida.

Our Greek hosts — who also are quite sophisticated — kept peppering me with questions that centered on this idea: How is that one candidate can get more votes than the other guy but still not win?

That’s when I sought to explain the Electoral College system and how electoral votes are allocated based on which candidate wins a particular state. The bigger the state, the more electors they get. I tried to explain that the system has worked generally pretty well.

The Bush-Gore election and its immediate aftermath shot that idea all to hell.

This year, the presidential election is heading into a climactic phase as my wife and I are vacationing in Western Europe. I’m expecting our friends to introduce us to their friends as “visitors from America.”

I can see the eyebrows raising as they ask us about  “you know who.”

I also can anticipate the question: How in the world can a major American political party nominate someone like Donald J. Trump?

To be honest, I haven’t yet formulated my answer. Neither has my wife. We’re throwing up our hands in dismay at the prospect of this know-nothing narcissist accepting the Republican Party presidential nomination — against the expressed wishes of the GOP’s wise men — and then taking his campaign of innuendo and insults against Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Both of us mounted valiant efforts in 2000 to explain our political system to the inquisitive Greeks.

This year, according to my wife, it’s hopeless.

“I think this time,” she said, “I’m going to say, ‘Yep, you’re right. We’ve messed up.'”

I’m thinking of following her lead.


Run, Mitt, run!

Peggy Noonan is a brilliant writer and solid conservative thinker.

However, she’s misinformed if she can predict that Mitt Romney would repeat the mistakes that doomed his 2012 presidential campaign in the event he chooses to run for president once again in 2016.


She implores Mitt not to run for the White House next year.

C’mon, Ms. Noonan. Give the guy a shot. Let’s see if he can correct those mistakes.

She writes in the Wall Street Journal: “He is yesterday, we need tomorrow. He is an example of what didn’t work, we have to turn the page. He is and always has been philosophically murky—it’s almost part of his charm—but it’s not what’s needed now. He ran a poor campaign in 2012 and will run a poor one in 2016. He was a gaffe machine — ‘47%’; “I have some great friends that are Nascar team owners” — and those gaffes played into the party’s brand problems.”

I’ve been saying for a few weeks now that Mitt needs to seek to redeem himself. Yes, he ran a shoddy campaign. He could have avoided those missteps and perhaps made a serious horse race of it against President Obama. It was reasonably close in the popular vote, but the president’s Electoral College win was quite decisive.

I’m not planning to vote for Mitt if he chooses to run again.

I’m simply rooting for his redemption. He’s smarter than he demonstrated on the 2012 campaign trail. I mean, he did rescue a floundering Olympic bid in Salt Lake City. And, oh yes, he authored a health care reform bill in Massachusetts that became a model for the federal program pushed through Congress by the man he sought to defeat; it’s just too bad he all but disavowed the Massachusetts plan as he sought to condemn the Affordable Care Act.

I know Mitt will be a long shot, what with the TEA party wing of the GOP grooming candidates to make their pitch.

Go for it, Mitt. Don’t listen to Peggy Noonan.