Tag Archives: electoral votes

Is this when Trump becomes ‘presidential’?


It’s official … finally!

The Electoral College voted today and put Donald J. Trump on track to become the next president of the United States.

I’ll offer the perfunctory congratulations to the president-elect.

Now, though, I want to make a request of him: I want him to start sounding and acting like the future head of state of the greatest nation on Earth.

There’s a certain form of irony in what we’ve witnessed from the president-elect. He says certain things about the state of our great nation. He vows to “make America great again”; he has ridiculed our military, our intelligence network, our political leadership, Congress, certain members of his own political party and certainly the Democratic Party leadership.

With all of that rhetoric coming forth from the president-elect, what have we seen him do at those “thank you tour” rallies? He’s exhibited much of the buffoonery he displayed throughout his campaign. A protester was hauled out one rally and Trump said from the podium, “Get him outta here.”

We’ve heard zero high-minded rhetoric from the next president as he has toured the country. Yet … he vowed to sound more “presidential” as he prepares to take office.

It has happened. There’s no sign it will happen.

Trump has been elected officially, though. The electors put him over the top.

So, let’s start hearing something of substance from the new guy. How about talking to the entire nation, Mr. President-elect, not just to those who voted for you?

He vowed to be “president for all Americans.” It’s time he started at least sounding as if he means it.

Here’s a possible constitutional crisis of major proportion


Those 538 men and women who are set to meet Monday to elect the next president of the United States are poised to make some serious history, one way or the other.

Most of them come from states that voted for Donald J. Trump, the Republican, over Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Democrat. They comprise the Electoral College, which the nation’s founders established in the 18th century to choose the person who would govern the country.

Here’s the big-time catch: some of them are “faithless,” which means they aren’t necessarily bound by the dictates of their states’ majorities. Add to that some major-league questions about whether Russian intelligence agents and computer hackers influenced the outcome the election and you have a situation of monumental proportions brewing … possibly.

Enough of those electors might decide they can’t vote for Trump and, thus, deny the president-elect the 270 electoral votes he needs to take office in January.

What happens then if, say, not enough of them switch their votes to Clinton, making her the next president? The U.S. House of Representatives, controlled by the GOP, then gets to pick the next president.

I don’t believe this will happen. I believe Trump will collect enough votes from the Electoral College to take the oath on Jan. 20. He will become the 45th president of the United States; Mike Pence will become the vice president.

Trump likely will have the Cabinet chosen by then. The U.S. Senate committees charged with recommending whether these nominees should be confirmed will get to work and make those critical decisions.

But some of the electors have asked to be briefed fully by the U.S. intelligence apparatus on what the Russians did and whether they actually influenced the outcome of the election. Just suppose the spooks tell the electors that, yep, the Russkies succeeded in getting their man elected. What happens then if you’re an elector from a state that voted for Trump and you can’t in good conscience cast your vote for the winner?

Lots of answers yet to come forward before the big day next week.

This could be the most fascinating supposedly pro forma electoral procedure in the history of the Republic.

It could be …

‘Trump landslide’ becoming something quite different


I keep looking at a website that tabulates election results.

A new number jumps out at me as I look at the unofficial vote count from the 2016 presidential election.

3 million.

Hillary Rodham Clinton’s margin over Donald J. Trump is getting close to the 3 million mark. She has rolled up a vote total of 65.7 ballots, which is about what President Obama collected when he won re-election in 2012.


Don’t remind me of what I know already: Hillary lost the election. Trump is the next president. He’ll take the oath of office on Jan. 20. Hillary will go back to working on the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Global Initiative. She’s likely done as a national political candidate.

But it’s Trump’s careless use of language that continues to bug me.

He says he won in a “landslide.” No. He didn’t. He captured 306 electoral votes, which is a comfortable margin. A landslide victory? Far from it.

I just need to remind the president-elect that a popular vote deficit approaching 3 million ballots should give him pause as he continues to build his government leadership team.

Needing help accepting this outcome … fully


A friend of mine has acknowledged a greater-than-normal disappointment in the presidential election result.

He said he’s having trouble accepting that Donald J. Trump is now the president-elect of the United States of America.

I am now going to admit the same thing.

Just as my friend said, I’ve voted for losing presidential candidates many times over the years. I’ve voted in 12 presidential elections, dating back to 1972. My record as of Nov. 8 is now 5-7 … that’s five winners and seven losers.

I know how it feels to be on the losing side.

This one is different than all the rest of them. It’s even different from my first vote, when Sen. George McGovern got smashed to smithereens in a 49-state blowout to President Nixon. I was young, full of piddle and vinegar, just home from service in the Army, newly married and I worked my butt off in my hometown to elect a good and decent man to the presidency.

It’s not that I believe Trump was inferior to his chief opponent, Hillary Rodham Clinton. It’s deeper than that. He’s patently unfit for the office. I will maintain that belief more than likely for the entire time he serves as president.

That could change. Trump could prove me wrong. He could turn out to be a quick study. He could muster some semblance of the decorum needed to serve as head of state and the leader of our government. Trump could actually grasp the concept of limited presidential power and he could accede to the will of another co-equal branch of government, the one on Capitol Hill, aka Congress.

I cannot get past the notion, though, that he’s going to try to run roughshod over the system. That he’s going to do some incredibly stupid things, issue some incompetent — or unlawful — orders.

I want none of that to happen. I want the new president to succeed. In some perverse way, I’m actually pulling for him. I know that sounds like a huge contradiction, given what I’ve written already in this post, along with what I’ve stated in countless previous posts on this blog.

It’s not. I have declared already that I do not subscribe to the hope that he will fail. Presidential failure means failure for the entire country. I will not forsake my citizenship; I won’t move to another nation. I will stay put and speak out whenever I feel like it. I’ll praise the good things Trump does and will criticize the bad.

So help me, I cannot yet come to grips with the notion that this guy — the former reality TV celebrity, the hotel mogul, the guy who admits to cheating on his wives, who acknowledges seeking to impose his sexual will on women, who mocked a physically disabled reporter, denigrated Gold Star parents and flung insults at opponents — is about to become the 45th president of the United States.

It’s not like the previous times I’ve voted for the losing candidate. Yes, I know Trump won the election fair and square. I accept the fact that he won the required number of electoral votes. And yes … he will be my president.

I’m just having trouble moving forward and putting the result behind me.

Do I need an intervention?

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.