For the past few weeks I have lived with a fear in the pit of my stomach that the pollsters were getting it wrong, that there was data they were not mining, that we would have another 2000 election scenario. Even Republican pollsters and election professionals were saying the Democrat in this race would get 300 or more electoral votes. Well, the only thing they got right was Hillary Clinton would win the popular vote. Thanks in large part to the heavily populated states of California and New York that have a very high turnout of voters that generally vote for Democrats.
It’s why, in California, we had a U.S. Senate race between two Democrats: Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez and now Senator-Elect Kamala Harris. The top two vote getters in the primaries get on the ticket in the general election.
But in America we live in a Republic that does not rely on the popular vote to elect the person who will fill the highest office in the land — we rely on an Electoral College, a system that has been around since the dawn of this Republic that was, in the beginning, made up of state legislatures and then representatives chosen by the state legislatures.
The only representatives the land owning white men voted for — oh yes, only white men who owned land were allowed to vote — were the other white men that would represent them in the state legislatures.
Despite all the changes that have come about since 1824, when states started to use the “popular” vote to elect national representatives, we still use the Electoral College. The United States is the only Western democracy to have such an antiquated system.
Which means that twice in the past 16 years the Electoral College has circumvented the will of the majority.
This year, 2016, just like in the 2000 election a Democrat received the most votes across the nation. Unlike the 2000 election, the popular winner received nearly 200,000 more votes than the Electoral College winner. So, no despite Speaker of the House Paul Ryan’s claim that Donald Trump has a mandate, he doesn’t. Donald Trump doesn’t even have a majority of voters behind him.
Maybe now the Democrats will consider doing away with the Electoral College once they regain control of government because one day they will. It became entirely obsolete over 100 years ago. They need to remember that it was their party — as well as a majority of the American people — who were screwed by it twice in the past 16 years.
And count the rest of the world as being screwed by the Electoral College. Early Wednesday morning as the news organizations were dusting themselves off after a long night of poll watching, they were showing newspaper headlines from around the world. The Daily Mirror in Great Britain: “IT’S PRESIDENT TRUMP What have they done?” The Sun, also from Great Britain, had the Simpson portrayal of Trump and Homer Simpson, saying, “16 years after joke Simpsons prophecy, The Donald really IS The Prez … D’OH!”
Die Welt in Germany had two: first “How could this happen?” and then “Victory of the horror clown.” Poland’s Rzeczpospolita went for the Game of Thrones angle: “Winter is coming and you can’t help it. We have woken up in the completely unpredictable world, and business does not like uncertainty.”
The Clarin of Argentina wrote: “Donald Trump, an emerging neo-fascist who goes beyond the elections.”
Of course in Russia the state-run media said Trump’s win was, “a real sensation.” Of course it is. Their meddling in our election, with the hacked emails distributed by Wikileaks, turned a lot of people away from the Democrats.
Donald Trump is a man who can be baited with a tweet, who has no impulse controls and now with a slim majority in the U.S. Senate and a big majority in the House of Representatives — many of them Teabaggers who rode Trump’s coattails to re-election — there are very few checks on the man who once wondered why we don’t use our nuclear weapon and said he would “bomb the shit out of them” when talking about ISIL — which we are already doing. Our troops, which are listed as “advisors,” have been helping the Iraqis drive ISIL out of Mosul, after two years of intense bombing by the U.S. and other countries.
Trump wants to end the Iran nuclear deal, which would then allow Iran to pursue a nuclear weapons program immediately. How is that better than the deal that is in place?
This is the guy who wants to kill the family members of ISIL fighters and resort to torture against … I guess we should presume just our enemies, but on the other hand he thinks every police force in America should do “stop and frisk,” the discredited policing policy that targets people of color as potential criminals — whether they’ve committed any crimes or not — to be unconstitutionally searched.
This is the man who said he wants to put his political rival, Hillary Clinton, in jail, make abortion illegal and put women in jail if they seek them. He wants to expand government and create a “deportation force” — on top of the Immigration Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) — to round up 11 million people and deport them. Or maybe Trump was so stupid and uninformed he didn’t know ICE is the agency with that responsibility. On many occasions he’s proven he knows next to nothing about how our government works, from legislation to the separation of the three branches of the government.
He wanted to ban Muslims, putting a religious test on American citizens are those seeking to enter the country. He then amended it to “extreme vetting,” which is something we already do when it comes to letting refugees and immigrants enter the country. And then there’s that stupid wall.
All through this election season people said he would pivot and get more sane and reasonable, but he never did. In his victory speech Trump said some nice things about Clinton and this morning when he met with President Obama to begin the peaceful transition, Trump said nice things about the president. So some people are suggesting that Trump will moderate his message, that he will now pivot to a more sane and sensible person. Why would anyone believe that? He hasn’t done so yet.
Trump did back down from Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto when the conversation turned to that wall so maybe he’ll back down when Congress confronts him on some of his craziest ideas, like abandoning our military and economic partnerships with Europe and Asia.
The truth is Trump will get very little resistance from Congress. He leads a party that wants to do away with Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, among other social safety net programs. They agree on getting a Supreme Court that will overturn Roe v Wade and make abortion a crime once again. They want to further restrict women’s reproductive health, plus the GOP agrees with Trump on the Iran deal — all things Trump campaigned on since June of last year.
This is the candidate who won the Electoral College election largely because of the white voters that felt government didn’t represent them so they haven’t been voting for a few decades. White voters that don’t like the diversity of this nation, don’t like immigrants with brown skin who speak a different language.
If you want to believe a majority of these white people flocked to Trump because of his “populist” message, then you are naïve. His “populist” message about bringing jobs back to America was a lie, everyone knows that won’t happen. Nor will he stop companies like Ford from building plants in Mexico and other places. The vast majority of his adopted political party aided and abetted these companies that moved manufacturing off shore. They are not going to turn their backs on the GOP’s most reliable donors.
Right before the election Trump has been telling supporters that he wanted a nation under one god. He told the religiously extreme Values Voter Summit, “Imagine what our country could accomplish if we started working together as one people, under one God, saluting one flag.”
So he wants to do away with that part of the First Amendment that says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …”
This is the candidate that ushered in an era of political violence we haven’t witnessed since the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s. My friend Jeff in Wisconsin said there were men in black shirts and camouflage pants wearing guns at his polling station, as if to intimidate the voters.
My friends who are immigrants from Spanish-speaking countries feel like they have targets on their backs for every racist who has been given a license to act out on their hate-filled impulses because Trump has so vilified immigrants with Spanish accents. They are truly afraid because most of these white tough guys will ambush people and shoot them in the back, or like some have done: tie people to fence posts and beat them or drag people behind their vehicles, by the neck.
Or they will blow up schools and churches, synagogues and mosques — or set them afire.
Some of my lefty friends tell me I’m being too negative, we don’t know what Trump will do once he is in office. They believe Congress will hold him back. Well, how many times have Republicans in the House of Representatives voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act? What law did Vice President-Elect Mike Pence sign that severely restricted women’s health rights while he was just the Governor of Indiana? How many GOP-controlled state legislatures have severely restricted women’s rights already, not to mention resurrected Jim Crow in the name of Voter ID?
Now is the time for Democrats to be as obstructionist as the Republicans have been during the Obama Administration. The future of the Republic depends on it.
To end on a high note: Californians approved Prop 64, making cannabis — marijuana — legal for recreational use. As they used to say in the Marine Corps (about cigarettes), “Smoke’em if you got’em.”
Members of the Los Angeles Clippers commented on the election and the protests in Downtown Los Angeles. Claudia Gestro covered the game and the post-game comments.
All photos are screen shots from YouTube unless otherwise noted
Tim Forkes started as a writer on a small alternative newspaper in Milwaukee called the Crazy Shepherd. Writing about entertainment, he had the opportunity to speak with many people in show business, from the very famous to the people struggling to find an audience. In 1992 Tim moved to San Diego, CA and pursued other interests, but remained a freelance writer. Upon arrival in Southern California he was struck by how the elected government officials and business were so intertwined, far more so than he had witnessed in Wisconsin. His interest in entertainment began to wane and the business of politics took its place. He had always been interested in politics, his mother had been a Democratic Party official in Milwaukee, WI, so he sat down to dinner with many of Wisconsin’s greatest political names of the 20th Century: William Proxmire and Clem Zablocki chief among them. As a Marine Corps veteran, Tim has a great interest in veteran affairs, primarily as they relate to the men and women serving and their families. As far as Tim is concerned, the military-industrial complex has enough support. How the men and women who serve are treated is reprehensible, while in the military and especially once they become veterans. Tim would like to help change that.