With the Inauguration of Joseph Biden as the 46th President of the United States, ex-President Donald Trump will already have skulked out of Washington D.C. to his Mar-a-Largo golf club in Florida, all but tarred and feathered and run-out-on-a-rail, after having become the only American President in history to be impeached twice.
Yet the reality of this scenario need never have happened if, in a parallel universe, there existed an America with a different US Constitution, never written by white slave owners 231years ago, who hadn’t buried deep within its sacred text the all but permanent concept of a racist Electoral College that ensured rich white founders of the nation never had to worry about those who weren’t white male property owners or black African slaves who were only considered 3/5ths of a human being.
The universe of America’s national populism in flux: Trump was found guilty by the US Congress for incitement of insurrection. But now, as the dust of the Republican’s failed coup begins to settle from the horrific events that transpired during the violent siege of the American Capitol, unprecedented since the 1812 Revolutionary War against the British Empire, the question arises: what about all those 74 million, overwhelmingly White Americans, many of whom are diehard white supremacists and authoritarian, law and order-minded Make America Great Again (MAGA) followers of Trump, who blindly voted for, and marched to the orders of, their strong man leader, while unequivocally giving him and his odd brand of ‘democracy’ emotional succor for four years, and even went so far as to finally physically lay siege or morally support the siege of the US Capitol? How are they also to be so charged for treasonable insurrection? What about the legally elected lawmakers in the US Congress who originally signed the petition to challenge the Electoral College’s certification of Biden’s election, or the hard-core House of Representative Republicans, who, even as the tear gas had barely cleared in the besieged US Capitol, still were prepared to throw out millions of lawfully cast votes by Americans in contested battleground states in the hope that, in a last minute coup, they still somehow could overthrow the 2020 Presidential Election results and subvert Biden’s election in Trump’s favor? Are they to be so charged and tried for their treasonable actions or instead given a blanket amnesty? Biden’s avowed intent is to reach beyond that harsh reality and extend an open hand across the political aisle in a gesture of goodwill and healing that he naively thinks can or will bridge the existing wide gap of extreme partisan politics that, for decades if not centuries, have all but hopelessly separated the two political camps, morally, ethically and ideologically?
Observers of the American political scene have long been distressed by the steady drift in the country towards far right national populism and corporate-financial-political fascism ever since the election of the racist, anti-egalitarian Ronald Raegan in 1980, down through the falsely stolen election of George H.W. Bush over Al Gore who won the popular vote yet lost the chance to become the President, as a result of bogus Electoral College certification skullduggery; and then again, in the 2000 Election, when Trump lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton, and, if everything was on the up and up, never should have been President of the United States in the first place for the same reason. Yet once again he and his plotting allies were able to falsely manipulate, with still more political skullduggery, the Electoral College’s archaic certification of Trump as President.
America’s electoral college an Archaic divisive election concept: This controversy over the use of the archaic, undemocratic Electoral College concept to decide critically-important presidential elections goes all the way back to the very birth of America and its racist, sexist origins when the concept of a simple popular majority vote election to determine who would be president struck abject fear in delegates from white slaveowner Southern states that boasted large populations of primarily enslaved black people, that were only legally considered to be 3/5ths of a human, and the delegates from Northern states mostly comprised of smaller populations who were primarily white, male, property owners. So long as the Electoral College continues to remain the mechanism used to certify political elections in America the results will always remain controversial and open to the charge of being rigged, as Trump and many others on both sides of the political aisle have long charged. The full story of how this happened will be fleshed out later here.
The Italian dictator Benito Mussolini once declared “Democracy is beautiful in theory; in practice it is a fallacy. You in America will see that one day.” Speaking to the merger of capitalism and the state, Mussolini went on to say, “The definition of fascism is the marriage of the corporation and the state…. Today capitalism is scarcely at the beginning of its story.”
One could so argue from this perspective that a more advanced chapter in this age-old story, is what the world witnessed in 2008, during the financial Wall Street Crash, when enormously rich white plutocrats and corporate capitalists pulled off one of the world’s biggest financial heists in modern history when Wall Street Banksters, working in tandem with co-conspiratorial American and world politicians, pulled off The Crime of the Century; as bold as was the attempt of the failed siege of the US Capitol; when Trump supporters, like modern-day ‘Black Shirt’ street thugs, with the aid of high-level insiders within America’s political infrastructure, laid siege to the US Capitol.
Trump’s a member of the world’s ruthless law and order ruling class: Over the four years of Trump’s illegal, undemocratic presidential tenure, multiple signs already were staring the world in the face for all to plainly see how progressively fascist and divisive the world’s geopolitical scene was fast becoming, that already was writ large in the Republican Party under Trump’s rule. The many ‘nice’ remarks Trump had a penchant to make in his budding political career about some of the worst of the world’s ruthless dictators and rulers, clearly underscored the fact that Trump himself already was a member of the world’s dangerous ruling class of ruthless dictators and authoritarian leaders who personified the old saying that, Birds of a Feather Always Flock Together.
For instance, Trump once had a phone conversation with Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte, whose toxic reputation for carrying little about human life was by then well known, as was Duterte’s admitted mass murder of thousands of his people and extra-judicial killings of still hundreds more drug users who were guilty of nothing more than being pathetic opioid addicts and pushers. During an unscripted moment in the phone call with Duterte, Trump abruptly extended a friendly invitation to Duterte to visit him in the White House. Trump’s aides and his critics alike were immediately left totally stunned by this invite to one of the world’s shadiest figures. Said Christopher Murphy (D-Conn), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on Twitter, “We are watching in real time as the American bully pulpit disintegrates into ashes.”
One week before his invite to Duterte for a White House visit, Trump also took the opportunity to congratulate Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey for his political election victory that cemented his oppressively-ruthless, autocratic rule in Turkey. Trump also often excessively praised President XI Jinping of China while overlooking Xi Jinping’s ever-escalating anti-democratic repression of free speech and political freedoms in China, Tibet and Hong Kong.
During his 2016 Election campaign, Trump referred to Saddam Hussein as a, “a bad guy – a really bad guy”. But then, in the same breath, he praised Saddam by saying, “but you know what, he did very well! He killed terrorists! He did that so good! They didn’t read them their rights! They didn’t talk! They were terrorists, Over! Today, Iraq is Harvard for Terrorism!” In response to Hussein using chemical weapons to massacre as many as 5,000 Iraqi, Trump simply noted, “Saddam threw a little gas, everyone goes crazy! ‘Oh, he’s using gas!’”
Trump, before and after being elected, often praised still many more viscous strong men dictators, like North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, who he referred to as, “a pretty smart cookie, whether it was his uncle or anybody else, he slapped them all down.”
In response to the charge that Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is said by many Soviet observers to have ordered hackers to interfere in Trump’s 2016 election to help him against Hillary Clinton, Trump simply commented, “Great move or delay by Putin, I always knew he was very smart.” In fact, Trump never said an unkind word about Putin but instead, at a national security forces conference in 2016, commented, “He’s a stronger leader than President Barack Obama. You can say, ‘Oh, isn’t that a terrible thing to say! I mean the man has very strong control over his country!….Now it’s a very different system, and I don’t happen to like the system, but certainly in that system he’s been a leader for more than our president has been a leader.” But when Trump was reminded that Putin has also had journalists and dissenters killed, Trump obliquely replied, “I think our country does plenty of killing too!”
Another controversial leader Trump sought to praise early on in 2015 is Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who had used chemical weapons against his own people. Trump noted, “being a strong leader…..I think in terms of leadership, he’s getting an ‘A’ over our own President Barack Obama, who’s not doing so well.”
Again, to get some sense of how Trump constantly thought while he was in office, in Montana, in 2017, Republican Greg Gianforte(R. Mont) was running for the state’s sole seat in the US House of Representatives when he was approached by a Guardian reporter who had a question to put to him about his position on the American Health Care Act. Gianforte immediately shouted at him “I’m sick and tired of you Liberal reporters, Get the hell out of here!”, and then promptly body slammed the reporter to the floor, breaking his glasses in the process. During his court appearance sentencing, when Gianforte was asked by the Committee to Protect Journalists to help find ways to empower the press, Gianforte ducked the meeting. When Trump learned of the incident, his only comment was, “Any guy that can do a body slam he’s my kind of guy!”
The point behind these few cited examples in respect to how Trump thinks about some of the world’s worst murderers, despots and brutish leaders, serve to point to examples of Trump’s own preferred long-standing style of leadership that was well known long before he was even elected for the first time in 2016, yet 74 million Americans, and the Republican Party’s leadership who unequivocally stood behind their ‘strong man’ leader for yet a second term in 2020, were never dissuaded, which says so much about the mind-set of a vast majority of America’s voters and its political class as it does about Trump himself.
The close results among America’s voters in the 2020 election was an indication that an enormous number of voters either chose to ignore or overlook Trump’s commentary about so many nefarious American and world political figures. This should have immediately sent off alarm bells and shivers to shoot up the spines of every American voter, politician and security official if they were paying attention, which obviously many didn’t, or not near enough. In the end, during the siege of the US Capitol, these wide disparities that have been allowed to permeate American political life were further highlighted when Trump referred to the rampaging insurrectionists as “good people I love”.
When White nationalists and supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017 violently protested the removal of the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, Trump downplayed the violence by simply declaring that “hatred, bigotry and intolerance exists on many sides”, while failing to condemn the displays of white nationalism, Confederate and Nazi flags or other symbols of racial hate that were clearly in evidence. Those in the Black Lives Matter Movement (BLM) who sought to speak out in favor of upholding America’s lofty values and Rule of Law were either minimized, ignored or demonized.
The whole point to the thrust of this article is that none of these incidents and anecdotes would ever have happened if, in 2016, Trump’s first election bid never ever garnered enough of the popular vote of the American people who actually had instead chosen Hillary Clinton to be the 45th President of the United States. Which brings this whole argument full circle back to the fact that the Electoral College concept must now, once and for all, be totally eliminated if the United States is to have a truly free and honest democratic election by the people themselves.
US Constitution without an electoral college, an America that nevever was: Three important steps must be taken to totally reframe: the US Constitution; America’s political process and create an America that never was but still could be.
The first important thing that must be done by the Biden Administration to reshape the American political landscape is to immediately convene in 2021 a Constitutional Convention to undertake the task of eliminating the concept of the Electoral College and return to a simpler, more straightforward election process, solely based upon the popular vote. This will present a plethora of problems in itself.
The second important step is to totally eliminate the concept of Citizens United and take away unlimited political contributions from the millionaires, billionaires and trillionaires, starting with legal actions at every local level in the nation that have a better chance of success once a multitude of such cases most assuredly will have to be heard by the US Supreme Court. Now with a new Justice on the Supreme Court, the prospect of reversing Citizens United seems suddenly larger, more plausible. The brass ring seems within reach in spite of the matter being still very complex. These first two steps will be addressed in a later article that examines the controversial Citizens United vs Federal Election Commission 5 to 4 decision, with Justice Antonin Scalia in the majority.
The third critical step to be discussed here is what to do to significantly change or abolish the current grossly archaic Electoral College’s authority within each national presidential election process to issue a Certificate of Ascertainment to be tallied and verified in the US Congress before any presidential election is considered valid. As already mentioned, this became especially egregious during the ultimate election of George H.W. Bush over Al Gore in 2000 and Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton in 2016, when both presidential candidates lost the popular vote but won the ultimate electoral vote. This same result has happened five times in American history: Three times in the 19th century and twice in the 21st century.
The faulty Electoral College concept continues to be a ticking time bomb. If it hadn’t existed in the 2020 Election the contention by Trump and his minions that “the election was rigged” would never have happened, nor would the siege of the US Capitol, or mounting fears of white supremacists attacking the nation’s 50 state capitols or threatening to disrupt an orderly transition of government on Inauguration Day. Not to mention the by now already seriously shattered American belief in the legitimacy of its own political system.
This imbalance, which appears to be, perhaps, a growing 21st century phenomenon can’t continue. Under the provisions of the antiquated Electoral College, the most populous states in the Union (California, Texas, Florida and New York) are grossly under represented while some smaller states (Delaware, Wyoming, Kentucky), are over-represented because they fit into the election formula into what’s called the median population. Hence, an electoral vote in a state like Wyoming is worth more than an electoral college vote in a big state like California. The siege of the US Capitol a particularly-salient sign writ large that this disparity can’t continue.
The problem is this: Article II, Section 1 of the US Constitution established the Electoral College. For over 200 years, since the inception of America as a nation, any attempt to ever try to amend the US Constitution, which Is considered a virtual sacrosanct ‘holy book’, has been met with serious resistance by each succeeding generation of lawmakers. However, Article V provides the mechanics by which an amendment to dissolve the Electoral College is highly possible.
Two different means exist to amend the founding document of the US Constitution. The first route is to obtain a 2/3rd’s vote in both houses of the US Congress, followed by the ratification of 3/4th’s of the states. Any plan to scrap the Electoral College via this route probably would not pass in the current hostile political environment.
Why? Because the current Electoral College system already has benefitted Republicans twice in the 21st century and more recently almost a third time. As a result, Republicans and Republican state governments are incentivized to maintain the status quo of the Electoral System. In the current system, this reality will require every Democratic House member to vote in favor of such an amendment, and be joined by at least 59 Republicans and every Democratic Senator to be joined by 19 of their Republican colleagues. Good luck, is the refrain! Even if such an amendment were to pass Congress, its defeat in the states is highly likely. Even if all 25 of the states that Biden won in 2020 were to ratify such an amendment, nine additional states that President Trump won would also need to ratify it, as well. A double Good luck, is in order.
However, something called the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC) is an alternative way to go within the governs of the Constitution. The Compact requires states to pass laws that would award the electoral vote to the candidate who wins the popular vote, nationally. Under the current plan, states that join will not activate the Compact in place of the Electoral College until enough states join to total the 270 electoral votes required to elect a president.
Currently, 15 states and the District of Columbia have approved the NPVIC. These states currently total 190 electoral votes. But even if more states were to sign on to the NPVIC, the permissibility of such a proposal ever going into effect to replace the Electoral College would likely face a flurry of lawsuits.
If, in the election of 2000 and 2016, this alternative system of awarding two electoral votes to the national popular vote winner, and each state winner-take-all garnered what remained, it would mean that in the 2000 election Al Gore would have won the Presidency with 320 electoral votes to George H.W. s Bush’s 211 Votes. Whereas, in 2016, Hillary Clinton would have won the Presidency with 290 votes to Trump’s 241 votes.
The elimination of the Electoral College and return to a simpler, straightforward popular vote process, and the total negation of Citizens United should be a primary key goal of – and rational for – the Biden Presidency. In 2016, both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton had considered overhauling the existing campaign finance system, and Clinton had vowed to appoint Supreme Court Justices who would vote for the pre-eminent right of the citizenry’s vote over the right of billionaires to simply buy elections.
Where does America go from here: The Republican Party in 2021 may now have no choice but to go through a dissolution between its hard fascist right, pro-racist faction and democratic, anti-racist, antifa factions, and their corporate vs populist roots; similar to what its predecessor, the Whig Party, had to go through in the 1850’s before the irreconcilable factions of their slavers vs anti-slavers had no choice but to go their separate ways, that then lead to the birth of the Republican Party that became known as The Party of Abraham Lincoln.
The Democratic Party, the oldest voter-based political party in the world, and the oldest existing political party in the United States, first formed in the 1830’s and 1840’s, will also have a trying time to retrace its historical origins, principles and original progressive heritage, back to the Thomas Jefferson and James Madison Democratic-Republican Party of the 1790’s, and then carry forth than same progressive spirit into the 21st century.