Tuesday, December 06, 2016

This Glass is 230 Years Old. Should We Break It?

My latest post, as predicted, drew forth a defense of the Electoral College fresh off the VRWC teletype, although again I must remind JJV to unscramble the transmission before submitting.

There has been some noise made about the possibility of the Electoral College ignoring the will of the states in particular in favor of the will of the people in general. Like most Americans, I have not read the Constitution closely but I did take the time just now to peruse Article II, which outlines, among other things, the selection of the President.

I think the EC will avoid attracting attention to itself - institutionally and individually - and vote according to its selection, with a few statistically insignificant exceptions. This happened in 2000. On the other hand, with the popular vote disparity passing 2.5 million, much wider than in 2000 and with no judicial branch involvement, is it time to consider whether the Electoral College should exercise a theoretical prerogative and vote "faithlessly"? One could argue that in fact the College, were it to do so, would be faithful to its intended purpose.

I will admit I am not thinking too much about the possibility. Too much tradition and complacency has accreted around these institutions to allow a departure from quadrennial practice even under the present circumstances, in which the President-elect has hit the Federalist trifecta of incompetence, demagoguery and foreign influence.


jjv said...

I think you should move on to the interesting question whether the Democrats can confirm merick Garland at the brief moment when all of the present class of Senators has not been sworn in but the term of the old class is done and the Senate is at 36(dems) (with indenpendents) 30 (Reps).

I'm with Barone and think the monoculture of the coasts ought not be able to rule the U.S. interior as colonial overseers but do have to admit the electors can do as they will.

Just as the Democrats eliminating the filibuster for judicial nominees (save the Supremes) and cabinet officers, so would this blow up in their faces.

"If you would not wish unlimited power to your enemies do not support it for your friends.



Dave S. said...

My reading of the Twentieth Amendment does not reveal a "brief moment" between the end of a Senator's term and the beginning of a successor Senator's term. Now of course this was a twentieth century innovation and I understand that you have no truck with such newfangled frippery.

I read Barone's piece. He gives the game away in the middle by agreeing that the EC should be abolished, but quickly re-mounts his unicycle and resumes spinning plates. California is too Democratic? Waaah, Texas is too Republican.

jjv said...

You are right on the Constitution! There is no "moment without new Senators" because of the language of the Constitution just like in Britain whether the Monarch is crowned or not there is no moment without a King. Very astute. I thought I might draw you into obvious error.

I did not vote for Trump and believe he will destroy conservatism--eventually. But all this apocolyptic maundering should be dispbelled by the old truism. "The sun don't shine on the same dog's ass every day." This too, shall pass.