We seem to feel the need to discuss and critique the usefulness of the Electoral College, Article Two of the Constitution, for our Presidential elections every four years, and this cycle is no exception. There are 538 electors which is the total of the number of Senators (100), Members of Congress (435) and three electors for the District of Columbia. All the states except Maine and Nebraska award electors on a “winner take all” basis. A total of 270 electors is the magic number. This does not always equate to the popular vote and therein lies the rub.
This mechanism is meant to assure that every state has an opportunity to be part of the process. If that weren’t the case, the candidates would spend all their time and all their money in the most populated states, and those of us in ‘fly-over country’ would have no real voice since we do not have the huge population centers such as New York City and Los Angeles, etc., etc.
The debate, such as it is, is usually framed by the loser who knew the rules going in but who chooses to grouse about the outcome he or she does not see as fair the morning after Election Day. This year is no exception to what is becoming the rule of ‘carping’.
We bumpkins in ‘fly-over country’, would see nothing of the candidates, which some would argue would be a good thing, and the decisions as to our country’s leadership would be made by the folks living on top of each other in our largest metropolitan areas. Those of us in ‘fly over country’ often seem to hold different views than do those in the heavily populated parts of the country. We would lose our voice if the electoral vote process were somehow diminished in importance. Our President and Vice-President would be “selected” by those in the New Yorks and Los Angles’ of the country, and we would be forced to accept their wishes whether or not we approved.
If that were to occur, we’d devolve into anarchy and the country we know and love would disappear.
So, the Founding Fathers were wise in the way they built this process.
Now, that having been said, we can turn to the wisdom of the two candidates in the most recent national election. Hillary Clinton thought that she’d played all the angles, but Donald Trump beat her at her own game. We watched as Trump flew into some of the lesser-populated regions repeatedly and some wondered if his handlers knew what they were doing. Obviously, the Trump plan worked and the Clinton plan failed.
Both of these candidates were flawed candidates if compared to some of the past Presidential elections we’ve experienced; there seems no question about that. The idea that we’ll ever see another perfect candidate seems relegated to the past. After all, even the JFKs were not as saintly as we might’ve pictured them to be; so reality is that all our human candidates will have flaws. And they do not let us down in that regard.
Each candidate in the final quest for election knew the rules and thought they had the best plan. Each candidate had a ton of money, that is a subject for another day, and staffed their campaigns with the best people they could find. The crazy variable is us, the electorate, and whatever is our defining issue for this race.
The idea that Donald Trump proved to be the candidate of choice over the anointed-one, Hillary Clinton, is still the real topic for discussion. What did we see in her that directed us to him? What was so compelling that we were made to overlook the idiosyncrasies and undesirable aspects of Donald Trump and place him in the Oval office?
She is understandably suffering from this rebuke. She truly believed she was the ‘chosen one’, and that was reinforced when we selected Donald Trump, of all people, as our Republican candidate. Hillary was already redecorating the Oval office as she jetted from one place to another amidst all the glamor and the pomp and circumstance that accompanied her. After all, she had suffered as the wife of Bill Clinton and she had served her country as Secretary of State. Sure, she knew there were some problems with her personal history and with our views of the Clinton family and the ghosts in their past. But, come on!
This outcome has to have been terribly defeating for Hillary on several levels. Her ‘brand’ has been almost totally devalued. She will never see the Oval office from behind the desk. Sure, they have more money than they could possibly spend, but she does not have that last piece she has coveted for so many years. She will not be the first female President. And, on top of all that angst, she lost to Donald Trump.
I have questioned Hillary’s health, and I am very concerned for that today. I am not a fan but I do not ever wish anyone poor health; and, I fear for her ability to put this terrible experience behind and regain her vigor. If you pray, a short prayer for Hillary would certainly be good of you.