I have frequently observed in this column that we live in interesting times. One might have assumed that we had reached the apex (or perhaps the nadir) of those times in the recent presidential campaign that produced President-elect Donald Trump. But one would have been wrong. Instead, post-election political shenanigans have reached a new level of “interesting-ness” – or perhaps “bizarreness” might be more accurate.
I have now lived through seventeen presidential elections which I can actually recall, starting with Dwight Eisenhower’s election in 1952. None of these came close to the absolutely crazed reactions – bordering on outright insanity – coming from voters, politicians, activists, “educators,” commentators, and reporters across the country who dislike the election’s results. (“I spit upon your electoral system, sir!”)
Defeated in thirty states – more than enough to give Mr. Trump a 306-232 electoral vote decision – Mrs. Clinton’s die-hard supporters refused to accept the fact that their candidate didn’t gain enough electoral votes to win. Instead, they have resorted to blame, bullying, threats, and grasping at straws. No one has been hurt, but we’re not past this yet. Even the valiant Robert E. Lee knew when to quit. Democrats, not so much.
Dems’ initial ploy was to blame FBI Director James Comey for costing Mrs. Clinton the win by announcing, just 10 days before the election, that the FBI was re-opening its investigation of her e-mails. Some 650,000 e-mails were evidently found on a laptop computer belonging to Mrs. Clinton’s close aide, Huma Abedin, and shared by Ms. Abedin’s husband, (the notorious internet-pervert) Anthony Weiner. It could be assumed that Mr. Weiner was not cleared to see a fair number of those messages.
Even the all-in-for-Hillary media couldn’t ignore a story this juicy. To retain whatever credibility they still had, they had no choice but to report it. (The salacious element of Mr. Weiner’s involvement, of course, played no part in that decision.) A week later Mr. Comey announced that nothing new was found. But the damage was done. Mrs. Clinton’s poll-numbers had taken a hit. Democrats widely believe that this episode mortally wounded Mrs. Clinton’s in the Battleground states she had expected to carry.
After the Comey-did-it story fizzle out, the Dems’ next move was to support “green” party candidate Jill Stein’s call for recounts in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania – all states carried by Mr. Trump. She raised over $6 million to pay for the recounts. In Wisconsin, the recount produced a net gain for Mr. Trump of 131 votes. In Michigan, a recount began, but a judge ordered it stopped. The Michigan Supreme Court later refused to review that ruling. In Pennsylvania, a federal judge denied Ms. Stein’s request for both a recount and an investigation into election-tampering.
Democrats next move was to attack the Electoral College, which they consider “antiquated.” Ever since election-night they have beat the war-drums and shouted from the house-tops about the disparity between Mrs. Clinton’s popular vote majority and her electoral loss: It’s not right! It’s not fair! It’s basically un-American! (Yadda, yadda, yadda…) Mrs. Clinton carried the popular vote by 2.8 million votes (by unofficial count), but lost the Electoral College vote, 306-232. She carried 20 of the 50 states, plus the District of Columbia.
This disparity might look worrisome to many, but I’m a numbers guy, so I looked a little deeper. It turns out that Mrs. Clinton carried New York by 1,728,021 votes – winning 4,520,925 votes, while Mr. Trump won 2,792,904. In California, Mrs. Clinton’s count was 8,753,788; Mr. Trump’s was 4,483,810. So Mrs. Clinton’s winning margin was 4,269,978. Thus, she carried those two states by a total of 5,997,999 votes. Since her national popular-vote margin over Mr. Trump was 2.8 million, this means that Mr. Trump actually prevailed by some 3.2 million votes across the other 48 states. Mrs. Clinton’s 6 million-vote majority in those two states made the Electoral College seem out of kilter with the country, but it was just a localized illusion.
The argument about the Electoral College has been going on for donkey’s years – first mentioned in the Dead Sea Scrolls, I believe – and it will probably continue long after I’m gone. Things get especially intense when Democrats lose in the Electoral College, but win the popular vote. This last happened in 2000, when Al Gore won the popular vote, by about ½ million, but Mr. Bush carried the Electoral College, 271-266 – a real squeaker. The post-election was thrown into turmoil because Mr. Bush carried Florida by just 535 votes. Florida’s 25 electoral votes would have flipped the election to Mr. Gore, but the Supreme Court stopped Democrat-attempts to conduct “selective” recounts in just four Florida counties. This left Florida in Mr. Bush’s column, giving him the win.
Democrats have claimed, ever since, that Mr. Bush’s election was not “legitimate” because the Court “gave” him Florida. Of course, it didn’t quite happen that way, but as Mark Twain famously said, “A lie gets halfway around the world while the truth is still putting its boots on.” Myths have a perverse way of hanging on. Just so, the story that Mrs. Clinton “won” the 2016 election, but was denied the presidency by political chicanery, will become part of Democrats’ version of history.
Mr. Obama, himself, recently called the Electoral College a “vestige” – a “carryover” from the time of the founding fathers – that “put a lot of premium on states.” (No! Not that!) And New York Times reporter Yamiche Alcindor told Meet The Press host Chuck Todd that the electoral college is “steeped in the idea of slavery.” (Well, that does it. Anything devised by a bunch of white slave-owners has got to go.)
Today, reports say that political activist and film-maker Michael Moore offered to pay electors who would switch their votes away from Donald Trump. He said he would also pay whatever fines they might incur by doing this. If this isn’t election-tampering, I’d like to know what is. (I leave it as an exercise for the reader to imagine the stink that would be raised by Democrats and their media-allies, were the political situation reversed.)
As I write this, protestors are said to have attempted to block electors’ entre to buildings in their respective state capitals where they will cast their electoral votes for the candidate who won their state’s popular vote. Some electors committed to Mr. Trump report getting “tens of thousands” of e-mails and letters demanding that they change their votes. There are rumors of actual death threats to electors, but those reports remain unconfirmed.
The Mother of all tales about why Hillary Clinton lost the election, though, is the story – now regarded as Holy Writ by the Chattering Class – that the Russians “hacked” our election computers and stole the election for Donald Trump. This isn’t possible, of course, since few (if any) states have their election computers connected to the internet. Without that connection, there can be no access for a would-be hacker. Only large states like New York or California might have the wherewithal to do this, but as we saw, Mr. Trump won neither of these states.
As even wooly-headed reporters (who don’t know much about computers) have gradually realized that election-hacking could not have occurred, the story became: “The Russians influenced voters by passing hacked Democrat e-mails to WikiLeaks.” This could be true. Certainly those e-mails were hacked, but there is no agreement in the “spook” community on who did it. And there is even less agreement that the hacked (and released) e-mails influenced voters. A WikiLeaks official says a Democrat insider – not the Russians – passed them the hacked e-mails. But why spoil a good story with facts?
“The Russians Did It” story has led the news for weeks. Some Democrat politicians called for the Electoral College to delay its final tally until after electors are briefed on what went down with the Russkies. There is no mechanism or precedent for this, however. The effort to delay the final vote was doomed to fail, as indeed it has.
A media-blitzkrieg aimed at turning enough Republican electors to give Mrs. Clinton the election was the Democrats’ last straw of hope. It has also failed. As I finish this article, two news-reports about the Electoral College have appeared. One says Mr. Trump has “cruised” to an easy win. Another indicates that there were seven “faithless” electors. Five came from coastal states that Mrs. Clinton won – four from Washington and one from Maine. Two were from Texas, which Mr. Trump won. Each cast his vote for someone other than Mrs. Clinton or Mr. Trump. The final electoral count was 304-227, with Mr. Trump the winner.
Democrats – including the sainted Michelle Obama, who says all “hope is gone” for the country – have disgraced their party’s once-honorable reputation by their post-election conduct. I am embarrassed for them. Their cynical attempt to spook voters into countenancing a post-electoral coup d’etat did not succeed. But more than that, I sense that the entire contrived chaos was ignored by Republican voters, as well as by many Democrats who comprehended the true reasons for Mrs. Clinton’s “unexpected” loss.
Voters who took a chance on Mr. Trump were fed up. They were “mad as hell,” and they weren’t going to take it anymore. Essentially, they exhibited a key element of the American character. We can be pushed, and pushed, and pushed some more, as we go about our daily lives. Tyrannically minded folks might conclude that there’s no limit to how far we can be pushed. But they’re mistaken. Finally we won’t be pushed any farther. When that point is reached, all hell breaks loose and the American people will rise up. I believe that happened on November 8th.
After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt concluded his call for a declaration of war with the words: “No matter how long it may take us … the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.”
I anticipate a revival of that spirit. Some challenging days certainly lie ahead. Mr. Trump knows he has his work cut out for him. He needs our support and our prayers. Let’s give him both.