Don’t change the Constitution due to Trump; get back to what it says

The fallout from Donald Trump’s victory continues, with many of his opponents talking about what the Constitution says. That would be good, if they were looking at the right parts of the document.

Too many people are asking whether it still makes sense to elect presidents via the Electoral College. They would be better off asking whether we have let the presidency grow into something the Founders never intended.

Demonstrators protest against President-elect Donald Trump on Sunday in Philadelphia. (Mark Makela / Getty Images)

Demonstrators protest against President-elect Donald Trump on Sunday in Philadelphia. (Mark Makela / Getty Images)

Let’s deal with the Electoral College argument first. The premise is this institution is flawed because Trump, like George W. Bush before him, did not win the popular vote. But it isn’t necessarily true that the popular vote better reflects the will of the people.

Presidential campaigns are built to win electoral votes. That’s why they put so much energy, money and time into winning the states thought to be the most competitive: Even a narrow victory claims all of a state’s electors (except in Maine and Nebraska, which allocate some electors by congressional district). A win is a win.

Campaigns built to win the popular vote might not produce the same results. Democrats might try to run up the score in states like Washington, where Hillary Clinton won comfortably but some 6 percent voted third-party. Republicans might try to do the same in Indiana. The popular vote in any given election could flip as a result.

A couple of sports analogies may help. In baseball, strategy would change dramatically if a team won by having the most hits, not the most runs. A team whose lead-off batter reaches base will often use sacrifices by the ensuing batters to drive him home. If hits mattered, you’d never see that. So it’s impossible to say the number of hits would be the same if the rules were different.

Or consider football. The Buffalo Bills have outscored their opponents this season by a combined 34 points, while their division-rival Miami Dolphins have been outscored by 2. Yet, the Dolphins have the better record. It would be silly to argue the Bills are more deserving of a playoff spot just because they’ve scored more points. To quote ex-coach Herm Edwards, you play to win the game.

Rather than saying Republicans have been unworthy winners of the presidency twice in recent history, it is more accurate to say Democrats have blown a pair of opportunities by not playing the game as well as they could have.

Of course, the main reason we are even talking about this is many people fear what Trump will do in office. They have watched, and often cheered, as Barack Obama has wielded more executive power than George W. Bush — who in turn surpassed that of his predecessors. It’s a long tradition. That doesn’t make it right.

The Founders gave Congress more power than the president, who was to be “energetic” in carrying out the laws but not in modifying them. The regulatory, bureaucratic apparatus that has arisen under the president is more like a fourth branch of government than a part of the original three.

Many of the fears among liberals about Trump (at least about his governance rather than just his rhetoric) concern what he might direct the bureaucracy to do. Obama tried through regulations, not acts of Congress, to change laws regarding the environment, immigration and more. “We can’t wait,” he would say, and so if his “phone” didn’t get it done, his “pen” would. Now, someone with very different ideas holds the pen.

In a republic like ours, voters should never have to cast their ballots out of fear of what might happen if one of the candidates wins. That so many (on both sides) did so this year shows how far we’ve strayed from the nation’s constitutional structure. We should try to return to the way the president is supposed to function, not to rewrite the way we elect him.

Reader Comments 0

132 comments
lvg
lvg

Georgia electors not  bound to vote for any party:

ttps://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/11/07/how-faithless-electors-are-messing-with-our-electoral-maps-explained/

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

@IReportYouWhine @Eye wonder @lvg

At the margins, over-wrought, but when you look at the historical evolution of fascist dictatorships we'd be foolish not to be at least a little concerned. (fact)

Now you can answer my question...

lvg
lvg

Someone  able to identify the Georgia Electors so we can address our concerns to them of the sleazeball they are about to elect? Or is that just a hoax that they make the final decision?. 

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

Trump Flouts Traditions Heading Into an Office Defined by Them

The most recent sign came Tuesday night when Trump slipped out for dinner with his family at Manhattan’s 21 Club -- leaving the pool of reporters assigned to shadow his every move in the dark. The seemingly impromptu outing broke with decades of practices established to keep the public informed about what the president, or president-elect says, where he goes and whether he’s safe.

http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2016-11-17/trump-flouts-traditions-heading-into-an-office-defined-by-them

I get the safe part but the rest? 

Obama's presidency suffered from overexposure early on. Folks got sick of hearing and seeing him. It was like watching a perpetual re-run. 

The press pool probably wanted to see if he knew how to use the proper eating utensil (from outside in). He likely does but doesn't deem it all that important. 

dimik
dimik

No way the electoral college is going away. Trump won fair and square played by the rules, which everyone knew including Hillary Clinton, and you don't get a Mulligan liberals no matter how much you and George Soros dislike Trump.

President elect Trump shall be President Trump come January.  


Has been Hillary best find that book and lap dog curl while life goes on better without her.



redweather
redweather

Ditching the Electoral college would lead to vote recounts across the country in elections as close as this one. We definitely don't want to go there.

dimik
dimik

@redweather One thing the founders figured out early on was that chaos, caused by a Democracy or Direct Democracy, was the worst of all possible forms of government a nation could have. 


When Franklin was asked, well what do we have(what are we), a Monarchy or Republic?


His reply was, you have(are) a Republic... if you can keep it. 


Nah, we've borrowed about as much as we should from Democracy in making this country. Going back to the original form of a more Representative Republic, if change was or is needed would be the best with inclusion of term limits.    

lvg
lvg

@redweather Problem is until the vote is tallied by these electors on December 19, Trump cannot claim he is President -elect. Elected by whom?

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@dimik @redweather 

The libs always liked to counter the term limit argument by saying "we already have term limits they're called elections". Now that their candidates are getting terminated, they don't like our elections and want to change them.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

Don't wanna tell you how to do your job Kyle but a new thread would be nice.

The bloggers are shredding jay's sheets into polyfill.

It's really bad over there! I'm lookin' for a safe space. 

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

@FIGMO2 @Eye wonder

No, silly, your own toilet. You can rest assured that 'jay's' crew would want nothing to do with you inside a loo.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

@Eye wonder @FIGMO2

The war is being waged next door, Eye.

Don your gear (codpiece) and get on over there.

I'm enjoying a brief respite from the liberal rage.

Stephenson_Billings
Stephenson_Billings

Republicans Now Control Record Number of State Legislative Chambers


"Republicans added to their historic 2014 gains in the nation’s state legislatures with the addition of five state House chambers and two state Senate chambers in last week’s election, while Democratic control was reduced to levels not seen since the Civil War.


Since 2009, when President Obama took office, his party has lost a total of 919 seats in state legislatures nationwide, according to NCSL data."


http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/barbara-hollingsworth/after-winning-7-more-seats-gop-dominance-state-legislatures-all

lvg
lvg

@Stephenson_Billings So the economy should be on a roll as soon as Trump takes office with millions of new jobs. We'll be expecting him to make good on every promise.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

Peaked in over at Bookman's and he couldn't be anymore miserable as are his constituents. They're in for a tough four years and likely four more.

STHornet1990
STHornet1990

@SGTGrit That fat lump Trump will be lucky if his heart doesn't give out in less than 4.

Starik
Starik

Perhaps we need a Constitutional Convention to examine our current political system.  The old Constitution was revolutionary in the 1780s and served us pretty well, but it's now the 21st Century.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

Bernie, the consummate liberal outsider now has a seat at the Democratic leadership table, but no one's quite sure to what end.

I'm sure. It'll be the dem's hind end, the same they've always shown Bernie. From progressive potentate to dem's tokentater.

schnirt 

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

The Constitutional Convention membership was made up of representatives of each of the "states".  There were no representatives there representing the "people".  Had you told these representatives that the people will decide, not the states, most of the representatives would have walked out.   Many representatives framed their questions and answers with the preamble, Virginia will not or Georgia will insist, etc.


The argument about the EC is a waste of time anyway, it would take 3/4 vote of both houses of Congress and ratification by 38 states or so to repeal.  Just a bunch of mental master0bation. 

MarkVV
MarkVV

@RafeHollister What the members of the Constitutional Convention would have done "if ..." is now about as important as last year's snow.

IReportYouWhine
IReportYouWhine

The real question: Why do we have 3 to 4 million non citizens influencing our country's elections?


Dat, my friends, if answered correctly, would end all other questions.


Hecho

lvg
lvg

@IReportYouWhine I expect that your new leader will make that a top priority .If it can be proven  by fake registrations, arrest all of them and put them in cattle cars headed South. By the way Bush opened the flow of illegals from Central America with a law he signed giving them asylum and due process rights. You guys have  had eight years to repeal that law. What happened? Nothing .Birthright Citizenship for anchor babies? Nothing.


GOP-All hat and no horse.

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

You know the law of unintended consequences always raises its head.   I can't take credit for this, as I heard someone else say it, but the Dems think a popular election would be a vote for a Dem or Republican, but that is not so.  A popular election would spawn numerous new parties as you would then have a race for plurality, which many one issue focused groups think they could win. With four or five parties running, someone could win with 35% of the vote.  You think folks are upset now, think about what happens when maybe a member of the Right to Life party winds up winning with a mandate of 35% of the vote.  I guess you could move to have a run off election to attempt to obtain a majority, but that adds to the campaign time and turmoil. 


Madison and the Federalist boys did a good job of designing a very wonderful system of government that has served us well.  Now we need to exercise the wisdom and discretion to leave it alone.



SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@RafeHollister 

Good point. You could have far-left advocates advocating for just a few of their agenda issues in each blue or purple state and come away with a win and then there could be a plurality of the national popular vote. Good system for lets say an Adolf Hitler, Josef Stailn or Fidel Castro to grab power and become a nations dictator directly or indirectly like Vladimir Putin for many years.

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

@MarkVV @RafeHollister That is why Obamacare was so much an unmitigated disaster.  Supporters dismissed out of hand the consequences, that the dissenters suggested might happen.  It turns out that most all those unplanned consequences proved to be true.

Starik
Starik

@RafeHollister @MarkVV A Parliamentary system would be a good alternative.  As far as Obamacare goes, as President-Elect Trump states, the age-26 for kids provision and the preexisting conditions provisions did a lot of good.  The worst part was forcing people to sign up who didn't want to maintain the profits of insurance companies and the rest of the medical/hospital/pharmaceutical interests.

IReportYouWhine
IReportYouWhine

The Trump transition is revamping almost everything. Vice President-elect Mike Pence -- who now heads the transition -- purged the team of the many registered lobbyists, leaving them short-staffed but closer to Trump’s campaign promise to “drain the swamp.”



http://www.cbsnews.com/news/donald-trump-transition-team-denies-internal-chaos-mike-pence-purge-lobbyists-cabinet-contenders/


I will take "short handed" over "snake filled pit" any day of the week.


What a better place to start cutting government than with the transition team?

lvg
lvg

@IReportYouWhine So explain why Rebecca Mercer and Brannen are on the team. Brannen received $200,000  in hiis wholly owned corporation from the Mercers after Trump got elected. Mercers paid for most of the GOP campaign.

IReportYouWhine
IReportYouWhine

Tom Price chairs the House Budget Committee, a position Paul Ryan commanded before he moved on to become chairman of the Ways and Means Committee and, ultimately, the House speaker. The six-term Georgia congressman is rumored to be in contention for secretary of health and human services. Price is a doctor who spent two decades practicing medicine in Atlanta.



http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/spotted-at-trump-tower-the-people-shaping-the-next-government/article/2607574?utm_campaign=Washington Examiner: News From&utm_source=Washington Examiner: News From - 11/16/16&utm_medium=email


Another vote of confidence.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

I liked James Madison's acknowledgement of factions and his argument against them.

The influence of factious leaders may kindle a flame within their particular States, but will be unable to spread a general conflagration through the other States. A religious sect may degenerate into a political faction in a part of the Confederacy; but the variety of sects dispersed over the entire face of it must secure the national councils against any danger from that source. A rage for paper money, for an abolition of debts, for an equal division of property, or for any other improper or wicked project, will be less apt to pervade the whole body of the Union than a particular member of it; in the same proportion as such a malady is more likely to taint a particular county or district, than an entire State.

When I think of factions, I think of single-issue voters. Their single issues should not become everyone's issue. There are more important issues (PLURAL) to consider.

A good argument in favor of the EC. 

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@FIGMO2 

The far-left leadership have several issues and their rank and file voters fall into step with all of them making them captive ideologies. When you consider the voter enclaves the far-left Democrats have successfully established in the large blue state urban areas that's even a better reason for EC.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_republics

The above wiki links show the countries that refer to themselves as republics. Scroll down to the 20th century and beyond to where we are today and ask yourself are they more democratic than the United States. A little hint.....how about, The Democratic Republic of China, The Democratic Republic of North Korea, The Democratic Republic of Vietnam, The Democratic Republic of Cuba, just to name a few. Some on here argue how many Democratic Republic countries are more advanced than we are. Now that is ignorance.

MarkVV
MarkVV

@SGTGrit Yes, do that. Look how many countries refer to themselves as republics. And then repeat your argument that we do it right with the electoral college BECAUSE we are a republic. Was that not your argument, SGTGrit? That "we are not democracy, we are a republic?" You have just made clear how stupid your argument was.


SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@MarkVV @SGTGrit 

Mark, I think now is about time to take the kid gloves off and tell you that you're not only ignorant but you're also an inveterate liar. I said that we are a republic, which indeed we are but that we have a constitutional representative democracy. That, Mark is a limited Democracy that does not elect all of its leaders or decide legislation through a pure democratic popular vote by the people. I never said that we were not a democracy I said that we are not a pure democracy.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@MarkVV @SGTGrit 

What is the difference Mark? Do you really know? Probably not, because you're only regurgitating media maters talking points with no idea of the meaning yourself. Kind of like Bookman, although he knows but being the ideologe he is, truth is not important. Probably, not to you either.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@MarkVV 

Come on Mark, tell us what a republic is and what its tenets are and do the same for a pure or if you choose a direct democracy. I don't expect to hear from you, so I'll bid you a good night now.

MarkVV
MarkVV

@SGTGrit @MarkVV SGTGrit, you won't admit the stupidities you have committed here - that is for certain. And this latest is just another one. You called me a liar because I wrote what you wrote, as documented above.

Why should I educate you, when you show yourself to be incapable of learning? Why do you continue this nonsense about a direct or pure democracy, which nobody has argued we are, and which does not exist anywhere? You have cited “an authority," in which the silly author of the article argued that there was a difference between a republic and representative democracy, and then you admitted that the US was a representative democracy. You just do not know what you are talking about, and you are trying to hide that, making a complete fool of yourself. It is pathetic. You have not contributed a single rational argument to the discussion, only blather.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@MarkVV @SGTGrit 

I'll take that as your admission of defeat. If you can't offer up arguments with references supporting your points then all you're presenting is a foolish rant. I think you're in over your head on this blog. 

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@MarkVV @SGTGrit 

You haven't offered any arguments to contradict. As for supporting references I've provided you with more than just one and so have others. Your problem is that you're just a crybaby who really doesn't know what or how to debate. I've pressed the ignore button on you but go ahead and keep on trolling, you're only succeeding in earning the fool label for yourself on here.

MarkVV
MarkVV

@SGTGrit @MarkVV SGTGrit 5 days ago

we're a republic ( look it up, there's a difference between a republic and a democracy)

You have a choice- you are a liar, or just stupid.

MarkVV
MarkVV

@SGTGrit @MarkVV You have called me a liar when I wrote what you have written: now I am calling you a liar. I have offered arguments you have failed to contradict.  As for "arguments with references, " not only is that an entirely stupid demand, the one reference you have submitted did nothing for your cause, and you have contradicted what it said.