Donald Trump news

Donald_Trump_(8567813820)_(2) (1)The Electoral College officially elected Donald Trump president.  Despite all of the efforts to persuade electors to overturn the election results, only six members of the college were “unfaithful electors,” not voting for the person they were supposed to, though this tied a record.  Two Republicans refused to vote for Trump, but  four Democrats refused to vote for Hillary Clinton. (Three other Democrats were also going to refuse to vote for Clinton, but they were replaced by their states.)

Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by 2.8 votes, but this is completely attributable to her huge plurality in only one state:  California.  If it weren’t for California, Trump would have won the popular vote by 1.4 million votes.  So if California secedes from the union, as some citizens of the Golden State are wanting to do, that will greatly affect America’s politics.  (See also this.)

Trump is planning to keep his private security force to supplement his Secret Service protection.  This violates tradition.  Some critics say his long-time security detail has a reputation for roughing up protesters.  Former Secret Service agents say having a second security team is a formula for confusion.  But I suspect a president who is so hated by so many people could use an extra layer of security.

Photo by Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America (Donald Trump) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

Electoral College Day, then and now

640px-Scene_at_the_Signing_of_the_Constitution_of_the_United_StatesThe Electoral College meets today, with the designated electors meeting in state capitols to cast their vote for president.  In most states, electors are required, by law or by oath, to vote according to the election results of their state.  Nevertheless, this year electors are receiving thousands of e-mails, letters, and phone calls, insisting on the autonomy of the electoral college and begging them not to put Trump in office.  Even Democratic electors are being pressured not to vote for Clinton but a more conventional Republican, in the hopes of attracting enough Republican electors to switch from Trump.

In the first presidential election, each state voted, either popularly or by state legislature, for upstanding citizens and trusted local leaders who gathered together to deliberate on who would make the best president.  They voted, and the winner would become president.  That first Electoral College chose, unanimously, George Washington.  There hasn’t been a better president since.

But soon political parties came into existence, nominating their candidates. The electors came to represent a particular party.  They began to all be selected by a popular vote.  And soon we had the system we do today.  (See this for the history of the Electoral College.)

Would you favor going back to the original Constitutional method of picking a president? [Read more…]

Democrats lost because they raised religious liberty fears

2519766036_d988be0058_zThe reason the Democrats lost, argues David Bernstein in the Washington Post, is that their words, actions, and policies made large numbers of Christians afraid that their religious liberty is in jeopardy.  So even though they had major qualms about Donald Trump, they voted for him in large enough numbers to give him the victory.

Bernstein’s point, I believe, is that Democrats wouldn’t have to threaten religious liberty to meet their major policy goals.  The country could have gay marriage without punishing those who don’t believe in it.  The country could have legalized and insurance-subsidized abortion without making religious people pay for it.  LGBT folks could have legal rights and find acceptance–probably more acceptance– even if they made some accommodation to religious sensitivities.  And yet, Democrats threatened and demonized Christians, oblivious to the fact that this meant that a very  large percentage of the American public would not be voting for them.

Read Bernstein’s analysis after the jump.  Is he describing you? [Read more…]

CIA says Russia helped Trump 

41d3e943e7f3eb460e44 The CIA says that Russia deliberately interfered in the American election in order to help elect DonalTrump.  Russian hackers broke into e-mails of both the Democratic and the Republican national committees, but turned over only the Democratic batch to Wikileaks.  The correspondence between Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta and various Democratic operatives proved highly embarrassing to her campaign and likely cost her some votes.

Trump and his people are denying the Russian involvement–but how do they know?  The CIA report doesn’t accuse the Trump campaign of collusion with the Russians.  And there is nothing to deny the legitimacy of Trump’s election.  I suspect the CIA has tried to help one candidate or the other in various foreign elections.  But still. . . .

This casts a cloud on any attempts by the new administration to improve relations with Russia, which Trump has said he wants to do.  Which is why, of course, the Putin regime wanted him to win.  For other problems it creates, see this.  The biggest issue, though, is that if a hostile foreign power can manipulate America’s democracy, we have a national security problem that the military can’t protect us from.
[Read more…]

The triumphs of nationalism

photo-1454991170847-afc8d5b828dd_optThe victory of Donald Trump–along with other political insurgencies in England, France, Italy, and other countries–was a triumph of nationalism.  It was not a triumph of conservatism, though conservatism went along for the ride and is generally hospitable to nationalism.  But the new political force is, above all, a rejection of globalism in favor of local cultures and a revival of the nation-state.  So says Mark L. Movesian in a stimulating essay, quoted and linked after the jump.

He says that nationalism can be either beneficial or malign.  Which do you think it will be this time, both in the United States and in the other countries where nationalism is coming back with a vengeance?

[Read more…]

America’s first Independent president?

Donald_Trump_by_Gage_Skidmore_12Donald Trump not only beat the Democrats.  Before that, he beat the Republicans. Dan Balz argues that Trump, in effect, is America’s first Independent president.

He doesn’t mention it, but Bernie Sanders is an actual Independent, who ran in the Democratic primaries.  So this was the year a big proportion of Americans voted against both party establishments, though in the context of a two-party system.  What Trump did, Balz says, is pull off a “hostile takeover” of the Republican party.

Read his argument after the jump, after which I offer a few thoughts of my own.

[Read more…]