On Wednesday, October 19th 2016 Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump did their last Presidential Debate. They spent a little over 90 minutes in Las Vegas Nevada essentially insulting one another. Trump called her a “nasty woman,” a liar, and a failure. Clinton called Trump a greedy misogynist and bully who used his public prominence to enrich himself, take advantage of women, and exploit employees of his business empire.
When the Fox news moderator, Chris Wallace, asked Donald Trump if he would give a concession speech if he lost the election Trump refused to give an answer. He said he would keep the moderator and the public in suspense until that moment arrived. The implication being that he would not concede the election if he lost. The next day at a rally Trump stated that he would give a speech if he won the election.
The press and many others were shocked by Trump’s comments and attitudes. Presumably no one in the entire history of the United States has ever not conceded the election they lost. Trump was presumably either going against precedent or setting a new precedent. He was basically upsetting the passage of power from one president to another. And in the process questioning the entire Democratic System. He was placing himself ahead of his country.
Wallace and the press reacted as though a concession speech by the loser is an absolute ritual in passing power from one president to another. By not doing it the entire process is questioned. The feeling among many is that Trump is placing himself before the good of the American Republic. His ego is more important than the welfare of the United States.
If we go back in U.S. history and look at the Election of 1824 we find that at that time there was only one political party, the Democratic-Republican Party. There were initially five candidates for the presidency that year. Each was from a different section of the United States and was their section’s favorite son. One of the candidates suddenly died before the election; consequently the country ended up with four candidates from the same political party. Andrew Jackson, the Western candidate received the most votes. John Quincey Adams came next. None of the four candidates had enough votes to win the presidency. According to the Constitution in such instances the choice fell to the House of Representatives. They, in turn skipped General Andrew Jackson and chose John Quincey Adams as the man best equipped to become President of the United States.
Andrew Jackson felt that he should have been chosen, as he had the most popular votes. He, with the aid of his followers, began an anti-administration newspaper which attacked everything the Adams administration did over the next four years. In 1828 he again ran for the presidency and won the election. By then, there was the Jacksonian Democrats and a new political party, the Whigs, which consisted of most of the elements within the society that opposed the Jacksonian Democrats.
Their name came from the antimonarchist party in England. They stigmatized the seventh president as King Andrew and were derided by Jacksonian Democrats as the party devoted to the interests of wealth and aristocracy. They won the election of 1840 with James Polk as well as several other presidential elections. By 1860 they had, with other political groups, coalesced into the new Republican Party that elected Abraham Lincoln in 1860.
Trump has had one of his sons investigating to see if he could gain control of a television network. If he succeeds he may plan to oppose everything that President Hillary Clinton does over her four years in office. Trump would run again as the Republican candidate in 2020. He would be 74 years old at that time. That is the same age at which Ronald Reagan began his second term in office, January 20, 1985 to January 20, 1988.
Will this happen? Probably not. Donald Trump claims to have over ten billion dollars but his web site is continually asking for contributions, no matter how small. Also he has continually refused to disclose his income tax data, and that is even after it has been proven that he paid no income taxes for the last 18 years. The factors, which it seems very important to him to keep secret, are his actual yearly income and the real extent of his wealth. He certainly doesn’t want it to be known that he is just a plain millionaire and not really a billionaire. With secrecy he can claim anything and no one can prove otherwise. And Trump loves to exaggerate everything, including the size of his body parts.
Before the election, Trump has put together a TV program which will support his run for the presidency for the last two weeks of his campaign. On Monday, October 24, fifteen days before the Presidential Election Donald Trump launched what is supposed to be the first of a nightly Facebook Live Program on Facebook. His campaign sent an email to his supporters around 6:30 Eastern Time to alert them that “Trump Tower Live” would describe nightly coverage from Trump Tower. The program, which consisted of discussion essentially by key members of his staff, attacked mainstream media accusing them of intentionally misleading voters about the closeness of the race, accusing them of promoting “phony polls. Apparently this is supposed to continue every night through the election.
It should be noted that the Constitution says nothing about concession speeches. All that is required today is 270 electoral votes out of 538 possible votes.
The Constitution, Article II, states that: “The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the term of four Years. . . . Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislators may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress. . . .The Electors shall meet in their prospective States, and vote by ballot for two Persons. . . . And they shall make a List of all the Persons voted for, and of the Number of Votes for each; which list they shall sign and certify, and transmit to the Seat of Government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate. The President of the Senate shall, in the Presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the Certificates, and the Votes shall then be counted. The Person having the greatest number of votes shall then be President, if such number be a majority of the whole Number of Electors appointed.”
The 12th Amendment to the Constitution, passed in 1803, has the electors vote separately for the President and Vice President. In the Presidential Election of 1800 both Democratic-Republican candidates received the same number of electoral votes and the election was thrown to the House of Representatives. They chose Thomas Jefferson, who had run as the Presidential candidate. The Vice Presidential candidate, Aron Burr would later kill Alexander Hamilton in a duel. He had swung the election to Jefferson. After 1803 that problem never arose again.
Even though, on the election ballot, we vote for a presidential candidate, we are not actually voting for him or her. We are, in fact, voting for an invisible elector who will vote for the specific candidate.
The Founding Fathers did not quite trust the property owning masses to vote directly for the president. Also the Senate was originally elected by the legislators of each particular state. The people did not directly vote for them until the passing of the 17th Amendment in 1913. The people of the country did directly elect the members of the House of Representatives and because of that, they were given the “power of the purse;” all money bills have to originate in the House of Representatives.
It is an interesting bit of irony that the Republican majority in the House of Representatives over the last six years has been the major impediment in the functioning of the Federal Government. By their inactivity they have been able to maintain to a certain extent the conditions of the Great Recession. They have successfully, even though many Republicans disavow him now, made Donald Trump their candidate.
If Trump were to be successful in gaining full or partial control of a TV station after losing the election and runs that station daily over the next four years opposing everything President Hillary Clinton attempts during her turn as President, could he then be successful in a Presidential Election in the year 2020? The answer to that question is possibly.
The Republicans have been successful in controlling the House of Representatives since 2011. They have been able to do this because in the Election of 2010 they gained a large number of state legislatures and governorships. 2010 was a census year and new voting districts were drawn in all 50 states. These state election victories allowed them to gerrymander the boundaries of all the states they controlled. In 2012 there were about one-and-a-quarter million more Democratic votes cast in the nation for members of the House of Representatives than the Republicans but the Republicans still retained control of the House. This may well continue through the Elections of 2016 and 2018.
The probability is that the Republicans will maintain the majority in the House of Representatives under President Clinton and, if the present is any indication, continue behaving there as they have for the last six years. We will continue to have gridlock and virtually nothing will happen. There will continue to be war between the two political parties. The Republicans will continue attempting to force their will upon the Democrats through their normal form of blackmail, adding riders to necessary bills in order to forcibly bring their agenda about.
Trump’s base, his followers, will continue to become frustrated and disillusioned with Washington, D.C. They may well be joined by many of those who have not registered with either party. Consequently they could well make up fifty percent of the voting population.
One commentator came out with the comment that the word Trump more and more reminds him of the Nazi symbol. I suspect over the next four years Trump could become even more rigid in his demands. And the primaries are open elections in which Trump could easily run again to be chosen the Republican presidential candidate.
The Republican dominated House of Representatives has again begun playing its old games with the Federal Budget. They have refused to pass a yearly budget for the United States. Currently the country has a budget until the middle of December 2016. The temporary law will then be revisited with all sorts of new demands by the current House of Representatives before they go out of existence and a new House comes into being. They will, in all probability, pass another three month temporary extension of the budget.
The money appropriated for the Zika epidemic was 800 million dollars short of what was requested by the assorted medical facilities that are dealing with the problem. This will be revisited by the next House of Representatives long before the end of 2017. The general public will become even more frustrated with Washington.
Basically the Republican House by its actions will create a very solid base for Donald Trump to run as their candidate in 2020 for the presidency of the United States. Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, who has refused to campaign with Trump because of Trump’s crassness against women, will be the one who is creating the setting that could well make Donald J. Trump the President of the United States in 2020. And all this is being made possible because the Republicans cannot communicate and negotiate with the Democrats.
Trump has loudly and continually accused the media, which he considers partisan of releasing “rigged polls” that place Hillary Clinton ahead of him. It seems he knows he has won all three debates with her and is sure he is ahead of her with the voters. I seem to remember that in 2012 the Republican leadership did not believe the polls because they favored Barack Obama and not Mitt Romney. They were shocked when Obama won the election. The polls were correct. For inaccurate polls we have to go back to the Election of 1948, when Dewey ran against Truman. Presumably the pollsters have made massive corrections in their polling techniques since then.
We will wait for the results of the 2016 Election before evaluating this election. I suspect Trump will lose by quite a large number. This is true even with the new release of non-information by the head of the FBI to Republican members of the Senate and House of Representatives about so-called new Clinton emails.
It is also interesting to note that with the Electoral System, depending upon the population of the individual states, every vote is not equal. In the heavily populated states like California and New York the individual vote is worth far less than in the sparsely inhabited states like Alaska, Rhode Island or Delaware.
To date there have been two elections where the man chosen by the Electoral College did not receive the majority of the popular vote: the first was the Republican, Rutherford Hayes in 1876, who became the United States President even though the Democrat, Samuel Tilden, won the popular vote; and the second was the Republican, George W. Bush in 2001, who became President even though the Democrat, Al Gore, received the majority of the popular vote.
We can certainly use another Amendment to the Constitution. It would be worthwhile to pass such an amendment before the situation arises again and also it would be fairer for all the American people to make each vote of equal value.