On Tuesday, October 8, the 2016 Presidential Election
was held. Surprisingly, the winner that emerged was Donald J. Trump. Clinton went into the election clearly as the favorite. According to a phone call with some of her staff she blamed her loss upon the FBI Director, James Comey.
Early in his tenure as Attorney General, Eric Holder stated that it was essential that no government agency take sides in any political activity. James Comey, the Director of the FBI, did that when he announced toward the beginning of July 2015 that the FBI was investigating the Emails of Hillary Clinton that were sent through a private server when she was Secretary of State. This went against FBI policy, announcing an investigation while it was in process. In essence, whether he meant to do it or not, Director Comey was both putting himself and the FBI in the middle of a Presidential Election and influencing its possible outcome. This had not happened since the days of the first Director, J. Edgar Hoover, who used the agency for political purposes innumerable times. It was, however, against the instructions of Obama’s first Attorney General and the practices of the institution.
The outcome of that investigation was that Clinton had been careless but had done nothing prosecutable. The investigation did, however, cast a shadow over her campaign.
Shortly before the election, while early voting was going on in many states, in a different case, an investigation against Antony Weiner communicating inappropriately with a 15 year old girl in another state, presumably more Clinton Emails were found. Weiner’s estranged wife, Huma Abedin, who was one of Clinton’s close aides, had apparently used Weiner’s laptop computer. Abedin didn’t know how the Emails got onto the computer. Even the number of them on the computer was unknown. The FBI needed a court order to look at the Emails, consequently none had been read. Only their existence was known. Comey issued this information to the Republican heads of all the Congressional committees in a letter. They, in turn, released this information to the press with fictitious statements as to what the Emails contained. Donald Trump in his campaign quoted the unread emails.
Three days before the election Comey announced that the Emails had been duplicates of those seen earlier. There was no case against Clinton. But the damage had been done. Several million people had already voted. Comey had taken the FBI to a new level, it had become a political organization.
Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by 1.4 million votes. But Trump had 290 Electoral votes to Hillary’s 228. The American Democracy does not count each vote equally. When the Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution there were thirteen states which had been incorporated together under the Articles of Confederation. In essence there were thirteen sovereign independent little nations that had acted together during the Revolutionary War and continued to act together under the Articles. But each was sovereign; they could go their own way at any time. The delegates under the Articles had very little actual authority to do anything. When any major decisions about anything had to be made they had to go back to their state legislatures for instructions and, as a final step, all had to agree for the measure to be passed.
Before the Revolutionary War the large Southern Planters all owed English merchants millions of dollars which they refused to pay now that they had won their independence. The prewar situation had been such that these rich planters could order anything they wanted through these English merchants: furniture, building materials of all sorts, clothing, whatever, and the merchants would supply whatever they asked for and deduct the costs from their clients slave raised crops or lumber or whatever else they got from the planters. The planters generally exceeded their crop profits. Eventually massive amounts of monies were owed. After the Revolutionary War the planters considered themselves debt free. Some of the English merchants sued in American state courts, but they always lost their suit. No American jury would give them anything.
In the new country in Massachusetts the tidewater merchants who ran the government needed to raise a certain amount in taxes. Transportation at that time was very poor and Inland farmers who raised grain all had stills and turned their excess grain into whiskey, which was much easier to carry to places where it could be sold or traded for needed household goods or whatever else they wanted. The coastal lawmakers placed the tax on whiskey. What occurred was called Shay’s Rebellion of 1786 – 1787. Daniel Shay argued that if the Southern planters could make their debts disappear so could the inland farmers.
The problem was solved when former General George Washington called out the National Guard. These were tidewater civilians, many of them veterans of the Revolutionary War, who formed up and went inland. As the soldiers appeared the Rebellion disintegrated. Some men were arrested and taken back to the coastal city areas. Washington eventually pardoned all of them but they had been away from their farms for months. Thereafter they paid their taxes.
This was probably one of the main reasons for the Constitutional Convention which met in the state legislative capital in Philadelphia during the summer of 1787, from May 25 through September 17. They claimed that they were going to amend the Articles of Confederation. But they met in secret, taking no notes during their meetings. After quickly coming to the conclusion that the Articles of Confederation by themselves could never be effective as a document of government they decided under their Chairman, George Washington, to write a new document. This was the Constitution.
The group, under Washington’s leadership, was essentially made up of the leading men of property. Among other things they had their own self-interest at heart. They wanted a government that was strong enough to protect them and their self-interest and free enough to gain the support of the entire population.
In the process of working out the Constitution they faced a number of problems. One of these was that among the thirteen states there were large and small states. The small states wanted their rights; they did not want to be overshadowed by the larger states. This brought about the idea of a bicameral legislature. Each State would be given two Senators, older and more stable men who were 35 or older, and a House of Representatives, younger men who were 25 or older and elected every two years. The Senate would be elected every six years and their election would be staggered into thirds every two years so the government could maintain a continuation of whatever it was doing.
The House would be elected directly by men owning property and represent the property owning yeoman; the Senate by the State Legislatures and represent them. The President would be elected by an Electoral College, the members of which would be the wisest men in the region and they would pick the best man in the United States to be President. This would be done every four years. There was no thought at this point of political parties. If no one person received enough votes then the House of Representatives would choose the President. Everyone agreed that George Washington would be the first President.
Under this system the votes are not equal. Today they count for much more in the smaller states than in the larger ones. There are 435 members of the House of Representatives, the number is fixed. Each State has two senators and currently anything, depending upon population, from one to 55 representatives in the House of Representatives. The number of electoral votes is fixed to the number of senators and house members; that is 535 electoral votes.
In the 2016 Presidential Election the people elected Hillary Clinton with 1.4 million addition votes for Hillary Clinton but the Midwestern States gave the election to Donald J. Trump. It was not a fair election. It’s time to again amend the Constitution. All citizens now have the vote, both male and female, property owners and renters. All votes should be equally counted.
There is another interesting point to be made. The House and Senate are fixed at 435 House members and 100 Senators. The population of the United States grows every year. Every ten years a census is taken of the populations and the number of House of Representative Districts are reassigned on the basis of the population changes or reapportionment. Each state legislature then redraws the new legislative districts within each state’s boundaries. In many cases, particularly when the Republicans control the majority of state governments, the voting districts are gerrymandered to give the majority state party the voting advantage. They can take any shape as long as the line is continuous.
In 2010 the Republicans gained control of most states. They gerrymandered the Election Districts to their advantage, giving them control of the House of Representatives from 2011 on. In the 2012 Midterm Election about 1 ¼ million more Democrats voted for members of the House but the Republicans still ended up with the majority of House seats that year. Gerrymandering can fragment strong Democratic districts attaching them, on a piecemeal basis, as small parts of Republican dominated districts. This is blatantly unfair.
The Constitution has been amended numerous times. Its initial object was to create, for the first time, a late 18th Century a Democratic Document of government. It was the first time a Democracy came into existence since Ancient Athens. The 15th Amendment in 1870 gave every male, regardless of color, the right to vote. The 17th Amendment in 1913 made the people of each individual state responsible for electing their senators. The 19th Amendment in 1919 gave women the right to vote. The 24th Amendment in 1965 did away with the poll tax. The 26th Amendment in 1971 reduced the voting age to eighteen. If you were old enough to fight and die for your country you were old enough to vote. It’s time for a 28th Amendment to the Constitution. We have had three Republican Presidents who have stolen elections: one in 1876, one in 2001, and one in 2017. Every vote cast for the President should count equally. In a true Democracy the People are supposed to rule.
Another major problem with the 2016 Presidential Election was the fact that voter turnout was the lowest in years. The Republicans tend to do well when voter turnout is forcibly and/or voluntarily reduced. In this election, despite numerous lawsuits to stop the process, there was a lot of voter suppression. In the State of Texas in 2014 it exceeded 200,000. In 2016 it could have been higher.
In addition the two major candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were both the two most disliked Presidential candidates in United States history. Clinton was polled at a negative 60% level and Trump, at a 75% level. Fifty-four percent of the population voted; forty-six percent of the population stayed at home and did not vote. Still even though Hillary Clinton had the majority of votes she had far less than President Obama received four years ago.
Donald J. Trump was guilty of everything he accused Clinton of being and doing. He has just settled a fraud class action lawsuit about Trump University which was scheduled to begin on November 28, 2016. Trump had previously denounced the Judge as being of Mexican heritage numerous times. The Judge had recommended that this case, that was filed 2010, be settled out of court. On Friday November 18, Trump settled this and two other Trump University class action suits for 25 million dollars. Without admitting guilt Trump will be paying each of the class action participants about half of what they spent at Trump University. If any or all the cases had gone to trial Trump could also have been guilty of fraud and have been impeached for “High Crimes and Misdemeanors” by the Republican dominated House of Representatives and found guilty in a trial by the Republican dominated Senate.
As far as I know there is still a 40 million dollar fraud suit by the State of New York which could also include participation by other states that were involved. Also there is a criminal investigation going on concerning Trump’s Tax Free Foundation by the State of New York. Forty-one other states could also participate in this case because Trump, among other things, tends to ignore state government laws, particularly dealing with his Foundation. The IRS is also probably involved in this since the monies involved were tax free and probably shouldn’t have been.
As a side comment: What I find interesting is that the FBI could investigate The Clinton Foundation, which has a more positive rating than the Red Cross but not bother with the Trump Foundation where the evidence of wrong-doing is blatant.
Hillary Clinton has been demonized since she was the First Lady in Arkansas in 1979. She was then called the Lady Macbeth of Little Rock by several Republican writers. She has been demonized continually since 1979 for essentially pushing for anti-Republican reform. Presumably Hillary Clinton has never been a proper wife but has been as aggressive toward reform as her husband. Obviously this behavior, to Republicans, is not being a proper lady.
Where people believe, whose lives are very busy and don’t pay too much attention to the Federal Government other than on election years, is where there’s smoke there has to be fire or if it wasn’t at least partially true the Republicans would never bring it up. What has been created is a negative myth about her. Every one of us has made some mistakes over our lifetime or have done some stupid things but these acts do not define us. Our entire lives do. Hillary Clinton has worked, and in many cases successfully, to improve conditions around her, particularly for women and children. To her “Women’s rights are human rights.”
The negative myths about her are just that, negative myths created by the Republicans to put her in her place. Kevin McCarthy, Charlie McCarthy’s younger cousin, announced over the weekend of November 12th that the House of Representatives’ agenda does not include hearings on Clinton, which were promised for at least the next two years if she were elected President. They may eventually amend the agenda to hold hearing on Donald J. Trump. If they could dump Trump then Mike Pence, a good Republican, would be President of the United States and the House could probably do anything it wanted. That could be the best of all possible worlds for them.