Democrats, and liberals in general, ought to ask themselves if they should accept the Constitution’s institutional invitation to persuade the electoral college to elect Hillary Clinton as president.
I think an important sub question is #WhatWouldRepublicansDo? Republicans have behaved poorly in recent presidencies, and have not shown a serious or responsible attitude toward the constitution, despite their professed fundamentalist worship of it. As we speak, Republicans are obstructing President Obama’s constitutional duty to replace a retired Supreme Court justice. As usual with fundamentalism, the fundamentals and values of Republican obstruction are malleable with hypocrisy and self-serving interpretation. If and when Trump fills the Obama tenure’s vacancy, Republicans will have stolen the judicial branch, which by all rights should include Merrick Garland as justice.
As the nation contemplates this electoral college challenge, it is relevant to note that the electoral college was designed, quite literally, for this exact kind of election. The Framers’ original intent for the electoral college was to prevent a populist mob attempting to confiscate all private property, and 2016’s electors could act upon greater humanistic philosophies to prevent a faux-populist Trumpian mob voting (against their own civic interests) to privatize all public property.
In Federalist No. 68, Alexander Hamilton argues that the electoral college should prevent individuals who are unfit for any number of reasons from being president, going so far as to worry that presidential candidates might someday be directly associated with foreign governments or lack the capacity for the job. Hamilton was imagining a candidate quite like Trump.
Even after winning the election, Trump has yet to reveal his tax records, behavior that suggests he has foreign financial entanglements that will compromise his capability of selflessly governing the country. He certainly has corrupt domestic entanglements, as his children and son-in-law publisher Jared Kushner are simultaneously taking over his business dealings in a not-so-blind-trust and inappropriately involving themselves within the Trump transition.
Meanwhile, investigations regarding Russian influence in both the election at large and Trump’s presidential campaign are heating up, though it’s not as if Trump is much concerned about national interests or security. As reported by the Washington Post, Trump has read only two presidential briefings since his election. The contrast in attention span and intellectual curiosity between Trump and President Obama is stark and regrettable, and Trump has shown a history of alarming ignorance throughout the election on a range of important subjects.
The evidence is damning. Trump is unfit for the presidency. Liberals should collectively invoke Federalist No. 68.
The rationale is obvious, as Hillary Clinton has a demanding lead in the popular vote—nearly two million votes—and each day, while Trump assembles his frighteningly unqualified and privatization-loving cabinet to lead our public government, Hillary’s lead widens. Democrats have now, in five elections, twice won the popular vote but lost the electoral college and consequently the election. Liberals do not have to continue putting up with it.
These electoral upsets are largely due to the states’ apportioning, by confluence of varying population densities and asymmetric state designs, which creates a natural gerrymander for Republicans that inevitably leads to disproportionate rural representation in our state and federal legislative bodies. The Republicans exacerbated this natural gerrymander with unnatural, comically deliberate gerrymanders by politicizing the decennial census-driven congressional redistricting in 2010.
The House, consequently, is virtually unobtainable for Democrats, and Republicans also have disproportionate power in the Senate on account of the disproportionate power of low-populated Republican states. Unsurprisingly, Democratic Senate candidates collectively won 6 million more votes than the collected Republican Senate candidates.
With the unnatural House and natural Senate gerrymanders, Republicans have effectively stolen the legislative branch.
In similar fashion as the Senate, the Electoral College is also organized by state borders, and can cancel the will of the nation as a whole—a la the popular vote—for the will of, essentially, a coalition of regions.
The US has a peculiar political system because of this electoral regionalism. For a proud democracy, US elections are effectively and ironically skewed more toward geography than actual population. Trump lost the popular vote, but he won more states, and the nation is preparing for his inauguration. The Republicans have stolen the executive branch, for the second time since 2000.
So the Republican Party has effectively stolen all three branches of government. #WhatWouldRepublicansDo? Democrats ought to realize that they need to fight as tough as Republicans fight, and that this struggle has become a rural-vs-urban culture war with competing national and foreign-political perspectives that aren’t equally rational. Democrats have somehow been told by the punditry since the election that they need to learn from and understand Trump voters, but that makes no critical sense. The urban consciousness of liberal politics in America is multicultural, diverse, and tolerant, while the rural consciousness of American conservatism is monocultural, white, and intolerant. Which side of the duality needs to learn more about the other? It’s not liberals.
Instead, liberals ought to begin demanding progress, and tirelessly, building the revolution Bernie Sanders tried to ignite before getting handicapped by the Democratic Party. Limousine liberalism is over, and Democrats need new leadership to remake the party’s establishment and ceaselessly and successfully fight the rural-minded tribal strength of conservatism’s easy-answer politics.
Democrats, as the dominant political party in urban cities, must fight for the political representation that they have democratically earned and they democratically deserve. Their candidate won the popular vote by a nearing-2-million-vote margin. As evidenced by the last seven elections, America is a liberal nation. So liberals ought to act like it, and fight for the democracy the People want and vote for consistently.
This is a winnable strategy, and will be backed in future elections by the populational strength of cities, which is on the rise and pioneering the nation’s international cultural trends. The percentage of Americans living in cities is rising steadily, and the Democratic Party must not accept losing to a less popular, rural-dependent Republican Party routinely caught cheating our elections and obstructing liberal progress.
This is the argument for the electoral college to act on their constitutional responsibility to save the country from Trump’s Alt-Right demagoguery: our democracy, public government, and tolerant society are grievously ill with a crippling infection of Republican cancer. It must be fought off.
A perfect microcosm battle of this ideological war is the gubernatorial-wrestling going on in North Carolina. The state’s unpopular incumbent governor, Pat McCrory of bathroom regulation infamy, lost his reelection, but is forcing a recount through court so that the final decision can be dragged before North Carolina’s Republican-controlled House. Republicans are attempting to steal the governorship away from Democrat Roy Cooper, and this is after infamous Republican efforts in the state to disenfranchise voters according to race. #WhatWouldRepublicansDo? Cheat! Why are Democrats across the nation acting and feeling like they lost the election? The entire government belongs to Democrats but Republicans stole all of it, and the first battle in taking it back that liberals can win is North Carolina.
While considering whether or not you, dear reader, should support the electoral college electing Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump, ask yourself #WhatWouldRepublicansDo? If Trump had won the popular vote while losing to Hillary in the Electoral College, is there any doubt that he would be rampaging on talk shows and Twitter about how rigged the system is?