The people have spoken. Now the College of Electors will decide.
Wisconsin’s 10 presidential electors meet at high noon today, Monday 12-19-16, in the State Capitol to perform their quadrennial duty: the election of a president of the UnitedStates. Donald Trump surprised everyone by winning Wisconsin and a majority of states for a decisive 306 to 232 majority in the Electoral College despite losing the national popular vote by some 2.8 million.
Now it’s the other side who say the system is rigged. A furious campaign is underway to find 37 electors somewhere in America to bolt. One of those electors, my Cleveland convention friend Brian Westrate of Fall Creek (near Eau Claire), has been snowed under with over 60,000 e-mails and, Saturday alone, the mailman delivered almost 1,000 letters. His experience is replicated throughout the nation. Hollywood celebrities are recording videos; liberals editorial pages are shrieking with indignation.
Their message: Go full-bore Sarah Palin rogue. Either switch to Hillary or bolt for someone else. In some states, there’s nothing to stop them from voting Blaska. If no one gets 270, it goes to the House of Reps, which chooses among the top three electoral college vote getters.
Even curiouser, as Alice would say, Paul Ryan’s House of Reps votes by state. In other words, Wisconsin has one vote just like California. Therein lies the key to unlock the mystery of the Electoral College and the nature of the USA. (More on that in a bit.)
Overnight, our l-p-s (liberal-progressive-socialist) acquaintances have discovered a flaw in the Constitution. Having identified the crime, they now aspire to motive and culprit. Who wrote that once-hallowed document? White men! Many of them, slaveholders!
Electoral College helped end slavery
“The electoral college had nothing to do with slavery. … If anything, it was the electoral college that made it possible to end slavery, since Abraham Lincoln earned only 39% of the popular vote in the election of 1860 but won a crushing victory in the electoral college.” — Gettysburg historian Allen Guelzo and D.C. attorney James Hulme in the Washington Post.
Comrade John Nichols is up today with an excoriation: “The Electoral College does not exist as a quality-control mechanism. It exists as a check and balance against popular democracy.”
John is half correct. It does act as a check and balance. But in so doing, it is very much a quality-control mechanism.
The Policy Werkes here at the Stately Manor advocates the right of presidential electors to vote their conscience, just as it advocated the same freedom for political convention delegates. We don’t believe in show trials or show legislatures. Neither did did Alexander Hamilton, now celebrated on the Broadway stage.
Like James Madison and most Founders, Hamilton feared mobocracy and the passions of the moment. In Federalist #68 Hamilton vowed fealty to the “sense [that] the people should operate in the choice.” But, as a safeguard, the electors so chosen would be people “most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the station and acting under circumstances favorable to deliberation, and to a judicious combination of all the reasons and inducements which were proper to govern their choice.”
Such men would be “most likely to have the information and discernment” to pass final judgment, weeding out anyone “not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications.”
The United States
The United States of America is, as the name suggests, a collection of states operating in conjunction with a national government. Those states retain the powers when they entered into the bargain of 1787 and the ratification of the Constitution that governs this country. That is the rationale behind the U.S. Senate; each state got two votes in the upper house as a bulwark for small states like Rhode Island and Delaware against tyranny at the hands of large states like Virginia and Pennsylvania.
The states are not a departement as in France — a mere administrative district of the national government — but a sovereign entity within its own sphere.
Like many other l-p-s acquaintances, Comrade John demands the repeal of the Electoral College. Problem is, it can only be abolished by a constitutional amendment. That requires approval from three-fourths of the states (there’s that concept again).
Aside from the low-electoral-vote and very red states of the West, you think small blue states like Vermont, Delaware, Rhode Island, are going to approve? Counting states with 4 and the minimum 3 electoral votes gets you 13 states.
Oops! There goes your three-quarters!
In any event, 29 states bind their electors to the winner of that state’s general election, Wisconsin included. Our electors are: Kim Babler of Madison, Brian Westrate, Kim Travis of Williams Bay, GOP state chairman Brad Courtney of Whitefish Bay, Kathy Kiernan of Richfield, Dan Feyen of Fond du Lac, Jim Miller of Hayward, Bill Berglund of Sturgeon Bay, and national committeemen Steve King of Janesville and Mary Buestrin of River Hills.
Blaska’s Bottom Line: Your squire was Never Hillary and Never Trump but the man has behaved well, even presidential, in the six weeks since. His appointments are fabulous. Even Blaska would vote Trump on Monday, as Wisconsin’s and enough of the other states’ electors surely will.