Election 2020 seems to be over but for the shouting and the recounting. Since now recount has ever changed a vote count by more than 400+ ballots and since Biden’s lead is well beyond that in the counties and states he won, this seems a fool’s errand. I suppose though there have been bigger fools on bigger errands.
While this time the winning candidate won the popular vote and the electoral vote he should win the presidency unless there is an unprecidated move to intimate electors not to vote they way they were instructed. Nor should we forget that in some states there are no instructions, only assumptions. And we all know the ditty about assumptions.
Yet the Electoral College will stick in everyone’s craw for a long time. It was designed as the most Republican part of our Republic’s democracy. It was a way to balance the inequities between different size states, states with different populations, different economies.
It coming together, which is another issue, is mandated for a world where horses and carrier pigeons were the fastest things around. And not too many folks could travel by carrier pigeon. Time was needed to get where the electors needed to go. When they got there they cast their ballots and went home.
The rub is that line in the Constitution that says all powers not expressly given to the federal government are expressly reserved to the states. Election law is one such power. Now come two issues derived from that.
No where does it say that the states all have to have the same electoral laws. They don’t. “So change it,” you clamor. Well no where does it say that in calling a constitutional convention for change that the item it was called for has to be the only item on the agenda. There has been no legal test to this so we’re flying blind. Thus if the convention were dominated by one faction or the other (conservatives or progressives) that constitution could well be changed upside down and backwards. Want to run that risk? “Not I,” said the little duck.
So what we must look for it legislation modifications, some of which I’d already written about and don’t have room for here. Suggestion: Google George Will and read his tome, and several articles about modify the College. It is good sound reasoning and fairly easy reading.
When I was studying political science, county government was called, “The Dark Ages of American Government.” Many decades later the moniker still fits, though maybe we could replace dark with shadowy, understanding that in order to have a shadow some light must be present. The states, especially the really large one’s saw an almost unmanageable process facing them so they decided it would be more democratic to let the counties carry the load set for by the states’ election laws. Here is the shocking part. There are 5007 counties in the 50 states. Need I say more?
Yes, I do. It will be a final thought. Is popular election the answer, simplest of them all though it seems to be? In the rush to America from other countries that took place between roughly 1880 and 1920 the tired, hungry, poor, yearning to be free had to hit the ground running or starve. Today’s America, no matter what you think of it’s empathy, does have a social service network, far more people have a fighting chance of survival and upward mobility those those of a century or more ago.
If you look at today’s immigrants they are mostly non-European. Dial up some foreign news and see what’s happening in t he streets of Thailand, or in Armenia, or in Hong Kong. Tom Lehrer of “ditties on the piano fame” in the late 50’s and ’60’s had a song that began, “They’re rioting in Africa…” and the went on to list the clashes taking place around the globe. My point. When tens or hundreds of thousands of immigrants come here, get involved, they bring the democracy they know with them, or the expression of it they think works best.
It we don’t begin to delve deeply into ethnicity, until we don’t use our school, some of which have student bodies representative of 100+ countries, unless we find ways to turn E Pluribus Unum ” from many, one” into from one many–unless we see America as a stewpot and realize that each separate piece in the pot both adds a distinctive richness to the flavor, yet looks exactly as it did when dropped into the pot– we will have a rough go for decades to come–at least from my perspective.
Sweet William is worried but today he wants to be a tutor to those also worried. While a bit dry, his effort is to dry the slime of this election into something like Silly Putty…so that you, dear reader, can massage it until you are comfortable. If you want something less dry for the holidays there’s always, “The War of the Itchy Balls and Other Tales From Brooklyn.” Amazon.com. Kindle or Paperback. ‘good for what ails ya.