Tuesday, December 27, 2016

President-Elect Trump vs the media

On June 16, 2015 Donald J. Trump rode his escalator down in Trump Tower and announced he was running for the President of the United States. Leading up to that announcement, he talked about several reasons why he had decided to run. The most controversial of which was illegal immigration.

His announcement was pretty much considered a novelty by the media. Much like George Perot was back in 1992. The difference is that Trump was running as a Republican and Perot ran as an independent. Trump said he wouldn’t take money from donors. That he’d not owe anyone any favors because he would self fund saying “I’m really rich.”

Trump got a lot of free press coverage. He was bombastic, and not afraid to call out politicians, including Republicans, for saying things to get elected  but not following through. He said politicians would not do what’s needed to “make America great again.”

While talking about immigration, he said that Mexico was not sending their best and brightest but instead sending murderers, rapists, and some were good. He was talking about the videos we saw in 2014 of people riding on top of trains, and walking from Mexico to the United States and crossing the border illegally. The media turned it into Trump being biased against Mexicans.

The media never believed that Trump could have a chance. First, he’s a businessman and never been in politics before. Second, there were twelve other candidates announced and more coming totaling 17.

By the time of the first debate, the question was, if Trump doesn’t win the Republican nomination, will he pledge to support whoever the nominee is or become an independent. He didn’t commit until a week or so later.

Trump proved he could make news. This saved him from spending millions of dollars in advertising. In addition, Hillary had several problems. Over 60% of Americans felt she was not honest. She was considered a flawed candidate and about the only thing going for her was that she was a female. Trump being in the race and leading, caused less discussion of Hillary’s flaws to devote time to the news Trump was making. At one point, with the E-mail scandal and the personal server, the press spent less than one minute talking about that but spent 29 minutes talking about Trumps comments on Access Hollywood in 2005, 11 years ago.

There just wasn’t enough time on the news for much discussion of Jeb Bush, who was the presumed to be candidate against Hillary prior to Trump getting much of the news coverage.

Bush’s poor showing in the beginning caused him to spend millions of dollars to get his message but he couldn’t break through the news that Trump was getting. Carly Fiorina’s showing in the first debate at the secondary table took away more news from Bush and Dr. Ben Carson’s rise in the polls took even more away. Three non politicians were getting more coverage than Bush despite the dollars he was paying in advertising.

The predictions of the pundits were all about someone else winning the nomination. When Bush dropped out, it became about Senator Rubio or Senator Cruz. Then Rubio dropped out and the personal attacks by Cruz on Trump and by Trump on Cruz lead the news until Trump won it outright.

With the convention coming, the talk in the media was all about a brokered convention and keeping Trump from the nomination. From the day that Trump got in nobody in the media gave him a chance. Once he secured the nomination, it was how to grab the nomination through the brokered convention. The press had been proven wrong each time.

The main story once the nomination was secured was how evil the supporters were for chanting “lock her up”.  But then the Democrat convention started and the Kahn controversy started up. Night after night and week after week, the media hammered Trump on the Kahn family and had nearly zero focus on Hillary’s legal problems.

Leading up to the election, the media spent most of their time criticizing Trump for holding rallies but not having a ground game. He was running a campaign that was not the standard campaign as it’s always been done. They focused on White Women with a college education, white women without college educations. Blacks, Hispanics, white men both college educated and non college educated white men and told us how each group would vote.

They criticized him for going to Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, three traditionally Democrat states. They said he should have been spending his time in places that he had a chance to win.

They criticized him for pointing out the press at his rallies and saying how dishonest they are. They claimed they were afraid that it would lead to people attacking the press corps at his rallies but said next to nothing when it was found that Hillary was paying someone to have people come to Trump rallies and start the very problems they were criticizing Trump for.  

On Election Day, they predicted that it would be an early night with some predicting what time they’d be calling the election for Hillary. When it got to be 2:00 in the morning and it was almost a certainty that Trump was going to win, they were trying to figure out how the polls could have gotten it so wrong. Rarely have we heard about how the media had it wrong except to say that it was a huge upset.

Since the election they constantly remind everyone they interview (usually each other) that Hillary won the popular vote. Until the past couple of days they’ve talked about the reasons why Hillary may have lost but haven’t. They really spoken to the people. Reince Preibus, the former RNC chair and now Trump said they’d be looking at re-arranging the press briefings and the media now is concerned about their seating arrangements.

There should be a separation in the media. Reporters should be giving unbiased reports while the television shows don’t need to hide their bias. That bias has led to Fox News being number one for better than ten years. Fox News is more conservative but bring in a balance of the two sides while the others, such as CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS will have liberals outnumbering conservatives on their panels. MSNBC doesn’t even pretend. They don’t bring very many conservatives on. When they don’t put liberals on, they bring in Moderate Republicans.

Apparently, the media has misinterpreted the First Amendment where it says Freedom of the Press. Freedom of the press was to allow for the press to report events and not have a government telling them what to report and what not to report. However, they have created their own problems by not being honest and reporting to the people.

How many times have we heard the press misinterpret (purposely or not) what newsmakers say. How many times have we seen the media cozy up to the leaders of this country? In many cases, it’s too cozy of a relationship and the people suffer due to the lack of accurate news. That’s been very apparent in this election and since.

You’re welcome to comment.


Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Should the Electoral College be Eliminated?

There has been a lot of talk lately about the Electoral College in Presidential elections. Naturally, some of this is sour grapes because for the second time in 5 elections, the candidate with the most votes did not win the election. First in 2000 when Al Gore got more of the popular vote but lost the electoral vote, and again this  year when Hillary Clinton got nearly 2.5 million more votes than Donald Trump but lost the electoral vote.

This years election has been very charged up with protests all across the country, and even some celebrities put out an ad telling Republican electors to be “heroes” by not voting for Trump. The press, naturally, has been calling it a non story but reporting it every day for the past two weeks and the pundits have included it  in their nightly programs and the Sunday news shows. The results ended up with Hillary losing  four votes and Trump gaining two votes.

The electoral college is made up of 538 votes. These are real people. They are chosen in both parties in the election. The 538 are the total of the numbers in the House (438) and the numbers in the Senate (100).

Those electors are supposed to vote the will of the people but they are not required to by federal law. The group that is chosen is based on who won the state in the election. For example. Michigan has 16 electoral votes. Trump had roughly 10,000 more votes in Michigan than Hillary, so he won the state. The electors chosen to vote came from the Republican side. However, in California, Hillary got more of the popular vote so she won the 55 electoral votes for that state. California then sent the 55 electors from the Democrat party to do the voting. There are two states that divide up their electoral votes. Maine and Nebraska, which divide their votes by congressional district.

The Electoral College was created at the Constitutional Convention and has had several changes since. There were problems that the Electoral college were supposed to solve. First they wanted the President to be chosen by the Congress. They backed off on that because the Congress could be made up of a class or select group of people. If we look at how hard it is to remove incumbents from office it made sense not to have the President chosen by Congress.

Then it was suggested that he be chosen by the citizens. This became a problem because heavy populated areas would be choosing the President and the smaller states or sporadically populated would be left out. The southern states didn’t have the population that the northern states had. They wanted their slaves counted for their population, despite them claiming that slaves were property rather than people.

Even in the north, small states such as Delaware and Rhode Island have small populations and wouldn’t have the same weight in a Presidential election. Then Roger Sherman of Connecticut came up with a compromise called the Connecticut Compromise. The Electoral College was born.

There could also be a problem if a person were elected but died before taking office or a person with bad character. As an example, Alexander Hamilton was killed in a duel with Aaron Burr. At the time Burr was the sitting Vice President. But imagine if he had just been chosen the new Vice President, but not yet in office at the time of the duel. Had Burr been charged and convicted of murder, he’d be the incoming Vice President as a murderer.

While the electors are supposed to vote based on the will of the voters and how they voted in their state, they are not required to by federal law. However, the states have enacted laws that make it nearly impossible for them to vote any other way.

This is in direct contrast to the purpose of the electors. While they are supposed to vote for their candidate, there are legitimate reasons for them to have that ability to choose someone else. Imagine if Hillary had been elected this year. Also imagine that a day or two after the election the Justice Department indicted her for the personal server and subsequent loss of state secrets, which many thought she should have been. This would be a reason to not put her in office. While not convicted, this could be reason to prevent her from becoming President.

The protests this year are due to people’s impression of Trump that is mainly press driven (more to be written on this at a later date) among other things. We have had Presidents and candidates that have used drugs (Obama admitted it), alcohol (Bush admitted to it), sexual assault (Clinton didn’t admit to it, but settled the lawsuit for $850,000 and loss of his license to practice law), and others.

Maine and Nebraska may have the best plan for the electoral voting by having them count according to how each congressional district votes with the additional two awarded to the winner of the state. That would not have gotten Hillary to the needed 270 though.

Another way may be to apportion the electoral votes based on the popular vote in each state. Michigan was won by Trump by just 10,000 votes. Had they given out the votes based on popular vote, Michigan’s 16 votes would have been split 8 for Hillary, 8 for Trump.

Going through each state and dividing up the electoral votes by percentages received of the popular vote, Hillary still doesn’t win. It would be closer, but she still doesn’t win. The count would be 272-266 in favor of Trump. It would only be worse for Hillary using the Maine/Nebraska method of districts and the winner gaining the extra two votes.

The difficult part of any system is to find people that will honor their word and their reason for what they are doing. Think about it. There were 19 Republicans that started this process and in the first debate, Bret Baier asked the candidates to raise their hands if they were not committing to back the eventual winner of the Republican nomination. There was one person in mind that it was asked for. Donald Trump. There was one person that raised his hand. Donald Trump. Every other Republican pledged to back the eventual nominee regardless of whom it would be. A week or so later Trump made the pledge too. Ted Cruz wouldn’t honor his pledge. Even at the convention, he was booed off the stage for not backing Trump. Carly Fiorina never publicly backed Trump. Jeb Bush didn’t until very late. John Kasich never backed him and stayed in the race up to the convention despite being mathematically eliminated and then wouldn’t attend the convention even though it’s in his home state.

This only proves that the founding fathers at the Constitutional Convention were right. Trump is not one of the good old boys of government so he wouldn’t have been elected if Congress was to choose. Yet, on the matter of the honoring his word, Trump did. He didn’t commit to something at first. But he did later when he was reasonably sure. He’s also proven it after the election.  He said he’d save the jobs at Carrier or they’d pay a tax. Before even being inaugurated, he saved nearly 1,000 jobs at Carrier by getting them to change their mind about moving their operation to Mexico.

States punish electors if they don’t vote the way that they are supposed to vote. Yet, the voter’s job is to do just that under extraordinary circumstances. This election though, should not have had the electors changing their votes. The surprise is that while the media was playing up that protestors were protesting Trump, four of them switched from Hillary.

The left is calling for the end of the Electors. Electors are called for in the Constitution. The one thing that that shows is that the second amendment was in danger from Hillary Clinton. To the liberals, the Constitution is only worthwhile when it benefits them. In reality the Constitution is a document that puts restrictions on government and protects the people. The left exists to put restrictions on the people. Most certainly in the case of eliminating the second amendment and the Electoral College. 

You’re welcome to comment.


Thursday, December 15, 2016

HIllary Hoping for Electoral College

The Electoral College votes on Monday for President of the United States. Naturally, this has been a source of angst for Democrats this year. Even moreso than it was in 2000 when Gore had more votes but didn’t win the Electoral vote.

In the final debate, Mr. Trump was asked if he’d accept the results of the election. His answer was that he’d look at it and until then he’d  keep the press in suspense. Hillary was horrified. She said so. ““That’s horrifying,” Mrs. Clinton replied. “Let’s be clear about what he is saying and what that means. He is denigrating — he is talking down our democracy. And I am appalled that someone who is the nominee of one of our two major parties would take that position.”

Yet, now, it’s the Democrats challenging the results of the election. It’s a slightly different reason, but still questioning the results based on our Constitution.

So how do we elect a President of the United States? It is not entirely based on the popular vote. If you look at an electoral map that breaks it down by states, you can see that bulk of states, even those won by Hillary, are red for Trump. There are two exceptions that stand out. California and Hawaii. Here’s a link where you can see that. http://www.nytimes.com/elections/results/president

Minnesota, long a stronghold of the Democrats, looks mostly red when you look at the state. Even New York looks like a red state with a few exceptions. All around Manhattan is blue. This is where a large number of people live. Around Buffalo it’s blue, but the vast majority of the state of New York is red.

So if we counted only the popular vote, the election each time would come down to New York and California leading the way all because of the cities.

Another problem was that slaves couldn’t vote, but they still had to be fed, clothed and sheltered. So for the purposes of the elections, they wanted the slaves counted as part of the population despite the slaves not being permitted to vote. It would give the states more representation in government.

Another reason for the electoral college is the electors are usually informed about what goes on in government. So if a particular candidate was considered a dangerous or unsavory character, the electors might catch it where the general population wouldn’t and could prevent that type of person from becoming President. This scenario was actually used in 1800 when Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr were tied. The decision went to the House of Representatives and after 35 tie votes, Alexander Hamilton let it be known he was more in favor of Jefferson despite disagreeing with Jeffersons policies, because he considered Burr unsavory. Oddly enough, Burr later killed Hamilton in a duel.

In the 1880’s states changed from a proportion of the vote to winner takes all in the states. There are two that don’t award winner takes all. Nebraska and Maine. They award electoral votes by districts and the winner of the state takes the other two votes in addition to those they won.

People complain now that those that are uninformed should not be permitted to vote. If the electoral college were eliminated would they then require everyone to take a test of the issues then decide if they can vote? It would be interesting to see who gets to be the judge of who’s “smart enough” to vote.

Since our electoral college is based on the number of representatives and senators, there are 538 electoral votes. 535 for the representation and 3 for the District of Columbia. If neither candidate reaches the 270 (the majority), the House of Representatives then chooses the President and the Senate chooses the Vice President.

We have had 58 elections in this country since the beginning of the country. Twice it’s gone to the House of Representatives (1800 and 1824). Once it went to the full Congress (1878). Twice the one with the popular vote lost the electoral college (2000 and 2016).

We have had close elections that could have been challenged and possibly gone the other way. In 1960, many believe that Nixon won the election against Kennedy because of some election shenanigans going on that may have overturned the election had Nixon challenged it. Nixon thought it was bad for the country to go through, so he did not challenge it. It’s ironic that Nixon took the high road. Now Hillary is in a similar position and her team is holding out hope that enough of the electors can’t stand trump and will vote for her.

Imagine if we changed it to the popular vote and then in the next election, the Republican won the election with the popular vote but the Democrat would have won the electoral vote but since there isn’t an electoral college any longer, would they then call to reinstate the electoral college?  

It’s not likely that there will be enough Trump voters to change the outcome of the election. However, if 37 of the electors don’t vote for Trump as they are pledged to do, it won’t give Hillary the victory because those that have spoken up have said they will vote for others such as John Kasich. So the election would then go to the House where Republicans would decide the outcome. Since the House and Senate are both in Republican control, Trump and Mike Pence would likely still win the election.

You’re welcome to comment.