Saturday, January 28, 2017

Protesting Trump as ‘illegitimate’ is Illegitimate

So there was another big March on Washington. Just like the big 2009 Tea Party March against Bush/Obama statism that my wife, daughter, and I participated in, in this March there were many different causes represented. The one I’m interested in was the subject of a New Jersey Star-Ledger letter titled Protesting an Illegitimate President by Arlene Stein. In her letter, Stein wrote:

Our democratic process was severely compromised in November -- by foreign meddling, by an Electoral College system that is outdated, and by the circulation of false information on the internet.

I left these comments, edited for clarity:

Arlene Stein is wrong across the board.

First, let me disclose that, though I’m a reluctant Trump voter, I am neither a fan of Trump nor am I defending Trump here. Rather, I’m defending the integrity of the 2016 election, which has been unfairly maligned as “compromised” by the uniformed.

Foreign meddling” in American politics is nothing new. Foreign interests, including governments, have always sought to influence the direction of American politics. Both Alexander Hamilton in 1793 and George Washington in 1796 warned against foreign influence, and the Prohibiting Foreign Influence in American Elections Act was passed way back in 1971. Foreign election meddling is nothing new. But the meddling doesn’t end with elections. Washington DC is flooded with foreign lobbies. As the Huffington Post reports, “Domestic interest groups aren’t the only ones working the halls of Congress. For decades, foreign governments have paid a pretty penny to hire U.S. firms to get their interests on the U.S. agenda.” Not that any of the foreign meddling is good or defensible. The important point is that there is no evidence of vote tampering in the 2016 election. To selectively condemn the 2016 election results because of “foreign meddling” is just political hackism.

The only thing new about “the circulation of false information on the internet” is the internet, not the false information. As The Daily Signal reports, “The truth is that while the American media landscape has been in a constant state of change over two centuries, the spread of hyperpartisan, scurrilous, and even phony news stories has been more common than uncommon throughout the history of the republic.” Again, Stein is being selective and non-objective.

Finally, whether you believe that the “Electoral College system . . . is outdated” or a still vital part of the American Constitution’s checks and balances, it is the Constitutional law of the land.

I have to marvel at the whiny hypocrisy of the sore losers who are now calling Donald Trump illegitimate because he failed to win the national popular vote. Throughout the 2016 campaign, the consensus right up to election night was consistently predicting a close popular vote but a large win for Hillary in the Electoral College. We regularly heard that Trump had a difficult “path to victory” based on the electoral map, even at points where he pulled even or slightly ahead in the popular tracking polls. Where were these high-minded Hillary supporters when it looked like the Electoral College would work in her favor? Not a peep.

The 2000 and 2016 elections are brought up a lot. But what about the 2004 election between George W. Bush and John Kerry? That race almost produced an exactly opposite result, that time favoring the Democrat Kerry. In 2004, a swing of a mere 60,000 votes in Ohio, which Bush narrowly won, would have handed John Kerry that state’s 20 Electoral votes, making Kerry the president with a 271-266 Electoral vote win despite G. W. Bush’s 3+ million national popular vote majority. Bush’s national popular vote margin was larger than Hillary’s, yet Kerry came within a whisker of victory. Again, where are the complaints when the Electoral College works in favor of Democrats?

Does anybody really believe that, had Trump won the national popular vote but lost the election, or if Kerry had squeaked by in Ohio, that these same folks would be marching on Washington to scream their heads off about how “unfair” it all is or refusing to attend the inaugurations of the “illegitimate” President John Kerry or President Hillary Clinton? Don’t make me laugh.

Trump and Clinton both went in and played by the same rules. Both campaigned for an Electoral Vote majority, which is based on 51 separate popular vote contests—the states plus the District of Columbia. Neither campaigned for a national popular vote majority, so that result is utterly meaningless. What counts is that Trump won the independent popular vote in 30 states totalling 306 electoral votes. Clinton won 21 times (including the District of Columbia) for a total of 232 Electoral votes. Trump won the election solidly fair and square. Trump is the legitimately elected president of the United States.

I actually sympathize with some of the causes of the protesters, such as opposing a Muslim-American registry. But not with those who claim Trump is not a legitimate president. That is “the whining of bad losers.” I suggest Arlene get real and start concerning herself with real issues.

Related Reading:

Avoid ‘Majority Rule’—Keep the Electoral College in Fact and in Spirit

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