Yet another day in the Dear Leader's America.
I spent last night in spluttering rage as the reality of the Washington Post story about Russian manipulation of the election became clear. I wouldn't even know about this travesty if I wasn't all over Twitter, however. To me it seems like a story that should be getting wall-to-wall coverage everywhere, yet somehow, it's treated as just one story among many others on NPR, for instance.
It's now clear this was a completely illegitimate election, and if Donald takes office, his will be an illegitimate presidency. He will be lying when he takes the oath of office since he can't possibly uphold the Constitution with his business conflicts; voter suppression has had an unquantified but significant effect in key states; he lost the popular vote by a wide margin; and the manipulations of the Russians and the FBI are mind-boggling and disqualifying.
But what can anyone do about it? We don't have a legal way to declare an election null and void, do we? Well...
Alex Mohajer, writing for Huffington Post, calls attention to a 1995 Pennsylvania court ruling that threw out a state senate election and installed the losing candidate because of "massive fraud" (not defined in the story). Hmm.
Law professor Larry Lessig is calling on the electors to uphold the founding spirit of their job, as defined in Federalist No. 68, and withhold their votes from Donald. He's made something called The Electors Trust to provide legal support to electors who vote contrary to their state's final election outcome. But unless 38 of them vote for Clinton (which seems unlikely since they're Republican loyalists), all this does is send the decision to the House of Representatives, as I've said before, so I'm not sure what that gets us.
Others are urging the attorneys general of New York or California to challenge the legality of the winner-take-all model of assigning electoral votes by state, based on the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. "Trump did not win the Electoral College because of a constitutional design, he won because of the winner-take-all system of allocating Electors and that critical legal factor is strictly a function of State law." Actually, Lessig also makes this argument, and came up with this map of the 2016 election if the votes were allocated proportionately by state totals:
(And that's not even mentioning the inequality of the Electoral College itself, which gives a voter in Wyoming, for instance, three times the clout of one in New York.)
Tom Geoghegan, writing for In These Times, suggests four ways to fight, even though Donald will most likely become president under the existing rules:
- Electors from states won by Clinton should refuse to turn their ballots over to Congress or should turn in blank ballots. "The point is not to stop Trump from taking office, but to protest it, which is different from the appeal to Trump electors to be 'faithless'.... to do all that we can to discredit a law that allows an unconscionable result."
- Challenge voter suppression. Geoghegan calls on Democrats in the House and Senate to object to the counting of electoral votes from states like Wisconsin, Arizona, and other Trump-supporting states that passed voter-suppression laws. "Even better, members should 'lay on petitions'...from people in these states to verify that there was an effort that might have kept some from the polls..."
- Over the next few years, institute compulsory voting in blue states, especially New York and California, to make the gap between popular votes and electoral votes even bigger and harder to ignore. (He makes this interesting argument: "Some claim that compulsory voting would violate the First Amendment. But if that is true, then it would be unlawful to require jury duty. Yet we compel people serve on juries, and to render life-and-death verdicts.")
- Create real majority rule with a Counter Constitution. Geoghegan calls for a compact among the blue states, a model for what the U.S. could (and should) be. The compact would include a ban on partisan redistricting, the right to healthcare, state commitment to upholding the Paris global warming agreement, a bill of rights for employees, fair funding for public education, and background checks for gun purchases.
I know I said I will only refer to Donald J. Trump as Donald... but I think I will also use that handy North Korean title, the Dear Leader, when it suits me.