Donald Trump said that the US Presidential elections were rigged. He went on to prove it when he won 306 electoral votes to Hillary Clinton's 232, despite Trump being over 1 million votes behind Clinton in the popular vote on the night of the election.
Since then, Clinton's lead in the popular vote has grown at a staggering rate. At last count (see the last post date above) The Cook Political Report's 2016 National Popular Vote Tracker website has Clinton winning 65,844,610 popular votes, or 48 percent, as opposed to only 62,979,636 votes, or 46 percent, for Trump. With a win of 2,864,974 more votes, Clinton's Democratic and Independent supporters are not the minority they are being made to feel they are by the press and Republicans.
The purpose of the electoral college was meant to ensure that the states with large populations don't consistently dominate elections with each election cycle. But that apprehension has been offset by a new one. The electoral system is allowing candidates to win the presidential elections with increasingly disproportionate popular vote losses. The 2016 election is the second in 16 years, the fifth in 192 years, to witness the candidate winning the popular vote lose the presidential general election. Famously, the last two electoral wins to be denied a popular vote winner were awarded to a Republican candidate (Bush in 2000, Trump in 2016). It's unnerving that the electoral college has only once in the lifetime of most voters been challenged by Congress. In 1979, the US Senate, while seeking passage of an amendment to the electoral college's protection by the US Constitution, fell short of the two-thirds vote required to send the bill to the House of Representatives.
With 540,000 votes for Gore, and 2,864,974 for Clinton being tossed in the trash heap, the question now is, why is this glaring incongruence about to be swept under the White House carpet even by the Democratic establishment? The popular vote win for Clinton is now larger than the population of Chicago, the 3rd largest city in the US. We have surpassed an electoral disproportion that will not allow the issue of the illegitimacy of a Trump presidency to go away, especially given that it is the 4th largest popular vote win in US history (surpassed only by Barack Obama's two wins and George Bush's second win). With millions of mail-in and absentee ballots still to be counted, the 2016 popular vote demands our immediate attention. (Indeed, on Saturday, November 12, The Atlantic published an article entitled, "Clinton's Popular-Vote Lead Will Grow, and Grow, and Grow".
There is a legitimate complaint that the time to debate and overturn the Electoral College is before a presidential election, not after. The problem with this is the issue doesn't present itself to a population that barely knows the Constitutional provision of an electoral college exists until that are shocked by the aftermath of its disproportionate influence. The Trump-Clinton disparity is so great that an unprecedented number of Americans are being made aware of it by numerous media blitzes. The most alarming of these is a video released by Business Insider detailing how the electoral college is so unfairly weighted in advantage of small states -- with large states actually giving a percentage of their electors to small states -- that a presidential candidate could win an election with 270 electors representing only 22% of the popular vote and against the will of the 78% majority.
In other nations of the world, such a close "tie" resulting from a conflict between constitutional requirements and popular votes could by demand of the voting population result in the formation of a coalition government to ensure fair representation to each winning party. Is this what Clinton was hinting at when, in her concession speech, she informed the public that she extended to Trump her offer to work with his administration?
Although coalition governments are usually formed as parliamentary measures to balance power when a general election among one or more parties (in contrast to two presidential candidates) doesn't produce a clear majority, they are also known to be shared by two heads of the same state. But while it appears unfeasible that Trump would consider sharing the presidency, the idea of a coalition presidency is not absurd. On December 3, 2014, David Orentlicher in Time Magazine asked if America needs two Presidents to pose a solution to our high levels of partisan conflict. Orentlicher wrote:
"We would do well to learn from the legacy of Nelson Mandela. The late South African president understood a key principle for effective governance -- if you want everyone to work together on behalf of the common good, you have to give everyone a meaningful voice in government. Mandela rejected one-party control and instead chose a politics of inclusion. As former President Bill Clinton observed about Mandela, that's the only politics 'that works.' 'Indeed', said Clinton, 'it's the only thing that's working in American communities today.'"
Orentlicher's survey of the advantages is impressive. "A two-person presidency would be fairer to voters than a one-person presidency." "Shared power would promote better presidential decision-making." "Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle would have other reasons to cooperate with a bipartisan White House", while ensuring that all members of Congress "would be in a better position to get help from the executive branch for their constituents."
But while a coalition presidency could help bridge the current rift between the two parties, we must also consider proactive efforts to prevent future erosion of our democratic elections. Even before the current post-election call to eliminate the electoral college, with its 538-members, there has for some years been circulated among the 50 US states and the District of Columbia a bill called The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC). Essentially the agreement enlists consenting US states and the District of Columbia to recognize the presidential candidate who wins the popular vote. So far ten states and the District of Columbia have agreed to exchange their combined 165 electoral votes of the 270 votes needed for the electoral election of a US President for the popular vote to be made the law of the land. This leaves another 105 state electoral votes still to be voluntarily turned over to the Compact.
Instead of listening to pundits drone on about the imminent demise of American Democracy and all the breaches of cherished freedoms and entitlements likely to come with a Trump Presidency, wouldn't we be better served by actively petitioning Trump and our current congressional representatives for a coalition presidency to be forged between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump? That is, of course, as we agitate and lobby for a Congressional vote to eliminate the electoral college.
This post will be altered daily or weekly to update the total popular votes of both candidates and the number of votes comprising Clinton's lead until all votes have been counted. On 11/9/16, the day after the election, Clinton led Trump by 235,426 votes. On 12/29/16 that lead increased to 2,864,974 votes despite that the popular vote numbers grew for both candidates.
For the first week after the election, the source for these numbers was Google's 2016 US Election Results site. But on 11/15/16 that site was hacked and shut down by Google. As cited above, the current popular votes are taken daily from The Cook Political Report's 2016 National Popular Vote Tracker.
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