On Monday, Sarah Jones made the most important statement that can be said about the post-election period.
Being nice to the bully is the same as enabling the bully. So all of these people calling for unity and for silence (not President Obama, he never called for silence, I’m talking about the media), basically to put all of Donald Trump’s actions and words in the past and ignore them and hope for the best – these people’s advice is dangerous. It is the exact wrong thing to do.
The old rules won’t work with Trump and the people who have his ear. As Sarah Jones pointed out, being nice to the bully is enabling the bully.
Trump made it clear during the primaries and his campaign that he intends to take a wrecking ball to the rights of targeted groups of people. He intends to strip some Americans of their citizenship based on who their parents are. He intends to impose a religious test on immigrants, track Americans who are Muslims solely because they are Muslim. He expressed a desire to establish the unconstitutional stop and frisk nationally and he intends to appoint a Supreme Court Justice who interprets the constitution the way Trump wants rather than the way it is. A primary example is seen in his stated intent to overturn Roe v. Wade, and with it taking a constitutional right away from women.
Trump has stated an intent to commit the war crimes of torture, killing the families of alleged terrorists and looting.
Trump intends to appoint white supremacist, racist, misogynist and anti-Semite Steve Bannon as his chief strategist and senior adviser. That doesn’t bode well for the rights of the minority under a Trump regime.
Trump’s supporters in the media claim that victory, despite losing the popular vote, doesn’t make Trump’s electoral success less legitimate.
To wit, Josh Gelernter at the National Review wrote: “The point of the Electoral College is simple: to restrict the power of the majority. There’s a tendency to forget that majority rule is only half of a free country — the other half is the protection of the rights of the minority, of the dissenters.”
That’s … interesting on so many levels beginning with the fact that the intent of the Electoral College was, in reality, two-fold. The second part was to prevent the election of a charismatic tyrant who could manipulate the will of the people.
Trump’s choices and proposed policies are clear evidence that he is the tyrant the Founding Fathers feared when they decided on the electoral college.
The fact that Trump lost the popular vote precludes him from having a mandate. However, he is the charismatic manipulator of the people’s will the electoral college was intended to prevent. In other words, the electoral college’s purpose is to stop Donald Trump – not to elect him.
At best, Trump and his supporters can argue norms and convention as a basis to compel electors to vote consistently with the “will” of the people in their states. The one exception is Washington, where electors who vote against the state’s popular vote can be fined $1,000 – a price one elector is willing to pay.
As constitutional law professor and Rep.-elect Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) explained to Mark Plotkin the U.S. Constitution provides electors can “choose amongst the top three people who received electoral votes.
If anything, electors in ten states plus DC (with a combined electoral college vote total of 165) are mandated to the will of the people as reflected in the popular vote.
Finally, Donald Trump tweeted support for the popular vote in 2012 calling the electoral college a “disaster for democracy”.
The electoral college is a disaster for a democracy.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 7, 2012
Trump’s tweet proved prophetic.
There is a legal and moral basis for electors to vote for Hillary Clinton instead of Donald Trump. If we are going to throw norms out the window for the election, that new precedent provides a basis for electors to do the same.