Not since Roosevelt took office in 1933 has the United States undergone such a dramatic internal transformation as it is now experiencing. But what FDR meant and continues to mean to America, and what Trump very quickly has already meant and will most certainly continue to mean are matters too complex to be said in a sentence or a paragraph here or anywhere else. Indeed, these matters are too large for any neat and convenient concept packages anywhere, and that includes even books. Such great events as we are now living through can only be seen as a convergent image of various political and social brush strokes — like the colors in impressionist paintings. As everyone knows, the color strokes of such paintings often clash with their neighbors or exaggerate them. But when seen at a distance, a vibrant and even cohesive whole results.
So instead of making some grand and empty picture generalization now, let’s start with just one political brushstroke instead.
The Democrats say Clinton won the popular election, therefore she should be president, and that the election was stolen from her. Meanwhile the Republicans say that Trump won the Electoral College, and that’s what matters, those are the rules of the game, the game clock has run out, so get over it, and get on with life.
Let’s look at both of these views.
First, the Democrats.
Clinton garnered 48.2% of the popular vote to Trump’s 46.1%.
Therefore Clinton did not — I repeat, did not — win the popular vote.
An America election is not a football or basketball game. The team with the highest score at the end of the election doesn’t win the presidency or any other office. Rule by majority vote — 50% plus one — is always the minimal mandate of popular government.
Clinton did not win a majority of the popular votes.
Clinton lost the popular vote.
Clinton popularly lost — plain and simple.
Well, you say, Trump didn’t win by popular vote either!
That’s right. No one won the presidency by popular vote. In fact, that often happens in American presidential elections.
Now, if the Democrats don’t know this fundamental political fact of life — no popular government without majority rule — then I don’t think you should put your political, economic or social life in their ignorant hands. On the other hand, if they do know but they aren’t telling you, then they are — in the sighted-in scope of the truth — liars.
Well, good, you might think, then the Republicans are right! And we won! That proves that!
But, unfortunately, the Republicans’ play in this matter also has politically faulty aspects to it.
According to the Republicans, including Trump, the Democrats might have morally won the election with the popular vote, but they lost it on a technicality. Hah-hah! Next time read the rule book and play to win!
But with their snide and unseemly gloating, the Republicans actually understate their victory. Clinton lost the election on every count: technical, moral, political and constitutional.
The people of America do not — I repeat, do not — elect the president of the United States.
The states of the United States elect the president.
As everyone knows, the founders loathed democracies — petty unstable democracies, not the great large republic they founded. As a result, the founders would never put the selection of the executive of their wonderful new country directly in the hands of the people. And that would be an executive of any type they might have agreed upon: whether an executive of two or even of ten presidents. But they settled on a one-man presidency. To have the people directly elect an executive consisting of one person would have been to invite the election of a demagogue. A demagogue is one step from a despot. And any despot is already automatically on the way to the destruction of American liberties.
Therefore the choice of the president was granted to the states. I repeat, the states. Through the Electoral College the states vote and choose the president.
Thus Trump won the presidency on all bases: moral, technical, political and constitutional. Just like Clinton lost in every way.
More accurately and more amply, you could say that the people and the states choose the president: the people vote for the electors, and then through the electors the states select the president by majority elector vote. But regardless of the people’s popular input, the states make the choice. The states have the say. Of course the founders wanted the people to have an input in the selection of the president. Republics are popular governments. But they aren’t people’s governments. Big republics are neither petty democracies nor communist monstrosities.
Notice then that the Republicans’ coy and sneaky triumphant attitude — “we won on a technicality of the Constitution” — is worse than false. It’s disheartening to the citizens of America, both Democrats and Republicans. The Democrats feel cheated, and the Republicans feel sneaky. Neither of these attitudes is merited, and both are detrimental to the vitality and the happiness of the Republic.
And notice that whereas the Democrats can be accused of ignorance or mendacity, the Republicans can be accused of ignorance or incivility.
By incivility I mean the following. Republican government — government in a republic, whether by Democratic or Republican party leadership — is an ongoing education. I mean an education for everyone, including politicians and statesmen as they most certainly can tell you from experience. But here I especially mean an education for the average busy citizen: an ongoing education in liberty for every citizen.
The Republicans have failed in this.
Instead of the citizens of the United States coming away from the Trump triumph with a proud and satisfied sense of the strong workings of the American republic, they have come away with the sneaky sense of a cunning win. This is uncalled for. Trump’s victory was neither sneaky nor cunning. It is an integral part of the fabric of America as designed at the founding and still going strong.