Honoring the people’s will

If we listened to the angry voices of Republican members of Congress in the recent impeachment hearings, we couldn’t help but pick up a familiar tune. By pursuing impeachment, Democrats are trying to reverse the results of the 2016 presidential election, went the GOP’s argument. Why would  — or should — anyone wish to go against the will of the people clearly demonstrated in that election, they asked repeatedly.

Makes one wonder how these folks define “will of the people.” Might we suggest that the popular vote offers a more accurate, clearer indication of what “the people” want than do the votes of state electors, appointed to their powerful positions based on their political views?

The fact is that more people voted for Hillary Clinton than for Donald Trump. Many more. Clinton not only beat Donald Trump in the popular vote, she did it by the widest margin of any losing candidate in United States presidential elections history, tallying nearly 2.9 million votes more than Trump. Democrats would be foolish to want to reverse those results.

The Associated Press reported Clinton winning 65,844,610 votes, or 48 percent, with Trump winning 62,979,636 votes, or 46 percent. This makes Clinton the fifth presidential candidate in U.S. history to win the popular vote and lose the Electoral College. In 2000, Democratic nominee Al Gore lost, even though he garnered 540,000 votes more than George W. Bush.

Following that election, one of my friends was fond of remarking, “Don’t blame me; I voted with the majority.”

Try to imagine a nation — and world, really — if Hillary Clinton had been president these past three years, rather than Donald Trump.

But instead of electing our president directly, Americans choose state electors, who then officially cast ballots on the public’s behalf. In 2016, Trump captured most of the votes of these electors. Neither the U.S Constitution nor federal law requires these electors to vote in a way that matches their state’s popular vote, but some individual states have imposed such a requirement. Makes sense to me.

That way, elections could actually reflect the will of a majority of voters, which is the right and honorable way to choose our leaders.

I’d vote for that.

 

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