28 November 2016

A political fantasy

Trump isn't Hitler, he's Gilderoy Lockhart.

It's long been clear that Trump has very little idea of what being President actually involves.  He likely didn't expect to win -- his complaints about election-rigging sounded like face-saving before an anticipated defeat.  Since the election, and particularly after his early meetings with Obama, he's been realizing what he's gotten himself into.  And he's sometimes seemed rather daunted by it, something especially striking in a man who usually projects such boundless self-confidence.

It's possible that, deep down, he wishes there were a way out.  He's already talking about living part of the time in New York instead of the White House, treating the Presidency as a part-time job and leaving as much of the real work as possible to others.  He'll soon learn, if he hasn't already, that that won't work.  Most of the President's power is non-transferable, and therefore, so is most of the responsibility.

But he still has an escape available, in the unlikely event that he has the imagination to use it.

Much has been made recently of the fact that the Electors who meet on December 19 to actually choose the President are technically free to "vote their consciences" rather than following the outcomes in their respective states.  Lawrence Lessig, David Halperin, and others have made the case that, given Trump's obvious unfitness for office and Hillary Clinton's large popular-vote margin of victory, they should exercise that power and elect her.  They are, of course, very unlikely to do so.  Most Electors are reliable party members, or they wouldn't be chosen for the position.  Unless the recounts currently under way in some states produce new results, 38 Trump Electors would need to abandon him for this to work.  That would be unprecedented.

But if Trump wants a way out of the daunting position he's put himself in, this is it.  If he himself were to inform the Electors that, upon reflection, he thinks the will of the people as shown in the popular vote should be respected after all and asks them to elect Hillary, they would have a green light to do what many of them, deep down, must know they ought to do anyway (aside from Trump's unfitness, Republicans must realize that a disastrous Trump Presidency could mean a backlash against the party in 2018 and 2020).  And Trump could tell himself he'd be acclaimed as a man of principle who gave up power for the sake of democracy, rather than being remembered as a (probably) failed President or as a quitter who chickened out and resigned in frustration at some point in his term.

Even that wouldn't mean Hillary would win then and there.  Some Republican Electors might prefer to vote for a more mainstream Republican such as Romney or Kasich.  If no one candidate got 270 votes, the decision would move to the Republican-dominated House, which would then face the excruciating choice of giving the Presidency to either (a) Hillary, whom Republicans loathe, or (b) Trump, whom many of them know is unqualified and who would already have signaled he was renouncing the job, or (c) a third candidate who didn't get any of the popular vote.  Remember, though that Democrats do control some state delegations in the House.  If the Republicans were divided, Hillary still could win.

As I say, this is a fantasy.  I don't expect it to happen.  But it would be a win-win-solution for pretty much everyone (except the Trumpanzees, who are soon going to realize anyway that they've been conned).  And it would be a fittingly bizarre end to a bizarre election.

11 Comments:

Anonymous NickM said...

"Trump could tell himself he'd be acclaimed as a man of principle..."

Yeah, right, and The Pope marries a gay couple. Trump is many things (indeed a Trump for all seasons) but a man of principle. They been putting something in the water in Oregon?

29 November, 2016 10:14  
Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

As far as the fantasy or how things work replacing a President or whatever, I dont know much about. But what really caught my atencion in your posting here, was when you talked about Trump not knowing what he got himself into ... I couldnt help laughing. Actually back a couple months or so, I was talking with some guyz at a cookout I got invited to about 70 miles from Dallas, these guys were so excited about Trump running for President, being an "outsider", gonna turn Washington on its head and all the rest of the Trumpee cheer. I told these guyz, if Trump got the Presidency, he probably wouldnt know to laugh, cry, take a shit or wind his watch ... sure he sayz alot of great stuff, because he knows how to sell himself/ product, after all, he's a hustler, they asked me my views further ... I just told them ... you put this guy in the White House, there is a good chance that he will feel like he's under house arrest, this guy has had more freedom and been really in charge his whole life and personal empire, more than most of us as Americans ... having to serve in that type of political environment, under 24/ 7/ 365 watch and surrounded by security, and being asked to do so much for other than his gain or business, can make him miserable and wishing he wouldnt have taken the damn job. Yeah, he may love the title "President", because he achieved just about every other title and tried his hand and game at so much in life ... but I'm not sure if he will feel that excited once it becomes reality and his duty under oath (I sure as Hell wouldnt want the job myself in these times, especially if I was a billionaire with so much other shit I would have going on). That's like paroling Charlie Manson from prison and setting him free, heh, heh, heh, heh, heh .... what the Hell would he do, in an environment he is not used to? {:-)

29 November, 2016 11:05  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems more likely that he'll pull a Sarah Palin, and find a reason to quit partway through his term.

29 November, 2016 12:48  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Nick: He's certainly capable of convincing himself that he could be perceived as a man of principle, which is what I actually said.

29 November, 2016 17:35  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Ranch: I really wish I knew what was going on hi his head as he gradually realizes the situation. He can't adapt, or he'd be taking his intelligence briefings instead of fighting with Alec Baldwin.

As for Charlie Manson, now I'm wondering if Trump will offer him a cabinet position.

Anon: I'm hoping he'll want to avoid being perceived as a quitter.

29 November, 2016 17:38  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even if Trump were to do this, there would still be 306 Republican electors, and there's no way that 38 of them would cross over to Hillary. Even if they considered the popular vote, they could rationalize that a different Republican nominee might have won it. If no one got 270 and it got to the House under this scenario, then the Republican delegations would understand that Trump didn't want to be president, so they'd all vote for whatever Republican alternative the Electoral College produced.

The only way that Hillary could still win would be if recounts flip the results. Beyond that, the only hope would be for a different Republican.

29 November, 2016 20:24  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Anon: I covered those points in the post. Anyway, several impossible things have already happened in the course of this election.

30 November, 2016 01:55  
Blogger Grung_e_Gene said...

Nah, He's going to be President, the powers as you point out that are not transferable will be done behind the scenes by Pence or Priebus or Bannon or any of the conservative neo-nazis in cabinent posts while Trump goes to rallies to tell the Trumpenproletariat how much they are winning while the country is turned into a Neo-Feudal Wage Slave Nation.

30 November, 2016 07:04  
Blogger Green Eagle said...

It is not just the right of the electors to vote as they see fit; in this case it is their responsibility to reject Trump. Writing on behalf of those who produced the Constitution, Alexander Hamilton stated that it was up to the electors to protect the country from people with "Talents for low intrigue, and the little arts of popularity", and against " the desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils."

These two phrases virtually define Donald Trump, and it is the duty of the electors to prevent him from becoming President. As you point out, they will, of course, fail at this duty, and in the process utterly savage their responsibility to the country, but it is their duty nonetheless, whether they ignore it or not; and in the long run, history will regard their failure as one of the darkest moments in our history.

01 December, 2016 23:54  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Nah, He's going to be President

Most likely. As I say, it's a fantasy.

See Green Eagle's discussion of Electors' duties. The power of Electors to vote independently of the outcomes in their states is, in fact, part of the original design of the US political system, just as the Electoral College itself is.

02 December, 2016 01:58  
Blogger Tommykey said...

I've referred to Trump as a walking Potemkin Village. He outwardly projects wealth, power, etc. in the hope that people will be so dazzled they won't look beneath the surface.

04 December, 2016 09:06  

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