November 30, 2016
This piece first appeared at LewRockwell.com.
If there’s ever a year that the centuries old Electoral College might crumble, it’s this one. America had two candidates running for President with incredibly high unfavorable ratings, the official campaigns, and their surrogates were emotionally manipulative and negative in their campaigning, and we exist in a society that has forgotten how to win or lose – for participation ribbons go to everyone. This is a fine recipe for taking down a cherished institution that is so based on trust that it has long been considered a rubber-stamp, as certain of outcome and as devoid of human input or error as if it were a machine.
That would be it if Hillary Clinton had won, but Donald Trump won – the outsider who made it his daily hobby to poke at virtually every powerful establishment institution on the globe – from the State Department to the European Union to the Soros family. It would be foolish for the established interests in American society and the world to feel at ease in Trumpland.
No one, including Trump, knows what may come next. As such, the establishment interests have continued their fight, going so far as to undermine what has been deemed a legitimate election by both sides. The last few nights in New York City protests were held that specifically referenced December 19 as the true Election Day. That’s the day by which electors are supposed to meet in the state capitals and cast their rubber stamp votes for President and Vice President, ultimately upholding the popular vote that took place in that state on Election Day.
We have ALWAYS been able to trust these electors – except for 157 of them over the course of US History. We know nothing would go wrong because some states have BIG fines – like $1,000 for not casting a vote accurately. There’s no way the electors would EVER betray the popular votes of their states – because they are generally establishment Democratic Party and Republican Party hacks who would not want to ruin their political futures by going against their party’s nominee.
All this tells me how easy it is to upend the Electoral College this year. After 18 months of Trump being treated like garbage by the establishment of the Republican Party, you mean to tell me there aren’t a few dozen “Never Trump” electors who would step up and unite against Trump? You better damn well believe there are.
They don’t need to choose Hillary either. If neither candidate receives more than 269 Electoral College votes, then the decision goes to the US House of Representatives in early January to choose a President. Rather than the current President Elect, certainly a more amenable candidate to the establishment, a less oppositional candidate to the establishment, who everyone in the establishment can get more comfortable with would be chosen. We would all be told it is for the best.
All of that can happen, and the stage is being set for that to happen. There have been so many passive moments throughout US history where the populace was pushed around, and this can easily be another one of them. There can be a big Kumbayah-style coming together, a bipartisan cleansing of Trump and his ilk from DC, and it wouldn’t be that hard to do under the rules laid out in the US Constitution and in the laws of the various states. Trump’s victory hangs by a string and anyone with a shred of insight on the deceitfulness present where politics and power converge should be well aware of that precarious situation.
Except, that’s not going to happen.
Anti-establishment protestors are curiously in the streets doing the bidding of the establishment. A colleague of mine watched those anti-establishment protestors get “bussed in” the other evening. The protests I’ve attended in New York City are coordinated and the well-organized leadership of the protests are almost certainly funded. A little bit of a ruckus has been raised by those protestors and some media attention has been garnered.
Some comment that Republicans don’t protest, which isn’t true. Their protests are just far lamer than the protests from the left, which tend to have so much boisterous energy and rhythm, so much so that on the left it feels like it could erupt at any moment in frenzied passion. The protests on the left are far more enjoyable affairs, for they often resemble a party.
A friend of mine who is a long-time pro-gun activist wrote the other day as he left Portland, a reminder to those in Portland and across the country.
“Understand that if you turn violent or start destroying property that A) The left is mostly anti-gun. B) The right is mostly pro-gun. C) Act like an idiot, you might get shot by another idiot. Stay safe, friends.”
That points to an important distinction between the far more enjoyable and generally effete civil disobedience on the left, and what civil disobedience ultimately means in the American tradition on the present-day right.
If the Electoral College does not support Trump on December 19, it will not just have been something that dishonors an elector’s name, or makes one’s reputation “not so great” for a while in the party until the elector is redeemed. It won’t be a loss of money as a Secretary of State fines an elector for insubordination.
It will be on an entirely different level than that. It will be a betrayal of public trust in that system of rubber stamp electors.
You see the electors are public servants as they vote. As such, they have a special place in the American milieu. They are given considerable responsibility and in exchange have to live up to a different standard in the execution of their public duties. This isn’t just private life that they’ve signed up for. This is public life. The distinction between the two has become increasingly blurred in recent years, but a distinction nonetheless remains. In private life, one may mostly do as one wishes. In public life, there are some limits to what one can get away with. A public servant in America will not successfully betray such a trusted confidence as the Electoral College, and get away with it.
Maybe one or two electors defect and no one bats an eye.
If more defected, enough to change the outcome of the election, a protest from the right would almost certainly take place. It wouldn’t be about crying on YouTube or knocking over garbage cans. It wouldn’t be about property destruction, melees with police, or Molotov cocktails. It wouldn’t be about pithy slogans, rhythmic drums, or empty threats loosely thrown around.
No. Nothing like that. No one will see the protest coming from the right when the right stands up. The faithless electors in that situation won’t survive through Christmas. That’s how protests on the right really look. These are people who are well-armed, well-trained and don’t need to cause a big scene to feel good about themselves. A protest on the right would be one where a faithless elector is reminded who he serves when he steps into public office, and in which case all other electors realize the importance of upholding the public trust. “Then we’ll make it a secret ballot,” you say. Well, hiding behind secret ballots will only incriminate an even greater number of electors. No elector should want to bind himself in the union to a faithless elector through a secret ballot.
I’m not one to do such a thing, but I wholeheartedly believe that exactly that would happen, and in all likelihood no one would ever know who killed those few dozen faithless electors.
These are people who read revolutionary war books for fun, who rattle off slogans like “come and get it” or “the soap box, the ballot box, or the bullet box” and these are people who pray that in their lifetime they will never have to shoot a man, but know that if it comes to it, that they are armed, well-trained, and prepared to do exactly that.
Any public servant who thinks they will cross a person like that and live long, does not know his own country well. I most certainly know the primary reason for the 2nd Amendment is for a threat like that to be ever-present.
Hearing the protestors gathering this week and talking about swaying the Electoral College worried me a little, because of the obvious crisis that would result. That’s an obvious technique that could be used to prevent a President from taking office and to chip away at the Constitution. Then the reality of the situation occurred to me: no elector is stupid enough. No elector is stupid enough to trade his life in order to participate in an organized attempt to disregard the will of his state’s voters. No elector is stupid enough to create the crisis required to try preventing the President Elect from taking office.
I slept well last night because I knew the Electoral College would uphold the votes of the states. If it didn’t, a crisis would ensue and men and women who cast their votes unfaithfully would not see another Christmas with their families.
This is the reality of life in a free society. Those who severely betray public trust are guaranteed to be punished and made an example of. Where the government does not do its job of keeping public servants honest, vigilantes step in. The political right is full of people who have trained all their lives for a moment like that, for a moment where public trust is severely, publicly, and pointedly betrayed.
The electoral college can be stolen, quite easily in fact, but it won’t.
Allan Stevo writes on Slovak culture at www.52inSk.com. He is from Chicago and spends most of his time traveling Europe and writing. You can find more of his writing at www.AllanStevo.com. If you enjoyed this post, please use the buttons below to like it on Facebook or to share it with your friends by email. You can sign up for emails on Slovak culture from 52 Weeks in Slovakia by clicking here.