Saturday, October 14, 2017

Trump's Dereliction And Nuclear Security Risk Shows The Electoral College Needs To Be Scrapped

At the end of last year, I warned that the Electoral College had ceased to be what it was intended for: the final backstop or check against "mischief of faction" and an unqualified,  Queens' real estate  con man getting into the highest office to defile it and ruin the nation.  The electors - members of the  Electoral College - had one chance, and one only, to prove once and for all it wasn't an archaic, useless anachronism and they blew it. That chance occurred on December 19th  last year when electors had the ability (and responsibility) to prevent a totally unqualified nitwit and looneytune from occupying the highest office in the land. And they fucked it up big time, let's not mince words.

Alexander Hamilton himself-  in Federalist #68 -  saw the need to stop such an egomaniacal, autocratic demagogue from becoming President,  so why not an ordinary citizen elector? Especially when, as Kathleen Parker noted in a column days before the Electoral College met:

"Without consulting advisers or “sleeping on it,” for which he is not known, Trump can authorize a nuke upon the slightest provocation — or none. All previous presidents have had the same authority, of course, but all have also been experienced statesmen, nary a reality-show celebrity (nor snake-oil salesman) among them."

Hamilton for his own part was blunt and to the point and his words in The Federalist  #68  bear directly on Trump's entanglements with foreign businesses and diplomats:

"Nothing is more to be desired than that every practicable obstacle should be opposed to a cabal, intrigue or corruption. These most deadly adversaries of republican government might naturally have been expected to make their approaches from more than one quarter, but chiefly from the desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils.

How could they better gratify this than by raising a creature of their own to the chief magistracy of the Union?"

Hamilton was particularly emphatic when he wrote:

"the office of President shall never fall to the lot of any man who is not to an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications"

"Shall never fall to any man who is not to an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications". The words could not be any clearer! What has  manifested since Trump's inauguration is that he is the very embodiment of the classless rabble rouser and degenerate the founders feared taking office - which is WHY they established the electoral college.

The mutt not only lacks the requisite qualifications but poses a mortal danger to the Republic, as is becoming ever clearer with time. Especially when the sources inside the White House question whether Jim Mattis or Gen. Kelly will be so brave as to "tackle" Trump if he tries to execute a nuclear all out first strike (a la the fictional character Greg Stillson- who imagined it in the film 'The Dead Zone').

This is something that my Revolutionary War ancestor (Conrad Brumbaugh) would see in a heartbeat, and why he'd also agree Trump needs to be removed from the seat of power now.  He has mutated to the most severe national security risk this country has ever faced. Far exceeding any threat from Iran, North Korea or Russia. Why? Because he has exclusive access to the nuclear codes which he can punch in at any time his ginormous ego  and sufficient pique "demands" it

Don't believe me? Think this is over heated imagination or partisan puffery? Then you need to read conservative columnist Michael Gerson's recent piece in The Washington Post ('Republicans, It's Time To Panic')   In the following passage he puts it perhaps best:

"It is no longer possible to safely ignore the leaked cries for help coming from within the administration. They reveal a president raging against enemies, obsessed by slights, deeply uninformed and incurious, unable to focus, and subject to destructive whims. A main task of the chief of staff seems to be to shield him from dinner guests and telephone calls that might set him off on a foolish or dangerous tangent. Much of the White House senior staff seems bound, not by loyalty to the president, but by a duty to protect the nation from the president. Trump, in turn, is reported to have said: “I hate everyone in the White House.” And also, presumably, in the State Department, headed by a secretary of state who apparently regards his boss as a “moron.”


"The security of our country — and potentially the lives of millions of people abroad — depends on Trump being someone else entirely. It depends on the president being some wise, strategic, restrained leader he has never been.

The time for whispered criticisms and quiet snickering is over. The time for panic and decision is upon us. The thin line of sane, responsible advisers at the White House — such as Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson — could break at any moment. Already, Trump’s protests of eternal love for Kelly are a bad sign for the general’s future. The American government now has a dangerous fragility at its very center. Its welfare is as thin as an eggshell — perhaps as thin as Donald Trump’s skin. "

And yes, I've deliberately bolded the words so they stand out. I want them to embed themselves in people's minds.

What it all adds up to - as the nation (including Puerto Rico) unravels on account of Trump and his deranged policies -  is that we are living on borrowed time. It also means that the Electoral College has proven once and for all to have been a useless artifact of the past. It did not live up to the intentions of the founders to prevent an outright fool, fraud and mentally  unfit reprobate from taking office. The electors became mere rubber stamps as opposed to proactively acting in the nation's interest.

Note the poll result in the graphic at the top. What it discloses is that more citizens realize the person holding the highest office lacks the mental capacity and emotional stability to do the job. He is as out of his depth as a sociopath con man would be commanding our armed forces, Wait! That's the situation we have!

Bottom line? You don't just put into office those who appear to have captured the zeitgeist of some deranged notion of populism. We need men or women who are mentally and emotionally capable of taking criticism, of learning on the job (including reading all PDBs, or presidents' daily briefs), and being capable of remaining focused on the security of this nation. By contrast, Dotard has shown himself incapable of even providing security for the American citizens of Puerto Rico - while  insisting "FEMA can't stay there forever". Oblivious that no Puerto Rican wants FEMA or the military to remain there "forever". They just want them there until the island territory of the U.S. is stabilized and in particular to deliver drinkable water and food NOW!

Then there is Dotard's "decertifying" of the Iran Nuclear Accord when that nation has been in technical compliance as even Rex Tillerson admitted. France, Germany and the UK all have repeatedly confirmed Iran's compliance and that 98 percent of nuclear fuels for weapons have been disposed of.  Trump's circus act also alienates all the European signatories to this deal and effectively converts the U.S. to a rogue state on the nuclear scene - and one that can't abide by treaties. (The trope that it needs "Senate confirmation" to be a "real treaty" is codswallop as the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists notes,)  John Kerry - then Secretary of State who worked on it - put it bluntly:

"This is a reckless abandonment of facts in favor of ego and ideology."

As for Gen. John Kelly's boffo spin performance the other day - to squash the source reports Dotard is unravelling-  no one with an IQ over room temperature believes a word of it. In fact, all Kelly has succeeded in doing is proving the opposite: that if a chief of staff has to go out and clean up the doo doo there really is an unfathomable shit storm going on behind the scenes.   As Council Of Foreign Relations member Max Boot put it two nights ago in an MSNBC interview:

"The message is not credible. If you're having to call a press conference to deny that you're leaving the administration and that the president is unstable,  that's kind of like Richard Nixon calling a press conference to say I am not a crook. The very fact that you're denying it seems to confirm it. 

And we see the confirmation with our own eyes. Let's not forget  yesterday the president of the United States said it was crazy that a news outlet can write whatever it wants to say. He is attacking the first amendment. And today he's attacking the people of Puerto Rico 86 percent of whom still have no electricity. This is not normal and lends a lot of credence to these stories that yes, he is spinning out of control."

Make no mistake that is one aspect of  why the founders proposed an Electoral College, i.e.  as a rational check on popular over exuberance, the other being mischief of faction.  Recall the latter was noted by James Madison in The Federalist #10. As Madison described it:

"Mischief of faction is when citizens - whether amounting to a minority or majority of the whole - are united and actuated by a common impulse of passion to cast their votes adverse to the rights of other citizens or the permanent and aggregate interests of the community". 

This is exactly what the Trump voters did, motivated by inflamed passions, gullibility and moral recklessness via Trump's often violent rallies to give a middle finger to the rest of the country. They thereby militated against the majority's interests.

The Electoral College was established to pull the plug on such popular recklessness, to prevent its expedient, hastily chosen 'avatar' from assuming power.  This was not achieved because the electors did not do their due diligence. They opted instead to simply rubber stamp the state electoral tallies without question.

But given the parlous pass Dotard has taken us to - which any sane citizen can see- then the dereliction of the electors' actions is self evident in retrospectThus, the Electoral College  never fulfilled its primary directive to halt the assumption of power by an unqualified, mentally unbalanced person defined by breathtaking moral turpitude. Since it did not fulfill that mission then it is clearly useless, and indeed, dangerous to the nation - since we cannot assume that if citizens commit mischief of faction once they won't repeat.


Larry Lennhoff said...

I'm surprised you can go through an entire article about the electoral college without mentioning the chief way it influences electoral outcomes - the way it increases the power of states with small populations, and designates winners that do not win the popular vote. This feature of the college has repeatedly affected the outcomes of American history. The ability to block an otherwise winning presidential candidate has never been necessary before now.

Historically, if the electoral college had one job, it was to increase the influence of the slave holding (and now other small) states.

Green Eagle said...

This is such an important thing to understand. I wrote about Federalist Paper no. 68 on a couple of occasions last November and December, in the runup to the Electoral college vote. I think that you need to couple the passage you cited from it with this one:

"The process of election affords a moral certainty, that the office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications. Talents for low intrigue, and the little arts of popularity, may alone suffice to elevate a man to the first honors in a single State; but it will require other talents, and a different kind of merit, to establish him in the esteem and confidence of the whole Union, or of so considerable a portion of it as would be necessary to make him a successful candidate for the distinguished office of President of the United States."

The combination of the comment about foreign powers, and the remark about "the little arts of popularity" amounts to a virtual description of Trump, and really reveals how much the electors abandoned their Constitutional duty when they voted to place Trump in the White House. Well, as the Republican party long ago abandoned any intent to respect the needs of the country, this is hardly surprising, I guess. Maybe the country that replaces the United States in the near future will have the sense not to include places like Alabama, Mississippi or North Dakota, so that we will once again have a chance to live up to the ideals of the people who wrote the Constitution.

Copernicus said...

Larry Lennhof wrote:

"Historically, if the electoral college had one job, it was to increase the influence of the slave holding (and now other small) states

I was quite aware of that historical perspective but my emphasis was on the mischief of faction and insertion of a nincompoop renegade into office - against which Madison, Hamilton inveighed. Anyway, your comment provides further research scope for those who are interested.

Copernicus said...

To 'Green Eagle' - I believe your published comment nicely achieves the coupling you advocate - thanks in advance!