Welcome to the new version of European Tribune. It's just a new layout, so everything should work as before - please report bugs here.

Peculiar US presidential elections

by das monde Thu Jun 2nd, 2016 at 10:00:01 AM EST

As all political junkies know, the US president is elected not directly by a citizen vote but by the Electoral College - an archaic original compromise of the Founding Fathers and States. (Yes, we will have a powerful President, but the States will be influential in its election.) There were four presidential elections when the popular vote was different from the elected president: 1824, 1876, 1888 and 2000. Besides, the first few elections were confused by the issue of Vice-Presidency (especially in 1796 and 1800), leading to the more specific 12th Amendment.

The most bizarre elections were in 1824 and 1876, by far. They were also influential or highly educative. If you thought that the 2000 election was a steal...

Frontpaged - Frank Schnittger


Consider the 1876 election

The Reconstruction era after the Civil War was coming to the end, with rising Southern backlash against weighty participation of blacks, carpetbaggers and scalawags. The Republican governments in the South were widely considered corrupt, and with some reasons. Though nothing could match the Democratic corruption machine in New York City.

The Democratic candidate in 1876 was Samuel J. Tilden, prominent for reigning certain order in New York. His main opponent was a moderate Republican Rutherford B. Hayes, representing fading enthusiasm for the Reconstruction, improvement in race equality. Tilden needed to carry a few Northern states, and he achieved his targets: New York, New Jersey, Indiana, Connecticut. It looked like he won the Presidency, breaking the Republican rule of 16 years. But voting results in three Southern States - South Carolina, Louisiana and Florida - were challenged. Additionally, one Oregon elector was questioned. Hayes needed all contested votes to win the Electoral College, 185-184. And guess what...

To resolve the situation, a 15-member Electoral Commission was formed: 5 members from each the (pro-Republican) Senate, the (pro-Democrat) House of Representatives, and the Supreme Court. In all, the Commission had 7 Republican, 7 Democrats, and Justice David Davis was neutral. But he got elected to the Senate by Illinois -  so he resigned from the Supreme Court and the Electoral Commission. The replacement could only be a Republican Justice. And for every contested state, the electoral votes were awarded to Hayes by the 8-7 partisan vote.

Behind the scenes, the Compromise of 1877 deal is strongly suspected. In return for the presidency, the Republicans agreed to withdraw Federal troops from the former Confederate states and end the Reconstruction, allowing all segregation and disfranchisement in the South.

The 1824 election

This early election hanged on a resolution of the unique case when no candidate got the majority of the electoral votes. The 12th Amendment prescribes an unearthly procedure:

If no candidate receives a majority of Electoral votes, the House of Representatives elects the President from the 3 Presidential candidates who received the most Electoral votes. Each state delegation has one vote. The Senate would elect the Vice President from the 2 Vice Presidential candidates with the most Electoral votes. Each Senator would cast one vote for Vice President. If the House of Representatives fails to elect a President by Inauguration Day, the Vice-President Elect serves as acting President until the deadlock is resolved in the House.
The other election that came closest to this was 1860. That campaign consisted of two separate elections basically: between Lincoln and Douglas in the North, and between Breckinridge and Bell in the South. Lincoln swept the North without campaigning or winning anything in the South. 180 electoral votes (out of 303), 40% of the popular vote were enough for him.

By 1824, the Federalist party was dysfunctional for years already (except in high courts). The Democratic-Republican party was dominant, but breaking up. Their congressional caucus nominated William H. Crawford (after a stroke in 1823), avoiding the already Federalist-ish (soon to be National Republican, and then Whig) leaders Henry Clay and John Quincy Adams. Those two were nominated anyway, and Henry Clay counted on the 12th Amendment and his authority as the House Speaker for success. To his agitation, however, Andrew Jackson entered as well - a populist hope of Western settlers and religious, anti-industrial sentiments, a hero of the 1812 War. His portrait is to be replaced soon on $20 bill.

The results of the 1824 election were:
Andrew Jackson - 99 e.v. (41.4%)
John Quincy Adams - 84 e.v. (30.9%)
William Crawford - 41 e.v. (11.2%)
Henry Clay - 37 e.v. (13.0%)

So Clay did not finish in the Top 3 even. But he used his influence to push Adams through the vote in the House, becoming the Secretary of State himself. This suspected Corrupt Bargain was not glorious to both men. The presidency of Quincy Adams is regarded as weak, and Clay was shadowed by it in his several later nominations and candidacies, never succeeding. Jackson founded the Democratic party and soundly won the 1828, 1832 elections.

What for 2016?

The 1824 scenario should be interesting today. With the two major candidates - Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump -  exciting more antipathy than support, there is a constitutional possibility to upset them both. A third candidate could gather just a few electoral votes, but if that prevents both Clinton and Trump to reach 270, he/she might win straightforwardly - with courtesy of the House of Representatives, of course. Bah!

Since the House is controlled by the Republicans, this is hardly a route for Sanders. But if establishment Republicans are serious about stopping Trump, what are they waiting for? State registration deadlines are approaching.

Display:
Slight discrepancy in percentages:
"William Crawford - 41 e.v. (11.2%)
Henry Clay - 37 e.v. (13.0%)"

Would House Speaker Ryan not be the obvious beneficiary if neither Clinton or Trump got 270 ev? Would he have to stand in the General Election to qualify or could anyone enter to prevent any candidate reaching 270 ev? Could Jeb! or Romney stand to deny anyone 270 ev?  It's hard to see anyone breaking up the Dem/GOP duopoly and actually winning enough EV to prevent anyone reaching 270. A Sanders run would more likely enable Trump to win.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jun 2nd, 2016 at 12:46:57 PM EST
The percentages are of the popular vote. Sorry for laziness.

Yes, Paul Ryan could be in a good position. But states start closing independent registration soon (North Carolina on June 9, etc), and thousands of signatures have to be gathered.

If the election would be as close as in 2000, a few leaked votes could mean a big circus. Low probability, surely. If an establishment Repub would be preferable while Hilary sinking, fielding yet more candidates to chip away from Trump might help.

by das monde on Thu Jun 2nd, 2016 at 01:15:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Since EV's are (mostly) awarded on a winner-take-all basis, such a third-party candidate would have to win at least a few states.  That is not easy.
by Zwackus on Thu Jun 2nd, 2016 at 06:36:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
An example of how this might happen would be if Kasich were to run and win his home state of Ohio. The Ohio  "sore loser" law only prevents someone who lost the primary there from running in the general. Kasich won the primary there.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jun 2nd, 2016 at 08:42:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Were Kasich to run in Ohio he would be likely to run also in Pennsylvania and Indiana, perhaps elsewhere as well. I certainly have no sense of what might happen to EVs in that case.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Jun 3rd, 2016 at 12:17:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A transformation is not supposed to be easy. But when it happens, the Universe conspires for you.

Given the usual bland personality choice among the candidates, a charismatic and socially savvy candidate would certainly draw attention regardless of political inclination - not unlike Trump now. There is definitely some vacuum bordering at electorate expectations.

by das monde on Thu Jun 2nd, 2016 at 11:46:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This scenario is being pushed in the domestic Infotainment Mediums because they need to - cutting to the chase - sell advertising.  As of June 2, 2016 there is no evidence Clinton will do worse than Obama in 2012 and she could quite possibly match his 365 Electoral Votes received in 2008.

The only US news site currently worth reading about this election is Sam Wang's Princeton Election Consortium.  All the rest are pushing various shades and grades of BS.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Thu Jun 2nd, 2016 at 01:50:23 PM EST
Speaking of which:

State-poll snapshot: Clinton 336, Trump 202 EV; Meta-Margin +4.2%



She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Thu Jun 2nd, 2016 at 01:53:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How many recent state polls have there been? I have looked periodically but only rarely found any.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Jun 3rd, 2016 at 12:19:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not many.  We'll have a better idea of how the election is shaping in September when the majority of Americans start tuning in.


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Fri Jun 3rd, 2016 at 10:32:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This election already has four parties on the ballot in many states with the Greens and the Libertarians constituting #3 and #4 respectively. Together these additional parties might exceed 4% of the vote. I doubt that will affect the Electoral College results.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Jun 2nd, 2016 at 02:49:56 PM EST
Libertarians are failing to make a serious impression.

The neo-cons are waking up, as if Trump is not enough.

by das monde on Fri Jun 3rd, 2016 at 12:04:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Question is; is Trump even gonna make it to the starting gate?

His campaign is broke, the RNC is broke, the donors don't want to know because they all wanted other people.

The Trump university scandal is going to bleed all over his campaign.

The VA donation no-show is gonna dog him any time he tries to invoke the military.

The more he holds out on the tax disclosures, the more he invites people to dig into his financial affairs and dig out skeletons even he needs to hide. Such as he's not a billionaire or that he's barely paid any taxes ever.

Frankly, right now, he could be facing a colossal blowout. And he might decide that when it's stopped being fun (soon) and that there's no hint of a profit (sometime in late July, I reckon)  he might just walk away.

The Democrats better hop he stays, he's the best thing they've had happen since Obama.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jun 2nd, 2016 at 02:51:25 PM EST
I gave up trying to make any sense of the GOP side of things back in late March when it became clear Trump was going to be their nominee.  

I don't see how he or the RNC or the NRSC or the NRCC are going to be able to appeal to the usual Much Bucks to fund their national, state, and local campaigns.  

Not only is his campaign broke, Trump himself is simply not ready for Prime Time:

Manafort [Trump's senior advisor] has previously promised that Trump will stop making such a jackass out of himself and start acting more presidential, but at the same time, it is his carnival barker antics combined with his bigoted rhetoric that is kept the eye of the media on him. If he plans to depend on free media coverage for the next two months the only way he can feasibly do that is by continuing to make an embarrassing spectacle of himself.


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Thu Jun 2nd, 2016 at 03:19:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If Trump doesn't buy paid advertising after CA until the Republican National Convention he will have to stay on the tube every day just to keep from becoming a broken pinnata.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Jun 3rd, 2016 at 12:35:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Fortunately for him, the MSM are fully cooperating with his publicity campaign.
by rifek on Fri Jun 3rd, 2016 at 07:25:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I could never understand why relatively poor people might want to donate to an alleged Billionaire like Trump.  Why doesn't he simply self fund - if he really has the dosh and really wants the job?

Some lobbyists and wannabee office holders and companies looking for favours might want to be on his donor list, but why anyone else?

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jun 2nd, 2016 at 04:28:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Because he will Make America Great again, obviously!
by Zwackus on Thu Jun 2nd, 2016 at 06:38:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It says so on his hat ... what more proof do you need?   😸

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Mon Jun 6th, 2016 at 07:17:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Trump Has a Conflict-of-Interest Problem No Other White House Candidate Ever Had
the presumptive GOP nominee also has a tremendous load of debt that includes five loans each over $50 million. (The disclosure form, which presidential candidates must submit, does not compel candidates to reveal the specific amount of any loans that exceed $50 million, and Trump has chosen not to provide details.) Two of those megaloans are held by Deutsche Bank, which is based in Germany but has US subsidiaries. And this prompts a question that no other major American presidential candidate has had to face: What are the implications of the chief executive of the US government being in hock for $100 million (or more) to a foreign entity that has tried to evade laws aimed at curtailing risky financial shenanigans, that was recently caught manipulating markets around the world, and that attempts to influence the US government?
by das monde on Fri Jun 3rd, 2016 at 12:20:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, Clinton's speech in San diego has had consequences, Rachel doing a good examination of what it means for the future campaign.

Looks like Trump is gonna have a bad autumn

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Jun 3rd, 2016 at 03:32:26 AM EST
Race and the great American adventure -- Scalawag Magazine
The right to travel was inscribed into the Magna Carta in 1215 and into the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, but it doesn't appear in the U.S. Constitution. For Americans, the only legal protection of what the United Nations considers a fundamental human right was won through a series of court cases that have hitched themselves to the "privileges and immunities" clause of the Constitution. The clause reads, rather dryly: "The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States."

Like so much constitutional law, the clause is an ugly kernel that was forced open under the scrutiny of later judges. In 1823, circuit court judge Bushrod Washington established that privileges and immunities implied "the right of a citizen of one State to pass through, or to reside in any other State."

The proper unfurling of the right to travel didn't come until 1857, however, when Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Taney, in his majority opinion to Scott v. Sandford, culled from the privileges and immunities clause the poetry it deserved as the Constitution's only defense of the freedom of movement. The clause, wrote Taney in prose seeded with alliteration, was intended to provide US citizens

the right to enter every other State whenever they pleased, singly or in companies, without pass or passport, and without obstruction, to sojourn there as long as they pleased, to go where they pleased at every hour of the day or night without molestation, unless they committed some violation of law for which a White man would be punished.

The fact that Justice Taney refers specifically to laws governing White men was not incidental. His opinion for Scott v. Sandford, also known as the Dred Scott case, was written not to define the privileges of Americans -- or even White Americans -- but to define the privileges that Black Americans didn't have. The Dred Scott case stripped Black people of their right to citizenship, establishing that slaves were private property and could not earn their freedom simply by establishing residence in a free state. The above passage, which remains the most resonant legal enunciation of the right to travel, was written in the negative. If you scroll back a few sentences, here's how it's couched:

It cannot be believed that the large slaveholding States regarded [Black people] as included in the word citizens. ...For if they were so received, and entitled to the privileges and immunities of citizens... it would give to persons of the negro race, who were recognised as citizens in any one State of the Union, the right to enter every other State whenever they pleased...
by das monde on Sat Jun 4th, 2016 at 02:03:27 AM EST


Display:
Go to: [ European Tribune Homepage : Top of page : Top of comments ]