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Sunday, November 13, 2016

The (Un) Corrupt Bargain of 2016?

Many of my Democratic/liberal friends have been circulating a petition from to get the electors to turn votes over from Trump to Clinton. I signed it, because we're in such an extreme place and we have to do anything, anything, we can to change it.

The New York Post, while not my cup of tea, has published a piece about a potential scenario where the electors could change their votes. Fox News did so as well. These are both Rupert Murdoch owned outlets, and I'm wondering if that's signaling that the Murdoch family is feeling a bit soft on this, which is a slight ray of light. According to the Post:

However, there is technically nothing stopping any of the electors from voting their conscience and refusing to support the candidate to whom they were bound, or from abstaining from voting altogether.
There’s even a name for it: becoming a “faithless elector.”
Clinton would need more than 20 GOP electors to go rogue and vote instead for her — a mighty tall order. 

That's a lot already. But there's another obstacle:

Even then, the new, Republican-controlled Congress meets Jan. 6 to approve the electoral college vote, and would certainly vote to void any roguery, handing the victory firmly back to Trump.

Strangely, I think the chance of a scenario like this working is greater than zero percent, but I don't think any petition to the electors will do it. If anything, we need a petition to the leaders on both sides of the aisle, both current and retired. A group like Barack Obama, Bush I and II, Carter, Colin Powell,  Condi Rice, plus a couple of sitting high level Dem elected officials (Pelosi, Reid, Schumer?), hell, maybe even the Koch Brothers (who don't support Trump but wield a hell of a lot of influence in the Republican Party could start calling or meeting with them individually, and perhaps hold a joint press conference explaining why they're doing it. They'd need to change the minds of 20 electors and about 40 House Republicans. We'd additionally need an official committee to maintain a "whip count" on this (I volunteer!).

However, keep in mind that most of these electors and House members are probably happy to support Donald Trump, and Republicans elected officials are generally not grassroots types. They also essentially have 50 million signatures for this arrangement that were signed in the voting booths and have shown no sign of wavering.

We'd need more than conversations, we'd need good old fashioned political arm twisting and horse trading. But understand that Dems would likely have to give up something BIG for it. It might be ten Senate seats (not sure if this is possible), Social Security/Medicare privatization, Obamacare... maybe even something bigger. The closest precedent (and it's still disputed whether it happened at all) is the "Corrupt Bargain" in the election of 1876. That race was a lot closer, still had votes up for dispute, and had the Democratic Party ready to attack DC. And all the Republicans had to give up was Reconstruction and most freedoms of millions of former slaves in the South for about the next 90 years. We also might need to withstand a surge in violence from Trump supporters beyond what we're already seeing.

That may not be as steep a concession as it sounds, because by 1876 the Republicans were pretty much over the whole "freedom for blacks" thing (they were really only the "Party of Lincoln" for about 15 years all in all, and then we didn't have a pro-civil-rights for blacks contingent again in earnest at least until FDR was elected, maybe even Truman). But still, something damn steep.

So is there a chance? Yes, but it's very small, would require a very quick change in strategy and would probably just result in four years that would have most of the same terrible results without having to look at Trump's face or hear his voice or that of his sycophants we used to laugh at and now must fear (fucking Kellyanne Conway). It would hurt like hell forever, but might keep us from becoming an autocratic laughingstock and a threat to the rest of the world. That might be enough. We just don't have any other safeguards to keep a straight-up fascist out of the Oval Office, even if he's a pretty-close-to-proven traitor ("Yes, puppet! Yes puppet! We're the puppet!). Hell, Trump himself might accept it. We all kind of knew that he wanted to win, but not really to govern.

I'm going to e-mail this post to and see what they think. Anybody else want to join me?

I'd also like to hear in the comments if there's any flaw in my logic.

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