Nov. 25, 2016 –
Has America’s election of Donald Trump as president avoided a 2016 Constitutional crisis? Not if sore losers ever get their way. Fortunately, their movement is a long shot.
Some of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s supporters and Green Party candidate Jill Stein are demanding a recount. Dr. Stein has raised $5.2 million in an effort to force a recount in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. The state of Wisconsin has agreed to a recount.
Worse, many of the Clinton and Stein supporters want to eliminate the Electoral College altogether. Democrats have introduced bills in Congress that would kill the Electoral College.
In this year’s election, Mrs. Clinton leads the popular vote by 2 million votes. But most of those votes come from the blue state of California where her margin over President-Elect Trump was 3.5 million votes.
She has 64,223,958 votes, compared to President-Elect Donald Trump’s 62,206,395. So she was rewarded with California’s 55 Electoral College votes.
The problem for her, of course, is that Mr. Trump won the majority of Electoral College votes.
The Electoral College was established to make certain a populous state like California doesn’t unfairly determine a nationwide election – that voters in each state are represented and given a voice.
Mr. Trump overwhelmed Mrs. Clinton’s so-called “firewall” of blue states. He captured states that went for President Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012 – Iowa, Florida, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
In addition, Democrats have lost heavily in other elections, which indicates the Trump victory is not a fluke.
Nationwide, Republicans captured 939 state legislative seats and now hold 33 governor seats. At this writing, the GOP could pick up another governorship if North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory wins re-election.
America is again at crossroads – an unlikely but possible Constitutional crisis over the Democrats’ call to eliminate the Electoral College, and Mrs. Clinton’s email and Clinton Foundation scandals.
She claims there were no scandals but many Americans disagreed and cast their judgment against her at the ballot box.
How could she possibly have governed as president? Mr. Trump now says he’s not interested in prosecuting her but members of Congress plan investigations.
The last Constitutional crisis severely hurt the nation.
Think back to the presidential campaign of 1972. President Richard Nixon (R) was running for re-election against anti-war candidate, South Dakota Sen. George McGovern (D).
It was a brutal campaign during the Vietnam War that would continue for another three years.
Mr. Nixon touted an improving economy, a winding down of the Vietnam War and establishing relations with China.
His running mate for vice president was again former Maryland Gov. Spiro Agnew.
Sen. McGovern was widely viewed as a leftwing extremist. He became the Democrats’ frontrunner after the campaign collapse of Maine Sen. Edmund Muskie.
It was widely believed Sen. Muskie would have defeated Mr. Nixon, but a series of events and dirty tricks by the Nixon campaign led to his downfall. Mo. Senator Thomas Eagleton became Sen. McGovern’s vice-presidential running mate.
On June 17, five men were arrested for breaking into the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate complex in Washington, DC.
An investigation by the FBI revealed a link – between the cash found on the burglars and a slush fund established by CRP, the Committee for the Re-Election of the President.
It was a slowly developing story. Only two reporters at The Washington Post, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, spotted the significance of the break in. Then, Walter Cronkite and CBS News casually followed suit.
As a young broadcaster, I remember being puzzled – why weren’t the news media and American people paying attention to the developing scandal? But journalists and the masses seemed oblivious.
Meantime, Democrats were hurt further when Sen. Eagleton was forced to resign from the ticket on Aug. 1 after it was revealed he had been hospitalized multiple times for severe depression. He was replaced by Sergent Shriver, a politician and brother-in-law of the late President John F. Kennedy.
President Richard Nixon rolled to victory with about 60 percent of the popular vote in the 1972 election. He won by a landslide with 520 Electoral College votes to 17 for Sen. McGovern.
The Democrat Party was on the ropes. That eventually led to the 1976 implementation of the public funding of elections by the Federal Election Commission.
Unfortunately for the American people in July 1973, seven months after they elected Mr. Nixon, more stomach-churning details emerged.
Crucial evidence had mounted against several Nixon Administration staff members. Forty-eight were found guilty of being involved in either the slush fund used for dirty tricks, the break-in or the cover-up.
This coincided with an investigation of Vice President Agnew on bribery, conspiracy, extortion and tax fraud charges. The charges stemmed from his accepting bribes or more than $100,000 when he was the Baltimore County Executive, Governor of Maryland and even as vice president.
With the proviso that he resign as vice president, he was allowed to plead no contest to the charges. Then, Mr. Nixon appointed House Minority Leader Gerald Ford to replace Mr. Agnew.
Then, the bombshell disclosure – it was revealed that President Nixon had a secret tape-recording system in the White House, and that he had recorded countless conversations.
This prompted a daily drama in court. Federal District Judge John Sirica ruled that Mr. Nixon had to release the audio recordings.
Incriminating tape evidence
The tapes showed the president was involved in the Watergate cover-up and that he ordered federal officials to delay or halt the investigation.
As the investigation proceeded, in a highly controversial event – dubbed the Saturday Night Massacre – Mr. Nixon fired special prosecutor Archibald Cox.
The firing of Mr. Cox prompted the resignations of Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus on Oct. 20, 1973. (Three years later, I interviewed Mr. Richardson.)
Mr. Ford, of course, assumed the presidency when President Nixon – facing impeachment by the House of Representatives – resigned in disgrace on Aug. 9, 1974.
And Mr. Ford took a lot of heat for pardoning Mr. Nixon. That was a salient reason why Mr. Ford was defeated in his 1976 bid for the Presidency by Georgia Gov. Jimmy Carter.
Admittedly, I was one of Mr. Ford’s critics. But I changed my mind after meeting Mr. Ford – after learning of his personal philosophy to save the nation from further polarization and dysfunction by his pardon of Mr. Nixon, I was proud to get a scoop as the first journalist to report his retirement plans.
Hillary Clinton’s emailgate
Ironically, amid all her email scandals, it’s worth remembering Hillary Clinton helped investigate Watergate. Indeed, more details are available in a thoughtful article, How Richard Nixon Created Hillary Clinton – Bloomberg Politics.
However, like Richard Nixon’s run for his re-election, the stars appeared to line up perfectly for Mrs. Clinton second bid for the White House.
She has seemed to survive countless controversies – here’s a concise sample:
A polarized nation — again
Mrs. Clinton had become so tainted and toxic, even the Chicago Tribune wrote on Oct. 28 that Democrats should ask Hillary Clinton to step aside for the good of the U.S.
While she tried to tie her opponent Donald Trump to Vladimir Putin over the WikiLeaks disclosures, the Russian leader knows that she would have been a weak leader stemming from her untrustworthy image, not Mr. Trump.
Moreover, the House of Representatives has announced it will move forward with its investigations of her.
So the obvious question remains: Had Mrs. Clinton been elected, how could she ever govern effectively? She couldn’t. She would have assured the U.S. of another Watergate-like Constitutional crisis.
Perhaps for self-serving reasons, even Mr. Nixon finally did the right thing. So has Mrs. Clinton by conceding the election.
But the sore-losing supporters of Mrs. Clinton and Dr. Stein don’t get it.
Fortunately, there are safeguards. The Electoral College can’t be eliminated on a whim by sore-losing Democrats.
Article V of the Constitution:
The Constitution provides that an amendment may be proposed either by the Congress with a two-thirds majority vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate or by a constitutional convention called for by two-thirds of the State legislatures.
Thank goodness for the wisdom of voters. But hopefully the 939 state legislative seats and 33 governorships held by the opposing party might never be needed to save the Electoral College.
From the Coach’s Corner, relevant links:
5 Attributes of Leadership Are Needed Now — With all the dysfunction in the economy and the debate over healthcare, Seattle Consultant Terry Corbell calls for leadership. He says the late President Ford, whom he covered as a journalist, leaves a remarkable legacy of leadership with healthy attributes for businesspeople and public officials to emulate.
Remembering Nancy Reagan: Lesson in Fear, Negotiations and Perseverance — With the passing of former First Lady Nancy Reagan, thanks to her I have fond memories about a lesson in fear, negotiations and perseverance.
Q&A with Dr. Ben Carson – The Full Meal Deal with Solutions — Sept. 13, 2013 – Naturally, Dr. Ben Carson is known as a uniquely soft-spoken retired neurosurgeon. His voluminous accomplishments include his pioneering in the separation of conjoined twins at the head. But, of course, there’s more. A lot more. With his gentle, low-key demeanor, he’s also known for his powerful insights on the issues facing the U.S. and the world.
The 22 Dos and Don’ts for Successful Negotiations — No matter what you need to negotiate, there are easy strategies to get anything you want. But you must first remember it’s important to reach a fair compromise – with win-win negotiating skills. You’ll want both parties to feel positive after the negotiation is complete. In other words, emotional needs for both of you have to be met.