Trump! … What the Hell happened?

dumpsterfireI listened last night to one chap from Breitbart being interviewed about things, and as he gushed he was (quite rightly) challenged by the guy interviewing him about the rather obnoxious rhetoric the Trump had deployed during the campaign. There is no denying any of that, I very much doubt you could find anybody who was not familiar with any of it and so the line he took was to happily acknowledge it all with a comment that ran roughly as follows, “He may indeed have said a few bad things, but that is nothing compared to Hillary who did bad things“.

One word immediately springs to mind … “Bullshit”.

What is fascinating is that even after having won, he was still promoting this fiction as fact.

You would think that no nation would ever seriously embrace the idea of economic and environmental suicide, but apparently enough voters in the US have collectively decided, “Hey, let’s give it go“, and so they voted for a guy who has a plan that will, if actually implemented as laid out, bankrupt and wipe out the US economy and also any hope of actually ever addressing climate change.

So what really happened, why did it pan out like this?

Let’s ask ourselves a few questions.

Why did the polls get it so very wrong?

The UK’s BREXIT should have been a wakeup call and so you would perhaps have expected that US pollsters would/could have anticipated something like this. Prior to the UK’s BREXIT there was a quiet confidence that the remain campaign would prevail, and so everybody woke up with a deep sense of shock on 24th June to discover that the pollsters had got it very wrong.

What we do now begin to see is that the way pollsters gather data simply does not appear to work as it once did.

There are perhaps two specific factors that do potentially explain why they got it wrong in the US …

  • Rather a lot of people from categories that do not normally vote turned out to vote
  • People voting for Clinton could happily and openly tell a complete stranger that they supported her. She had a positive message, along with a progressive agenda, it was something to be proud of. Trump on the other hand deployed a racist xenophobic message, and so if asked by a pollster, many would have been psychologically reluctant to tell a complete stranger that they were a Trump supporter and instead opted to not engage.

To be strictly fair about this, most polls do have a statistical margin of error and most were within that range, so they were not absurdly wrong. Prior to the election one of the most popular pollsters, Nate Silver from 358, was already pointing out that a Trump victory was a distinct possibility and not a long shot at all, but that was not what anybody wanted to hear, so a Clinton win was assumed by many as an almost done deal.

Was it “Stupidity” or “Racism”?

These are easy answers suggested by some to explain the BREXIT vote in the UK, but they do not actually explain things at all. Yes you will find examples of extreme stupidity in play, and yes you will also find examples of racism or xenophobia or misogyny, not just amongst Trump supporters, but also from Trump himself. Tempting as it might be to latch on to observations that is was mostly lower educated white voters that supported Trump, you simply cannot dismiss the observation that minority voters and women also turned out to vote for him. That perhaps might be a cue to suggest turkeys voting for Christmas, but this is not really explaining what actually happened.

Some out that called it correctly well in advance and also explained why Trump was going to win. An example is perhaps the documentary maker Michael Moore who was pointing it out for some time now explained exactly why that was the case. For the record, no, he is not a Trump supporter. If you would like to gain an understanding then you should perhaps invest a bit of time watching his documentary, “Michael Moore in Trumpland“.

“[Trump is] saying the things to people who are hurting,” said Moore. “And it’s why every beaten-down, nameless, forgotten working stiff who used to be part of what was called ‘the middle class’ loves Trump. He is the human Molotov cocktail that they’ve been waiting for. The human hand grenade that they can legally throw into the system that stole their lives from them.”

“And on November 8th, Election Day — although they’ve lost their jobs, although they’ve been foreclosed on by the bank, next came the divorce and now the wife and kids are gone, the car has been repo-ed, they haven’t had a real vacation in years, they’re stuck with the s**tty Obamacare Bronze plan where you can’t even get a f**king Percocet — they’ve essentially lost everything they had,” he continued. “Except one thing. The one thing that doesn’t cost them a cent and is guaranteed to them by the American constitution: the right to vote.”

“Yes, on November 8th, you — Joe Blow, Steve Blow, Bob Blow, Bill Blow, Billy Bob Blow, all the Blows — get to go and blow up the whole goddamn system because it’s your right,” Moore concluded. “Trump’s election is going to be the biggest ‘F**k you’ ever recorded in human history. And it will feel good.”

Did anybody really listen?

Sadly no.

Is Trump a done deal now?

OK, I’ll now indulge in a bit of denial and run with a fantasy for a bit.

We read about protesters on the streets marching under the banner of #NotMyPresident, and so you might wonder why they are bothering. The election is over and what happens next is not reversible. Actually … that’s not strictly true.

Trump being president in January is the most probable outcome, but we do live in extraordinary times and there are other possibilities.

First a bit of context to explain …

  • Clinton won the popular vote. If you add up all the votes in play she got more than Trump did. Yes by more than a million votes Clinton wins and yet we get Trump.
  • It is not the popular vote that counts, instead it is the electoral collages that do. By a very slim margin, Trump has slightly more representatives there than Clinton does, so when they vote on Dec 19th, then it becomes final.

Does anybody think this entire electoral collage system that imposes Trump via a minority of voters is absurd?

Yes indeed, Trump himself does …

OK, now here comes the key bit.

Nobody directly voted for Trump or Clinton to be president. This is because it is United States Electoral College that elects the President and Vice President of the United States every four years.

  • Various states have a number of delegates that reflects their population size and since abut the 1880s they have operated a winner takes all approach
  • Once those delegates meet, they then vote … and it is that vote that formally decides who will be POTUS.
  • That vote has not yet happened, it is due to take place on 19th December

It is generally assumed that the electoral college voters will actually vote the way they declared they would at the party conventions. If however a few of the Republican electrical collage voters were persuaded to flip their declared vote from Trump to Clinton then she still could actually win.

Has anything like that ever happened?

Actually yes, in 1836 the entire 23 man Virginia delegation did exactly that. That left Johnson just 1 vote short.

Well yes that was then, we now live in a time when things like that just don’t happen. Ah but this has been an election like no other …

  • Trump is an outsider with no experience and is not really a Republican, he imposed himself
  • People are protesting in the streets about this
  • Many of the GOP movers and shakers hate him and openly refused to support him

So could it really happen, could a few of the GOP electoral college voters be persuaded to either flip their vote or simply not vote?

Now here is another rather interesting twist to all this. The original reason for the existence of the electoral collage system and the avoidance of a direct vote was to enable a few to act as a buffer against the possibility of somebody like Trump. Alexander Hamilton took the view that  the electors would make sure …

“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.”

Well yes, I’m indulging in a fantasy here, a really very long shot, but I’m not in isolation here thinking along such lines …

It would be quite frankly astonishing if it did actually happen but I do also need to come to terms with reality. The most probable outcome is that Trump will be voted in and the GOP will then surround him with a sea of “advisers” who will basically both manage him and strive to keep him on a leash.

Apparently there is a petition running that close to two million have signed asking the Electors to do this …

On December 19, the Electors of the Electoral College will cast their ballots. If they all vote the way their states voted, Donald Trump will win. However, they can vote for Hillary Clinton if they choose. Even in states where that is not allowed, their vote would still be counted, they would simply pay a small fine – which we can be sure Clinton supporters will be glad to pay!

We are calling on the Electors to ignore their states’ votes and cast their ballots for Secretary Clinton. Why?

Mr. Trump is unfit to serve. His scapegoating of so many Americans, and his impulsivity, bullying, lying, admitted history of sexual assault, and utter lack of experience make him a danger to the Republic. 

Secretary Clinton WON THE POPULAR VOTE and should be President. 

 Hillary won the popular vote. The only reason Trump “won” is because of the Electoral College.

But the Electoral College can actually give the White House to either candidate. So why not use this most undemocratic of our institutions to ensure a democratic result?


There is no reason Trump should be President.

“It’s the ‘People’s Will'”

No. She won the popular vote.

“Our system of government under our Constitution says he wins”

No. Our Constitution says the Electors choose.

“Too many states prohibit ‘Faithless Electors'”

24 states bind electors. If electors vote against their party, they usually pay a fine. And people get mad. But they can vote however they want and there is no legal means to stop them in most states.


Let’s permit Michael Moore to Have the last word here or what to do now

He called it correctly, and nobody was listening. It is perhaps worth paying attention to what he has to say now on Day one …

Morning After To-Do List:

1. Take over the Democratic Party and return it to the people. They have failed us miserably. 

2. Fire all pundits, predictors, pollsters and anyone else in the media who had a narrative they wouldn’t let go of and refused to listen to or acknowledge what was really going on. Those same bloviators will now tell us we must “heal the divide” and “come together.” They will pull more hooey like that out of their ass in the days to come. Turn them off. 

3. Any Democratic member of Congress who didn’t wake up this morning ready to fight, resist and obstruct in the way Republicans did against President Obama every day for eight full years must step out of the way and let those of us who know the score lead the way in stopping the meanness and the madness that’s about to begin. 

4. Everyone must stop saying they are “stunned” and “shocked”. What you mean to say is that you were in a bubble and weren’t paying attention to your fellow Americans and their despair. YEARS of being neglected by both parties, the anger and the need for revenge against the system only grew. Along came a TV star they liked whose plan was to destroy both parties and tell them all “You’re fired!” Trump’s victory is no surprise. He was never a joke. Treating him as one only strengthened him. He is both a creature and a creation of the media and the media will never own that. 

5. You must say this sentence to everyone you meet today: “HILLARY CLINTON WON THE POPULAR VOTE!” The MAJORITY of our fellow Americans preferred Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. Period. Fact. If you woke up this morning thinking you live in an effed-up country, you don’t. The majority of your fellow Americans wanted Hillary, not Trump. The only reason he’s president is because of an arcane, insane 18th-century idea called the Electoral College. Until we change that, we’ll continue to have presidents we didn’t elect and didn’t want. You live in a country where a majority of its citizens have said they believe there’s climate change, they believe women should be paid the same as men, they want a debt-free college education, they don’t want us invading countries, they want a raise in the minimum wage and they want a single-payer true universal health care system. None of that has changed. We live in a country where the majority agree with the “liberal” position. We just lack the liberal leadership to make that happen (see: #1 above). 

Let’s try to get this all done by noon today. 
— Michael Moore

… and then this for Day two …

Day Two’s To-Do List:

1. Must quickly and decisively form an opposition movement, the likes of which hasn’t been seen since the 1960s. I will do my part to help lead this as I’m sure many others (Bernie, Elizabeth Warren, MoveOn, the hip-hop community, DFA, etc.) will, too. The core of this opposition force will be fueled by young people who, as with Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter, don’t tolerate b.s. and are relentless in their resistance to authority. They have no interest in compromising with racists and misogynists.

2. Prepare to impeach Trump. Just as the Republicans were already planning to do with President Hillary from Day One, we must organize the apparatus that will bring charges against him when he violates his oath and breaks the law — and then we must remove him from office.

3. Must commit right now to a vigorous fight (including civil disobedience, if necessary) which will block any and all Donald Trump Supreme Court nominees who do not meet our approval. We demand the Democrats in the Senate aggressively filibuster any nominees who support Citizens United or who oppose the rights of women, immigrants and the poor. This is non-negotiable. 

4. Demand the DNC apologize to Bernie Sanders for trying to fix the primaries against him, for spinning the press to ignore his historic campaign, for giving Clinton the questions in advance at the Flint debate, for its latent ageism and anti-Semism in trying to turn voters against him because of his age or religious beliefs, and for its anti-democracy system of “superdelegates” who are elected by no one. We all know now had Bernie been given a fair shot, he probably would have been the nominee and he — as the true outsider and “change” candidate –would have inspired and fired up the base and soundly defeated Donald Trump. If no apology is soon forthcoming from the DNC, that’s ok — when we take over the Democratic Party (see yesterday’s To-Do List, #1), we will issue the apology in person. 

5. Demand that President Obama establish a Special Prosecutor to investigate who and what was behind FBI Director James Comey’s illegal interference into the Presidential election 11 days before the vote was held. 

6. Begin a national push while it’s fresh in everyone’s mind for a constitutional amendment to fix our broken electoral system: 1. Eliminate the Electoral College — popular vote only. 2. Paper ballots only — no electronic voting. 3. Election Day must be made a holiday for all — or held on a weekend so more people vote. 4. All citizens, regardless of any run-ins with the criminal “justice” system, must have the right to vote. (In swing states like Florida and Virginia, 30-40% of all Black men are prohibited by law from voting.)

7. Convince President Obama to immediately do what he should have done a year ago: Send in the Army Corps of Engineers to Flint to dig up and replace all the poisoned pipes. NOTHING HAS CHANGED; the water in Flint is still unusable. 

Will try to get these done by sundown. More To-Do tomorrow…
–Michael Moore

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