Five Minutes Five Issues: Faithless Electors, ‘Russian Hack,’ Avenue Strategies, Pelosi Vote, Electoral College
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The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity welcomes you to Five Minutes Five Issues.
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Hello, I am Adam Dick, a Ron Paul Institute senior fellow.
Before the Monday Electoral College voting, there was much talk of electors pledged to Donald Trump abandoning him. Some people even thought such so-called faithless electors may cause Hillary Clinton to become president.
In past presidential elections, vote switching by electors has been rare. In 2012, it did not occur at all.
One hundred-eighty years ago defecting electors deprived a candidate of an Electoral College majority. That happened with Martin Van Buren’s running mate Richard M. Johnson in 1836. With no vice presidential candidate winning an Electoral College majority, the decision shifted to the United States Senate where Johnson won in the end.
On Monday, seven electors successfully voted for someone other than their designated presidential candidate. Most of the faithless electors selected an alternative choice for vice president as well.
More electors abandoned Clinton than abandoned Trump. Clinton electors in Washington cast three votes for Colin Powell and one for Faith Spotted Eagle. In Hawaii, a Clinton elector chose Clinton’s primary opponent Bernie Sanders. At least three other Clinton electors — in Maine, Minnesota, and Colorado — attempted to vote for someone other than Clinton but were prevented from having such votes counted. The only faithless elector presidential votes among Trump electors were in Texas, providing one vote each for John Kasich and Ron Paul.
On Monday, Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), along with Walter Jones (R-NC), who is a Ron Paul Institute Advisory Board member, wrote to President Barack Obama regarding reports that anonymous Obama administration officials suggested “that some intelligence agencies believe the Russian government interfered in the U.S. presidential election with the intention of aiding the campaign of President-elect Donald Trump.” The representatives also express concern about Obama’s suggestion in a National Public Radio interview that the US would take retaliatory actions against Russia. Amash and Jones conclude their letter by requesting “that a classified briefing on the evidence being used to support these claims be made available to all members of Congress immediately.”
A copy of an interesting business launch announcement is included in a Wednesday Los Angeles Times article by Evan Halper.
Remember Corey Lewandowski? He was Donald Trump’s campaign manager for a while. Lewandowski and Barry Bennett, who also was involved in Trump’s campaign, have started a company. It’s called Avenue Strategies. Lewandowski says in the announcement of the company’s launch that he had considered “multiple opportunities” in the Trump administration but has decided to help Trump “outside the formal structure of government.” And Bennett says he is excited to help the company’s clients “raise their voices in Washington.”
On November 30, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) retained her position as minority leader in a vote by House of Representatives Democrats. But, the vote of 134 to 63 indicates significant opposition to Pelosi continuing in the leadership role. As noted by Emmarie Huetteman in a New York Times article, 20 more Democratic House members voted for Pelosi’s challenger this time than did so in 2010. Just before the 2010 leadership vote, Republicans had won over 60 House seats to become the majority party — all while Pelosi was speaker of the House.
Since the US Constitution mandates the Electoral College system, abolishing that system requires adopting a constitutional amendment.
In the week after the election, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) introduced a constitutional amendment intended to abolish the Electoral College and replace it with a countrywide popular vote to directly elect presidents.
The amendment would strip election influence from smaller states. Therefore, it seems unlikely the amendment would make it successfully through the required process of, first, receiving an affirmative vote of two-thirds of the members of both the House and Senate and, second, being approved in the legislatures of three-fourths of the states.
By the way, the proposed amendment also declares the US Congress has vast election powers. These include deciding what candidates are on the ballot, the manner in which presidential elections operate, and how results are ascertained and declared.
That’s a wrap.
Transcripts of Five Minutes Five Issues episodes, including links to related information, are at the Ron Paul Institute blog.
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