Thursday, November 12, 2020

Quick Answers to Election Questions, 2020

By Douglas V. Gibbs
Author, Speaker, Instructor, Radio Host
  • On this date in November 2020 is Joe Biden president-elect?
    • No, the Electoral College has not cast their votes yet.  This will happen on December 14.  That said, the electors could tell everyone to bug off and they could vote independently of the popular vote. The requirement of the electors to vote the same as the popular vote chose was never added to the Constitution via the amendment process.
  • Is Trump trying to steal the election through the courts?
    • No, the manners and procedures of an election are determined through the State legislatures, and Congress in extraordinary circumstances; the courts have no authority regarding the manner and procedures of the elections within the States.  The courts are being used because it is believed laws have been broken, and it is the court's job to apply the law to ensure any broken laws are acknowledged and the appropriate measures to correct the problem are taken.  This could, if enough fraudulent votes are thrown out as a result, swing the election back to President Trump.
  • Who are the electors, and who chooses them?
    • The electors are persons selected to vote for president. They cannot be current office holders or persons who receive pay from the federal government. They are selected by the political parties, which is actually unconstitutional since in Article II it indicates that the State legislatures shall choose the electors.  Historically, the electors vote more than 98% of the time in line with how the public votes in the presidential election.  Originally, they voted not based on the public vote, but based on their own decision which was heavily influenced by campaigning and lobbying by the people.
  • If the Electoral College cannot determine a winner, does that mean Pelosi in the House of Representatives with her hoard of Democrats can choose who the next President is?
    • No.  In the 12th Amendment if no president is chosen through the electoral process the vote does go to the House of Representatives.  However, a party majority in the House does not mean they will control the vote because the vote is not by members, but by State, with each State getting one vote.  In such a scenario, it is likely Trump would win if the vote went to the House of Representatives.
  • Why do we use an Electoral College instead of a national popular vote?
    • The Founding Fathers realized that tyranny typically rises out of population centers.  The Framers of the Constitution were also trying to ensure that all of the States were willing to ratify the Constitution.  They feared pure democracy, and they feared the States with larger populations might try to dominate the federal government.  The States to the south, who were not as willing to let go of slavery as were the States in the north, were also worried about the States in the north dictating to them through federal legislation, how they could run their States, including regarding the topic of slavery.  So, many mechanisms were put in place to protect the United States against what Thomas Jefferson called the "tyranny of the majority."  The Electoral College solved these problems.  Without the use of electors, and the designation of electoral votes, we would have a democratic system that relies on a national popular vote, which would give all of the voting power to the few largest cities.  Candidates would no longer visit places like Iowa or New Hampshire because in the grand scheme of things, their votes would not matter.
  • What if there is no president by inauguration day?  Who is president, then?
    • It depends on the circumstance.  
      • If the president-elect is determined to be disqualified then the Vice President-elect, on inauguration day, would become President of the United States, and then would nominate a replacement for the office of the Vice President, which the U.S. Senate would need to confirm.  
      • If the president-elect is determined to be unfit for office due to illness, physical disability, or mental disability, then the Vice President-elect would act as President until the President is fit to resume or fulfill his or her duties.  If the disability is permanent, then the Vice President becomes President, and nominates a new Vice President, which must be confirmed by the Senate.  
      • If the president-elect dies before being inaugurated, the same procedure applies, making the Vice President the President, and then a new Vice President would need to be nominated and confirmed.  
      • If inauguration day is reached and nobody is president because the election has not been resolved yet, due to court cases, fraud, and/or a lack of a majority of electors, then the House chooses the President, once again with one vote per State.  
      • If inauguration day is reached and the president-elect is found to be unfit, and the vice president-elect is found to be ineligible, the House of Representatives would choose a temporary president to hold the spot until a new election could be performed, and a new president is chosen.
  • What if, after inaugurated, the President and Vice President are both unable to maintain the office of President and Vice President, simultaneously?
    • This is where the line of succession is put into play.  It was originally dreamed up during a time when there was a fear of a nuclear blast taking out the President and the Vice President at the same time.  If this were to happen, then the next in line would be the Speaker of the House.  Note, this would only come into play if both offices are vacated at the same time, and it occurs after inauguration day.
-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

No comments: