Donald Trump recently termed his first hundred days as “just about the most successful in our country’s history.”
In fact, with his approval around 40 percent, lowest in modern history for a new president, and the congressional budget approved through bipartisan efforts, including liberal entitlements and excluding Trump’s wall, our president, who wasn’t chosen by the greater amount of Americans, exemplifies the best case to elect future presidents by popular vote.
However, no one’s talking about this. I keep doing so, hoping someone prominent will take notice and enlist political leaders and pundits to start movements to raise funds, organize marches and rally elected officials to do the democratic thing and permit the people’s choice to lead our country.
It is maddening to watch Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Jerry Brown, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer and others appropriately rail against destructive attempts to undo progress enacted in the past eight years, but they never, to my mind, advocate changing the undemocratic manner we elect presidents. Their inaction effectively acknowledges the system as untouchable, even though other reforms eventually rid us of disagreeable long held aspects of American life.
Our journalists do so, too. Yes, they report Trump lies and nonsensical attempts to convince us he’s terrific, but fail to discuss he wouldn’t be president if Americans had their way. The other day on Don Lemon’s CNN show, analyst Mark Preston said Trump’s neurotic repetition of his supposedly overwhelming election wasn’t necessary because he “is the legitimate president of the United States.” Preston dismissively added that Democrats negate Trump’s presidency because they say the election was stolen due to Russian interference and Comey’s letter at the end of the campaign. However, he never brought up that Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump by almost 3,000,000 votes. To Preston and others, it’s something that should be looked past and forgotten once the new president is sworn in.
While I’ll admit, under our system, Trump is legally the president, five times in our history the losing candidate has entered the White House, twice in the past sixteen years, so it’s irresponsible that newscasters and pundits rarely discuss why it hasn’t changed.
In particular, because the current White House provides fodder for such a movement with incompetence and corruption on daily display. It’d be bad enough if a president were elected shy of America’s support but demonstrated capacity to run the government. That it’s not happening should engender impetus to end this archaic outrage.
It just isn’t enough for pundits and political leaders to react to outlandish executive orders or legislative action to undo Obamacare, environmental protections, immigration reform, etc. Additionally, it’s frustrating when reporters attribute success to Trump, as in Neil Gorsuch’s Supreme Court confirmation. Apart from the appointment, Trump had no hand in this venture. It was Mitch McConnell, who’d prevented Obama’s choice from getting a hearing and then changed the longstanding rule requiring sixty votes to approve a justice.
Yes, I understand, with congress under GOP control there’s only so much that can be done. However, the budget fights showed Democrats are able to influence enough Republicans to prevent destruction of things we hold dear.
They should also direct attention to states with legislation pending to enact the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, designed to circumvent the constitutional amendment process. States that do so award electoral votes to the national popular vote winner, irrespective of their state totals. This year, there are eighteen states attempting to join ten states plus D.C. already on board with 165 votes to go over the 270 votes needed to effect the legislation’s ratification.
Why don’t reporters write about this? I understand journalists normally don’t promote points of view, but these reforms are facts. Only with proper discussion might more heed be paid to rally support. Frankly, I don’t know why pundits like David Gergen, Chris Matthews and Carl Bernstein have not become advocates. Or are they fixated, too, on the so-called purity of the Electoral College, as if it’s correct there are national issues confronting us all, endorsed by almost 3,000,000 more Americans, only to be undone by a system touted as more democratic when it isn’t democratic at all.
Imagine you’re a woman seeking an abortion, or someone wanting climate safeguards or gun control. You’ve voted, yet your collective will is undermined by fewer countrymen and this is deemed okay by smart folks with a media platform.
Or it’s ignored by political leaders, who in a shortsighted manner tackle only the major issues of the day without the apparent capacity to act in broad strokes, simultaneously ridding our nation of this awful vestige of a time when blacks were counted as 3/5 of a white man so that southern states would have more congressional representation.
What must we do? Raise money for national ads to raise still more to get the wherewithal to campaign in states to pass legislation needed to rectify this wrong? How do we get this discussed on CNN, MSNBC and the major responsible networks and newspapers? How can anyone really think it’s better to have fewer people elect our president?
Yes, there’s the Senate with disproportionate power among our states, but the Senate cannot pass legislation without support of the House, which is based upon population. And remember senators were once elected by state legislatures. That was changed to directly elect them, so why not the presidency?
People aren’t talking about this. Wake up, political leaders. Don’t ignore the issue, journalists and pundits. After 230 years it’s time for Americans to directly elect our president.
Michael Russnow’s website is www.ramproductionsinternational.com
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