The Left's Perpetual Immaturity
By Mike McGinn
Anyone who’s been a parent has seen how immaturely children can behave when they don’t get what they want. There’s usually a lot of whining and complaining, a temper tantrum or two, and an unwillingness to accept the rules that were applied to the situation. Fortunately, most children eventually grow up and mature. Not so with the progressive left which seems to live in perpetual immaturity.
It’s now been over three years since the general election, yet I still see statements in the media bemoaning the fact that Hillary Clinton won the majority of the popular vote, and therefore Donald Trump should not be our president. What these people don’t seem to grasp is that Trump won, and decisively so, by the rules that were applied to the situation. That is, he received the majority of Electoral College votes.
In 90% of the presidential elections where there’s a record of the popular vote (there’s no record for the first nine), the popular vote winner also won the Electoral College. The progressive left considers this ample reason to scrap the Electoral College system and award Clinton her mandate from the majority. What they can’t seem to accept is the rules that apply to this situation have been in place for 231 years. They are found in Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution and in Chapter 1, Title 3 of the U.S. Code. They clearly specify that the president will be the person receiving the majority of votes from the Electoral College.
When a Philadelphia citizen asked Benjamin Franklin upon exiting the Constitutional Convention in 1787 what form of government we had, he replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.” The founding fathers feared direct democracy and they crafted a federal government to protect us from the “tyranny of the majority” (more on that later). Article II, Section 1 is part of that protection, and it contains the rule that applies to this situation. To simplify this situation, let me provide an example that any baseball fan can grasp.
On Nov. 2, 2016, the Chicago Cubs beat the Cleveland Indians 8-7, winning their fourth game in the seven-game series and thus becoming the 2016 World Series champions. Ironically, the Cubs and Indians both scored a total of 27 runs each during the seven-game series, so from that perspective, it was a tie.
The rule that applied to the situation, however, was that the team who won the majority of the games became the World Series champion, not the team with the most total runs. In 80% of World Series competitions, the team that won the majority of the games also had the highest run total, but in the other 20%, it was either a tie or the losing team scored more total runs.
In the 1960 World Series the New York Yankees scored a total of 55 runs, more than any team in the history of the Series, but they were beaten by the Pittsburgh Pirates, who scored only 27 runs, less than half of the Yankees’ total, but won the majority of the games. The Yankees clearly won the “popular vote” in this situation, but the Pirates won the majority in the “electoral college” and thus became the World Series champions that year. They won by the rules that were applied to the situation.
Here we are, three years later, and the “not my president” and “never Trump” crowd still has not grown up and learned to play by the rules that apply to the situation. We’ve had to live through three years of their unending whining, complaining, and temper tantrums, and I fully expect we’ll have to live through five more. At least the Cleveland fans were mature enough in 2016 to accept the Cubs as the World Series champions.
The founding fathers abhorred pure democracy, and their study of past governments showed them why. In The Federalist Papers: No. 10, James Madison stated that “democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.”
The founding fathers aimed to devise a compromise that fit between what they called a “tyranny of the majority” and the complete centralization of power in a king, an oligarch, or a dictator.
What they crafted was a republican form of government, one that distributed governing powers throughout the three branches of government and, just as importantly, defined the means by which individuals were elected or appointed into each branch.
Citizens directly elect their congressional representatives (those who make laws) and their Electoral College delegates (those who elect the president). Unfortunately, Congress long ago abdicated its law-making responsibilities and instead empowers unelected bureaucrats to craft federal rules and regulations.
Up until 1913, the states, via their respective legislatures, elected U.S. senators, which allowed states to influence legislation originating in the House before it was passed to the president for signature. This lasted until passage of the 17th Amendment, which transferred the election of senators to the citizens, the culmination of several decades of effort by populists to take this right away from the states.
The president, with the advice and consent of the Senate, appoints members of the judiciary branch. Unfortunately, many on federal benches today have strayed far outside their constitutional bounds, crafting laws via judicial fiat rather than ruling on existing law or proposed legislation. As Thomas Jefferson predicted in his 1819 letter to Spencer Roane, “The constitution … is a mere thing of wax in the hands of the judiciary, which they may twist, and shape into any form they please.”
What is needed is not further deviations, which will propel us closer to that “tyranny of the majority,” but a return to the prescience and wisdom of the founding fathers. The election of any candidate on the Democrat ticket will guarantee more deviations from, if not an outright trampling of, our Constitution.
As Ronald Reagan once famously said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.” I believe we today are that generation. History will judge what we do next November.