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Sure, I want the Presidency to serve our nation well. Maybe Trump as President is not the same man we saw before his election. Maybe he’s not the same man I witnessed a decade ago when he verbally demeaned the news media while also demeaning a large audience comprised substantially of professional women. Maybe he’s not the same man I watched announce his candidacy by calling Mexicans rapists, and calling for a wall with Mexico and the removal of 11 million people living in this country. Maybe he’s not the same man who called for barring Muslims from the U.S. Maybe he’s not the same man who invited Russian intelligence to undermine the U.S. election. Maybe he’s not the same man who said other countries ought to have the atom bomb, and that the hard-won multi-national anti-nuclear agreement with Iran should be torn up.
Maybe he’s not the same man…
Once again, it appears, subject to final reports, that the dangerously antiquated Electoral College has “trumpted” the will of the people by delivering the Presidency to the person who came in 2nd place in the popular vote — the real American vote, just as happened in 2000. When will we learn? When will we fix this travesty and blow against democracy?
Here’s the link to my essay on the Electoral College and what to do about it.
And here is what NPR is reporting this morning :
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton finds herself on the wrong end of an electoral split, moving ahead in the popular vote but losing to President-elect Donald Trump in the Electoral College, according to the latest numbers emerging Wednesday.
As of 10 a.m. ET, Clinton had amassed 59,299,381 votes nationally, to Trump’s 59,135,740 — a margin of 163,641 that puts Clinton on track to become the fifth U.S. presidential candidate to win the popular vote but lose the election.
Neither candidate got more than 50 percent of the vote — as of 10 a.m. ET, Clinton stood at 47.7 percent and Trump at 47.5 percent.
Thanks to the archaic Electoral College system of electing American Presidents and Vice Presidents, approximately 50% of votes cast are thrown out. Any my vote in Illinois is worth about 1/6th of a vote in Alaska. Corrupt? No, it’s the law. How could this be?
How to fix it? Rewrite the 24th amendment which established the Electoral College. Good luck with that. The other way is to support the National Popular Vote legislation in your state (Google it), which would at least assure the winner of the popular vote wins. You will hear a lot about the importance of the Electoral College between now and the election, as the campaigns game the system, but you won’t hear much now, and less after the election, about how it is stealing your vote.
Here’s how the EC works (from Wikipedia):
The United States Electoral College is the body that elects the President and Vice President of the United States every four years. Citizens of the United States do not directly elect the president or the vice president; instead they choose “electors”, who usually pledge to vote for particular candidates.
Electors are apportioned to each of the 50 states as well as to the District of Columbia. The number of electors in each state is equal to the number of members of Congress to which the state is entitled, while the Twenty-third Amendment grants the District of Columbia the same number of electors as the least populous state, currently three. Therefore, there are currently 538 electors, corresponding to the 435 Representatives and 100 Senators, plus the three additional electors from the District of Columbia. The Constitution bars any federal official, elected or appointed, from being an elector.
Except for Maine and Nebraska, all states have chosen electors on a “winner-take-all” basis since the 1880s. That is, each state has all of its electors pledged to the presidential candidate who wins the most votes in that state. Maine and Nebraska use the “congressional district method”, selecting one elector within each congressional district by popular vote and selecting the remaining two electors by a statewide popular vote. Although no elector is required by federal law to honor a pledge, there have been very few occasions when an elector voted contrary to a pledge. The Twelfth Amendment, in specifying how a president and vice president are elected, requires each elector to cast one vote for president and another vote for vice president.
The candidate who receives an absolute majority of electoral votes (currently 270) for the office of president or of vice president is elected to that office. The Twelfth Amendment provides for what happens if the Electoral College fails to elect a president or vice president. If no candidate receives a majority for president, then the House of Representatives will select the president, with each state delegation (instead of each representative) having only one vote. If no candidate receives a majority for vice president, then the Senate will select the vice president, with each senator having one vote. On four occasions, most recently in the 2000 presidential election, the Electoral College system has resulted in the election of a candidate who did not receive the most popular votes in the election.
Ran across the following item in an article titled, “25 Things You didn’t Know About Le Cirque,” in Jetset Magazine, March, 2013.
“#20. The Donald Loves… – Donald Trump has always been a regular at Le Cirque, and a good friend of Sirio. His favorite dish? The flipper.”
It was the fall of 1999, and I was dining at Le Cirque, one of New York’s legendary restaurants, celebrating my coming retirement with two associates from the Golden Arches, on the occasion of my last round of visits there with the news media on McDonald’s behalf. We happened to be seated at a table next to Mr. Donald Trump and his two male guests that evening. As I recall we had a many laughs and a marvelous meal at that magical restaurant, in it’s old Palace Hotel location.
During a stop in the men’s room to powder my nose that night, I remember hearing Trump’s two young guests, apparently financial types, standing together at the urinals, discovering that they each owned identical red Ferrari’s. How Trumpish.
I also noted that it was in 1999 that Trump, then considered a possible Presidential candidate under a Reform Party banner, was widely quoted as saying things like: “I’m very pro-choice,” and “I believe in universal health care.” He also said: “Democrats are too far left. Republicans are too far right.”
That leaves only one question about his preferences: what is the “flipper” dish he favored at LeCirque? Perhaps that is what defines him still, in 2016, as the newly presumptive Republican candidate for President of the United States.
Donald Trump was in rare form when I attended as a Chicago delegate his general session keynote for the largest national annual meeting of PR people, the 2004 Public Relations Society of America conference, in NYC. He had been recruited for the talk by Howard Rubenstein, the dean of “connected” public relations gurus in the city. Trump was the after lunch speaker on Sunday, October 24th, and was described in the introduction as the “consumate newsmaker, taking transparency and visibility to new heights – a man of vision and imagination.” He spoke without notes, and as if he were sitting around the bar telling stories with a couple of old male cronies, rather than to an sophisticated audience of a thousand in the New York Hilton’s Grand Ballroom. By the way, in addition to the country’s top PR professionals, the audience included hundreds of college student leaders majoring in public relations, mostly female.
While those who know me will attest I’m not easily offended, I was embarrassed for the women in the audience, young and old, as Trump made frequent sexist remarks about Vegas hookers and “chicks” and women sleeping around. His misogyny (hatred of women) seemed even bolder and yet reminiscent of Swedish playwright August Strindberg. He demonstrated he held the press in low esteem and considered them to be “dummies to be manipulated,” as I recall. Following are some “highlights” of his typically rambling stream of consciousness diatribe, as reported by one of the top PR trade magazine editors of the time, Jack O’Dwyer.
November 3, 2004
A LESSON FROM TRUMP
By Jack O’Dwyer
The speech by publicity kingpin Donald Trump to the PRSA conference Oct. 24 was remarkable in many ways but particularly for its candor.
Trump used a lot of salty language which offended some in the audience.
We didn’t like it either but we prefer it to the ambiguous business doubletalk which is standard fare at national trade conferences and meetings.
Trump speaks at the 2004 PRSA conference.
The Trump story we liked best concerned his chance meeting with a banker who was giving Trump a lot of grief.
Trump said that in the early 1990s he owed one bank $500 million+ and that there was a “nasty, mean vicious guy” at the bank who wanted to “take me down.”
Trump had friends who had been driven into chapter 11 bankruptcy by the banker.
The press at that time had “screaming headlines” about Trump’s troubles. “I was hammered,” said Trump, adding the press was “so happy” he was in trouble. But Trump said, “I said to them, f— you,” causing an outbreak of laughter and applause.
Met Banker at Dinner
One night Trump dragged himself to yet another black-tie dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria and by chance sat next to the “vicious” banker, whom he had never met.
The first ten minutes were “tough,” he told the PRSA conference. But the two executives warmed to each other. “We just hit it off,” said Trump.
On Monday, Trump went to the banker’s office and cut a deal that practically saved his organization.
Trump told this story to show that “the harder you work, the luckier you get.”
But we see a different meaning. Hostilities often melt at lengthy lunches, dinners, golf dates, nights-on-the-town or whatever provides a chance for two different sides to spend quality time with each other.
We’d like to see PR pros and reporters do more of this. It would do more to improve PR’s understanding of the press than panels where editors sit apart and tell their deadlines and ways they want to get stories. PR firms need to loosen tight budgets.
Take Your Lumps in the Press
Trump, the most publicized figure in business, which has helped to build his fortune, showed a love/hate attitude towards the press.
“I think I get the worst press of any human being in the world,” he said. He feels coverage of him in New York is particularly “terrible.”
There’s always some “shot” against him in every story such as “his hair looks like sh-t,” he said.
“I take it very personally,” said Trump. “I used to really go crazy…but everyone else thinks I get great press. Howard [Rubenstein] does.”
Rubenstein, honorary conference chair, was sitting nearby. He had obtained Trump as a speaker when Trump said he probably would have been out golfing.
Trump said he gets so much good and bad press that it evens out.
He told of being very cooperative with media and rarely passing up a chance for publicity whether it be TV commercials for Pepsi and McDonald’s or public service appearances.
For instance, he said “Entertainment Tonight” wanted to do a feature on him but he said he had no time. He agreed when the show said the taping could be done in his office. “I gave my four minutes,” he said.
He made the same accommodation for “Access Hollywood.” Entertainment Tonight even asked him “how brilliant” he was, he noted, explaining that if he ever said such a thing about himself in an ad he would be “laughed out of town.”
Press ‘Can Kill You’
He did a Super Bowl promotion reasoning that more would see it than a $2-$3 million Super Bowl ad.
“PR is much more important than advertising,” he said to applause. “When I get the word out that a building of mine is hot,” he said, “it’s better than a full page ad” in a newspaper that few will read.
But he also warned that “The press can kill you … the press can just eat you alive.” Especially vulnerable, he said, are those who avoid the press but get one “defining story” that may be bad.
He told of a friend whom the press made out to be “the meanest jerk and he is exactly the opposite. It was a defining story. He may never have another.”
Advice we didn’t like from Trump was, “If somebody goes after you, go after the SOB and get them … the next time they won’t go after you so much.”
He also advised not trusting anyone, including employees and even “the people sitting next to you right now … they’ll take your job, they’ll take your money … being a little paranoid is not so bad.”
The appearance of Trump was brought about by the media-friendly Rubenstein firm. Conference co-chairs Kathy Lewton and Grace Leong are to be complimented for obtaining the help of Howard.
The odd thing is that the powerhouse, 170-member Rubenstein firm has only one PRSA member–Howard himself.
PRSA national and PRSA/New York should have been courting him for years. He knows so many people (3,000 attended his 50th anniversary celebration in PR) that he could easily put PRSA/New York back on the map again by supplying major speakers at chapter events, getting publicity, etc.
FDR may have died in Hot Springs 69 years ago yesterday, but he was at his lively merriest in last night’s production of the musical Annie at the historic Opera House in Woodstock, IL, that little town made famous in the film Groundhog Day. The role of FDR is played to perfection by my old friend, former McDonald’s associate and Vietnam veteran Marine pilot Bud Jones.
I’d always wondered where the name Daddy Warbucks came from, and it occurred to me mid-performance that the soft-hearted industrialist’s name was a parody for war profiteer (War Bucks!), in this farce set in the depression and in the aftermath of WWI.
The rollicking play is performed on the historic Orson Wells Stage, where the actor, raised at a nearby boys home, made his theatrical debut at age 19 in 1934.
Annie is a delightful production, and the music and laughter lightly conceal a play based on cynical social commentary on the desperate America of the early 1930s. Annie continues at the Woodstock Opera House today and April 18, 19, 25, 26 and 27th. It’s a great evening out, in the company of Annie, Daddy Warbucks and the ineffable FDR.
Congress shouldn’t be in a fight about whether to fund the U.S. government, closing it down in the process, but better in a fight over how much (a budget) and for which things (an agenda). In Australia, they have a solution when both houses are deadlocked, and it’s called double dissolution. In such a circumstance, their Congress is dissolved and a new election is held. What we need in the U.S. is a new Congress, because the one we have in stalemated and inoperative. By the way, why are they getting paid now? Oh, that’s right, they make the rules. We’re about ready for a quiet, non-fatal version of the French Revolution. In fact, France has peacefully replaced their entire government six times since the real revolution. Wouldn’t that be a “revolutionary” concept for our loggerheaded Congress to consider?
Just watched the 1996 sci-fi spoof, Mars Attacks, and after the Martian ambassador appears before Congress, then turns the tables and kills them all with his ray gun, the film’s star, Jack Nicholson, consoles his staff with the optimistic comment, “Well, we’ve still got two branches of government, and that ain’t bad!”
Where are the Martians when we need ’em?
Just as the assassination of the archduke of Austria triggered the outbreak of what became World War I, the U.S. and other nations must not let the civil war in Syria become a sparking point for a new global conflagration, with unthinkable consequences.
Moderation, reconciliation and restraint are what is needed now, not punishment, strategic attacks and provocation. Pressure to compel Syria to destroy or surrender their chemical weapons might be appropriate. Massive, multi-national humanitarian aid to Syrian refugees in Turkey and other civilians in Syria impacted by the conflict is called for. Better to use our collective air and sea logistic power for such aid, than for missile, bomber or drone attacks. Bury the country in love, as the hippies might have said.
I hope the Congress has the courage and common sense and decency to “just say no” to useless military attacks. In the scheme of things, who cares about the domestic political consequences for Obama? He should be hoping Congress will get him off the hook on Syria.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sarajevo (Cyrillic: Сарајево) (pronounced [sǎrajɛʋɔ]) is the capital and largest city of Bosnia and Herzegovina, with an estimated population of 327,124 people within its four municipalities. The urban area of Sarajevo extends beyond the administrative city limits, with an estimated population of 452,124 people. In the wider Sarajevo region there are more than 650,000 inhabitants. It is also the capital of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina entity, as well as the center of the Sarajevo Canton. Nestled within the greater Sarajevo valley of Bosnia, it is surrounded by the Dinaric Alps and situated along the Miljacka River in the heart of Southeastern Europe and the Balkans.
Sarajevo is the leading political, social and cultural center of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and its region-wide influence in politics, education, entertainment, media, fashion, science, and the arts contribute to its status as Bosnia and Herzegovina’s biggest and most important economic center.
The city is famous for its traditional cultural and religious diversity, with adherents of Islam, Orthodoxy, Catholicism and Judaism coexisting there for centuries. Due to this long and rich history of religious and cultural variety, Sarajevo is often called the “Jerusalem of Europe” or “Jerusalem of the Balkans”. It was, until recently in the 20th century, the only major European city to have a mosque, Catholic church, Orthodox church and synagogue within the same neighborhood.
Although settlement in the area stretches back to prehistoric times, the modern city arose as an Ottoman stronghold in the 15th century. Sarajevo has attracted international attention several times throughout its history. In 1885, Sarajevo was the first city in Europe and the second city in the world to have a full-time electric tram network running through the city, the first being San Francisco. In 1914, it was the site of the assassination of the Archduke of Austria that sparked World War I. Seventy years later, it hosted the 1984 Winter Olympics. For nearly four years, from 1992 to 1996, the city suffered the longest siege of a city in the history of modern warfare during the Bosnian War for independence.
I’ve been reading on Jefferson and his interpretation of French political issues in the late 1700’s. I particular, I was struck with a few lines in Jon Meacham’s biography where Jon writes, “Debt ridden, France faced a supreme test. In the mid-1780s, partly because of its spending on the American revolution, the Bourbon government of Louis XVI was in a long-term financial crisis, exacerbated by widespread hunger and by anger over the concentration of wealth in the hands of the few. Jefferson was shocked…” Sounds something like a description of the USA of today — wracked with the debt of two unfunded wars, widespread unemployment and anger over growing disparity between the rich and poor.
Given the discredited U.S. Congress, a relatively ineffective executive branch and a Supreme Court barely hanging on to its credibility, I wonder how secure our own republic is today, and what will be written about our American political evolution — 200 years from now.