Breaking News: Donald Trump Is Elected President
December 19, 2016 4:52 PM ET
Donald J. Trump will be the next president of the United States.
And on Monday, the result was ratified by Electoral College voters, who gathered in state capitols across the United States, to formally vote for president.
That voting continues, but by early evening, Trump went over the 270 needed, according to the Associated Press, which tracked results from capitol to capitol. That was despite a pitched effort by some on the left who wrote letters to Trump electors trying to convince them to switch their votes or not vote at all and keep Trump short of the 270 needed.
Not only did it not happen, but more electors tried to defect from Hillary Clinton Monday than Trump, by a count of seven to two, as of Monday afternoon.
Meanwhile, in the NYT:
Nate Cohn @Nate_Cohn DEC. 19, 2016
… For lack of a better word: Mr. Trump had some very good luck.
There’s nothing about the distribution of Mrs. Clinton’s votes in the battlegrounds or nationally that meant she was destined to get as few electoral votes as she did.
Just take Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan — three contiguous states spanning the Upper Great Lakes. Mrs. Clinton actually won the region by a narrow margin, but she won just 10 of the 36 votes at stake.
Ultimately, state lines are pretty arbitrary. …
It’s like how if field goals in football were worth four points or two points instead of arbitrarily being worth three points, a lot of people would have done better in their NFL point spread pool yesterday.
Consider two of the bigger nonpolitical state boundary questions of the 19th century: the fate of the Florida Panhandle and the “Toledo War.”
The Toledo War was a long dispute between Michigan and Ohio over a tiny strip of land along their border, which happens to include the city of Toledo. Ohio had the upper hand for one reason: It earned its statehood first, and therefore blocked Michigan’s petition — which included the strip. In the end, Congress proposed a deal: Michigan would relinquish its claim on the Toledo strip and, in exchange, would get the Upper Peninsula.
… Both halves of the Toledo War worked out poorly for Mrs. Clinton. Not only would she have won Michigan with Toledo, but she would have also won Michigan without the Upper Peninsula: Only the full trade gives Mr. Trump a narrow win. …
To be clear, you can also make plenty of changes that would benefit Republicans. You could reunify West Virginia and Virginia, to take an easy one.
The point is that the main bias of the Electoral College isn’t against big states or regionalism; it’s just toward the big battleground states. If they break overwhelmingly one way, that’s who wins. This is not exactly a high-minded Hamiltonian argument.
Because as we all know, there is nobody more high-minded than Hamilton!, unlike squalid Jeffersonian arguments. After all Hamilton was an immigrant, and probably black and Jewish too. And he could rap. Hamiltonian’s plutocratic arguments were thus high-minded. If you don’t believe me, just ask the people in the $998 seats at the Broadway show. They’ll explain it better than I can. Because they’re better than me. Because, as Hamilton, would point out, they’re rich.
There aren’t many justifications for letting a few close states decide a close national election. But that’s basically what the system does, and there’s nothing about those states that ensures they provide a representative outcome.
Why did no one inform Mrs. Clinton of the outcome of the Toledo War? Did Putin hack into the dustiest National Archives on Trump’s behalf and discover that Florida owns a panhandle?
Or did both candidates know the rules, and Trump beat Clinton by the rules?
Moreover, reducing the size of the map down to a variety of battleground states provides a possible road to victory for an underfunded upstart anti-Establishment candidate to win by campaigning very hard in the key states. Neither candidate campaigned hard in California and the Establishment candidate with the overwhelming backing of the media won in a stroll. In contrast, in the states that counted, Trump campaigned harder than Clinton because he’s more energetic and healthier, and he got more out of his campaign effort: Trump’s rallies fired up his supporters to talk to their friends about Trump, while Clinton’s rallies just depressed everybody involved.