Thank you, Mike Pence, for drawing my attention to Alexander Hamilton


In politics, as in business, it’s long been accepted practice to release bad news on Fridays in hopes of keeping media scrutiny to a minimum… And, I’m sure it was with this in mind that President-elect Donald Trump, this past Friday, released word that he’d agreed to pay a $25 million settlement to former students of Trump University, rather than go to court and respond to charges that his unaccredited education company was, to quote a former Trump University employee, “a fraudulent scheme… that preyed upon the elderly and uneducated to separate them from their money.” [During the campaign, Trump had vowed to fight the charges, which he said had no merit, vigorously in court, but apparently, as with so many other things, like his promise to reopen the coal mines of West Virginia, he had a sudden change of heart after winning.] In the age of social media, however, releasing news on Friday is no guarantee that people won’t see it. And, as you might imagine, word that our soon-to-be President had essentially paid $25 million rather than face fraud charges in court, quickly made its way across social networks. Fortunately for Trump, however, the barrage of negative posts did not last long, thanks to another, even bigger, news story.

Mike Pence, our aggressively anti-gay Vice President-elect, had, for whatever reason, decided that he needed to see the Broadway musical Hamilton early Friday evening. And, as you might imagine, he wasn’t exactly welcomed with open arms by the theater-loving audience he encountered. And, when word made it out of the theater that Pence was not only welcomed by a chorus of boos, but addressed from the stage by the cast, the story of the $25 million settlement was effectively pushed from the front page of the internet. [Brandon Victor Dixon, the black actor who currently plays the role of Aaron Burr in the musical, addressed Pence directly after the performance, stating, “We, sir, we are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us.”]

Well, as you might imagine, some immediately speculated that it wasn’t just a coincidence that Pence, who has advocated for both gay conversion therapy and anti-immigrant policies, felt the need to see a Broadway musical with a plot revolving in part around the awesomeness of immigrants, featuring an openly gay, Latino leading man. [The chorus “Immigrants, we get the job done,” which is sung jointly by Alexander Hamilton and the Marquis di Lafayette in the play, received a standing ovation during the performance that Pence attended.] Yes, some are suggesting, that Pence was directed to see Hamilton, knowing that his presence would create an incident which would both push the Trump University fraud case off the front page, and give our President-elect an opportunity to lash out on Twitter against the cruel liberals in the audience who had made his Vice President feel so unwelcome… If true, it was absolutely brilliant, and demonstrates just what we’re up against.


[“If your media outlet is focused on Trump v Hamilton instead of Trump’s $25m fraud settlement, you are a sad pawn in Trump’s game,” said Dan Pfeiffer, a former senior aide to Barack Obama, to The Guardian… “The controversies will divert you from the scandals,” warned David Frum, a former speechwriter to president George W Bush.]

Interestingly, though, this purposeful diversion on the part of the Trump administration, if that’s what it was, had an unintended consequence for me. Having never seen the musical Hamilton, this most recent incident got me doing a little research into the plot, which, in turn, led me read about the life of Alexander Hamilton online, which in turn led to a frenzied search among our bookcases, looking for my copy of The Federalist Papers. [The so-called Federalist Papers are a collection of 85 articles submitted anonymously to New York newspapers beginning in 1787 by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay promoting the ratification of the United States Constitution.] And I didn’t reemerge from the Hamilton rabbit hole until I’d come to Federalist Paper #68 (March 12, 1788), in which Hamilton, writing under the alias Publius, says the following, which, given the current situation we’re facing as a nation, seems very much worthy of discussion. “The process of (the Electoral College),” he wrote, “affords a moral certainty, that the office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications.”


I’m sure someone else out there, with a better understanding of Constitutional history, can do a better job of explaining it than I can, but here’s what I understand Hamilton trying to impart in that quote… Essentially, what he’s saying there is that, when he and his fellow founding fathers drafted the Constitution, they purposefully chose not to have our President selected by a simple majority vote. Having seen examples in history of people selecting unqualified leaders in the past, they chose instead to create a system, wherein, instead of voting directly for our candidates, the voters in each state instead select Electors, who are then given the task of electing the President of the United States. And, in that way, four founding fathers built in a safeguard that, in time of emergency, could be employed to save the republic.

And, the more alarming the prospect of the Trump presidency looks, the more people seem to be rallying to this idea, as first expressed by Hamilton, that Electors should have the freedom to essentially override the popular vote. [In this case, though, it wouldn’t really be an override of the will of the people, as Hillary Clinton’s popular vote count currently exceeds Trump’s by over 1.5 million.] Here, to give you a sense of what people are saying, is a clip from an article in today’s Atlantic titled The Electoral College Was Meant to Stop Men Like Trump From Being President.

Americans talk about democracy like it’s sacred. In public discourse, the more democratic American government is, the better. The people are supposed to rule.

But that’s not the premise that underlies America’s political system. Most of the men who founded the United States feared unfettered majority rule. James Madison wrote in Federalist 10 that systems of government based upon “pure democracy … have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property.” John Adams wrote in 1814 that, “Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself.”

The framers constructed a system that had democratic features. The people had a voice. They could, for instance, directly elect members of the House of Representatives. But the founders also self-consciously limited the people’s voice.

The Bill of Rights is undemocratic. It limits the federal government’s power in profound ways, ways the people often dislike. Yet the people can do almost nothing about it. The Supreme Court is undemocratic, too. Yes, the people elect the president (kind of, more on that later), who appoints justices of the Supreme Court, subject to approval by the Senate, which these days is directly elected, too. But after that, the justices wield their extraordinary power for as long as they wish without any democratic accountability. The vast majority of Americans may desperately want their government to do something. The Supreme Court can say no. The people then lose, unless they pass a constitutional amendment, which is extraordinarily difficult, or those Supreme Court justices die.

That’s the way the framers wanted it. And, oddly, it’s the way most contemporary Americans want it too. Americans say they revere democracy. Yet they also revere those rights—freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the right to bear arms—that the government’s least democratic institutions protect. Americans rarely contemplate these contradictions. If they did, they might be more open to preventing Donald Trump from becoming the next president, the kind of democratic catastrophe that the Constitution, and the Electoral College in particular, were in part designed to prevent.

Donald Trump was not elected on November 8. Under the Constitution, the real election will occur on December 19. That’s when the electors in each state cast their votes.

The Constitution says nothing about the people as a whole electing the president. It says in Article II that “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors.” Those electors then vote for president and vice-president. They can be selected “in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct.” Which is to say, any way the state legislature wants. In 14 states in the early 19th century, state legislatures chose their electors directly. The people did not vote at all.

This ambiguity about how to choose the electors was the result of a compromise. James Madison and some other framers favored some manner of popular vote for president. Others passionately opposed it. Some of the framers wanted Congress to choose the president. Many white southerners supported the Electoral College because it counted their non-voting slaves as three-fifths of a person, and thus gave the South more influence than it would have enjoyed in a national vote. The founders compromised by leaving it up to state legislatures. State legislatures could hand over the selection of electors to the people as a whole. In that case, the people would have a voice in choosing their president. But—and here’s the crucial point—the people’s voice would still not be absolute. No matter how they were selected, the electors would retain the independence to make their own choice…

And others, under Hamilton’s name, are pushing for our 2016 electors to essentially break the promises they’ve made to cast their votes on behalf of Trump, and cast them for Clinton instead. [As I understand it, we’ve had 157 “Faithless Electors” in U.S. history, so it’s not unprecedented, but the scale being discussed here, in the movement to get committed Electors to vote against Trump, is significantly larger than anything we’ve seen discussed in this country before.] The following overview, which is from the site Hamilton Electors, sums it up quite well.

#HamiltonElectors are patriots participating in the electoral process who believe that Presidential Electors are responsible for safeguarding our nation’s future and ensuring that the next President is the best person for the job. As Electors, we honor Alexander Hamilton’s vision that the Electoral College should act as a Constitutional failsafe against those lacking requisite qualifications, ability, and virtue from becoming President. Guided by the Framers’ original intent, we’re compelled this year to do our job as Electors, to put party aside, and to put America first. So we are encouraging Electors from both red and blue states to answer the Founding Fathers’ call, deliberate, and unite behind an alternative Republican Candidate: the Hamilton Candidate. Americans of all political persuasions are invited to join us and show their support online by spreading the word online, in their communities, and at their statehouse on December 19 when the Electoral College officially meets.

[Yes, they’re calling for another Republican candidate to be substituted for Trump. Others, however, are suggesting that either Clinton or Sanders receive the votes of these Electors.]

For what it’s worth, I should add that I’m not altogether comfortable with the idea. While it’s painfully obvious to me me that Trump is a dangerous and reprehensible man, and a threat to our nation, I don’t like the precedent that it would set. The idea that 538 Electors could just choose our next President on their own seems incredibly undemocratic to me. But, as they say, desperate times call for desperate measures, and I suspect, if the founding fathers were with us today, they’d tell us that Trump is exactly they kind of person they constructed the Electoral College to protect us from. But, yeah, I’d hate it if the shoe were on the other foot, and Republicans had tried to keep Obama from taking office by essentially coordinating an Electoral College coup. But, then again, in this case, Trump not only lost the popular vote, but we now know that both the FBI and the Russian government interfered with electoral process in order to deliver a dangerous, authoritarian xenophobe to the White House. So, yes, I think it’s worth at least discussing the possibility of “the Hamilton option.”

Personally, even if we were successful, and convinced enough Electors to turn “faithless,” and vote to keep Trump from the White House, I’m not convinced the results would be any better. I think, most likely, it would lead to civil war. But, as I suspect we’re heading in that direction anyway, I’m to sure how much that would really matter. No matter what we do at this point, it just feels like we’re in for a lot of pain, sorrow and insanity.

As much as it pains me to say it, I think we’re so far past reality now that there’s no hope of turning things around. I mean, we elected someone we all knew to be a pussy-grabbing conman… how does a nation come back from that?

At this point, it feels like we’re living inside a really poorly written mini-series.

Whenever I think, “Well, things couldn’t possibly get any weirder,” they do. The plot just keeps unfolding, getting stranger and stranger by the day. Yesterday it was Ivanka Trump announcing that she’d be selling the jewelry off her body, as though the White House were just a set in the QVC studio. And today our President, who has constantly derided members of the left for being too sensitive, is attacking Broadway for hurting the feelings of his Vice President, all while Nazis across town were cheering him over dinner. And there doesn’t seem to be any end in sight.

I’m not one to make predictions, but, if I had to guess, I’d say, based on what we’ve seen thus far, that we’re going to see some Electoral College drama. And I say that primarily because the musical Hamilton has now been brought into this narrative. It’s like when you’re reading a book, and a character mentions some little detail, and you just know that it’s going to be significant later, as it wouldn’t have been said otherwise. It just seems to perfect to me that Pence was at Hamilton. It feels like we’re deep inside of a plot that’s already been written… Is it just me, or are you feeling it too?

[The drawing at the top of this post is of Alexander Hamilton being mortally wounded in a duel by Aaron Burr, the sitting Vice President of the United States, on July 11, 1804. I decided to include it as a reminder that our nation’s history has been absolutely fucking crazy from the start. I thought that some of you might take some comfort in that.]

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  1. Posted November 21, 2016 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

    They don’t really talk about the move to get electors to change their votes, but I’m listening to the Diane Rehm Show right now, and it’s all about the Electoral College and the work being done by some to either change or eliminate it. It’s interesting stuff… Listen here: “The Electoral College: How It Works And Why Some Want To Abolish It

  2. Jean Henry
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 5:16 am | Permalink

    No, not feeling any of it. I don’t believe there will be a civil war. I certainly hope not. The same people who always have suffered will suffer most, the poor and the marginalized. Trump is not an unusual leader.There are many country’s living and surviving terrible leaders. In most places, the protections against tyranny are not in place and established like in the US. I think Trump will quickly find out how little he can do as president, and grow bored and disaffected.

    No doubt many will suffer, but we aren’t losing our country yet. The pendulum will swing the other way. There are far too many (and ever more) empowered people of color, non-christians, LGBT folk, women, disabled people, etc for Trump to keep them all down. It will be like whack-a-mole. If we all support each other (big if) during the Trump years, we can hold constant.

    This moment is not, in my view, the rise of white nationalism.This is the last gasp of white nationalism. It is it’s last hurrah– or “heil!” There will be suffering and disaster. But America will survive. Now is the time for vigilance and triage. Leftists will never actually foment violent revolution. They are too smart for that.

    The electoral college reps sign a pledge and are beholden to vote in accordance with the popular vote in their state. There is no requirement that they do so legally– at least no clear one. SCOTUS upheld the rights of states to require a pledge (not all do) but has never ruled on whether faithless electorates can be punished or their votes nullified.

    It seems to me that if we want the electoral college reps to be faithless, we need to be soliciting that action of them personally. Since most are GOP, it seems unlikely.

  3. Joe M.
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    “There are far too many (and ever more) empowered people of color, non-christians, LGBT folk, women, disabled people, etc for Trump to keep them all down.”

    You sure about that? You talk as if they’re one united voting bloc, when they’re not. Ask Hillary about that.

  4. Demetrius
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    I lived through Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, and while both were extremely right-wing (for their times), they also both believed in, and largely adhered to, basic Constitutional and democratic principles: divided government, a free press, peaceful transfer of power, etc. Therefore, when Americans tired of each administration, they were able to vote in different leaders with different approaches.

    Sadly, I think people who think that’s what we’re about to experience again are fooling themselves. Everything Trump has said so far, the way he is treating the press, the people he is choosing for his administration, etc. – says he does not (will not) respect any of these established principles.

    I think it is hard for many see right now … because people tend to think in extremes: Either we are a free, democratic republic … or we are Nazi Germany. But instead, I fear what we’re headed for is something more like Putin’s Russia. We’ll still have “elections,” and “courts” and “journalists” (and corporations) of course … but over time, the scope of each will be narrowed and channeled to serve the interests of the new regime.

    In short, while Trump may have been democratically elected, that doesn’t make him a “democrat.”

    Likewise, while his cabinet selections might be “legal,” that doesn’t mean their intentions or future actions will be.

    Again, I don’t think this is all going to happen overnight. It will take some time for them to consolidate power and begin to undo the “normal” way of doing things we’ve experienced over the past few decades.

    In the mean time, there are already plenty of signs of what is likely to come:

  5. Jean Henry
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    Joe M– There are enough of us. We do not have to be a monolith to survive this or even to support one another. (I personally have no interest in any monolith except against bigotry) My point was not to deny that this is a horrible and dangerous time, but that there is no stopping the eventual evolution of the USA into a minority majority country. And when that happens, I believe that even those overwhelmingly white, straight and not-college educated women who chose bigotry over their own interests will come around. By then white supremacy will have a chance. And it will fail. And that will begin the recovery from this nightmare.

    Personally I don;t want violent revolution because I think demanding the restoration of integrity to our public institutions, rather than their destruction, is the key to minimizing damage. And I think we all agree that is the objective.

    The genesis of the term ‘intersectionality’ was a discrimination law suit on behalf of a Black woman, in which it was found they could identify that discrimination occurred, but they could not determine if it was due to the plaintiffs race or her gender. The phrase intersectionality was used to say that being female and black were inseparable categories for this woman. The bias looked the same for both. So people who are subjected to bias, know what it looks like and they do have that in common, but to admittedly hugely varying degrees.

  6. Morbid Larson
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    Not he is saying that the NYT is “not nice.”

    I can’t believe anyone voted for this clown, particularly conservatives. They want someone who can project strength and they chose about the weakest person they could have found.

  7. Kat
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    Do we know who our electors are? Is there a list somewhere?

  8. maryd
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    If we do not form a coalition together to fight trump we are sunk. We have 2 years.

  9. Lynne
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    Re:” but that there is no stopping the eventual evolution of the USA into a minority majority country.”

    I don’t know. I see white people expanding the concept of whiteness as they have so many time in the past. There was a time when southern and eastern Europeans and the Irish were not really considered white. In those days, it was all about WASPS. Even now, you can see it with Hispanic people where white Hispanic people, especially those who self selected themselves out of Cuba but also those from Spain and Latin America, are starting to be considered white and part of the dominant group. Also, most people consider Jewish people to be white these days and that hasn’t always been the case. Sure, the KKK and Nazis don’t expand their concept but others have and will continue to do so. (and no, I dont think this is any kind of deliberate phenomenon and probably represents some increase in tolerance but unfortunately it also means that the non-white groups continue to suffer)

  10. Morbid Larson
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    Show no mercy to any fool who voted for Trump.

  11. Jean Henry
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    There is a rapid rise in anti-semitic imagery post Trump. It may be that White people chose to see Jewish people as white and no longer subject to much bias, but most Jewish people would be happy to tell you otherwise. The experience of bias has much in common across groups– with varying impacts by class, race etc. But the modalities of bigotry are much the same across groups. White Americans love to jump the gun on the eventual post-racial, post gender bias, etc future. Most people in those groups are pretty clear that time hasn’t arrived yet. I think it will come when a minority majority is achieved if the groups are not divided against one another via bias. I don’t think that will happen once we achieve a critical mass of POC etc.We would be on our way there now if so many women were not so bought into divisiveness and bigotry.

    Pete– re NyTimes– he cancelled a meeting with them. He said they wouldn;t meet his terms, but the NYT received no terms. They learned he was cancelling when he tweeted that out. He is much worse than Nixon on fearing the press. He will probably install his own right wing media press core. The independent press will have a very hard time getting any story. Trumps continual involvement in the private sector presents an opportunity to impeach him actually… This is what concerns me most:

    I really don;t think talking to relatives about the electoral college is productive use of our time right now. We need to be reading the hard news and not being so subject to trolling media of any persuasion. It’s all too easy for Trump to manipulate.

    Trump is weak, but so are most trolls. That doesn’t mean they can’t fuck things up. Most terrible leaders are weak with bravado. We are being ruled by trolls. It’;s not time for clever approaches. We need to de-escalate and demand institutional integrity wherever possible. We need to speak honestly but not get worked up so we can not be manipulated. We have to get serious not righteous. I hope we have it in us. Our best protection against tyranny if the proper use of the institutions so many sought to tear down this election.

  12. Jean Henry
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    And… now the meeting with the NYT is back on. Maybe they can use his insecurity and need for media attention to their advantage.

  13. Janette
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    I’m not comfortable with it either. It would splinter the states further & would look like a coup. Even if a bit shady & undemocratic, that could’ve worked in the 1700s. Not so much in the Information Age

  14. Meta
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    ThinkProgress will no longer describe racists as ‘alt-right’

    You can learn everything you need to know about the “alt-right” by looking at the man who popularized its name. Credit goes to Richard Spencer, head of the white supremacist National Policy Institute (NPI), and one of the country’s leading contemporary advocates of ideological racism.

    The weekend before Thanksgiving, Spencer keynoted an NPI conference in Washington, D.C. Over the course of his speech, he approvingly quoted Nazi propaganda, said that the United States is meant to be a “white country,” and suggested that many political commentators are “soulless golem” controlled by Jewish media interests.

    That, in a nutshell, is the face of the so-called alt-right. As Spencer himself has said, the core of alt-right ideology is the preservation of “white identity.”

    So you might wonder what, if anything, distinguishes the alt-right from more hidebound racist movements such as the American Nazi Party and the Ku Klux Klan. The answer is very little, except for a bit of savvy branding and a fondness for ironic Twitter memes. Spencer and his ilk are essentially standard-issue white supremacists who discovered a clever way to make themselves appear more innocuous — even a little hip.

    A reporter’s job is to describe the world as it is, with clarity and accuracy. Use of the term “alt-right,” by concealing overt racism, makes that job harder.

    The ploy worked. News outlets such as CNN and the New York Times, always a little shy when it comes to identifying racism by its true name, have taken to using “alt-right” in headlines instead. The term is flexible enough that Steve Bannon, a top adviser to President-elect Donald Trump, can boast that he turned Breitbart News into “a platform for the alt-right” while simultaneously denying any association with white nationalist movements. Richard Spencer’s marketing campaign has made it possible for leading conservative figures to make common cause with neo-Nazis and Klansmen while dodging any accusations of personal racism.

    Spencer and Bannon are of course free to describe themselves however they’d like, but journalists are not obliged to uncritically accept their framing. A reporter’s job is to describe the world as it is, with clarity and accuracy. Use of the term “alt-right,” by concealing overt racism, makes that job harder.

    With that in mind, ThinkProgress will no longer treat “alt-right” as an accurate descriptor of either a movement or its members. We will only use the name when quoting others. When appending our own description to men like Spencer and groups like NPI, we will use terms we consider more accurate, such as “white nationalist” or “white supremacist.”

    “White nationalist” refers to a specific ideology held by many of those who adopt the “alt-right” label. A white nationalist is someone who believes the United States should be governed by and for white people, and that national policy should radically advance white interests. White supremacists are a broader and more inchoate group, comprised of those who believe in the innate superiority of white people.

    Read more:

  15. BrianB
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    This all plays into the 1 small thing having huge consequences narrative you started with that post on scalia’s death last February. Electoral college drama ends up tied in the supreme court with no tie-breaking justice appointed, the government and military split on lines of pro vs anti trump (as we saw happen in the FBI already) and civil war ensues.

  16. anonymous
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    A lot of shit can happen between now and when the Electoral College meets. This isn’t over by a long shot. If I were Trump, I’d have someone else tasting my food for me.

  17. Megan Turf
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    The only reason I know who Aaron Burr is, is from that old “got milk” commercial…

  18. Maria Huffman
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    To Lynn..if you want to post that type of stuff, you should probabaly use your last name….
    so my husband worked with old US Census s data and a long time ago intermarriage was quite common…many people who have family in America and consider themselves white are not entirely…so this whole line of discussion is tiresome…Heinz 57 is probably the most accurate description of Americans.

  19. Maria Huffman
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    Does anyone remember that Golden Girls episode where Blanche DuBois finds out she is Jewish? And he is from Buffalo, NY…

  20. Maria Huffman
    Posted November 22, 2016 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    Not the funniest episode on a very funny sitcom, but close…if it one thing to look forward to, is that when people do get their DNA genetic testing done, they can look at in disbelief and move on.

  21. Morbid Larson
    Posted November 23, 2016 at 12:13 am | Permalink

    I don’t watch television.

  22. jean henry
    Posted November 23, 2016 at 2:06 am | Permalink

    Better approach? Just 55,000 votes in three states, including MI, made the difference.

  23. Edward
    Posted November 23, 2016 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    I can’t believe the Federalist Papers are relevant. I never thought I would have seen the day.

  24. Lynne
    Posted November 23, 2016 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    To Maria Huffman, I have valid reasons not to post my last name although it isn’t exactly a secret. Post your home address here online and I will happily send you a snail mail with that info.

    At any rate, nothing you said is contradictory to the concept of an expanding idea of what it means to be white. It isn’t entirely based on genetics either but rather how society views an individual and how an individual views themselves. For example, my folks did DNA testing and found significant Native American genes but I can assure you that culturally I am about as white as they come. It does explain my sister’s dark skin though and interestingly, even though she and I are as genetically similar as anyone can be, we get treated differently because the difference in our skin tone sometimes leads people to think she is black or Mexican or whatever cultural and racial subgroup they believe she should fit into. Yes, most people probably are a Heinz 57 of genetics but there is no denying that there are divisions in our country based on the perception of race.

    The point is that race is entirely a social construct based on superficial physical characteristics that have divided people for so long that over time, legitimate cultural differences between groups have developed. That is important because there is a real danger that the current in group in power will expand the definition of who belongs in their group just enough to keep privilege and power. Not consciously of course but it is what we have seen in the past. I hope I am wrong of course. I hope we can expand that concept to one where all of humanity is in the top group but I dont’ expect to see that in my lifetime for sure.

  25. Anonymous
    Posted November 25, 2016 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    From today’s Washington Post.

    The flood of “fake news” this election season got support from a sophisticated Russian propaganda campaign that created and spread misleading articles online with the goal of punishing Democrat Hillary Clinton, helping Republican Donald Trump and undermining faith in American democracy, say independent researchers who tracked the operation.

    Russia’s increasingly sophisticated propaganda machinery — including thousands of botnets, teams of paid human “trolls,” and networks of websites and social-media accounts — echoed and amplified right-wing sites across the Internet as they portrayed Clinton as a criminal hiding potentially fatal health problems and preparing to hand control of the nation to a shadowy cabal of global financiers. The effort also sought to heighten the appearance of international tensions and promote fear of looming hostilities with nuclear-armed Russia.

  26. Meta
    Posted November 25, 2016 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

    “Electoral College must reject Trump unless he sells his business, top lawyers for Bush and Obama say”

    Members of the Electoral College should not make Donald Trump the next president unless he sells his companies and puts the proceeds in a blind trust, according to the top ethics lawyers for the last two presidents.

    Richard Painter, Chief Ethics Counsel for George W. Bush, and Norman Eisen, Chief Ethics Counsel for Barack Obama, believe that if Trump continues to retain ownership over his sprawling business interests by the time the electors meet on December 19, they should reject Trump.

    In an email to ThinkProgress, Eisen explained that “the founders did not want any foreign payments to the president. Period.” This principle is enshrined in Article 1, Section 9 of the Constitution, which bars office holders from accepting “any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.”

    This provision was specifically created to prevent the President, most of all, from being corrupted by foreign influences.

    Virginia Governor Edmund Jennings Randolph addressed the issue directly during a Constitutional debate in June 1788, noting that a violation of the provision by the President would be grounds for impeachment. (Randolph was also a delegate to the Constitutional Convention.)

    Read more:

  27. Meta
    Posted November 25, 2016 at 11:01 pm | Permalink

    “Trump owns stock in Dakota Access parent company”

    President-elect Donald Trump owns stock in the company building the Dakota Access Pipeline, according to a Friday report from the Associated Press, and critics say it could pose a conflict of interest when he is in office.

    The AP found that Trump’s 2016 financial disclosure form showed that he owned between $15,000 and $50,000 in Energy Transfer Partners, a Texas company that is the parent of Dakota Access.

    The president-elect also owns between $100,000 and $250,000 in Phillips 66, a company that owns a quarter of Dakota Access.

    Read more:

  28. jean henry
    Posted November 26, 2016 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    Bush Ethics Counsel says Trump needs to turn over any funs received from foreign governments to the US government during his term in office or he will be in violation of the emoluments clause of the constitution. He suggests the electoral college can not vote Trump in if he does not resolve the issue of investment by foreign powers. I have no idea if this has any traction in the EC. I do think Trump can expect a lot of legal challenges going forward.

    The DAP is a done deal now. Obama is trying to resolve with a diversion of the pipeline (and is not doing enough to protect protesters), but the protesters have little legal ground as trespassers than the oil Company. I admire the standing Rock protesters and support their cause, but, despite the calls of the protest, stopping the DAP entirely is not in the purview of even a willing president.

  29. #HamiltonElectors
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 12:31 pm | Permalink


    Now is the time to amp up our efforts together. What can you do?

    We have a new website, PLEASE SHARE IT with everyone you possibly can.

    Our most immediate need is national conversation – this will help to push our message to the electors. If you’re willing, please help by spreading the word on social media. Link to our FB page, use the #HamiltonElectors hashtag, and share our website. This helps our movement get national coverage.

    At this time, we do not encourage individual citizens to contact electors directly. We are working on rolling out action items that we believe will be more effective at accomplishing our goal of preventing a Trump presidency. In the meantime, the biggest thing you can do to support is to spread our message on social media – the more people know that this is possible, the bigger our chance of success.

  30. Morbid Larson
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    The last Saturday Six Pack episode was never uploaded.

  31. iRobert
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

    Don’t worry. We will all unite soon in patriotic fervor, after an “unforeseen” event a few months into the new administration’s term.

4 Trackbacks

  1. […] as we were discussing yesterday, t’s looking as though things are about to get even more […]

  2. […] as we were discussing yesterday, it’s looking as though things are about to get even more […]

  3. […] these murky waters, is a bit of background on our American electoral system, borrowed in part from my recent post on Alexander Hamilton, the founding father most associated with the Electoral College, due to his […]

  4. […] [For background on the Electoral College, why the founding fathers constructed it the way in which they did, and what it means to be a “faithless” Elector, click here.] […]

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