You’re Not Actually Voting for Your Presidential Candidate

Your general election vote for president does not elect the president directly; it casts your choice for the Electoral College, partisan elector politicians who may or may not get to select your candidate. If you vote for one candidate, but the majority of your state’s voters vote for the other candidate, the other candidate gets all of your state’s votes.

The name, Electoral College, was adopted by our founding fathers and written into the Constitution. It gives each state a number of electors based on its Congressional delegation (U.S. senators and representatives). If you look at your state on the map above, you will see a number representing your two U.S. senators plus your total number of U.S. representatives. That is how many electors your state gets of the 538 total electors voting for the president. The candidate receiving the majority of electoral votes–at least 270–wins the election. Note that the Constitution also gives the District of Columbia three electors. This map can change in state numbers with each ten-year census, but the total remains the same.

Most states have a “winner-take-all” system that awards all electors to the state’s winning presidential candidate. However, Maine and Nebraska each have a variation of proportional representation. I will disregard these two exceptions in my following comments. Each state’s political parties select their own potential electors. These electors are usually state office holders and prominent party supporters, but cannot be U.S. senators or representatives. The candidate winning the majority of the state’s popular vote is awarded the winning party’s electors. For example, if Trump wins over 50% of a state’s votes, he receives the Republican electors, and the Democratic electors become non-players. So, when you cast your vote, you are actually voting for your party’s electors, not for your choice for president. These electors are pledged to vote for their party’s candidate, but, with a few exceptions, are not legally bound to vote that way. It is very rare, though, that an elector does not vote according to his or her pledge.

The often-discussed “swing” states are extremely important in every election, especially this year. Most states’ electoral outcomes can already be predicted with considerable accuracy. The Republican red states and the Democratic blue states have been reasonably consistent in recent presidential elections, although less so this year. However, states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, and Florida have high elector numbers and close popular votes. For instance, Florida could divide its popular votes almost evenly, but a candidate that would squeak by with just over 50% would receive all 29 electoral votes. Remember Bush’s victory in 2000 when Gore won the nation’s popular vote by a half-million votes, but lost the determining electoral vote in Florida? Bush had a majority of only 537 popular votes in the state. By the way, if a third party is involved, and no candidate receives 270 or more electoral votes, the House votes for the president from among the three candidates.

This process may seem unfair, but it is really a reflection of America’s historical determination to ensure equity among all citizens. It requires candidates to convince all people of their worthiness to serve regardless of geographical location or social culture. If we elected presidents by popular vote, the candidates could concentrate only on the more populated areas, say the northeast and west coast states, and ignore the Midwest and South. It prevents the tyranny of the majority. It also discourages voter fraud, since any attempt to steal an election would have to involve almost all states, not just a few. Even with its shortfalls, the Electoral College is the most equitable method of electing a president.

Here is this year’s Electoral College schedule. The general election is always the Tuesday after the first Monday in November, which is November 8th this year. Of course, the results will probably be revealed that night, but the official casting of votes by the electors will not happen until their meeting on December 19th. Technically, the president is not selected until that meeting. Before they meet, the governors of each state will certify their state electors’ qualifications and authority to the U.S. Archivist who is ultimately responsible for the Electoral College process. Currently, David Ferriero (whom you have probably never heard of) has this responsibility in addition to his management of the National Archives repository. On January 6th, 2017, the certified votes of the Electoral College are counted in a joint session of the House and Senate, and the winner of the presidency is officially announced. On January 20th, 2017, the new president takes the oath of office at noon and begins his term.

So there is your quick review of the mechanics of electing our 45th president. Finally, I urge you to study, think, and pray earnestly about your vote in this election. We could hardly have wider extremes of political philosophy or more negative factors to consider than those of these two candidates. The process is important to understand, but the impact of our choices on the future of this great nation is monumental.

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America’s Course Is Likely Set Regardless of Who Is President

The unprecedented bizarre nature of this election is not without purpose. For months I agonized over why our choice for the leader of this great nation was between two totally unacceptable candidates. That the voters of America took us to this awful dilemma made absolutely no sense initially. Then I finally realized that this is not about the election or the candidates; it is about the destiny of this country to be shaken to its core, so we will hopefully awaken to what is happening to us.

I believe God is judging America for almost 60 million legal abortions, legalization of gay marriage, making Him illegal in public schools and other venues, murders, drugs, and a host of other atrocities that dishonor Him. God longs to make America great again. He yearns to lift us back up to again be the nation He led us to form over two centuries ago. Just like He pleaded with Israel to return to Him before He allowed a heathen king to take them captive, He pleads with us today. He offered us good, godly leaders as choices for president this year, but we rejected them. However, I am convinced that our current unconscionable choices are by design–God’s design. There is no other explanation.

Either of these candidates, during his or her time in office, will likely lead America to an even steeper dive into depravity or domestic and international chaos. Either of these conditions should bring the nation to its knees, literally, which would be God’s will and the purpose of our present leadership crisis.

This is not a doom and gloom position. Actually, I have more hope for America now than in the recent past. We may have to go through a darker valley of pain and despair, but that should cause us to become humble and repentant and to make a commitment to reverse back to the course that made us great in the first place. That has been our historical cycle.

The Civil War was probably the lowest point in American history. After that war, there was a spiritual awakening across our land followed by the industrial revolution that established us as the world’s leading nation. After that blessing gave way to a level of national arrogance, America found itself in the Great Depression and two world wars. Some would argue that this period was America’s worst. Nonetheless, the post-war years again saw spiritual awakening and exponential economic growth. In recent years, we have been in moral and spiritual decline yet again of unprecedented proportion. It may not be devastating wars this time that take us to our knees. It looks like something closer to almost complete moral and spiritual collapse with international implications. Throw the radical Muslim factor and our next president into the mix and we have the perfect storm.

But, again, the joy of hope in all of this is that Americans will once again humble themselves before our God, seek His forgiveness, and reverse course. That would bring back prosperity, high moral standards, godly leadership, international respect, and national pride. If spiritual renewal does not result from our plight, then, like Israel of 2600 years ago and many nations since, our country will cease to exist as we know it.

I hate what is happening to America. I hate that we have two highly flawed candidates for president that very few people like or trust. But, if our condition is God’s orchestration for judging us, then bring it on! It will be well worth the walk through the valley to arrive back on the mountain top.

Yes! Trump Should Drop Out

On June 16, 2015, when Donald Trump officially announced his candidacy for president, I immediately concluded that I could never vote for the man, especially with the bevy of other highly qualified and respectable candidates coming on board. Throughout the primary campaign, he became more and more despicable in his behavior. I was astounded by his increase in popularity among my fellow conservatives as his social immaturity became more and more obvious. I have yet to reconcile the infatuation of so many evangelical leaders with such a heretic. I lamented in an earlier post that I was a never-Clinton, never-Trump Republican. I got a lot of harsh push-back from several friends for such a declaration, but I have never moved from that conviction. I have honestly tried to find a way to support Trump, but every time I think I might hold my nose and vote for him, considering the Supreme Court factor, he pulls another really stupid trick. I begin this post with this backdrop to show consistency. I am not knee-jerking when I proclaim that Trump should step down–now.

The latest leaked video of Trump’s explicit, vulgar boasting about his sexual escapades with women while married is mind-numbing. Yet, it shouldn’t be a shock to any of us. Should anyone not assume this was the true Trump character? We’ve had plenty of clues as to his inner self. The person he really is was understood by two-thirds of American voters who disliked him during the primary campaign. That number hasn’t changed. But, somehow, some way, enough Republicans were mesmerized by his “non-establishment” status to make him the party’s nominee. He was doomed from the beginning. Polls proved it by wide margin. America was not going to elect a man like that for president.

This was the Republican’s election to lose. The Democrats handed us a candidate even more flawed than Trump. Almost any Republican candidate could have easily swept this election with the baggage Hillary was carrying–any candidate except Trump. Does anyone now really believe that Cruz or Rubio–even Kasich, Huckabee, or a half-dozen others would not be 20 points ahead of Clinton at this point in time?

From the time it became obvious that Trump was going to be the Republican nominee, and, therefore, we would lose the election, I began to pray that something would happen to take him out of the race. Of course, I wished him no physical harm, but I hoped that some glitch, some event, some revelation, would allow another candidate–perhaps Mike Pence–to pick up the mantle. Yes, I believe, considering two-thirds of the voters still don’t like Clinton, that a qualified, respected Republican could enter the fray with a month to go, and sweep this election. There are still millions of voters, including Democrats, who would be ecstatic to have a candidate they could really support instead of having to cast a protest vote.

Trump can’t win, certainly not after this week’s fiasco. For the sake of this nation, he should be asked to step down immediately and let the RNC select another candidate. If he refuses, the RNC chairman, Reince Priebus, accompanied by his chief executives, top donors, and key Republican Congressional leaders, should pay a visit to Trump Tower and tell the penthouse resident it’s either drop out or lose all support from the party, Congress, and key business leaders. He would have to oblige. Trump is not more important that the United States of America. He can’t stand alone.

I hesitated to include the link below in my post, because it is so vulgar. However, every voter should hear it and decide if they should allow this man, regardless of the consequences, to continue running for president of this great nation. Here is Donald Trump’s character on full display:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-recorded-having-extremely-lewd-conversation-about-women-in-2005/2016/10/07/3b9ce776-8cb4-11e6-bf8a-3d26847eeed4_story.html

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