Saturday, December 10, 2016

A Crisis of Legitimacy

Originally posted in mid-December 2016.  I pulled it for a variety of reasons. Here is the post, as it was written:

Of the seven closest presidential elections in U.S. history, as determined by requiring the fewest number of vote flips to give the other major candidate a majority in the Electoral College (since the popular vote began to be recorded in the 1824 presidential election), three have occurred in the last five elections.

In eras of relative partisan parity at the national level, close elections will happen.  Such was the case in the late 19th century.  Such is the case now. 

Of those seven closest elections, the losing candidate won the popular vote in three of them, Gore in 2000, Tilden in 1876, and Clinton in 2016.

Small, and sometimes large, events can make a difference.  Gore’s lackluster debate performances, Ralph Nader, and some ballot design choices in Florida cost him the 2000 election.    Tilden was defeated in an election marred by violence, threats of violence, and fraudulent activities throughout the unreconstructed South, requiring an Electoral Commission to resolve the matter (along with some backroom dealing better known as the Compromise of 1877). 

However, these issues were home-grown. 

Clinton’s case is different from the other two as it represents a situation where a foreign power apparently sought to influence our presidential election and, by doing so, potentially changed the outcome.

This author supports the bipartisan call to investigate Russian involvement in our presidential elections.    Foreign interference in our electoral process cannot be countenanced.  Further, if after taking office, it is proven that the current presumptive PEOTUS was aware of, and actively supported, such efforts, the U.S. Congress, in accordance with their Constitutional responsibilities, should begin impeachment proceedings.

Closest presidential elections in U.S. history:

             National Popular         National Popular         Votes to Flip  
              Vote Difference          Vote % lead               

1.     2000    Gore + 543, 895          Gore + 0.5%                269 (.00025%)
2.     1884    Cleveland +57,577      Cleveland +0.6%         524  (.0052%)
3.     1876    Tilden +254,235          Tilden +3.0%               445 (.00529%)
4.     1916    Wilson +578,140         Wilson +3.1%              1,711 (.009%)
5.     1960    Kennedy +112,827      Kennedy +0.17%         12,236 (.018%)
6.     2016    Clinton +2,840,337      Clinton +2.1%              38,599 (.028%)
7.     2004    Bush +3,010,610         Bush +2.5%                 59,300 (.048%)

Stay tuned, as more will follow.

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