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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 12/22/16

Danger Ahead: First Unfettered Twitter President

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President-elect Donald J. Trump will be sworn in January 20th as the nation's 45th president, following the most contentious, hate-filled presidential campaign in the nation's history.

Hillary Clinton, Trump's Democratic challenger, won the 2016 popular vote by more than a 2 percent majority. According to the Cook Political Report, Clinton's final vote was 65,844,610, compared to Donald Trump's 62,979,636. That is a difference of 2,864,974 in Clinton's favor. The total number of votes for other candidates was 7,804,213.

How did this happen? History will blame Trump's victory on the archaic Electoral College. But that will not be accurate. We, the American voting public, did it to ourselves.

The Electoral College has been the basis of our presidential elections since the Founding Fathers at the 1787 Constitutional Convention, arrived at a compromise to keep the smaller states within the newly formed democracy.

There is agitation to change the process, but don't hold your breath. Those smaller states still demand their place at the election table. It is difficult to tinker with such time-honored procedures. The sole tinkering came in 1804, when electors were instructed to vote twice, once for president and once for vice-president.

Meanwhile, we have to accept the fact that on Monday, December 19, the 538 Electoral College electors met in their respective state capitals to confirm Donald J. Trump as the 45th president of the United States, and Mike Pence as vice-president.

We gave Donald Trump and Mike Pence 304 elector votes, well beyond the 270 needed to win. Their Democratic challengers, Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine, received 227 elector votes. Seven "faithless electors" defected from the voting majority in their state, two from Trump-Pence states and five from Clinton-Kaine states.

Blogger John Whitbeck produces a daily group email on matters political. He writes that the seven defectors were the most defectors from living presidential candidates in Electoral College history.

In a small historic irony, Whitbeck also found that one of the seven defector cast a protest vote, "for Ms. Spotted Eagle, a member of the Yankton Sioux Nation who helped to block (at least for the time being) development of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines. She became the first Native American to receive an Electoral College vote for the office of president."

What exactly did the Founding Fathers send down the chimney this 2016 Christmas season? We have been gifted our first unfettered Twitter President. He will say what he wants to say, full speed ahead.

His actions will be curtailed by our procedures and laws, but his words will go forth from the world's most important political office, unfettered.

This is a man without a single day's experience in governance. I have my serious doubts that he has ever walked a precinct.

If I am wrong about the precinct-walking, should I expect a correction via Twitter, or in one of his rallies before the faithful? Probably not, but many others, including a former president, will be reprimanded.

Trump communicated with disdain and bar-room bluster to a criticism from Bill Clinton. He did so via Twitter, a strange way of relating to one of his twice-elected predecessors.

There are plenty of strange things emanating from Trump's Twitter world, mostly revelations of hatred, revenge and anger at anyone who questions or challenges him.

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James Wall served as a Contributing Editor of The Christian Century magazine, based in Chicago, Illinois, from 1999 through 2017. From 1972 through 1999, he was editor and publisher of the Christian Century magazine. Many sources have influenced (more...)

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