Saturday, July 08, 2017

So does the Constitution have a provision to deal with a fraudulent presidential election? The short answer is "no."

Courtesy of FiveThirtyEight:  

For all the headlines about Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, no hard evidence has come to light, at least publicly, showing that President Trump or his team were involved. But suppose that such evidence did come to light — what would happen if it became clear that Trump or his advisers colluded with the Russians?1 This isn’t the only type of wrongdoing the investigations could uncover, but it’s among the most serious because it would cast doubt on the legitimacy of the 2016 result. So, is there a process for dealing with a finding that in essence invalidates an election? 

When it comes to presidential elections, the answer is: not really. The laws and processes around national elections have grown up in a piecemeal fashion over time, with state and local laws governing the administration of presidential elections. And the Constitution itself focuses more on ensuring stability than on administering elections. As a result, there aren’t clear procedures for how to handle questions of legitimacy after the fact — especially when those questions involve the presidency.

FiveThirtyEight dives deep into the whys and why nots, that the framers of the Constitution took into consideration when creating the document that is at the heart of our democracy.

However for the purposes of this post I will skip all of that detail and just get to the rather disappointing punchline:

In most of the historical cases, the main question was how the Electoral College votes would be allocated in each state. Once those have been cast, the case for questioning a presidential election or gauging which side really won becomes a lot more difficult. Of course, the Constitution does have one mechanism for undoing the results of an election: impeachment. That process, however, is focused on individual wrongdoing (or, through a separate process, inability), not electoral irregularities. In that sense, even if collusion revelations did lead to Trump’s impeachment and removal from office, the process wouldn’t really address the question of whether his election had been legitimate in the first place. 

The lack of an established process for reviewing elections points to a larger issue: The structures established by the Constitution assumed a world in which the presidency and the Electoral College were not fully absorbed into a contentious national party system. That vision has long since been replaced by one in which presidential elections are national contests over policy agendas and ideas. The text of our Constitution has never been changed to reflect this reality. Instead, the Electoral College remains the final word on who gets to be president. When it comes to the possibility that the winning side colluded with a foreign power to influence the election outcome, the Constitution doesn’t offer much in the way of a plan.

This is probably something that Vladimir Putin understood better than your average voter.

There are no do overs in presidential politics.

Once into the Oval Office a bad president can be like an intestinal parasite latching on firmly, too far out of reach for easy removal.

Perhaps we can impeach Donald Trump, that does not mean that we can replace him with anyone better, or that we can stop the destructive policy decisions that he and the Republicans are putting in place as we  speak.

We often hear that elections have consequences, and perhaps that has never been more true than the election of 2016.


  1. Anonymous6:49 AM

    I have been thinking about my Independent voter registration. The Independent 3rd party has turned into a camp ground of nothings with no leader. The Green party had jill in Russia. So? To strengthen 1 of the 2 main political parties and promote strength in numbers, unity and message, I may switch soon.

    1. Anonymous8:18 AM

      My story: Raised Republican and in a Lutheran church, registered as one when I turned 18. Got married and had a couple of kids in my late twenties. THEN I started to pay attention. Voted Clinton for both his terms; switched to independent in '80 when Dubya was "elected" through fraud. I still considered myself a moderate.

      Then came '08, and that nasty bitch Palin. Good LORD; who would ever align themselves with that shit show? Proudly voted for Obama both terms and also switched to Democrat so I could vote primaries.

      Looking at it now, I guess you could say I became one of "them damned libruls" by watching what the x-tian right DOES, which is in direct opposition to what Jesus directed in the Sermon On The Mount Matthew 5.

    2. Anonymous10:24 AM

      Welcome, Anon at 8:18 am. We liberals are not perfect but we work hard to make sure that all Americans and all people around the world have a chance to better themselves and their families.

      The 21st century GOP is the product of billionaires like the Koch brothers, who have some kind of secret agenda that they are afraid to make public. Taking money from people who need healthcare to enrich the rich further is not something anyone should be proud of. Enabling an adversarial power to influence the outcome of our presidential election process is criminal. Dismantling federal regulations that have made the air cleaner, the water purer, our food safer is beyond contempt. Derailing attempts to improve the environment through the Paris Climate Accord is insanely destructive. All those children, the Republicans couldn't wait to have born, will have a much worse future - guaranteed for them by the 21st century GOP.

    3. Anonymous11:41 AM

      They preach about liberals in the churches. One time a friend accused me of being a liberal. I really was not into politics but she made it sound like something from the depths of hell. I was not insulted because I didn't know back then that they had liberals. Now I know. I just thought I was registered as a Democrat and that would be taken at face value. I didn't expect someone with an overactive brain fart to make more of my political standing. Now, here we are. North and South again. Putin has taken advantage of our weaknesses. He also, I believe groomed our current president. Now the outcome.

  2. Anonymous7:04 AM

    This is History in the making. Our elected paid servants best work on this #1 issue now. Our Constitution has been used against us for years. Putin has studied it. And one thing for sure, a foreign power cannot be allowed to rig our elections. Period.
    I realized quite awhile ago that we must amend our constitution to include modern remedies for rigged elections, falsified results, invasion, liars, treason, espionage, cheaters, dishonesty, misinformation, disinformation, spies, enemies, dictators and un-American ignorance.

    1. Anonymous7:43 AM

      That will NEVER happen with a Republican controlled Congress. It's their bread and butter!

  3. Anonymous7:10 AM

    Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States. 18 U.S. Code, § 2381.

    You collude with an adversary of the U.S. BEFORE the election, you are guilty of treason and "shall be incapable of holding any office under the U.S." Penalties are as aforesaid.

    1. Anonymous10:00 AM

      What about talking smack about O and the Intelligence Agencies while in Poland then meeting with PuppetMaster in Hamburg? What would you classify that as?

    2. Anonymous10:16 AM

      I'd like to see Trump and quite of few of his GOP helpers in orange jumpsuits spending long years in federal prison.

  4. Anonymous7:14 AM

    Damn, Gryphen, you just crushed the dreams of many here who actually believed if Russia swayed the election enough and proven, the results would be tossed and HRC would become POTUS by default.

    1. Anonymous7:38 AM

      YES, that's not how it works. So many posts here, and you just don't have the intestinal fortitude to tell them so.

      Thank you, Uncle Gryph.

    2. Anonymous11:26 AM

      A country divided will war against one another. We seem to be there.

  5. Anonymous7:55 AM

    A. Trump said: "I have to tell you that. If she weren't my daughter it would be so much easier for her."


    B. Trump said: "....if she wasn’t his daughter, “perhaps [he’d] be dating her”.

    Donald Trump gets candid about daughter Ivanka

    HAMBURG, Germany — President Donald Trump said Saturday that it might be easier for daughter Ivanka if her last name wasn't Trump.

    Heaping praise on her at the launch of a new women's economic empowerment event, Trump said: "I'm very proud of my daughter Ivanka, always have been from day one. I have to tell you that. If she weren't my daughter it would be so much easier for her.

    "It might be the only bad thing she has going," he added.

    As a senior adviser in the Trump White House, Ivanka has made her "passion" for female advancement a central focus. Saturday's event celebrated a new World Bank Facility for Women Entrepreneurship, with the U.S. putting $50 million into Ivanka-backed effort to break down financial barriers for women in businesses.

    Ivanka's role in the initiative is that of a global champion and advocate for the cause, a senior World Bank official told reporters. A senior White House official says she will not be involved in the fundraising efforts....

    1. Anonymous8:43 AM

      If she wasn't his daughter she'd be waiting tables at a Denny's restaurant.

    2. Anonymous9:44 AM

      I thought the bitch's last name was Kushner. Hmmmm.

    3. Anonymous10:15 AM

      I do not feel sorry for Ivanka. She is the spitting image of her father: mean, greedy and not very intelligent. And she's supposed to the smart one!

  6. Anonymous8:01 AM

    After Putin meeting, Russian government begins trash-talking about how weak Donald Trump is

    That didn’t take long. Donald Trump met with his puppet master Vladimir Putin today, and it went about as one would have expected. After their meeting, Russia announced that Russia didn’t hack the election, and then the Trump administration parroted the line. But even as Russia continues to humiliate America by pulling the puppet strings of the traitor it installed in the Oval Office, the Russian government can’t help but make fun of him.

    Russian government adviser Sergei Markov was so giddy at the prospect of his government having total control over Donald Trump that he called up the American media just to brag about it. He told the Daily Beast that “Putin is a much more powerful Alpha male than Trump” (link). Markov went on to explain, of course, that Trump can become less of weakling if he continues to remain under Putin’s thumb. And so this is where we’re at now.

    Russia has such complete and total control over Donald Trump that it can’t help but brag about it. And Trump is either too sheltered to even hear about it when Russia makes fun of him in the mainstream American press, or he’s too addle-brained to understand that Russia is openly taunting him.

  7. Anonymous8:03 AM

    If you’re an American, today just plain sucked. The United States hasn’t been humiliated like this on the world stage in as long as anyone can remember. Donald Trump, the most embarrassing and illegitimate “president” in our nation’s history, met with Vladimir Putin and fully submitted to him, thus confirming that he’s indeed a Russian puppet. But if you want Trump’s demise to happen, today was a necessary – and major – step.

    Donald Trump’s base probably loved it today when Trump kissed Putin’s proverbial ring today, because all his base seems to care about is harming America from within in order to punish the rest of us. But Trump’s base is no more than perhaps 15% of the country. No president has ever survived on 15%, so it doesn’t matter what his base thinks. Since Trump took office we’ve watched his approval rating slide from the low forties to the high-to-mid thirties. That may not seem like much but it’s actually everything.

    Trump’s roughly 35% approval rating is 15% base, and 20% tentative support from not-all-that-political people who were never fully sold on him. We’ve that second group slowly but surely slip away from Trump as his time in office has gone on and gotten uglier. I’ve said from the start that if he drops below 30%, even the Republicans in Congress will have to find a way to jettison him in order to maintain some chance of getting reelected. They care far more about saving their own jobs than they do about Trump.

    1. Anonymous10:14 AM

      At this point, I'm proud of the western European countries for ignoring Trump and making progress on their own. Trump's incompetence and crush on Putin were in full display at the G-20. While he continued on in his overly long meeting with Putin, his handlers kept sending the third wife in to give him hints to end it. Shows how much influence she has with her husband and how little he cares about the reputation of this country. The Russians must have been dancing in the corridors of their hotels once the interminable meeting finally ended. What did they weasel out of him?

  8. Anonymous8:04 AM

    The thing about 9/11 is that we didn’t feel it coming. Sure, everyone (except George W. Bush) knew that Bin Laden was looking to hit us in a big way and go out with a bang. But he’d hit us before, and it was nothing like that. So we went from zero to chaos within minutes that morning. But this Trump thing has been different altogether.

    All along we’ve been the proverbial frog in the pot of boiling water, lacking the impetus to jump out because the temperature was rising so gradually. This mentally deranged Russian traitor game show host Donald Trump invaded us one step at a time. First he destroyed a political party. Then he destroyed the integrity of the election process. Now he’s destroying the Executive Branch. And he’s trying to destroy the United States as sovereign nation.

    1. Anonymous2:44 PM

      I don't believe for one minute that Dubya etal had no clue about 9/11. To this day, every time I see his face I want to pinch his nose off.

  9. Anonymous8:07 AM

    Trump Is Holding Up The G20 Joint Statement Because He Thinks It’s Too Pro-Environment

    1. Anonymous11:18 AM

      Well then, they should just issue the G-19 Statement!!!!

  10. Anonymous8:09 AM

    ‘Please delete your account’: Sarah Palin slammed for using ‘neo-Nazi’ slogan to praise Trump

    1. Anonymous8:32 AM

      And she's explaining it away in her usual "I found God" fashion. Urp; what a crock of crap.

      She was (and still is) AIP, and switched parties in name only so she could run.

      Remember the pictures of Sally and Creepy Chuck Sr. on a front porch with a militia group? If memory serves, that was Schaeffer Cox's bunch and he is now serving a 25 year sentence.

    2. Anonymous8:59 AM

      Video at her polling place, asking about TAWD being AIP. Paraphrasing, "No, that's independent. He just checked the wrong box on the form."

      Of COURSE he did, you lying POS.

  11. Anonymous8:16 AM

    POTUS finds the G20 to be boring and wonders why he had to be bothered with it. Suggests skipping it in the future.

    he got shunned.

    1. Anonymous8:36 AM

      "One is the loneliest number."

    2. Anonymous9:00 AM

      Just like Trump boycotts the White House Correspondents Dinner

    3. Anonymous9:46 AM

      He smells like farts and everyone knows it.

    4. Anonymous10:08 AM

      And he well deserved the shunning. Trump only had eyes for Putin while in Poland and in Germany. Apparently he still going to the UK. I hope he gets the "welcome" he deserves.

  12. Anonymous9:26 AM

    That Was Easy: Putin Says He Convinced Trump That Russia Didn’t Meddle In 2016 Election

    Trump can pretend to be a strongman all he wants, but in his first real opportunity to put America first and show strong leadership, he backed down bigly.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday that he believed Donald Trump was convinced after he told him the Russians were not involved in the 2016 election hack.

    Like taking candy from a baby.

    The news that Trump would believe Putin instead of the U.S. intelligence community would be stunning – but this is Donald Trump, after all.

    It’s the same guy who shot off this tweet ahead of his face-to-face meeting with Putin, shifting the blame and attention toward the Democrats instead of Russia:

  13. Anonymous9:28 AM

    Donald Trump throws daughter Ivanka a pity party after she’s hammered for sitting with leaders at the G20

    One the same day the first daughter represented the United States at the G20 in Hamburg, President Donald Trump suggested Ivanka Trump should be pitied.

    “If she weren’t my daughter it would be so much easier for her,” Trump claimed. “It might be the only bad thing she has going if you want to know the truth.”

  14. Anonymous9:28 AM

    WATCH: Ex-Trump aide calls Putin meeting ‘greatest moment in US diplomatic history’ — and gets burned to the ground

  15. Anonymous9:29 AM

    ‘He doesn’t speak for the rest of America’: Jerry Brown shows up in Hamburg amid G20 — and shreds Trump

  16. Anonymous9:33 AM

    On Friday, Trump made the United States look like a joke once again, when he was caught daydreaming at a roundtable meeting at the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany. While every other world leader was alert and paying attention to the fact that they were posing to take a photograph, Trump was clearly in his own world and didn’t even know what the hell was going on as he kept himself turned the opposite way. If it weren’t for British Prime Minister Theresa May having the decency to wake him up out of his little fantasy land, Trump would have taken the photo with his back turned to the camera – perhaps the perfect symbolic gesture for how he turns his back on America (and the world).

    You can watch this cringeworthy moment play out below:

  17. Anonymous9:37 AM

    Russian media openly mocks Trump as lesser man than Putin

    ...Meanwhile, Russian dissident Garry Kasparov noted that this image of Trump offering his handshake to Putin while the Russian president seemed to ponder the request had quickly spread throughout Russian media.

  18. Anonymous9:38 AM

    Trump sells us out, agrees to cooperate with Moscow on cybersecurity

    1. Anonymous3:25 PM

      Are any of us surprised at this news? Trump has belonged to Putin for quite a while now. I'm curious about what the GOP in Congress will do about it.

  19. Anonymous9:38 AM

    Trump humiliates himself on global stage in two-hour meeting with Putin

    In their first face-to-face meeting, Putin was playing chess. Trump was simply getting played.

  20. Anonymous9:46 AM

    Two important points to remember:

    1) sure, Drumpf is the ever-lasting toxic tire fire of American politics, but at least we don't have to deal with Crooked Hillary's private email server

    2) Raise your hand if you don't give a shit about the fucking emails and despite all her real and imagined flaws, you'd give ANYTHING - even lesser used body parts like the spleen or the uvula - to have her in the White House right now.

    Exactly. Just as I thought.

    (To Mrs. Clinton: please don't misinterpret this unscientific demonstration of our grievous collective regret that you didnt win to mean you should run in 2020.

    You should NOT run in 2020.)

  21. Anonymous10:06 AM

    I don't think that the Founding Fathers envisaged computerized voting. Had they done so, they would have added an amendment to the Bill of Rights to protect us from what happened last November.

  22. Anonymous10:08 AM

    Ivanka Takes Her Dad's Seat as Merkel Stands Up to Trump

    Ivanka Trump sat in on G20 meetings on Saturday in place of President Trump. Meanwhile, Chancellor Merkel succeeded in isolating the U.S. on the environment.

    ...The first daughter’s presence at the summit today seemed to captivate at least one other attendee, Russian G20 Sherpa Svetlana Lukash who took a break from tweeting her government's propaganda about the 2016 election, to promote the first daughter.

  23. Anonymous10:10 AM

    JUST IN: Trump breaks with tradition, leaves G-20 summit without holding press conference

    He had to step out early to give Putin his lap dance.

    1. Anonymous3:23 PM

      Trump is such a coward that he would never face the foreign press or the American press after his shameful appearances in Poland and Hamburg. I read somewhere that he is planning to visit the UK. I hope they protest with all their might against him wherever he goes there.

  24. Anonymous10:11 AM

    Telling that pic of Ivanka at G-20 table was posted by Russian staff. Russians knew would: 1. be deemed controversial; 2. get us going in US

    Their mission is to cause uproar and division in the United States. And they are winning.

  25. Anonymous10:11 AM

    Few months back I joked about Ivanka getting the TS+ briefing on how to use the nuclear "football." Suddenly that's not funny. At all.

  26. Anonymous10:15 AM


    The jihadists have used everything in their arsenal to fend off the troops in the final throes of the nine month-long offensive.

    Isil’s use of female suicide bombers in battle, while not new, is exceedingly rare and demonstrates the group’s desperation.

    More than 20 female suicide bombers hiding among civilians are believed to have detonated explosives in the last two weeks.

    At first sight the picture appears to show a mother cradling her young child as she flees an Islamic State-held area of Mosul.

    But a closer look reveals she is holding a trigger., which she will pull seconds later.

  27. Anonymous10:44 AM

  28. Anonymous11:26 AM

    The Fake President
    For all his ranting about fake news and fake media...

    There’s a narcissistic fraud in the White House. An angry, hollow, vindictive man is running the country. What bottomless emotional need does he have for acclaim? It is hard to know where his rampant narcissism ends and serious mental problems ensue. He lies prodigiously and for no reason except he obviously has an unclear vision of what the truth is.

    Is his narcissism the driving force behind his lies? Look no further than the lobbies at seven of his golf courses, where he has hung fake Time Magazine covers with made-up headlines of effusive praise for himself. What a bizarre intersection between vanity and fraud. That is a president whose cabinet officials obsequiously offer tribute to his greatness while cameras roll. What is next, Dear Leader... a new haircut?

    Trump has lied so much there was a New York Times article listing just the lies he’s told since taking the oath of office. This is to say nothing of the lies told repeatedly on the campaign trail and the ones he used to sell investors before bankrupting six business deals. He tells us he is very rich, but disregards the Constitution to enrich himself and his family. The chief government ethics officer just quit over it.

  29. I've said this repeatedly. Even if there is absolute proof the Russians hacked the election and put Trump in the White House, there are no provisions for a "do over." He's still president.

    The Electoral College could have overturned the election but they didn't do their jobs given the evidence they had and they weren't provided with the evidence they should have had.

    Trump can be removed by Impeachment or by the 25th amendment. Good luck with either of those with Republicans controlling both houses of Congress. Trump is not enough of an embarrassment to them. He isn't harming re-election chances in 2018 enough. He hasn't done enough to blatantly prove he's mentally unsound and unfit for the office.

    So even if there is concrete proof the Russians hacked the election and even if the Trump camp colluded with them to do what? He's still president thanks to the electoral college.

    Unless he dies in office about the only chance of getting rid of him is if Pence can pull off a coup and use the 25th to prove he's mentally incompetent. I imagine if that were to happen it will be after 2018 and only *IF* the Republicans lose badly and that can be laid at Trump's door.

  30. And if the Democrats want to start winning in 2018 and 2020, they need to start ignoring Mark Penn.

  31. Anonymous11:30 AM

    With conspiracy theories, misinformation, internet, non discernment from most of its' citizens, bad McDonalds type diets, high use of opiods, too much reality tv, we Americans were bound to be too lethargic to fight for our democracy. May the strong survive.


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