Saturday, November 26, 2016

Balkinization: The Uncomfortable View from 1824

In 1824 Andrew Jackson won a 41% plurality of votes but not a majority of the electoral college (sound familiar?)  The election was thrown into the House of Representatives as the Constitution provides.  John Quincy Adams became President.  Accusing the "establishment" of corruption Jacksonian Democrats surged in 1826.  In 1828 he won 56%.  If there were a similar Electoral College vote now the debacle would haunt us.  - GWC
Balkinization: The Uncomfortable View from 1824
by Mark Graber (U of Maryland Law School)

The lesson 1824 should teach 2016 is that the approximately 47% of voters who cast ballots for Donald Trump on election day is the most fundamental crisis of our time rather the accidental outcome that a person grossly unfit for the presidency was elected this time. A nation in which 47% of the voters are willing to vote for a person patently unqualified to be president of the United States (or Treasurer of the Linden Community Civil Association for that matter) is a nation in deep constitutional trouble regardless of whether by accidents of timing and weather that candidate wins or loses. And, under the rules, the candidate won. Claims that Clinton “really” won the election because she won the majority of the popular vote are the political equivalent of northern claims before the Civil War that Southerners only gained control of the national government because their representation in Congress and the Electoral College was augmented by the three-fifths clause. True, but beside the point.

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