The Thinker: Rich Galen

  
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Biden vs Trump

Rich Galen

Thursday April 9, 2020

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  • In a regular world the cable nets and their chat shows would be wall-to-wall about the fact that Bernie Sanders has dropped out of the race for the Democratic nomination for President.

  • The world is anything but regular, so the news was met with all the wide-eyed excitement of a time check.

  • As things stand now, the two major party candidates facing off next fall will be Donald Trump and Joe Biden.

  • Notwithstanding the delays and maneuvering around primary elections, there will be an election on the first Tuesday after the First Monday in November which this year is November 3.

  • Article II, Section 1 states:
    Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress

  • Note that neither Article II nor the 12th Amendment (which changes the way those electors cast their votes) makes the first Tuesday after the First Monday in November the national election day.

  • That was done by Federal statute in 1845 and even that statute doesn't say it is a national election day it says that
    Electors for President and Vice President shall be appointed in each State on the Tuesday next after the first Monday in November in the year in which they are to be appointed.

  • Yoda must have been the Clerk.

  • 48 of the 50 states choose their electors on a winner-take-all basis. George W. Bush gets, say 537 more votes than Al Gore in Florida in the election of 2000 and Bush scooped up all 25 electoral votes.

  • Remember that electoral votes are apportioned on the basis of the number of Congressional seats assigned to a state plus two votes for each U.S. Senator.

  • Thus, in 2020, California will have 55 Electoral votes (53 Members of Congress plus the two U.S. Senators) while North Dakota will have 3 (one state-wide congressional districe plus its two Senators).

  • Two states, Nebraska and Maine have what I think is a better process: The winner of the statewide popular vote gets the two electors provided by the two Senators; the other electors are divvied up on a congressional district basis. Nebraska has three Congress Members, Maine two.

  • As each Congressional District (in states where there is more than one) contains more-or-less the same number of people, this seems fairer than having New York and California written off by Republicans. Just as Alabama and Mississippi are generally written off by Democratic candidates for President.

  • As to the date on which a President's term begins and ends, that is dictated by the Constitution. The 20th Amendment moved Presidential terms from March 4 in the year following the election to January 20.

  • Franklin Roosevelt's second Inaugural was on January 20, 1937, the first that was not on March 4th.

  • The 20th Amendment also changed the date that Congressional terms begin to Noon on January 3rd, thus cutting down pretty dramatically on (but not removing) the damage a Lame Duck Congress could inflict on the American people.

  • Getting back to the matter of Biden vs Trump the current question is whether the Democrats and Republicans will hold their quadrennial conventions this summer.

  • With Coronavirus still raging, the Ds have announced they are moving their Convention from July to August. From the NY Times:
    The [Democrats'] convention will still be held in Milwaukee, as planned, the week of Aug. 17, officials said - a week before Republicans plan to gather in Charlotte, N.C., to renominate President Trump.

  • We'll see if the state of public safety allows 5,000 or so delegates, alternates, reporters, staffers, and hangers-on to sit and stand cheek-by-jowl for three days of meetings, speeches, and parties in August.

    New Topic

  • This is a holy week for Christians and Jews. Passover began last night, we participated in a "Zoom Seder." Many of you will participate in some similar process this coming Sunday when you celebrate Easter. Later this month the Muslim holy month of Ramadan will begin.

  • Even if you are not particularly religious, stop for a few seconds and say a prayer for those who have been attacked by this virus, for those who are so far healthy, for those you know and love, and for those you will never meet.

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: A link to a PDF or the statute that sets the national election day, an Electoral College map, and a discussion of the 20th Amendment from the U.S. House historian.

    The Mullfoto is a masked man on the prowl for some toilet paper.

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