Rigged? Who Cares?

I’ve heard that a little squabble arose over last year’s presidential election. Some claimed that Biden was the benefactor of widespread election fraud. But others claimed that there is absolutely no evidence of such election fraud, and that this is dangerous, fake news, that must be suppressed from all social media platforms.

Apparently, both sides were calling each other liars, and became slightly hysterical about it. Not only that, but one side staged a protest at the U.S. Capitol building. I wonder how that went over.

These fancy crates containing Electoral College certificates were spirited away from the Capitol, to a secure place, by quick-thinking congressional staffers when the Capitol was overrun on January 6th.

The protesters alleged that various state governors unilaterally changed the election rules in their states, without the consent of their state legislatures, and that this is unconstitutional. They argued that the changes made voter fraud much easier to commit, and claimed that such fraud did occur, on a large scale. And they claimed that Trump would have won the election by a landslide if this fraud had not occurred.

In other words, Trump and his supporters believe the election was rigged. This is concerning. Whether one likes Trump or not, most citizens don’t want to see anyone winning or losing an election due to fraud. So I put on my super-sleuth hat and investigated this matter. I wanted to know if Joe Biden is our legitimate, constitutionally elected president, or if Trump actually won a second term.

I found everything I needed by turning to our U.S. Constitution. Article II, Section 1, Clause 2, establishes the procedure by which electors to the Electoral College are chosen. It reads as follows:

Each state shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct [emphasis added], a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress . . .

U.S. Constitution, Article II, Section 1, Clause 2

Notice that this is in regard to how electors are chosen, and not how elections are run. This seems to mean that state legislatures determine the manner for choosing the electors that cast votes for president and vice-president, in the Electoral College.

And because this rule is in the Constitution, no federal law, state law, governor’s decree, judge’s ruling, or anything else, can interfere with whatever way the state legislatures direct, when choosing electors. Hell, they can flip a coin, spin the bottle, or play one-potato-two-potato. Whatever way they choose is what goes.

In fact in the early days of our Republic, there was no popular vote for president, in most states. Only five states used a popular vote of any kind, to influence the choice of electors, when George Washington was first elected. And that was a sparse tally, because the general rule was that only white, male landowners could vote.

Choosing electors without a popular vote was perfectly legal under the U.S. Constitution. And in fact, it can still be done this way. And that’s because the Constitution allows state legislatures to use any manner they want, for choosing presidential electors (see quote of Constitution, above).

Today, just about anyone age 18 or over can vote. But that doesn’t mean the state legislatures have to go along with the way they vote. They can thumb their noses at the apparent will of the people, and choose whatever electors they want. It’s their call, under the U.S. Constitution.

If you want to get real technical about it, the popular vote in any given state means nothing. What matters is whether or not the state legislature wants to go along with the popular vote. Because ultimately, it’s the state legislatures that choose the electors. The popular vote is strictly advisory.

So let’s assume there really was widespread election fraud in our last election. And let’s assume that it’s not even debatable, and that everyone agrees there is plenty of evidence to prove this fraud. Still, it wouldn’t matter. If the election was rigged and there was no doubt or debate about it, who cares? What matters is how the state legislatures decided to choose their electors. And that’s all that matters.

And every state legislature across America chose to certify their election results, based upon their respective popular vote tallies, even in the face of many, many election fraud allegations. They could have decided not to certify. Or they could have ignored the election results and certified their own winner. Hell they could have said, “Screw Trump and Biden,” and chosen electors for me, Tippy Gnu.

They could have decided that their governors thoroughly fucked up the elections by making unilateral changes to how the elections were conducted, and used this as an excuse to disregard the election results. But they didn’t. For better or for worse, they decided to go along with their governors.

Therefore, Joe Biden is our legitimate president, whether or not the election was rigged, or stolen, or otherwise fucked up beyond recognition.

So the next time you hear a Trump supporter claim the election was rigged, you can save yourself from an endless argument and go ahead and agree. It doesn’t matter. Who cares? The U.S. Constitution is the law of our land, and under the Constitution, Trump lost.

25 comments

  • And you just summed it all up! Hillary won the popular vote over Trump 4 years ago, but yes, its the Electoral College that makes the final call! I am afraid though tbat we will keep hearing over the next 4 years about the election being “stolen”.

    Liked by 2 people

  • I think most people really don’t have a clue how Federal elections work, or even that the Constitution was a second attempt. The debate has always been about state’s rights versus a strong central government. So how states participated was left mostly up to their discretion, and still is today. The process has never been wholly “democratic”, and there are historical reason as to why.

    Initially, those popularly elected (by citizens with a stake in the system) under the rules of the Constitution were restricted to the House of Representatives, and states were free to appoint Senators and to determine Electors by whatever means they chose. Even today, states are free to manage their own elections (within reason) according to what each state deems a “fair” process. Much small-scale “accommodation” is often overlooked in order to allow smaller constituencies to maintain representation… Wisconsin being something of a poster-boy over the last few years. Even today, how Electors are assigned is also still according to state-determined rules… “pledged” or “faithless”, winner-take-all or divided… Even today, there’s nothing to prevent state legislatures from simply appointing Electors regardless of election results. Florida considered doing so in the 2000 presidential election after having so much confusion regarding “hanging chads” and the votes prisoners and dead people. That’s what compelled Al Gore to concede the election.

    Liked by 2 people

  • I would be fine with going back to the state legislatures choosing the electors and the senators. And the governors. Direct elections are scary.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You have a point. Some of the candidates who have run for office would probably never win if they had to be elected by a legislative body. Their visceral, popular appeal wouldn’t likely cut it among those where cooler heads tend to prevail.

      Liked by 1 person

  • All this explanation is an excellent argument for getting rid of the electoral college. Short of that, it’s a great reason for a few more states to sign onto the compact that state electoral must vote for whoever won the National popular vote.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Informative and concise summary, thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

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