The citizen’s guide to Article 5, violating the norms edition
This is the first of an occasional series on the current implosion into Article 5, the section of the US constitution that provides for a complete rewrite.
Today’s story involves Larry Lessig’s continuing delusion that he can somehow insert Hillary Clinton into the White House even though she lost the Electoral College. Newsweek is extremely irresponsible to publish such inflammatory drivel. But inflammatory drivel is what Newsweek has been dishing out anytime these past 20 years.
It would be easy to dismiss this as delusional thinking, except that it advances a very dangerous trend, violating the norms or our democratic political culture. A presidential election is not like some athletic contest wherein if you can prove the winner cheated you can strip him of his prize and award it to the runner up. It does not work that way.
And this is NOT the first time the winner cheated, it is not even the second time. So allegations of foreign interference do not alter the fact that Trump won the Electoral College and therefore is the legitimate President.
In our system the winner of the election takes power and the only way to change that is to wait for the next election and then drive the undesired leader from power. The problem lies in the ambiguity of the Electoral College. It creates a situation where the loser takes power.
The remedy is to organize for victory by taking over the House in 2018 and electing a better President in 2020. There is no legal shortcut. As so many have pointed out, Trump is the symptom, not the problem. Nothing short of the hard work of reclaiming our political culture will deliver us from our predicament.
If by some horror we were able to insert Hillary Clinton into the White House every Trump supporter would feel they had been cheated, that the social-political compact had been violated. They would all get their guns and adopt a more drastic remedy. We are perilously close to imploding into a failed state, with no government worthy of the name. One of the things that scares me most is how oblivious our political and intellectual elite are to this very real possibility.
We need to harness the well-justified anger against Trump and channel it into a cohesive political force capable of pushing the entire kleptocracy, not just Trump, from power. That will take time, at least a few years. We need to use the 2018 elections in such a way as to wrench the entire country sharply to the left, and Hillary Clinton has no place in that.