Thursday, November 10, 2016
Scott Bixby Ex-Democratic presidential nominee went for a hike with her husband near their New York home, hugging a supporter and ‘exchanging some sweet pleasantries’. An upstate New York woman, hoping to take her mind off of the US election results with a hike through the woods of Westchester County, bumped into another woman on Thursday with a presumably similar notion: Hillary Clinton. Margot Gerster of White Plains wrote on Facebook that after “feeling so heartbroken since yesterday’s election”, she hoped to relax by taking her young daughter and her dog hiking on Thursday. “I decided to take them to one of favorite places in Chappaqua,” Gerster wrote, the Westchester hamlet that the Clintons call home. “We were the only ones there and it was so beautiful and relaxing.” As Gerster was ending her hike, however, she ran into an unexpected couple on the trail: the former secretary of state and her husband, former president Bill Clinton. “I heard a bit of rustling coming towards me and as I stepped into the clearing there she was, Hillary Clinton and Bill with their dogs doing exactly the same thing as I was,” Gerster wrote. “I got to hug her and talk to her and tell her that one of my most proudest moments as a mother was taking [my daughter] with me to vote for her.” Clinton was grateful for Gerster’s words, offering pleasantries, a hug and even a photo taken by the former president. “She hugged me and thanked me and we exchanged some sweet pleasantries and then I let them continue their walk,” Gerster wrote. “Now, I’m not one for signs but I think I’ll definitely take this one. So proud.” The photo represents Clinton’s first appearance since her concession speech on Wednesday, during which she declared: “To all the little girls who are watching this: never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams.” Gerster ended her post, which has been shared nearly 3,000 times, with a series of hashtags expressing support for the former presidential candidate: “#iamstillwithher #lovetrumpshate #keepfighting #lightfollowsdarkness.” The photo has received thousands of comments, most expressing good wishes for the former candidate. “I wish I could give her a hug and thank her personally,” wrote one supporter. “And apologize for the rest of our country.”hi. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/nov/10/hillary-clinton-hike-new-york-after-election-donald-trump
By JONATHAN MAHLER and STEVE EDER
In November 2000, as the Florida recount gripped the nation, a newly elected Democratic senator from New York took a break from an upstate victory tour to address the possibility that Al Gore could wind up winning the popular vote but losing the presidential election.
She was unequivocal. “I believe strongly that in a democracy, we should respect the will of the people,” Hillary Clinton said, “and to me that means it’s time to do away with the Electoral College and move to the popular election of our president.”
Sixteen years later, the Electoral College is still standing, and Mrs. Clinton has followed Mr. Gore as the second Democratic presidential candidate in modern history to be defeated by a Republican who earned fewer votes, in his case by George W. Bush.
In her concession speech on Wednesday, Mrs. Clinton did not mention the popular vote, an omission that seemed to signal her desire to encourage a smooth and civil transition of power after such a divisive election. But her running mate, Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia, wasted little time highlighting her higher vote total than Donald J. Trump’s in introducing her.
And the disparity left a bitter taste in the mouths of many Democrats, whose party won the country’s national popular vote for the third consecutive election but no longer controls any branch of government.
“If we really subscribe to the notion that ‘majority rules,’ then why do we deny the majority their chosen candidate?” said Jennifer M. Granholm, a former governor of Michigan.
Mr. Trump himself has been critical of the Electoral College in the past. On the eve of the 2012 election, he called it “a disaster for a democracy” in a Twitter post. Now, after months of railing against what he called a “rigged” election, he has become the unlikely beneficiary of an electoral system that allows a candidate to win the race without winning over the most voters.
None of Mrs. Clinton’s supporters have gone so far as to suggest that the popular vote tally should delegitimize Mr. Trump’s victory, and the popular vote margin in Tuesday’s election was in fact narrower than the one that separated Mr. Bush and Mr. Gore in 2000.
But the results are already renewing calls for electoral reform. “I personally would like to see the Electoral College eliminated entirely,” said David Boies, who represented Mr. Gore in the Florida recount in 2000. “I think it’s a historical anomaly.”
Defenders of the system argue that it reduces the chances of daunting nationwide recounts in close races, a scenario that Gary L. Gregg II, an Electoral College expert at the University of Louisville, said would be a “national nightmare.”
A variety of factors informed the creation of the Electoral College, which apportions a fixed number of votes to different states based on the size of their populations. The founding fathers sought to ensure that residents in states with smaller populations were not ignored. And in an era that predated mass media and even political parties, they were concerned that average Americans would lack enough information about the candidates to make intelligent choices. So informed “electors” would stand in for them.
Above all, some historians point to the critical role that slavery played in the formation of the system. Southern delegates to the 1787 Constitutional Convention, most prominently James Madison of Virginia, were concerned that their constituents would be outnumbered by Northerners. The Three-Fifths Compromise, however, allowed states to count each slave as three-fifths of a person — enough, at the time, to ensure a Southern majority in presidential races.
On social media Wednesday, some drew connections between that history and what they perceived as an imbalance in the Electoral College that favors Republicans.
“Electoral college will forever tip balance to rural/conservative/“white”/older voters — a concession to slave-holders originally,” the author Joyce Carol Oates wrote on Twitter.
To its critics, the Electoral College is a relic that violates the democratic principle of one person, one vote, and distorts the presidential campaign by encouraging candidates to campaign only in the relatively small number of contested states.
“I think it is intolerable for democracy,” said George C. Edwards III, a political-science professor at Texas A&M University and the author of a book on the Electoral College. “I can’t think of any justification for it, and any justification that is offered doesn’t bear scrutiny.”
But calls to change the system, which would require a constitutional amendment, are likely to fall on deaf ears with Republicans in control of both houses of Congress.
And though there was some momentum for reform after Mr. Gore’s defeat, it dissipated after Mr. Bush and Barack Obama won both the popular and electoral votes in 2004, 2008 and 2012.
Some states have discussed a possibility that would not necessarily require amending the Constitution: jettisoning the winner-takes-all system, in which a single candidate is awarded all of a state’s electoral votes — regardless of the popular vote — and instead apportioning them to reflect the breakdown of each state’s popular vote. Two states, Maine and Nebraska, already do this. But even that approach could face challenges, said Laurence H. Tribe, a professor at Harvard Law School.
For reformers, the best hope may lie in the so-called National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, an agreement among states to award all of their respective electoral votes to the candidate who wins the popular vote in a given election. So far, 10 states and the District of Columbia have joined the agreement. But it will only go into effect when enough states have signed on to guarantee that the winner of the popular vote will win the election.
For now, it seems, any change still remains a far-off notion.
“I am very mad at James Madison,” said former Representative Barney Frank, a Massachusetts Democrat. “But I don’t think there’s anything I can do about it.”