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Trump’s desperation and the U.S. Electoral College

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Sir: The 45th President of the United States of America, Donald J. Trump has not only shocked the world but demonstrated that upright and adverse characters exist across-the-board. Of course, many public officers in the United States, United Kingdom and other developed nations had distinguished themselves, voluntarily resigned their appointments without much ado when found wanting. When Hilary Clinton, presidential candidate of the Democratic Party then won the general poll but lost afterwards at the Electoral College to Trump and his Republican Party, she conceded defeat, maintained decorum and moved on.

In America, the Electoral College is a group of 538 presidential electors that “finally decide” after general ballots, with power to endorse or overturn the general election results. Trump cleverly leveraged on it to emerge U.S. President after losing the general election, terribly against democratic norms. The two-step system is repugnant and bizarre. With it, it is pointless channeling energy to campaigns since few people ultimately decide. For instance, Americans never elected Trump as president. Yet, he was sworn-in. Suffice to say Trump became U.S. President through the back door – Electoral College. The recent endorsement by the Electoral College will be considered on January 6 by the U.S. Congress. And tirelessly, President Trump is manifestly plotting to overturn the election, unprecedentedly through the Congress.

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This arrangement is precarious, and should astutely be reviewed. It implies a desperate moneybag can buy U.S. Presidency after losing general polls. This absurdity creates the unending scenes for Trump after losing convincingly, to fight to overturn the outcome as he successfully did against Clinton previously. Trump had challenged the election in 60 courts across the states in America and used his presidential power to secure recounts in some but, alas in futility, and finally thrown-out at the Supreme Court, he still believes he could overrule the verdict of the apex court. This is unacceptable and a big shame. It means the system is vulnerable.

As it stands, a clash is foreseeable on January 20 during or after Joe Biden’s inauguration. The President-elect after his endorsement by the Electoral College remarkably reminded Trump and his cohorts that electoral mandate solely emanates from the people, and not imposed by politicians or attained by self-helps.

For the incoming 46th U.S. President, Biden, there’s a big work ahead. The highest level of hostility looms after inauguration. It is obvious that America under Trump has been taken aback vis-à-vis its cherished democratic values, setting a wrong precedent which must be addressed soon. Instructively, the interferences, endorsement and ratification of Electoral College and Congress respectively on general polls outcomes should be reconsidered as it is anti-democratic. It flouts one-man, one-vote concept. Peoples’ votes must count. Thus, if unchecked, they can be used by greedy politicians to create uproars in the polity.

Above all, egoistic politicians in the developing nations may copy such irresponsible attitudes rather than seeing politics as friendly and intellectual pursuit for power. And the consequences are usually grievous.

Carl Umegboro is a public affairs analyst and associate, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, United Kingdom.

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