Flame this tiny bit of hope
December 11, 2016 12:32 PM   Subscribe

I've been seeing the reports of Russian tampering with the US presidential election, the investigations, and progressively louder voices calling for a re-vote and nullification of the recent results. Nothing would make me happier at this point than to have that happen.

Since the election I have struggled with feelings of hopelessness and fear for the future of anyone who isn't a rich white man (so, you know, pretty much everyone including myself).

All of this recent talk has sparked a little flame of hope inside. But I'm afraid to let it grow lest I find myself in the same situation when it doesn't pan out. So my question to those who know more on the subject than I do is, could it be possible that all this will result in that deplorable human being being kept out of the White House? Dare I hope? How plausible is this hope?
posted by teamnap to Law & Government (24 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
progressively louder voices calling for a re-vote and nullification of the recent results.

I've not heard anyone with any credibility suggest that and the party that controls the House and Senate aren't going to back it. There's no constitutional provision for an election do-over.

How plausible is this hope?

Basically non-existent.
posted by Candleman at 12:36 PM on December 11, 2016 [27 favorites]

No way no how will that happen
posted by Postroad at 12:43 PM on December 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

Read this article if you'd like to see just how futile the recount is.
posted by dilaudid at 12:46 PM on December 11, 2016 [2 favorites]

There's no chance this will happen. You should still have hope that we will find a way to prevent the worst possible outcomes in a Trump presidency, but this isn't the way, unfortunately.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 12:59 PM on December 11, 2016 [6 favorites]

The Republicans who have declared their concerns/outrage that Russia tampered in our election are also insisting that Trump was legitimately elected. I have no earthly idea of the mental gymnastics and political cravenness that's required to thread that particular needle, but it does mean that there is basically zero chance that they will allow this to overturn the election.
posted by the return of the thin white sock at 1:07 PM on December 11, 2016 [4 favorites]

Unfortunately I don't see anything like a re-vote happening, there's no precedent and it'd probably trigger a constitutional crisis of some sort (although trust me, nothing would make me happier right now). I don't think all hope is lost, but the best we can do for now is to fight where we can (work to get more Democrats elected, contact your Congressman and Senators, donate money/time if you can, VOTE, etc - I think there's already other threads floating around on ways to help).
posted by photo guy at 1:11 PM on December 11, 2016 [2 favorites]

Thanks for giving me a reality check. It had to be done.
posted by teamnap at 1:14 PM on December 11, 2016 [5 favorites]

The Republicans who have declared their concerns/outrage that Russia tampered in our election are also insisting that Trump was legitimately elected.

Those two things aren't mutually exclusive. We can say that a foreign power tried to sway the voters - it's pretty hard to argue against that at this point - and still say that there isn't evidence that the vote itself was tampered with.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 1:23 PM on December 11, 2016 [4 favorites]

I too must (reluctantly) say there's basically no way no how a recount will happen.... I've got my own teensy-tiny hopes on an Electoral College flip on Dec. 19: also extremely unlikely, but that's all I've got to hold out for you.
posted by easily confused at 1:24 PM on December 11, 2016 [5 favorites]

Whether or not Russian meddling affected the outcome is not the issue. Finding out the extent to which they meddled, and whether they had any assistance in doing so from anyone this country, is.

Getting into a discussion about the effect Russian meddling had anything to do with the outcome sets up a second round of charges that would need to be proven. The fact that there was Russian involvement is serious enough in itself, and arguing over whether it was the reason Clinton lost would be an unnecessary distraction.

I firmly believe that some of Trump's inner circle were involved. A quick look at some of his campaign staff, advisers and cabinet nominees and their history with Putin should be setting off alarm bells everywhere.
posted by MrKellyBlah at 1:40 PM on December 11, 2016 [2 favorites]

flipping electors only. everything else would cause a constitutional crises and then all bets are off. and even that would probably cause one, though it would be constitutional. and once that norm is established imagine what happens after every presidential election from here on out.
posted by lescour at 1:54 PM on December 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

I don't think there would be enough 'faithless electors' to change the outcome. If it turns out there are, I'll send each and every one of them a lovely gift basket.

The the cold fact is that those people got to be electors by being total party loyalists. And it looks like more Republicans seem to be okay with President Trump than those who are not.
posted by MrKellyBlah at 2:13 PM on December 11, 2016

There is one measure that hasn't gotten much exposure yet. On Jan 6, 2017 Congress meets to receive & count the votes from the Electoral College. At that time written objections signed by at least one Senator & one Representative can be submitted for consideration by the House & Senate separately. See 3 USC 1 para 15.

It's intended as protection against fraudulent EC votes but the wording is vague enough that something like the situation we're in could be fitted to the occasion.
posted by scalefree at 2:15 PM on December 11, 2016 [4 favorites]

It's probably true that Trump was "legitimately elected," in that he did truly win the election because enough people really did vote for him. But if it turns out that he and at least some of his administration picks are compromised/in cahoots with Russian leadership in ways that would put our country in serious danger, I wouldn't assume he'd be allowed to become President because oh well people voted for him.
posted by wondermouse at 2:27 PM on December 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

I'm trying to envision a situation in which the actions of cabinet members would be investigated (e.g. by the FBI) as actors under the influence of a hostile foreign power (because that's the threshold they'd have to meet) and I'm just failing. If we do in fact have an unholy mix of The Manchurian Candidate and the second Harding administration controlling the executive branch - and making strides toward controlling the other two branches - I'm seriously not sure what's going to stop them from raiding the treasury and sending our national security secrets straight to Lyubyanka, should that be their desire. If I thought there were a nonzero chance of unfucking this, I'd preach it loudly.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 2:39 PM on December 11, 2016 [2 favorites]

People are setting themselves up for a huge disappointment if they think there's any chance for a re-vote.
posted by Beholder at 2:54 PM on December 11, 2016 [2 favorites]

There's also a serious time constraint. I doubt anything can happen quickly enough to affect the electoral college or the inauguration. But after that there could be some damning conclusions and he might resign, be forced to resign or be impeached. So if anything happens to Trump that would probably be the most likely. (Not saying that that is a likely outcome only that it's more likely than something preventing his becoming president in the first place.)
posted by bfootdav at 3:25 PM on December 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

At this point, anything that would keep Trump out of the White House would be worse than Trump being president. You'd be completely gutting our system of government, which is supposed to be above any one man.
posted by kevinbelt at 4:28 PM on December 11, 2016 [4 favorites]

If you want a Trump presidency to be prevented, then you got nuthin'. Everyone upthread has said so, and I agree.

But if Trump and his cabinet picks are as in-cahoots-with-Russians as wondermouse speculates, then there is a non-zero chance of impeachment, if treason can be proved. That is: yeah, wondermouse, he will allowed to be president because oh well people voted for him. Then, if you can get enough half of the House to agree that his behavior can be proven to be treasonous, then he can get impeached, and then if you can get two-thirds of the Senate to agree that he should be booted out and replaced with Pence (!?!?!??!!) then yes, there is a non-zero chance of getting President Pence. Whoo-hoo.
posted by BrunoLatourFanclub at 5:01 PM on December 11, 2016 [2 favorites]

As others have said I think the chances of this happening are basically nil. There's no historical precedent for this sort of thing and it would mean a real governmental crisis. What is slightly more probable is that Trump does something really stupid at some point during his term, like endangering national security, and gets himself impeached.

I'm a white dude and I feel very nervous about the future direction of our nation right now, so I can only imagine what it must feel like to be part of one of the many groups of people Trump verbally maligned during his campaign (basically everyone like you said), my sympathies to you on that.

The unfortunate, distressing, outright bizarre truth is that there is a daunting Trump Sandwich sitting on our plates right now and we are all gonna have to take a bite. Dwelling on the election results is just going to make you feel miserable, believe me I know, the best thing to do is move beyond it.
posted by ajax287 at 7:27 PM on December 11, 2016

Put your hope instead in the American people, who did not actually choose this man, and in yourself to help our country fight for its future:

The "We're His Problem Now" calling sheet
posted by praemunire at 7:33 PM on December 11, 2016 [7 favorites]

There's a balance to be struck though - if we're going to be committed to defeating Trumpism that's probably going to involve grasping at a lot of straws, and we need to keep grasping, daily.

One of the least helpful attitudes – which I'm seeing all over the place in journalism at the moment (and maybe small hints of in this thread) – is the condescending "get real!" stance that serves mainly to burnish the speaker or writer's status as a savvy person who knows their stuff and doesn't fall for nonsense, etc etc.

Sure, you can over-invest emotionally in tremendously unlikely scenarios. But on the other hand, if you want to change how things are, you're going to have to hold open the imaginative possibility that they could be different.
posted by oliverburkeman at 6:27 AM on December 12, 2016 [14 favorites]

I'd just like to clarify that I did not intend my comment to come across as a "get real" condescension. I'm all for creative ideas. I'm just saying, just because an idea is creative and might work doesn't mean it's a good idea. I mean, if you re-enacted the plot of "Designated Survivor", it would prevent Trump from becoming president. But at what cost? At this point, most of the ideas being floated will be bad for the country as a whole, and many (e.g. faithless electors) will only inflame the pro-Trump crazies even more.

I'll also add that one thing you can tangibly do is, in addition to supporting Democrats in the 2018 midterm elections, it would probably be good to support moderate #nevertrump Republicans in primary elections. The GOP will have a majority in the Senate at least until then, and they'll probably have a majority in the House well beyond 2018, but mere numbers might not tell the whole story. Rand Paul has already said he'll vote against some Trump nominees. Rand Paul has his problems, but the more Republicans who are willing to stand up to the White House, the less likely it is that Trump will be able to do long-lasting damage (by, e.g., nominating someone awful to the Supreme Court). If you live in a state that's represented by a Republican senator, let them know that you'll support a primary challenger if they rubber-stamp everything Trump does.
posted by kevinbelt at 9:41 AM on December 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

A late extra thought: once Trump takes office in January, even if he doesn't complete his term (for instance, if there's an impeachment or he is medically incapacitated from something like a heart attack), we'd still be left with Pence, and he's no better: impeaching the president or medical incapacitation/death means the v.p. steps up automatically. (And if both the president and vice president are removed, say if both were impeached which ain't gonna happen, the Speaker of the House becomes president.)

Sorry to be such a downer.
posted by easily confused at 5:19 AM on December 14, 2016

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