Op-Ed by Brett Redmayne-Titley
These are desperate times for the American voter. Voters must, now, exercise creative thinking regarding this National election cycle.
As Americans prepare themselves to vote for one of the remaining presidential candidates, they do so this election with a sigh of defeated resignation while considering a choice of the “lesser of [three] evils.” However, in making their single reluctant choice these voters fail to realize that they have still chosen evil. Is it not time that America said, “NOPE” to this failed facade of an election process?
Consider: what if you, the voter, actually had the power to negate the final result of this mandated Hobson’s choice, after election day? What if voters could effectively renew their political opposition to the president-elect before the inauguration? And…what if every American man and woman, of every race, color, and creed, religion, ethnicity and sexuality over the age of eighteen finally figured out how to use the complete election cycle, beyond election day, to alter this and all future US presidential elections forevermore?
From deep under the rubble of what’s left of an ever eviscerated US Constitution, the long-range wisdom and thinking of its authors must now be fully considered. Amazingly, a spineless Executive Branch, unanimously corrupt Legislature and Judicial majority of bought-and-paid for Supreme Court justices are not the only Constitutional checks and balances provided, by law, to stop political tyranny. There is, when considered creatively, another option. You, the registered voter, the angry voter, the apathetic voter — the long-abused American citizen — actually have much more power to rectify this faux-election than your one mere vote and whimper at the ballot box on Nov 8.
It is time.
Reasons For NOPE.
The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter. – Winston Churchill
Indeed. Everyone with a mind that still has the function of critical thinking knows that this election’s presidential choices are beyond dismal. Sadly, America’s mental decline is all too evident as seen in the rabid support for each of the three candidates, a support that strangely ascribes to willful ignorance rather than a rational need for self-preservation. Something must be done. Desperate times call for desperate measures and bold thinking. An increase in gun sales is not the only remaining choice in opposition tactics. Should you, the disaffected voter, rise from the fog of apathy and vote correctly and with deliberate plan in mind, you and millions of voters can legally, without the need for violence, rock this American broken system of government to the core!
First, the reasons for the need to circumvent this year’s presidential election. In this vein, let’s start with a synopsis, if you please, of the only three “choices” for leader of the largest Imperial military threat in world history.
Currently, voters have their pick of:
An avowed socialist promising a world of populist benefits without any US fiscal ability to pay for any of them, while reiterating what voters already know is wrong with their government and promising the same, “Change” that fooled everyone back in 2008. Lest we forget: the reality of the senator from Vermont’s conviction for said socialist changes was truly revealed early in 2009. Obama, after already punting a veto-proof, sixty-vote Senate majority, wanted to pass ObamaCare no matter what. The last two Senate votes needed were up to our current socialist offering and counterpart Sen. Dennis Kucinich, who both grandstanded in front of cameras for almost two weeks assuring Americans that they were going to bat for the one issue that was anathema to the Heath Care Industry’s huge profits; the “public option.” But in the end after huffing and puffing, as now he does daily in this election, US Senator Bernie Sanders showed the real strength of his political socialist backbone, the same one he is selling to voters now, and caved in while whimpering something about the “greater good.” So, no public option. Hence, an informed voter might inquire; how are those increased health care insurance payments helping you, America?
Next up, we have a life-long corporatist who sold her soul for power and money long before teaming up with her scullduggerous husband and who now masquerades before voters in socialist clothing in order to blend in with all the sheep who are currently drifting towards the aforementioned socialist offering. After promising to clean up American Banks, Investment Houses and all manner of corporate crime, this candidate fails to tell voters that she is in reality corporate crime personified. After soliciting millions in different types of donations and “speaking fees” from these same villainous corporations, she nervously laughs off, without comment, factual documentation of her crimes. Strangely, her supporters seem to wallow in her indiscretions, ignoring the former first lady’s prostitution of her character in having no problems with her husband’s use of his female aid as the first-ever walking presidential humidor nor his subsequent impeachment for same. Only time and multiple upcoming Dept. of Justice indictments will reveal how much voter “lack of trust” it will take to send Hillary Rodham Clinton back to her normal duties; shoveling money for the Clinton Foundation.
And last, but in this election never least, we may be forced to choose a failed-but-never-apologetic corporatist who is probably not a “rich billionaire,” who revels in bombastic statements similar to passages from Mein Kampf and offers absolutely no details of any plan of action on any issue of importance to Americans, but does guarantee to “Make America Great Again.” This candidate has no plan, no specifics, no political experience, only promises of his ongoing greatness somehow subsequently smearing vicariously onto each one of his rabid minions. Yet, this candidate bristles with unbridled, hyperbolic vitriol whenever challenged. Thus, for the majority of sane American voters, it is actually he, Donald J. Trump, they would not mind seeing shot “on 5th Avenue.” Still, voters nationwide scream, yell and salute their new hero like a legion of Hitler Youth. Somehow, despite Trump’s ever-reddening, pinkish facial hue, these voters fail to notice the ever-enveloping odor of sulfur and the subtle, yet increasing protrusion of horns and tail.
Pundits recently have been making up for being completely wrong about the current travails of all these candidates by now trying to outdo each other in correctly condemning them. Long-time political veteran, Kevin Madden, told The Washington Post he could never vote for Trump nor Clinton. “I’m prepared to write somebody in so that I have a clear conscience,” he said. Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse declared that if Trump is nominated, he will “look for some 3rd candidate.” Hillary was not without notable attack as short-lived democratic candidate, Jim Webb, confirmed he would not vote for Clinton either, suggesting a Trump vote might be regrettably preferable.
If these three shards of democracy are not reason enough for concern, consider that this election is already substantially rigged in favor of Hillary Clinton slithering to the nomination due to the use of 717 “Super-Delegates” whose purpose, this time, is to hand her the nomination. Yet, despite every reason for demonstrative National political opposition to the entire election itself, voters seem resolved to go off to slaughter once more. William L. Shirer, author of The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich would seem prophetic here in commenting decades ago, “Perhaps America will one day go fascist democratically, by popular vote.”
So, rather than wait four more years to start this impotent election saga once again in vain, would it not be better for voters to now effect a bold, new plan that finally says…NOPE. That’s…NO to this… Presidential Election. NOPE. (which of course is a nice play on the now useless political brand name: HOPE).
If ever there was a time for the American voter to say NOPE it is now. This is more than a theory with a great acronym. Theory can become practicality very soon if the voter is aware of the tools available.
The Power of NOPE.
All we have to do is get out and vote, while it’s still legal, and we will wash those crooked warmongers out of the White House. – Hunter S. Thompson.
First, the NOPE vote. It already exists if one thinks this through. Everyone must register and be prepared to hit the polls on Nov. 8 and exercise your right to say, NOPE. Forget all the blase arguments about not voting at all, your measly one vote is finally about to matter.
When you vote, as you must, in local elections or for state initiatives you are thereby recorded as having voted. You will not, however, vote for any presidential candidate, thus effectively voting NOPE. Sadly, because of the advent of easily rigged Diebold voting machines a voter can no longer further express one’s anger by scrawling NOPE across the ballot. Here, though, we first see the power of NOPE since the Presidential election results cannot be tampered with…because, NOPE, you didn’t vote. But your vote has been counted. You voted NOPE.
First, a couple of fun facts. In the presidential election of 2008, 212 million Americans were of age and eligible while 169 million (79.7%) did register to vote. This statistic shows that 21.9 percent of potential voters chose apathy instead of voting. Of these only 132 million actually made it to the polls on Election Day. That’s only 62.4% of all eligible voters, which equals, if one follow so far, over 80 million potential voters who have already implicitly said NOPE. Using the 2008 presidential model, these potential NOPE voters could have, if registered, been immediately a voting block of over one-third (37%) of the all registered voters. No third party in American history has achieved close to this percentage. These NOPE votes alone would be a formidable starting point for any opposition candidate.
Now, considering the aforementioned lack of choice in candidates, it is safe to argue that many republican, democratic, and independent voters would also prefer to vote NOPE. For all who are not looking forward to holding their noses as they draw the voting booth curtains, the air might smell a bit more promising with the option of voting NOPE. Added to the other two sets of aforementioned disaffected voters and it can be objectively argued that this would bring the total to over 50%, meaning a majority of voter could indeed still vote NOPE.
Subject to these election night tabulations it can then be argued that the new president-elect is objectively, and quantifiably, not legitimate. With this logic the agenda and administration of president-elect and everything it may spawn is also illegitimate in the eyes of the majority that voted NOPE. This one result by itself can cause dramatic change, as evidenced in the United Kingdom since last year’s national election.
After the most divisive British parliamentary election in decades, the Conservative Party, despite receiving a mere 24% of the popular vote, somehow remained in power with a majority of seats in the House of Commons despite several terms of very unpopular austerity measures that they had placed on everyone but themselves. Strangely, fledgling upstart opposition party UKIP with 4 million votes and a surprising 18%, took only one seat. Months prior, in the Scotland independence referendum, the English establishment pulled out all the stops, and every dirty election trick, to defeat it. This defeat was very short lived, however, since the predictable voter backlash hit-back hard in the national with SNP taking a historic 50 of 59 seats in the Scottish parliament. Hmmm.
Since the end of the British national election people speak regularly and passionately about the Tories not being a legitimate government. Scottish independence is back on the table with support still rising. This has been especially true since the Cons. have accelerated their thefts by using privatization of national public-owned assets. As a result political upheaval is growing exponentially as is the rise in popularity of socialist Jeremy Corbin. Opposition is on the lips of British voters daily and the anti-establishment protests grow larger weekly. In failing to read the tea leaves correctly, Prime Minister David Cameron, who will be forever hung in effigy at the EU parliament in Brussels, has allowed for a binding national referendum that asks UK voters if they want to leave the European Union. Not surprising to anyone, except Mr. Cameron, anti-establishment anger will very likely vote to see the end of EC central planning, the Tories in power and the continued benefits of brutal imposed austerity.
Across the pond, Americans have their own election problems. Like their one-time overlords in Britain, it would seem that once the election is over the voters influence is over for the term. Would it not be beneficial if voters could still stop the electoral madness in the post-election, pre-inauguration period.
Voting NOPE in this American election is just the first available political tool in this desperate call to political action since the NOPE vote will be used as a national means of tabulation. Tabulation of voter disgust, not apathy, as would be the case with not voting at all. Voters have been lead to believe that once the election day’s results are tabulated the matter is settled for the next four years regardless of poorly qualified, criminal or demonic presidential choices. In desperation, the angry or disaffected voter must look at the fine-print carefully, for the Achilles’ heel of this presidential election may be tucked away, quietly, all-too-long in an all-too-obvious place: the Constitution of the United States of America. Here awaits the wild card that can trump fraudulent candidates, trump super-delegates, trump political dirty tricks, trump Diebold voting machines, and if necessary trump a Trump. For your consideration; long forgotten, dusted-off in desperation and now back by popular command: Electoral College.
Warning: Use it wisely!
NOPE – The other one!
Those who vote decide nothing. Those who count the vote decide everything. – Joseph Stalin
The Electoral College is not an institution but the process of certifying the results of the presidential election after election day, but before the inauguration. The Electoral College consists of 538 electors. Both the Republican and Democratic Party have a potential group of electors available to their party’s nominee equal to that state’s members in the US House and Senate. A majority of 270 electoral votes is required to elect the President. Voting for president in the general election in each state procedurally amounts to voting for the set of the candidate’s electors from that state on their promise that they in-turn will vote for the candidate the voter chose.
After the presidential election, the governor of each state prepares a “Certificate of Ascertainment” listing all of the candidates who ran for President there, along with the names of each of the respective electors of the prevailing president-elect. After this is sent to the National Archives, a “Certificate of Vote,” is prepared for the upcoming meeting of electors.
The meeting of the electors takes place on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December after the presidential election, which will be December 19, 2016.The electors meet in their respective states, where they cast their promised votes for President and Vice President on separate ballots. Each state’s electors’ votes are recorded on the “Certificate of Vote,” which is finalized at the meeting by the electors. Each state’s Certificates of Vote is sent to the Congress and the National Archives as part of the official records of the presidential election.
Next, in preparation to certify the president-elect, each state’s electoral votes are reported and counted in a joint session of Congress on the 6th of January in the year following the meeting of the electors. Members of the House of Representatives meet in the House chamber to conduct the official tally of electoral votes. The US Vice President, as President of the Electoral College, presides over the count and announces the results of the vote. The President of the Electoral College then declares which persons, if any, have been elected President and Vice President of the United States.
Deliberately, the authors of the Constitution crafted this fourth protection, the Electoral College. According to the web-site of the Congressional Archives,
The founding fathers established the Electoral College in the Constitution as a compromise between election of the President by a vote in Congress and election of the President by a popular vote of qualified citizens. However, the term “electoral college” does not appear in the Constitution. Article II of the Constitution and the 24th amendment refer to “electors,” but not to the “electoral college.”
The 2016 US presidential election is a working example for the reason that this governmental body was included by the founding fathers. Correctly critiqued as intended purely as means to protect the aristocracy from the idiot-masses, who occasionally have a complete lapse of clear mental cognizance in expressing their will to elect a president who is not in their best interest, this may now be used as the a formidable tool against certain tyranny by the future president-elect, be they a political fool, a corporate criminal and/or the anti-Christ.
This process of the Electoral College is independent and comes after the national election. It does not have to necessarily provide the same result as the national vote. The reason is that members of the Electoral College, the electors, who are each tasked with casting the separate, final and required votes that certify the choice of president, are NOT legally required to vote in the same way as the popular vote. So says the US Supreme Court. Really!
Consequences of NOPE.
Giving every man a vote has no more made men wise and free than Christianity has made them good. – H. L. Mencken
Unfortunately, it is a foregone conclusion that, barring an act of God (and boy, do we need him now) one of the three contestants will be elected. But as the one finalist sleeps in the rapture of election night’s successful coercion, it will be time for the fight for sanity to begin.
If intelligent voters, now empowered with the confidence to vote NOPE, do so en masse, common sense and respect for mortality dictates that a majority will have collectively said NOPE without saying a word. Hence, as shown by the polling statistics that must be certified by the Registrar of Voters in each state, the presidential election may therefore be quantifiably, factually and undoubtedly illegitimate.
Each state has a number of independent “electors” equal to the sum of the state’s members in the House and Senate. Previously, these electors are selected during each state’s party convention, Republican or Democrat. Usually these are just party affiliates being rewarded for their patronage with the privilege of one additional meaningless vote. However, the electors names, addresses and affiliations are required public information. Being independent, in about half of the states there is no legal requirement for an elector to follow the party line when voting for president. Of the states that do prescribe party loyalty, few have any legal punishment for abandoning the mother ship. Regardless, in most states the electors when meeting to certify the election must do so in an open public session.
So, at this point these new legal tools available for stopping this madness are now; a certifiably illegitimate president-elect, a state-by-state political voting block of independent state-citizen electors — the exact-same size as the US Congress — not legally bound to vote for the president-elect; an after-election-day public meeting after of the electors to possibly certify the president-elect, and millions of exasperated Americans who as a majority did, or possibly did not, vote NOPE.
Upon the tabulation of the election results, and before Dec 19, all the electors of each state might be personally contacted and informed by an outraged public of the results that show that each state effectively voted NOPE. Each elector might also be reminded of two important facts: that the president-elect is in fact illegitimate and that the upcoming public meeting will be attended by those who voted NOPE. The implicit message to each of the 538 electors: at each state’s public Electors meeting, you the elector must do as the law of the majority, the Constitution and your conscience require. Vote NOPE.
At this point, thanks to this long-forgotten and misused fourth estoppel within the Constitution you, the American voter, have now created a quantified and legal political confrontation between the proven majority of voters — a majority that has had absolutely enough of this sad, terminal facade of democracy — and the tabulated junk food addled minority of fools seeking to allow ever-increasing authoritarian rule and corporate plunder for another four years. The electors, who are now facing the facts, their consciences and the rising rattle of millions of pitchforks from dispossessed citizens who voted NOPE, have a problem. And so does the president-elect.
However, the sound of pitchforks is an interesting sound since it tends to carry on the winds, likely to Washington DC on Jan 9, as the first state’s Electoral vote is read in a public session of Congress. That sound will again be in the gallery that surrounds the House floor, just feet away. But what if, in using the procedures of the Electoral College, Alabama, going in alphabetical order, steps up first to the plate of history and instead of voting decides to … object? Yes, the states may also state their opposition to the president-elect on constitutional grounds, which must then result in a joint session of congress debating the merits of any states objection. Is there not a better rationale for this collegial objection than an indictment of presidential invalidity?
Well, this unique but plausible parable of desperation-inspired electoral resistance, although conceptually legal and procedurally valid, will admittedly seem far-fetched when first considered and will not likely go as suggested here. However, as based in the facts as shown, it is offered here as something extra. Is this not, now, some food for thought? Something must be done beyond endemic apathy and fatalism. At this most-important juncture in American history, and America’s future, what say you, Americans? This is a presidential election drawn together from a collection of the very worst of all-declining American values encapsulated in three divisive options. Something must be done. It is time.
This original proposition, regardless of its success in producing the advent of a formal movement to vote NOPE, might still hold promise with creative and desperate minds for this election. After re-considering the role of the Electoral College in this modern context, there may be realistic gains to be made now.
Certainly millions more can still register and then get off the couch and vote. But if it is accepted that one of the three contestants will be at least elected, what if focus was right now put on the post-election process, the electors, in preparation for the upcoming meetings at the state capitols and in Washington, DC. Can enough electors be pressured to abandon party politics in favor of effectively voting NOPE and refusing to certify the president-elect with a elector’s optional vote? Mathematics applied to the gravity of this election suggest it would be worth a try.
It takes 270 Electoral votes for a president-elect to be confirmed. In the 2012 general, the total was Obama: 332; Romney: 206. This means, using this example, that if 63 Electors were convinced to change their vote away from Obama he would not have been immediately confirmed by the Electoral College. This is not as far-fetched as it might seem. The Congressional Archive reports that the Electoral College has not in the past unanimously followed party-line or the popular vote. Electors were responsible for the controversial result in the 1876 Hayes v. Tilden election and the Harrison/Cleveland election of 1888, and of course in the infamous Bush v Gore 2000 overthrow of which the electors failed to follow the popular vote. Only about half of the states have laws mandating party loyalty from Electors and, of those that do, no Elector has ever in US history been punished for jumping ship. Further, Supreme Court precedent indicates that the court would likely side with any non-compliant elector under the protection of the First Amendment, since the Constitution itself does not, for obvious reasons currently shown, mandate party loyalty from appointed electors.
At that point the President would have to be decided in the House of Representatives which has never happened. But desperate times indeed call for desperate measures. Rather than voting from the flames of an empire gone mad, would not a minute-by-minute ongoing national TV spectacle of a democracy run amuck in the besieged Houses of a bewildered Congress offer the desperate voter at least the possibility of a better outcome? This spectacle, although a cacophony of democratic foibles, would amount to a new Constitutional convention which might be the only mechanism left to save the Empire from itself.
In conclusion, within this Hypothesis is an example that could easily come true. What if…
Trump is elected. Washington, DC, whose voters have quantifiably have voted NOPE to The Donald, are as fearful as the majority of Americans. Suddenly, at the Jan 9 Electoral count, Washington DC and its five electors, or any group of state electors after careful self-examination and two months of a national protest on their door-steps, decide there is now left only one desperate option…..
And, so… the congressional “Teller,” upon opening the sealed envelope so as to read the Certificate of Vote and its results, on Jan 9, 2017, to the packed over-head gallery in the nation’s capitol, suddenly pauses. Considering carefully the paper at hand before him, he looks about the hallowed halls of democracy and after calling for quiet from the deafening sound of pitchforks above, he clears his throat. “Mr. President of the Electoral College…” says the Teller with a conspicuously shaky voice, “Um..the Electors of the great district of Washington DC vote…well, they refuse to vote! All it says here, Mr. President…” and here the Teller waves the seemingly blank Certificate of Vote to the bewildered throngs of congresspersons and voters, ” …all it says is…NOPE?”
Careful examination of the dire straits in this country and the likely consequences to be wrought on it by any of the three presidential candidates, provides a need for some action by the voter beyond a wasted vote. Might the potential solutions presented here to you, the voter, be food for thought?
It is time.
About The Author:
Due to a growing obligation to help create positive change, Brett Redmayne-Titley began reporting on-scene in an effort to provide better quality reporting from current events of geo-political, environmental and moral importance. A life-long activist, political commentator and world citizen, he has published over one hundred in-depth articles, many of which have been re-published and translated internationally. He can be reached at: live-on-scene [at] gmx.com