Patterico's Pontifications


A Potential Gamechanger for Trump

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:52 am

So Big Media has you convinced that Trump’s bid for re-election is a fool’s errand, huh? Not so fast! I have a curve ball for Trump to throw at Sleepy Joe. And the thing of it is, it was right there in the Constitution the entire time.

Let’s start by examining the provisions of the Twelfth Amendment relating to the election of the President:

The Electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and all persons voted for as Vice-President and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate;

The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted;

The person having the greatest number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice.

Most people stop reading there. Not your humble blogger! I kept reading, and reading — all the way to Article XII. (The so-called journalists all told me they stopped at Article VII, which is probably why you’re not hearing about this anywhere else.) Anyway, right there in Article XII I found some very important language which might be a gamechanger:

Notwithstanding the above, if such person as receives the second greatest number of votes for President says the election is rigged, and continues to maintain that the election is rigged, and repeats that claim a sufficient number of times on social media, that person shall be the President. The sufficiency of the repetition shall be determined by a randomized selection of his supporters, who shall give greater weight to the repeated statements if they are typed in all capital letters and followed by a number of exclamation points.

In the copy I reviewed, this passage was written in very large letters in a Sharpie, but as the recent stories out of Arizona prove, a Sharpie is as valid as any other instrument for reducing intention to the written page.

What you may not realize is that the only reason you even have Article XII is because Trump promised to defend it. Here’s a story about it from 2016, related by Mark Sanford, who apparently didn’t even realize the importance of what he was hearing:

Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) left the meeting worried about Trump’s grasp on the basics of the Constitution. At a lunch with reporters afterward, he recalled that the candidate did not seem to know what he was promising to defend.

“I wasn’t particularly impressed,” Sanford said. “It was the normal stream of consciousness that’s long on hyperbole and short on facts. At one point, somebody asked about Article I powers: What will you do to protect them? I think his response was, ‘I want to protect Article I, Article II, Article XII,’ going down the list. There is no Article XII.”

That’s what you think, Mark Sanford! This staggering ignorance is not limited to politicians, either. Even law professors, who ought to know better, criticized Trump over this. Savor the irony as you read over this passage from Professor Orin Kerr after Trump indicated his intention to defend Article XII:

Donald Trump doesn’t know what is in the Constitution, and he doesn’t care that he doesn’t know. Article I, Article II, Article XII, Article L. Whatevs. Trump is just bluffing his way through this, hoping that enough people don’t notice or care. Because if he can get himself elected, he can exercise all the damn Article XII powers he wants.

[Homer Simpson voice]

He sure can, Prof. Kerr. He sure can.

Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 12:01 am

[guest post by Dana]

Here are a few news items to chew over. Feel free to share any items that you think might interest readers. Please include links.

First news item

Current status of the Republican Party:


Second news item

Trump claimed this:

PA says no way:

Pennsylvania’s Secretary of State said Friday that she would decline to recount or re-canvass votes cast in the presidential election last week. Kathy Boockvar wrote in a statement that “no statewide candidate was defeated by one-half of one percent or less of the votes cast.”

Thirds news item

Gov. Newsom: Do as I say, not as I do. And whatever you do, ignore that CA is the second state to report 1 million cases of COVID-19:

California Gov. Gavin Newsom and his wife attended a dinner party with a dozen attendees from several different households—despite his own administration recommending that people refrain from such gatherings during the coronavirus pandemic. The Nov. 6 dinner for one of his political advisers was held outdoors at Napa Valley’s swanky French Laundry restaurant, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Communications director Nathan Click said that the party “followed public health guidelines and the restaurant’s health protocols—all in line with the state’s rules for restaurant operation.” But, after the Chronicle published its story, Newsom said he shouldn’t have gone. “I should have modeled better behavior and not joined the dinner,” he said.

Third news item

More do as I say, not as I do:

After getting hammered with criticism, the plans were modified:

Fourth news item

Obama followed W’s lead:

“Whether it was because of the respect for the institution, because of lessons learned from his father, bad memories of his own transition or just basic decency, President Bush would end up doing all he could to make the 11 weeks between my election and his departure go smoothly. I promised myself that when the time came I would treat my successor the same way.”

Ensuring a smooth transition was a family affair:


Fifth news item

Pressing on in spite of Trump’s resistance:

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden will be briefed by national security experts next week, Biden transition official Jen Psaki said on Friday, amid concerns that being out of the loop due to delays to the transition could be a national security risk.

A handful of Republican senators have urged the Trump administration to allow Biden to receive presidential daily intelligence briefings, which the president-elect traditionally receives before taking office.

Related: Former Chief of Staff to President Trump, John Kelly, weighs in:

“You lose a lot if the transition is delayed because the new people are not allowed to get their head in the game,” Kelly said Friday. “The president, with all due respect, does not have to concede. But it’s about the nation. It hurts our national security because the people who should be getting [up to speed], it’s not a process where you go from zero to 1,000 miles per hour.”

“Mr. Trump doesn’t have to concede if he doesn’t want to, I guess, until the full election process is complete. But there’s nothing wrong with starting the transition, starting to get people like the national security people, obviously the president and the vice president-elect, if they are in fact elected, to start getting them [up to speed] on the intelligence,” he said.

Sixth news item

Contrary to Trump’s dire warnings:

President-elect Joe Biden’s top coronavirus adviser said on Friday there were no plans for a wholesale nationwide lockdown to curb the surging coronavirus as three U.S. West Coast states jointly called for a halt in non-essential travel.

Seventh news item

Trump dreaming out loud:

“We’re going to win Wisconsin,” he began. “Arizona — it’ll be down to 8,000 votes, and if we can do an audit of the millions of votes, we’ll find 8,000 votes easy. If we can do an audit, we’ll be in good shape there.”

“Georgia, we’re going to win,” he continued, “because now, we’re down to about 10,000, 11,000 votes, and we have hand-counting” — a reference to the coming recount. “Hand-counting is the best. To do a spin of the machine doesn’t mean anything. You pick up 10 votes. But when you hand-count — I think we’re going to win Georgia.” He’ll also win North Carolina, Trump joked, “unless they happen to find a lot of votes. I said, ‘When are they going to put in the new votes in North Carolina? When are they going to find a batch from Charlotte?'”

Then there are two more — Michigan and Pennsylvania. “The two big states,” Trump said, before allowing, “They’re all sort of big.” In those two, Trump is pinning his strategy on protesting the exclusion of his campaign’s observers during critical periods of vote-counting. “They wouldn’t let our poll watchers and observers watch or observe,” Trump said. “That’s a big thing. They should throw those votes out that went through during those periods of time when [Trump observers] weren’t there. We went to court, and the judge ordered [the observers] back, but that was after two days, and millions of votes could have gone through. Millions. And we’re down 50,000.”

Eighth news item

In the right place at the right time:

When a bystander collapsed at the Veterans Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery Wednesday, a nurse was nearby and rushed to his aid. She happened to be the wife of the nation’s top military officer, Gen. Mark Milley…

“I just saw legs laying there,” said Milley, a practicing nurse.

Milley ran to see if she could help and found the man unresponsive.

“When I first got there, he was breathing in a very erratic way that he wasn’t really taking air into his lungs as he should have been,” she said. “And then he stopped breathing.”

The man had no pulse. Milley said she directed someone to call 911 and started chest compressions. “I did about two cycles of CPR, and then he just took a big, deep breath and kind of groaned a little bit and then started moving around.”

Milley detected his pulse and within a few minutes he began to respond to her questions.

“I put him in a side recovery position and just talked to him and told him what was going on and encouraged him to take deep breaths,” she said.

Ninth news item

LAPD gives LAPD a brusing:

Nearly 9 out of 10 Los Angeles Police Department officers did not feel supported by Chief Michel Moore and did not believe he or other commanders provided strong leadership during recent protests and unrest, according to a summer survey conducted by the officers’ union.

Many officers said Moore should resign, accusing him in comments they submitted with the survey of “cowering” to Black Lives Matter protesters, “pandering” to city politicians and “not having an organized plan” during the unrest, the union said.

Nearly 70% of respondents said the department was unprepared for the protests, which followed the May police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, and close to 40% said they were thinking of leaving the force.

However, officers panned the chief for kneeling with protesters — a sign, to them, that he was capitulating to a violent crowd. Many questioned why he did not highlight more of the positives about officers as protests spawned more and more questions about LAPD behavior, the union said.


“After all, what can a first impression tell us about someone we’ve just met for a minute in the lobby of a hotel? For that matter, what can a first impression tell us about anyone? Why, no more than a chord can tell us about Beethoven, or a brushstroke about Botticelli. By their very nature, human beings are so capricious, so complex, so delightfully contradictory, that they deserve not only our consideration, but our reconsideration—and our unwavering determination to withhold our opinion until we have engaged with them in every possible setting at every possible hour.”

Amor Towles, A Gentleman in Moscow

Have a good weekend.


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