Are We Headed Toward a Constitutional Crisis?

What, exactly, constitutes a “constitutional crisis”? It is a term we are hearing more frequently, and over at Vox, they made a pretty good stab at defining it.

Dylan Matthews writes that he

decided to ask eight leading experts — six constitutional law professors and two political scientists — for their thoughts. They were unanimous that the situation as it exists now doesn’t count as a constitutional “crisis”; some cast doubt on whether that term, which has no firm definition, is even useful.

As one of the experts noted, the fact that something tends to undermine respect for constitutional institutions–like calling a judge a “so-called” judge, or showing lack of respect for the courts–can be a bad idea, yet not amount to a constitutional crisis. (As I tell my students, the fact that a policy is stupid or even dangerous doesn’t automatically make it unconstitutional.)

Matthews quotes constitutional scholar Keith Whittington for the definition of a genuine crisis.

“Constitutional crises arise out of the failure, or strong risk of failure, of a constitution to perform its central functions,” he wrote. That didn’t happen in the impeachment (which unfolded according to the procedures laid out in Articles 1 and 2) or in the 2000 election (in which decisions of executive branch officials in Florida were challenged through normal legal channels and all actors respected the ultimate decision of the US Supreme Court, whether or not they thought it was rightly decided).

So what would qualify? Whittington divided constitutional crises into two categories. Operational crises occur “when important political disputes cannot be resolved within the existing constitutional framework.” That is, the Constitution itself is failing, and is allowing people engaged in a political conflict to each behave in ways that together can result in calamity. A “crisis of constitutional fidelity,” by contrast, occurs when, “important political actors threaten to become no longer willing to abide by existing constitutional arrangements or systematically contradict constitutional proscriptions.” That’s when what the Constitution prescribes is clear, but one or more politician or branch of government willfully defies it.

The article is interesting, and (given the chaos that is today’s White House) worth reading, but it didn’t directly address a question that I’ve begun mulling, given the “drip, drip, drip” of new revelations (most recently, the scandal surrounding Sessions): What if it turned out that Russia really did “elect” Trump? In other words, what if investigations turned up evidence that Russia’s tampering really did “rig” the election?

The Constitution has no remedy for an illegitimate election, at least not that I am aware of. Trump’s electoral college victory rested on fewer than 80,000 votes spread among three states, giving him paper-thin margins in those states–and the win. If those votes were suborned or improperly counted, then neither he nor Pence would really have been elected.

What then? Would we follow the constitutional line of succession, and install Ryan–giving the Republicans a “win” they didn’t win?

Let me emphasize that I have absolutely no evidence that this actually happened; my guess is that the Russian efforts to influence the election were just that–efforts at influencing public opinion, rather than actually falsifying results. I raise the question because it is becoming clear that there are aspects of our current political life that neither our national charter nor our governing institutions anticipate or address. I doubt the Founders could have foreseen the nature of today’s democratic distortions caused by the Electoral College, or the way in which gerrymandering has deprived millions of Americans of meaningful votes, or the current iteration of the filibuster that requires Senate super-majorities in order to pass even routine legislation.

If a central function of a Constitution is to prescribe fair and transparent processes by which citizens govern themselves, we may need to do some repair work on ours.

 

44 thoughts on “Are We Headed Toward a Constitutional Crisis?

  1. As a hypothetical question, yours is worth considering. But only to the extent that it is hypothetical. To rig the election, Russia would have had to tamper with election machines in key states, and would have had to be successful in key precincts in three of them. And do it in a way that the local people did not discover. That seems unlikely. It would have been much easier for Diebold to have tampered with the software in its machines to accomplish that.

  2. The most troublesome of the “constitutional crisis” speak is that Trump could be removed from office, whether by process or his own resignation. I think there is a strong possibility that he could be gone before his 4 is up. So that would leave us with Pence, who is in my opinion far worse than Trump because he is accepted as the more “normal” Republican.

  3. Teresa,

    You’re absolutely right. Every day that goes by, Mike Pence looks better. That’s why effective action can’t be put off. Trump has to be the target, NOW. Attempts to remove him would be foolish at best.

  4. Will the Constitution of the United States of America be challenged? You bet it will. Trump and Company have already shown that they do not understand the Constitution nor accept the limitations of the office of President. Yet, efforts to impose their goals on the country have already been met with resistance from the people and the courts. Meanwhile, the free press is hard at work doing what it is suppose to do… playing watch dog.

    IMO the real and ongoing challenge to our country is not constitutional, but rather moral. On that front we are failing miserably. What is the use of a well functioning constitutional government if the people live in a pig sty of affluence crying “More, more more! I got mine too bad about you”?

  5. Marv, I agree that Pence is far worse and it is only because he is next to Trump that he looks better. Therefore, I’m not sure your conclusion to target Trump fits the rest of your thought. If Trump is the ‘target’ for what, impeachment? Then that gives us Pence. Not sure what you are trying to say. I actually think Bannon is the biggest enemy of the State. Trump is inept. Bannon has the ideas and the total lack of scruples needed to advise Trump. But even if Bannon was out of the WH, he would only be a phone call away. He is the snake.

  6. Seems like quite a dilemma. We have a president that is incompetent that we want to keep in power to keep out a supposedly competent politician and at the same time keeping keeping the supposedly competent politician unelectable in four years.

  7. Jerry,

    “Seems like a dilemma.”

    It only seems that way if you believe we still have an EFFECTIVE functioning democracy like Theresa does.

    di-lem-ma (di lem’e) n.[<LGr di-, two + lemma, proposition] 1. any situation requiring a choice between unpleasant alternatives. 2. any serious problem

    Focusing an attack on Donald Trump from my perspective is not an unpleasant alternative. It's more like we've been presented with a gift from God.

  8. Terry,

    If 45 gets booted, Pence does go. He goes directly to the White House. I would also caution you to never say “never.” That’s what they said about 45.

  9. Pence was not chosen by his party; he was picked by Trump in order to shore up evangelical support among those who held their noses and voted for the ticket because the candidates had an R by their names and Pence goes to church. If Trump goes, Pence, a man not chosen by the people or even by his own party, becomes president, a rather strange twist of events and a theoretical affront to the one of the central tenets of democracy – that the governed choose their governors. I agree with Marv; that whatever the outcome in terms of successors to the throne, our task is to remove Trump from office along with his fascist advisers and moneychangers and, if Pence is tainted in the process, remove him as well so that President Ryan can appoint a vice president and we can repeat the process and/or make a major correction in the next election from such date(s).

  10. Per Keith Whittington:
    “Constitutional crises arise out of the failure, or strong risk of failure, of a constitution to perform its central functions,” he wrote.”

    Theresa’s comments point out the blatant fact that it is the performance of the people, their knowledge and understanding or lack thereof, which causes crises regarding the Constitution. A written document cannot perform functions; it provides guidelines, laws, rules, regulations and ordinances to be performed by our elected officials and by the residents throughout this country. The Constitution is not failing the American people at this time; it is being deliberately ignored and little by little treasonous actions are piling up by the current administration. The Democratic party is supplying weak resistance to these actions due to mounting fears of the white nationalist organization of Republicans who follow their mentally incompetent leadership by agreeing to and/or covering up illegal alliances with our sworn enemy, Russia.

    This morning Trump has Tweeted accusations that President Obama “wire tapped” Trump Tower; Trump’s White House correspondent (Kelly) stated there is no confirmation of these accusations available. Yet Trump persists in his accusations…from his White House # Three location in Florida. Perhaps Mr. Whittington was correct to a small degree regarding the failure of the Constitution “to perform its central functions” by not providing an Amendment requiring the president, et al, speak the truth and there being no Amendment limiting the number of White Houses our tax dollars must support.

    Per Sheila:
    “If a central function of a Constitution is to prescribe fair and transparent processes by which citizens govern themselves, we may need to do some repair work on ours.”

    I agree with the statement but believe the timing (not Sheila’s) is a little late; at this time we would have to depend on the Republican Legislative and Executive divisions to provide Amendments to control their own rampant, chaotic actions and to provide honest investigations of themselves and the actions of the president and his supporting cast of characters. They appear to have a vast lack of knowledge of the Constitution or are simply abusing their powers with no viable opposition. The 1st Amendment (Freedom of religion, speech, and the press; rights of assembly and petition) are slowly eroding and being sullied by Trump & Co., thanks to the Electoral College whose outdated, questionable benefits have twice appointed dangerous Republicans to the most powerful position in the world today. Perhaps that should be our starting point?

  11. So stepping out of the present timeframe, can someone provide a definitive to this question. What precipitated and resulted in the Civil War of 1861? Was it an operational crises “when important political disputes cannot be resolved within the existing constitutional framework.” Or was it a Constitutional Crisis?

  12. IMO the current situation is not a crises in terms of sudden threatening change but the inexorable pressure of forces not addressed by the Constitution, namely fake news.

    Bannon/Trump/Pence/Ryan/McConnell are products of fake news that began decades ago by operatives both in and out of the GOP. Lee Atwater, Karl Rove, Grover Norquist, Rush Limbaugh, Rupert Murdoch, Roger Aisles, the Koch Bros, Sheldon Adelson and many more created a pseudo journalism industry designed to sell incompetent ideas as supported by the Constitution and as threats to freedom.

    Democracy is based on decisions of an informed electorate just as free enterprise is based according to Adam Smith on actions between informed buyers and sellers. What if everyone is misinformed by subverted covert big media advertising? What does the Constitution say about that?

  13. It seems to me that the issue is not whether the Russians influenced the election. We know they did. The issue is whether or not Trump committed treason. It seems unlikely that Pence was a part of these shenanigans. He wasn’t that close to the inner circle. Much as I think the only fair thing is a ‘do-over’ election, that won’t happen. I would rather have Pence than Ryan who is far smarter and more likely to win another term. We, here in Indiana, know how little appeal Pence has outside of his right-wing Christian base. I would just hope that when Pence is President (I know, it’s hard to say those words) the Republicans are so tarnished they are stopped from the most draconian measures.

  14. Steve Bannon is a propaganda and psychological warfare “whizkid.” He doesn’t give a damn about the Constitution. The Constitution also doesn’t cover what is in “the minds of men” in the year 2017.

    Joseph Goebbels and Leni Riefenstahl are is a twentieth-century phenomenon not an eighteenth.

  15. It’s impossible to believe that anybody believes the Constitution will eventually run the Fake President Donald Trump out of office. There’s no evidence that Trump knows what’s in the Constitution … or even cares. If it doesn’t favor Trump, it must be illegal. The possibility that Paul Ryan might possibly become President is a horrifying thought.

  16. Drumpf tweeted this morning that he KNOWS Obama bugged Drumpf Tower in October and then proceeded to rant about how sacred the election process is (except when Russians hack it in Drumpf’s favor). This guy is seriously unhinged and should be institutionalized immediately. There’s yer constitutional crisis.

  17. Mike,

    “This guy is seriously unhinged……”

    Now we’re getting somewhere. If you think Trump is nutty, you should have seen the likes of those who put this Neo-Nazi Movement together back in Dallas during the early 70’s. Trump is a perfect fit. Bannon made a wise choice.

  18. Dr. Kennedy, I must disagree with what Dylan Matthews said about the 2000 election. It did NOT follow constitutional protocol. That saw the third branch of the government be involved in the legal action of the second branch, and as far as I’ve ever read, that was unprecedented. If the Florida controversy could not have ever been solved (which I doubt if it could have been) the election should have gone to the House, where each state, no matter its number of representatives, would have had one vote.
    Bush would still have won, but it would have been legal and followed the Constitution. A terrible precedent was set and the President was ‘selected’ — not elected. I hope we never face that kind of mess again :: but to be honest, I imagine we will because, you know, those “empty states” and their unequal power to control things.

  19. What is Fascism?

    “The moment has come to give fascism a usable short handle, even though we know that it encompasses its subject no better than a snapshot encompasses a person.”

    “Fascism may be defined as a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victim-hood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandon democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.”

    “The Anatomy of Fascism” by Robert O. Paxton (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004)p. 218

    It takes awhile to completely replace a DEMOCRATIC anatomy within the “body politic” with a FASCIST one. So it took them over forty-five years. Give em credit, they’ve done one helluva job.

  20. Hitler and the Nazi Party of the elite oligarchy led to the eventual erosion of German morality…..
    Trump/Pence and the Republican Party led to……
    Patriots: keep up the gadfly pressure. They are teetering on the cliff of self-destruction; help them over the edge.

  21. What is truly unconstitutional is the fact that we have forgotten about states rights. The federal government through the executive branch is a problem. It is happening more and more and there are riders on both sides that disagreed with the bureaucracy of the federal government through the executive branch. Whether it is trump that you have a problem with or Obama who has had several executive orders that were unconstitutional we need to keep the executive branch and check. What I see with the liberal media is the fact that there are so many false or fake news articles being circulated to attack this administration it is ridiculous to think that we should even be talking about a constitutional crisis. The constitutional crisis happened with the Ninth Circuit overstepping its bounds and going against legal precedent which states that any problem with immigration directly is held to the executive brands which was determined by a supreme court justice years ago. The real problem is that there are difficulties between this man President Trump and his ability to be a polished politician right from the start. But obviously there is no respect because he is not polished to the likes of some and produces himself in the light that we need. Repeal the 17th amendment where senators come from states representing state concerns, set term limits for Congress and reduce the terms of the overpoliticized Supreme Court that apparently both sides will agree over steps it’s legal obligations in writing law instead of sending defunct legislation back to those who wrote. Therefore allowing their opinions to over rule the democracy.

  22. OMG,

    “Patriots:keep up the gadfly pressure. They are teetering on the cliff of self-destruction; help them over the edge.”

    It has to be every day with no let-up and it has to be INDEPENDENT (a third force) or it will lose its credibility.

    From: DailyKos.com
    Thursday, January 15, 2015 [over two years ago]

    Is It Time For Radio Free America?

    “It is time for Radio Free America. There needs to be an aggressive media campaign to bring the narrative back from the brink. We have allowed the right-wing to control it long enough. The Democrats need to meet falsehood with indisputable fact not just at campaign time, but all of the time. Waiting for the campaign is too late. We have an incredibly ill-informed and apathetic electorate. The Democrats must begin to energize and inform the electorate today. They most stop playing it safe and begin to challenge those who are doing our nation a terrible disservice and making a mockery out of our democracy. The challenge at hand is to develop the program, structures and methods to penetrate the wall of misinformation.”

    The Democratic Party developed no program. They were not the vehicle to do so. When will we finally realize that fact? Or is it already too late?

  23. Of course Trump knows that Trump Tower was bugged. He was briefed by the intelligence community, and after the election they would have had to have told him. It probably was not specific, but more along the lines of letting the rascal know that they tapped all telecommunications the Russian ambassador made. It probably took Donald a day and a half for that to sink in and realize that his deals with Russia were known. Why did he attack and attack the intelligence community? He finally figured out that they knew that he knew that they knew. What a temper tantrum he must have thrown then. All of the Kelly Anns and Sean Spicers in the world couldn’t make that disappear.

    And folk, it is probably not just the US intelligence community that was listening in. There are transcripts of those calls and meetings all over the place just waiting for the right format to be presented to the public.

  24. Theresa:
    I think you hit the nail on the head.

    It makes perfect sense that it wasn’t “Trump Tower” or Trump himself that was being specifically targeted by our intelligence agencies (for one thing that would be against the law — i.e., domestic spying). It was undoubtedly the Russians who were being targeted and bugged, and Trump, and likely his sons and son-in-law too, probably got swept up when either they called the Russians or the Russians called them.

  25. Theresa,

    “There are transcripts of those calls and meetings all over the place just waiting for the right format to be presented to the public.”

    Why hasn’t it happened? There has to be a vehicle to deliver the format. It will never happen out of the U.S. For example, Radio Free Europe is sponsored by the U.S.

    That’s the best example. A communication platform like Radio Free America must be broadcast outside the U.S. preferably from a source in Europe. “Deep truths” about the machinations of the “Power Elite” and it’s effect on our government are not protected in the confines of the U.S. from serious retaliation.

  26. Assuming that Pence goes when trump goes, is wishful thinking. Ford followed Nixon. Vice Presidents move into that space, unless they themselves, have been impeached or convicted. I don’t think a trump impeachment will happen. I think trump will be removed on grounds of incompetence when his behavior becomes so erratic that even the GOP leadership is frightened. Just as someone would if they had been incapacitated by an accident, and could not function. He is bulding a case for that as we watch, with crazy tweets at 3 and 4 AM, perhaps when his meds levels are low, and his handlers are not around. I think he is privately terrified of the office responsibilities, and more frightened now because of what he thinks the FBI knows. The stress makes him more erratic, and less in touch with reality, and he flounders about with wild accusations because he thinks maybe that will deflect investigations. It is not in his character to go down without a fight, and he is unable to control himself enough to stop adding fuel to the fire with his irrational behavior. Pence is grim, but he is not mentally incompetent. No good choices here, but I can’t believe that an erratic, aggressive, mentally ill president could be considered safer for the country and for global security, than a religious bigot who at least has some self control. I wouldn’t have said that a few weeks ago, but trump’s brain is dissolving before our eyes.

  27. John.

    Tell us about all these “fake news stories” being circulated by the liberal press?

    By “liberal,” I’m guessing you’re referring to media such as The Washington Post, The New York Times, Routers, AP, NBC, CBS, ABC, anyone but Fox News or Rush Limbaugh?

    What you call “liberal,” I call “mainstream” media. Why? Because the mainstream media, especially the print media, do have actual reporters, who adhere to established journalism ethics and standards and who go out and find multiple reliable sources to verify their stories before they publish them or put them on the air. No, “I heard somewhere that … ” or “someone told me that… .”

    Does mainstream media make mistakes and get things wrong at times? Yes, of course. They are human beings engaged in a very competitive enterprise. Are they biased? Again, they are human beings, and I’ve never met a human being who didn’t have biases. Bias likely does comprise a large part of what stories or news that any media outlet chooses to publish or report, but bias, pro- liberal or pro-Tea Party, can’t change an actual, verified fact.

    And here’s the thing John. With so many true, actual, and verified by multiple reliable sources stories emanating from the “swamp” that constitutes the Trump [p]residency, it’s hard to imagine the mainstream media would have much need, let alone the time, to make up fake stories too.

    So tell us about all the “fake news” stories you believe the mainstream media are circulating against Trump/Bannon? And tell us what is fake about them? And how you know they are fake?

  28. John; Trump is unaware of the contents of the Constitution, its Amendments and the Declaration of Independence so he says whatever comes out of his baser instincts and need to inflate his pitiful ego. Many of the states, like Trump, have forgotten that the Executive branch as well as states rights are governed by the Constitution and the Amendments. Many states, those who voted for Trump and Pence, are trying to reinstate Sovereignty Commissions in the form of states rights based on race and religion – THEIR religion. Bannon will do his best to aid them; Betsy DeVos has publicly upheld segregation and Jim Crow laws. No need to remind you of Jeff Sessions’ KKK, White Supremacist background and his current White Nationalist connections. We appear to be dealing with a 21st Century Civil War, trying to maintain the Union and Reconstruction simultaneously. It can come to no good end for any of us!

    Regarding Theresa’s comments; “There are transcripts of those calls and meetings all over the place just waiting for the right format to be presented to the public.” These are the “leaks” of “fake news” that have Trump making wild accusations to distract attention from his own deviousness and keeping him up nights Tweeting. They are coming out slowly but surely because there is no one in government to be trusted to deal legally with the issues at hand. Those whose possible treasonous/criminal/libelous acts to be investigated will be the investigators of their own actions. Having been in the position of a number of employees within the Trump administration and those who moved on when President Obama did; it is a frightening situation to be in and to take action because knowing who to trust is highly questionable. I went through that in the Goldsmith administration when he was Mayor of Indianapolis; I learned the depth of that fear in high places, people with the power to come forward but refused to save their own butts and those positions of power. You have no guarantee of protection. Plus; there are so very many issues that need to be made public it is difficult to know what will be most beneficial to the public – IF you can find anyone to take action.

    The connections to Putin and Russia run deep and and in many directions; many are also of long standing and extremely lucrative to those involved. Lucrative in amounts beyond imagination and enough to boggle the minds of many of our 1%. Never lose sight of the fact that Putin is the wealthiest man on earth; he did not attain that level by attending to the rights of his countrymen…or our’s. The situation today is more than ever before in our history – FOLLOW THE MONEY!

  29. One of the points that occurs to me for the DNC to consider is the need to change anything may be quite small. Millennials are on board. They are growing. Neoliberals who fell for the fake news over the last 3 or 4 decades are dying. Conversions occur every day as more and more people get exposed to Trumpism. The next two election cycles, ’18 and ’20 are the opportunities. If the voting patterns just hold steady we will win. If there are things that disrupt the fake news cycle we should be doing them. Otherwise steady as she hours.

  30. First and foremost, Republicans, who are in control will do EVERYTHING POSSIBLE to suppress any legitimate investigation into the role Russia played in the most recent election. Requiring Dumpster to release his tax returns would be a great starting point, but they’ve already shut down that avenue. I’m wondering to myself whether some leakers at the IRS might not have already put out information or documents showing that Dumpster either owes money to Russian banks, or is otherwise beholden to some Russian oligarchs. Did you see Rachel Maddow’s show last night? She had proof that the Russian multi billionaire “fertilizer king’s” private jet was documented to be at multiple airports at the same time as Dumpster’s private jet. This same man paid Dumpster $100 million for a house in Florida, which was 2 1/2 times what Dumpster paid for the property 2 years earlier–a $40 million profit. Does Dumpster owe him money? What projects does the Dumpster family have or hope to have in Russia? Are the “fertilizer king” and Dumpster partners in business ventures? Are Dumpster and Putin partners in business ventures? Our only hope is that enough Republicans grow a patriot gene somehow and stand up to the rest of the Republicans for the common good and allow a true investigation.

    Don’t look for Comey to do his job, either. I’m convinced he’s either a crook, or they’ve got something on him. The strategically-timed letter about reopening the email scandal, rescinded after the damage was done, tells me this. Don’t look for him, if he has the chance, to do anything other than impede the truth.

    Second, the leakers are the true patriots. If not for them, we’d never have gotten the goods on Flynn. What else is out there? I’m personally convinced that the Russians stole the election, and that Trump’s campaign and surrogates were directly involved. If the stonewalling continues, if the stupid “executive orders” attempting to undermine everything that Obama administration did continue, and if, as is being reported, the Republican replacement for the ACA is as bad as some have said it is, then I’d be concerned about all-out anarchy. As it is, Republicans, even in the deep South, are getting yelled at and booed. Take away people’s health care and replace it with “access to” insurance that no one can afford, and you’re going to see riots. Once people have tasted the relief of suffering and fear by being able to get health care, they’re not going back.

  31. A more likely crisis in this administration is some form of disregard for a court decision. If a court were to decide that the executive branch wasn’t doing something is was supposed to do by law, it could order compliance or some sort of consent decree. Trump could simply ignore the order, and if the court found some administration functionary in contempt, the executive could just refuse to act on the warrant.

    I’m thinking there’s a very high probability of something like this happening.

  32. Natacha; I have been following the Trump/fertilizer king story, among other connections to Putin and Russia, by Rachel Maddow. I am deeply concerned for her physical safety; she is also reporting about murders and poisonings connected to Putin and Russia. I hope she learns more about Trump’s hazardous waste filled vacant business in South Carolina and who will pay the cleanup bill. Or will anyone clean it up; it has been about four years already since Trump lied to state officials that he knew nothing about the hazardous waste and had no connection to the original owner when he bought the place…from Donald Trump, Jr.

  33. JoAnn: you are correct, and I hadn’t thought of that before. I hope MSNBC is providing Rachel with security around the clock, before “someone” claps a hand containing Ricin over her mouth, like they did to that Korean politician. Of course, her staff has documents and information, so they wouldn’t completely get away with it. I hope they’re also protecting her wife, Susan.

    I think Dumpster’s little kingdom of cards is starting to tumble–one card at a time. Conway has effectively self-destructed her credibility to the point that no news organization, other than Breitbart or Fox, takes her seriously [truth be told, I doubt they take her seriously either]. Flynn was forced to resign. Now, Sessions is on the hot seat, and every day there are new revelations about his surrogates meeting with the Russians during the campaign. I think Dumpster’s little tirade of accusing President Obama of wiretapping him is just a ruse to deflect attention away from the Sessions and Pence scandals. He has no proof. If a court issued the warrant for wiretapping, there would need to be proof of involvement of a foreign government or agent of a foreign government. Even then, what was tapped? His personal telephone, his campaign, or the Russian bank that has offices in Dump Tower? He claims the tap showed “nothing”. Does he have a report? If so, let’s see it. Can he prove it was politically-motivated or orchestrated by President Obama? No, of course not.

    Rachel also had a segment where she played the various tapes of Pence railing against Hillary Clinton about using an unsecured server. What is hilarious about this is that Pence himself was doing the exact same thing when he made these accusations. Can he spell “hypocrite”? No, he insists she had a criminal motive, but he didn’t.

    Is it just me, or does he appear to be attempting to suppress a fart all of the time?

  34. Natacha and all; regarding Pence’s use of AOL on his pc to conduct Indiana State business, I’m sure all of you know that it does not compare to Hillary – and Colin Powell, Condaliza Rice and other government employees with government approval – using single servers to conduct government and personal business. The single servers have a “catch” app which automatically routes government messages to the proper mailbox, the same with personal messages. AOL has SPAM which routes profanity, sexual and other questionable messages to the SPAM file to be accepted or deleted by the AOL customer. My computers have been hacked, causing serious viruses which deleted some files, and phished which sends numerous bogus messages to dozens of addresses not in your address book and those that are listed.

    A few years ago Mayor Hudnut made a speech here in Indy; the article in the Star listed where he worked. I Googled the company and sent Mayor Hudnut a belated thank you for all he had done for the city and vast improvements in city government. I explained where I worked within city government. A glitch – in AOL on my pc, the same service used by Pence – sent me a copy of Mayor Hudnut’s message to former Deputy Mayor John Krauss about my message and Deputy Mayor Krauss’ response. Does this show you how safe our Indiana business was conducted by former Governor, current Vice President Mike Pence?

    A few months later my AOL account was again phished two days in a row; 118 outgoing messages one day, 145 the following day. I received one response from an old friend living in Oklahoma who thanked me for the ad for Viagra on sale but said his health care provided that for him. Going through to delete the hundreds of bogus messages I found that both Mayor Bill Hudnut and Deputy Mayor John Krauss had received a copy of the Viagra ad. You must admit, that is good for a laugh but no way for a governor to conduct state business. Unless Trump has changed his Twitter account; he is still using gmail on his pc.

  35. I received this from the World Economic Forum. The USA is now considered a flawed democracy. It was flawed before the election of DJT.

    In fact, the USA doesn’t even rank in the Top 10 any longer:

    “The EIU’s Democracy Index measures the state of democracy by rating electoral processes and pluralism, the state of civil liberties, the functioning of government, political participation and political culture in more than 160 countries worldwide.”

    https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/02/which-are-the-worlds-strongest-democracies/

  36. JoAnn:
    it is a very common thing for a program to enter your computer,find your list of e-mail contacts, and send ads to them with your name. They then get a minute sum of money (often 1 mill or similar) from the original ad vendor per click. Multiply this by thousands of transmissions, all using your computer and electricity, and realize they are often in India, where a typist may earn much less than a dollar a day. Nothing really nefarious, just poor people trying to make a nickle (literally) inside instead of being out in the broiling sun. It is certainly better than the East European folks stealing credit card and bank info.

  37. Actually the Electoral College was never meant to simply ratify the popular election vote winner, including the popular vote winner within the various states. (In the early days, most states didn’t have a requirement that electors vote according to the popular vote of that particular state.) The Electoral College was intended to be a deliberative body, an institution insulated, if not outright isolated, from popular whims. It was also intended to offer a safeguard against foreign interference with our presidential election.

    Liberals and conservatives both talk about the Electoral College in ways that suggest they simply don’t know the history behind its development.

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