As part of the impeachment process, the President of the United States released a six-page letter signed with [the Alabama?] Sharpie. Whether it was a rambling irate tirade or a demolishing of the impeachment effort as a hoax witch hunt is for another blog. The focus here is on how history will view this document. Of course, I cannot know the answer to that but I can note that the document was composed with history in mind.
First, everything signed by the President of the United become part of the historical record.
Second, the document displays a conscious awareness of history….
History will judge you harshly as you proceed with this impeachment.
It is time for you and the highly partisan Democrats in Congress to immediately cease this impeachment fantasy and get back to work for the American people. While I have no expectation that you will do so, I write this letter to you for the purpose of history and to put my thoughts on a permanent and indelible record.
One hundred years from now, when people look back at this affair, I want them to understand it, and learn from it, so that it can never happen to another President again.
This conclusion calls attention to the generally overlooked issue of what changes need to be made by the political parties in choosing a candidate and Congress needs to make in defining the powers of the Presidents and in establishing more effective checks and balances. That, too, is a topic for another blog.
In this blog, I wish to focus on one small item:
Your chosen candidate lost the election in 2016, in an Electoral College landslide (306-227).
What is this statement doing in this impeachment letter? Why add the concluding phrase “in an Electoral College landslide (306-227)”? What is the added value gained by making this assertion?
An historian analyzing this document will determine that this claim originated right after the election in 2016. The winner tweeted the claim on November 27, 2016. It was part of a tweet claiming that he also won the popular vote once all the illegal votes were deducted. The landslide claim was repeated the following day by Kellyanne Conway in a tweet:
3:35 PM – Nov 28, 2016
306. Landslide. Blowout. Historic.
This claim was months before her claim about the inaugural parade size. In these actions, the historian will begin to observe a pattern now characterized as “alternate reality.”
At this point, the historian analyzing just this one statement in the letter already will have multiple avenues of research to pursue:
1. What was the basis for the claim of millions of illegal votes other than wishful thinking? Why did the winning Electoral College candidate need to make this bogus claim?
2. Why did the Electoral College winner need to claim that 306 votes represented a landslide?
3. Why does he continue to do so to this very day?
The historian investigating this one sentence will know the following based on the historical record.
The final vote was 304 votes and not 306. This is a technical point. Based on the election results, the candidate was entitled to 306 Electoral College votes but there were two defectors. That does not invalidate the claim that he won 306 votes on Election Day.
The bigger question involves the non-legal term “landslide.” What constitutes a “landslide”? Is there legitimate reason for wiggle room to allow a candidate to declare 306 Electoral College votes to be a landslide?
As soon as the “landslide” victory was asserted, people checked the historical record. Here is an excerpt from my blog dated January 27, 2017 entitled “2020 Presidential Election: The Battle Is Engaged”
So let’s look at the presidential elections of the last century without compensating for Hawaii and Alaska becoming states.
Republicans with over 400 Electoral Votes
1984 Ronald Reagan 525
1972 Richard Nixon 520
1980 Ronald Reagan 489
1956 Dwight Eisenhower 457
1928 Herbert Hoover 444
1952 Dwight Eisenhower 432
1988 George Bush 426
1920 Warren Harding 404
Democrats with over 400 Electoral Votes
1936 Franklin Roosevelt 523
1964 Lyndon Johnson 486
1932 Franklin Roosevelt 472
1940 Franklin Roosevelt 449
1944 Franklin Roosevelt 432
Under the old math, the above elections were landslide; thanks to alternative math, 304 = 404. Pity the teachers who have students who embrace alternative math. Pity the people who buy products designed by people who embrace alternative math. Pity the passengers on a plane where the pilots embrace alternative math.
But there are other presidents who also won in landslides based on the Trump landslide.
1996 William Clinton 379
1992 William Clinton 370
2008 Barack Obama 365
2012 Barack Obama 332
Who knew that Donald Trump considered these Democrats to be landslide winners as well, even bigger winners than he was?
There are some results more comparable to the Electoral Votes totals for 2016.
1948 Harry Truman 303
1960 John Kennedy 303
1968 Richard Nixon 301
1976 Jimmy Carter 297
2004 George Bush 286
2000 George Bush 271
Some people have created similar lists based on the percentage of Electoral College votes received. Some people have created lists based on the spread between the top two candidates. Some people have created lists beginning with George Washington. No matter how one lists the vote totals, the 2016 election results were not even remotely close to being a landslide.
Historians will note that the 2016 winner was alive as an adult when some candidates won over 500 Electoral College votes.
Historians will note that the 2016 winner was alive as an adult or in college when some candidates won over 400 Electoral College votes.
Historians will note the 2016 winner predecessor whom he denounced often won more Electoral College votes than he did.
Historians will note that the longtime Democrat and Clinton supporter did significantly worse than did Clinton.
Historians will then ask how come the 2016 winner did not know any of this.
Here the historian will have to seek help elsewhere, from other areas of expertise. The historian/biographer will seek to understand whether or not this person is genuinely an ignorant human being and whether or not this person is genuinely capable of learning. The historian will also seek to know how come no one in the White House who worked on this letter suggested that this one phrase be removed…or did some suggest the bogus claim be deleted only to be overruled?
Ultimately, I think the historian/biographer will conclude that the 2016 Electoral College winner is a genuinely ignorant human being incapable of learning new information that undermines or invalidates his own view of himself. The perfect letter itself will provide the historian the proof. It was written for history. It was consciously written to be an historical document. It includes bogus information in a phrase that did not need to be included to deliver the same message. Yet the fact that the 2016 Electoral College winner and his supporters still make this bogus claim over three years later demonstrates the importance of the term “landslide” to them. And once the historian determines from this one phrase that the Electoral College winner is an ignorant person incapable of learning or leaving his alternate reality, all the other assertions made in the letter will be judged through that prism.
You may think I am putting too much emphasis on a single phrase. When I heard the future 2016 Electoral College winner say “Two Corinthians” and not “Second Corinthians,” that was all I needed to know: he was an ignorant con artist who would never man up and did not need to either. The inclusion of the claim that 306 Electoral College votes is a landslide in the impeachment letter for history is a window into the mind of the 2016 Electoral College winner. Looking into that window should frighten anybody who lives in the real world except Putin.
1. Democratic ineptitude – Where are the Democratic ads on Fox asking “Can you count?” with these Electoral College vote totals? Remember, Trumpicans like mainland Chinese get their news from the Government propaganda network.
2. The Dingells – My position is that Little Donee Waney is a seventh-grade smart-aleck dumb-aleck. I have said so many times. When the seventh-grade smart-aleck dumb-aleck wakes up in the morning, he does not know what disruptive and demeaning insulting remark he will make in class that day…but everyone knows that he will make one. Something in class will trigger him and off he will go. As his Press Secretary said:
It was a very, very supportive and wild crowd, and he was just riffing on some of the things that had been happening the past few days.
Exactly. The seventh-grade smart-aleck dumb-aleck goes with the flow and insults accordingly. Every opportunity he has. That’s who he is. That’s who he has been since he was a child. That’s who he will be until he dies. Nothing can change that.
3. Jonathan Turley – When the Republican witness said the House should wait for additional testimony, my immediate reaction was the House should vote for impeachment and delay sending the bill to the Senate until the additional witnesses have testified. Maybe something like that will happen after all.