But still, given the off-the-wall craziness we've seen transpire in the 2016 (s)election race so far, can anyone really rule out such an unprecedented turn of events?
"Now this is not the end," goes the famous quote from false flag conspirator and Rothschild family friend Winston Churchill. "It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."
Churchill's quotation, of course, comes from a speech entitled "The Bright Gleam of Victory" and signaled the note of optimism the British were feeling as the tide of the Second World War began to turn in their favor. Fast forward 74 years and it's hard not to think that it is an apt description of the situation we find ourselves in today in our own struggle for liberty. However it would be hard to utter those words in a spirit of optimism today.
As readers of this column might remember I began this year on a rather sober note. In an editorial entitled "2016: Community or Civil War," I predicted that this year we would see significant progress on one of two fronts: Either 2016 would be the year of community building and problem solving, or it would be the year of the descent into Civil War 2.0. Well, I have some bad news for you; it certainly didn't turn out to be the former.
"But civil war?" I hear an optimistic voice of dissent exclaim. "Surely not. Don't be so melodramatic, James."
Well, we're not talking muskets and cavalry here, and this may be only the end of the beginning, but it's hard to say we're on a trajectory of bridge building or community cooperation at the moment. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the increasing rancor we're seeing between competing sides in the Great Populist Uprising of 2016. Britain began Brexit. The Philippines (s)elected Dirty Harry. Italy purged Renzi. And the US? "Descent into chaos" seems like an apt description.
The latest harbinger of utter bedlam has arrived in the form of a new organization put together by Lawrence Lessig. He's the Harvard professor / failed 2016 Democratic presidential contender who revealed in 2008 that there is an "i-Patriot Act" sitting on the shelf waiting for a cyber 9/11 to justify its passage through congress. This time around Larry is leading an anti-Trump group called "Electors Trust" that has been offering free legal counsel to Republican presidential electors in the electoral college who are thinking about casting their votes for Hillary instead.
That's right, folks. The (s)election isn't done yet.
Apparently, in order to flip the election they're going to need 37 Republican electors to change their votes when the electoral college formally casts their ballots on Monday. Lessig claims to have 20 such electors thinking of overturning Trump and installing Hillary. This seems like a suspiciously even number, however, and it's hard to believe that this is anything but a last-ditch publicity stunt to try to sway some of the electors' minds. As Politico notes with a bit of a cold water shower at the end of their article on the spectacle:
"The most electors to ever reject a presidential nominee occurred in 1808, when six Democratic-Republican electors rejected James Madison. There hasn’t been more than one so-called “faithless” elector in a single Electoral College vote for president since 1832, when two Maryland electors abstained."
But still, given the off-the-wall craziness we've seen transpire in the 2016 (s)election race so far, can anyone really rule out such an unprecedented turn of events? And what do you think would be the result if the vote really was flipped by the electoral college? Sunshine, reconciliation, rainbows and high fives all around? A rousing rendition of kumbaya as Republicans and Democrats form a human chain, holding hands clear across the continent, perhaps? For just a hint of what may be in store, we can turn to Chris Suprun and Michael Banerian.
Chris Suprun is the only Republican presidential elector who has so far publicly vowed to flip his vote for Clinton. The result? Death threats.
Michael Banerian, meanwhile, is the youth vice-chairman of the Michigan Republican Party and a Republican elector who is planning on casting his vote for Trump as expected. The result? Death threats.
As I say, barring some truly history-making and completely unprecedented event, Team Hillary will not reach the requisite 37 vote flips and Donald Trump will be formally elected as the next president on Monday.
But does anyone think that this will all go away on December 20th? That all of this craziness about Russian propaganda and fake news will just stop? That the repeated references to a potential Trump assassination (with no less a personage than Bill Gates joining in on the fun this week) will just fizzle out? That Hillary will go gently into that good night and lead a quiet retired life helping out at the local homeless shelter? Not a chance.
The end of the beginning indeed.
And yet, I still think it's up to each one of us which type of world we want to live in. I still believe in the power of individuals to change the world around them. I still think that the little acts of kindness and cooperation that can and do happen at the community level are more important in the long run than the evil machinations of the powers-that-shouldn't-be. And I still believe that the free and dynamic human spirit will never be extinguished as long as there is one Winston Smith out there to keep the flame alive. Just call me a hopeless optimist.
Merry Christmas, everyone, and let's all commit to make next year the best we possibly can.