Political Chaos Everywhere — America, Canada, and the U.K.
Author: Greg Valliere
March 19, 2019
ABOLISH THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE? Progressives, still furious over Donald Trump’s tainted 2016 victory, have a new cause celebre: abolish the Electoral College — and with little fanfare the movement is getting closer to its goal. The amendment just passed in Colorado, and now there are 181 electoral votes in favor of direct elections, with five more states about to consider the measure.
IF PROPONENTS GET TO 270 VOTES, this theoretically could become law, although legal challenges are certain. Proponents, mostly on the left, claim that a direct popular vote would eliminate elections in which the losing candidate won more votes (they cite Al Gore’s narrow margin in 2000 and Hillary Clinton’s clear popular vote victory in 2016). And they point out that candidates only visit a handful of competitive states during campaigns; why spend time in California?
WITH ABOUT 200 VOTES SUDDENLY WITHIN REACH, Republicans are beginning to mobilize against the plan; they argue that the Founding Fathers deliberately created a system to empower rural regions and smaller states, and many analysts — including us — think the movement could stall out at about 200 electoral votes. In any event, it’s highly unlikely that proponents could get the required 270 votes before the 2020 election.
NEVERTHELESS, SEVERAL JURISDICTIONS have signed on: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and the District of Columbia. Debate will now heat up in New Mexico, Delaware, Oregon, Maine and Nevada, and several liberals running for the Democrats’ 2020 nomination will strongly advocate the idea.
YOU CAN’T MAKE THIS UP: The husband of key White House adviser Kellyanne Conway dramatically increased his criticism of President Trump yesterday, alleging that Trump suffers from worsening mental illness that must be addressed “now.” George Conway, a highly regarded conservative attorney, has long argued that Trump’s actions violate the Constitution, but this new barrage puts his wife in an extremely awkward position, to say the least.
WE’D AGREE THAT TRUMP has been furious lately, blasting out tweet after tweet against his enemies, perhaps a sign that release of the Mueller report is just days away. But George Conway isn’t a psychiatrist; he hasn’t spent any real time with Trump — how can he make a serious medical evaluation? His accusations have caused quite a stir in Washington and among Trump’s legions of opponents, but this will simply solidify support for Trump in his adoring base; 89% of Republicans back him in a new poll.
POLITICAL DYSFUNCTION EVERYWHERE: Finally this morning, it’s worth noting that the U.S. is hardly alone when it comes to political dysfunction. A key adviser to Justin Trudeau resigned yesterday, reinforcing our view that the scandal-plagued Prime Minister is now the underdog in the fall elections.
AND THE CHAOS persists in London; we think a Brexit delay is the most likely outcome on March 29, but that’s not a sure bet — the U.K. is in uncharted waters, with an exceedingly messy exit still possible. Is there any wonder why fixed income still looks attractive?
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