I was going to write a column about the Electoral College, but Bill Nemitz not only beat me to it this past Sunday, but also made me wish I had written what he said.

Hillary Clinton’s winning a plurality of the total vote but losing the election has raised ire among her backers, some of whom want to abolish the Electoral College so the president could be chosen by direct popular vote.

But Nemitz, quoting Colby College government professor Sandy Maisel, pointed out several problems with that, including the fact that eliminating it would require three-fourths of the states to pass a constitutional amendment – which is not likely to happen.

Let me expand a bit on why. In the Electoral College, each state gets votes for president based on its number of senators (two) plus one for each congressional district. Maine has two districts, so we get four electoral votes. California has 53, so it gets 55. But if we chose the president by popular vote, voters in a dozen of the largest states could pick our chief executive every time, while voters in the other three-dozen-plus states would never again feel like they participated in the process.

That’s why the Founders created it: So a successful candidate would have to raise broad support over the entire nation. And that’s what Trump did: A map of the vote by county shows the nation as a sea of red with a few blue islands scattered here and there. (Email me and I’ll send you a copy.)

Disenfranchising most states’ voters in every presidential election would create far more problems than the occasional presidents (five in our history) picked without a majority or plurality behind them.


Thus, most smaller states would never approve an amendment that would void their presidential votes. The Electoral College isn’t going away – nor should it.

n I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Donald Trump is a populist, not a conservative, and while there is some overlap, he will make decisions that will not please those on the right.

For example, his endorsement of a couple of Obamacare’s most popular provisions disappointed some on the right (and cheered some on the left). Both sides misread him, because the provisions are relatively minor features that can be folded into any major reform.

So conservatives should hold their fire. He’s pledged to take on “sanctuary cities,” those refuges for criminal aliens whose attitude toward federal authority is reminiscent of the Confederate States of America. And he promised again this week to appoint Supreme Court judges who take the Constitution, the Second Amendment and the rights of the unborn seriously.

n He also pledged during the campaign to protect traditional Christians and others in exercising their constitutionally guaranteed freedom of religious expression.

That goes a long way to explain why Trump got 81 percent of the white evangelical Christian vote. (He also won the Mormon vote, 61-25.)


And, according to a Nov. 9 report by Cruxnow.com, a Catholic site, “Trump decisively won a majority of those self-identifying as Catholics, by 52 to 45 percent. By contrast, President Barack Obama won Catholics narrowly, by a margin of 50 to 48 percent, in 2012.”

Clinton did win Hispanic Catholics 67-26, but that was an 8-point drop from Obama’s 75-21 margin in 2012.

All that has produced some consternation, with last Saturday’s Religion & Values page carrying a Washington Post story proclaiming a potential “evangelical schism” over support for Trump.

One Anglican laywoman was quoted as saying that evangelicals’ Trump support showed “the underbelly of the toxic relationship that can develop between politics and religion,” and a former staffer for President Obama said, “The people I work with view Trump as a moment for Christians to actually separate themselves from towing (sic) a particular party line.”

But you don’t have to wonder why Trump won majority Protestant and Catholic support. First, his choice of a staunch and vocal evangelical, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, as his running mate was well received by traditionalists.

And as the Crux story says, “Coming on the heels of an administration known for court battles with faith-based businesses, the U.S. bishops and other religious leaders over policies such as the HHS contraception mandate, which includes sterilization procedures and drugs critics regard as abortion-inducing, revelations (from WikiLeaks and other sources) seen as indicative of team Clinton’s hostility to aspects of evangelical Protestantism and the Catholic faith certainly didn’t help.”


Religious voters who backed Trump weren’t electing a church leader. They were supporting a modern Conan the Barbarian who promised to fight for them against the forces of secular progressivism that have targeted traditional Christians for years.

They backed him because he knows how to swing a mean sword when a fire-breathing dragon is eyeing them for dinner.

M.D. Harmon, a retired journalist and military officer, is a freelance writer and speaker. He can be contacted at:


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