It’s Been 220 Years Since This Happened

Sure, go ahead and make the obvious joke. I walked right into that.

But after you get your mind out of the gutter, what I meant was that Monday’s Electoral College rollercoaster ride saw the greatest number of people show up in the results since the 1796 contest for president.

Under the system in place in 1796, electors cast votes for two persons. Both votes were for president; the runner-up in the presidential race was elected vice-president (this was cleaned up by the Twelfth Amendment, which, in giving us the “running mate”, required that electors vote separately for president and vice president).

The 2016 totals: 304 for President-elect Trump, 227 for Secretary Clinton, three for Gen. Colin Powell, one for former Cong. Ron Paul, one for Sen. Bernie Sanders, one for Gov. John Kasich and one for anti-Dakota Pipeline activist Faith Spotted Eagle.

The 1796 roster includes heavy hitters like John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Aaron Burr, Thomas Pinckney, Samuel Adams, Oliver Ellsworth, John Jay and George Clinton. Not the guy from Funkadelic.

Irony: there were more faithless electors for Hillary Clinton than for Trump. It’s Not. Her. Year.

Irony #2: Ron Paul, who didn’t run this year, beat his son Rand, who did. Awkward.

From Reason.com:

“Clinton would have had an even lower total if three states hadn’t reeled in their rebels. A Democratic elector in Maine initially voted for Sanders, but his ballot was ruled improper so he changed his choice. An elector in Minnesota tried to back Sanders too, but the authorities replaced him with a pro-Clinton alternate. And a Colorado elector tried to vote for Kasich, but he was bumped by an alternate as well. In Texas, meanwhile, one elector resigned rather than vote for Trump. There too, a substitute was found.

“A seven-vote switch might seem anticlimactic after all the hype around the “Hamilton electors,” a group with big plans to organize a mass insurgency, throw the election into the House, and deny Donald Trump the presidency. But that scenario was always extremely unlikely, and you shouldn’t let it distract you from how unusual these results are. While it’s not exactly uncommon to see an elector vote for someone other than the presidential candidate to whom he is pledged, this is the first time since the 19th century that more than one elector has done that in the same election. And the first time since the 18th century that this many people got electoral votes.”

In so many ways, this election year is ending the only way it could: defying convention.

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