Elections & Aftermath

By Jim Ellis

Dec. 1, 2016 — Yesterday, House Democrats caucused and chose their leadership team for the 115th Congress. The major contested battle featured a race for Minority Leader, the first time that Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA-12) had been seriously challenged since she won the Democrats’ top intra-party position in the post-2002 election period.

Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH-13) had been running hard for the internal post, but appeared to be making little headway. Of the 92 Democratic members who had announced their support for a Minority Leader candidate, only 12 had voiced support for Ryan. The other 80 were for incumbent Pelosi, meaning she would need only 20 more to secure the victory…assuming all of the announced hold true to their public position in a secret ballot contest.

With 63 women in the Democratic Conference, counting the Delegates from America’s territories who can vote in such elections, Pelosi has a strong base from which she began to develop her 100-vote support group. Of her 80 announced supporters, 25 are female.

She is also strong with the Congressional Black Caucus, though reports surfaced over the past few days about a break in ranks among some of the members. Reps. Alcee Hastings (D-FL-20) and Marcia Fudge (D-OH-11) were the only announced Tim Ryan supporters, however. Among the women, just two, Fudge and Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-NY-4) had pledged public support for the challenger.

The 37-member California Democratic delegation was another key source of strength for the incumbent. Twenty-seven of Pelosi’s home state party colleagues were announced Pelosi supporters. None were pledged to Ryan.

While it looked unlikely that Pelosi would receive the two-thirds support number that she claimed to have going into yesterday’s election, there was little doubt that she would win re-election as Minority Leader. The final vote was 134 to 63 for Pelosi, which meant she actually was able to retain support of about two-thirds of House Democrats. But it also meant that close to one-third voted for a change in leadership after getting beat again on Election Day.

The post-election activities are a bit curious. The left wing of the Democratic donor class is spending big to attempt to disrupt the Trump election, but it appears the $6 million they have raised for the Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania re-count efforts will be dollars poorly spent.

First, the margins in every state, as even admitted by those requesting the re-counts, are too large for a simple re-count to change. Statewide re-counts can typically find hundreds of votes, but never thousands, and certainly not the tens of thousands needed to change any of the three critical Great Lakes states.

Second, the very people charged with the responsibility of conducting fair elections are the individuals handling the re-counts. Therefore, the re-count proponents’ hope of finding evidence of computer hacking or tampering would force these officials to blame themselves for such an occurrence. With no evidence of any electronic tampering present, there is virtually no chance that such a conclusion is derived.

Third, the re-count ploy will work only if all three states are overturned. Again, the chances of this happening were nil.

Now, a group of Democratic electors have formed a new 527 organization called the Hamilton Electors for purposes of raising money in order to convince enough of their Republican colleagues to eschew President-Elect Trump in the Dec. 19 vote. The organizers are from Colorado and Washington, two states Hillary Clinton carried, meaning she will win all of those votes.

Though they report not yet raising any money, it is hard to see why they will. Is it a “sellable” argument to suggest that a small group of Democratic electors can convince an inside group of Republican electors in other states to disregard their own voters and individual party position to vote for someone other than Trump?

It’s pretty clear that the money raised to fund these projects is several million dollars wasted.

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