Good Morning. Here’s what you need to know to start the day, along with perspective from both sides for calmer coffee conversations with your family, friends, colleagues, and co-workers. Plus, a bit of interesting news: This ‘travel jumpsuit’ was designed for flying during a pandemic.
📰 TOP STORY
Faithless Electors, What Each Side is Saying: Since the 2016 Presidential Election, the obscure, little known concept of “faithless electors” within the Electoral College has sparked waves of debate. As Study.com outlines, “a faithless elector is an individual in the Electoral College who decides not to vote for their own registered party’s candidate. Faithless electors may act alone, or join with other electors with each committing to casting their votes for a particular candidate outside their party.” According to Fair Vote, “Faithless electors have never changed the outcome of a presidential election. To date, only one elector has cast a vote for the opposite party’s nominee instead of his own in a close contest. In the 1796 election – the very first contested presidential election – Samuel Miles, a Federalist elector from Pennsylvania, voted for Democratic-Republican candidate Thomas Jefferson instead of Federalist candidate John Adams.” If you’re a history nerd like us then maybe that last factoid is interesting. If not, here’s how it connects to modern times. There has been one faithless elector in each of the following elections: 1948, 1956, 1960, 1968, 1972, 1976, and 1988. A blank ballot was cast in 2000. In 2016, seven electors broke with their state on the presidential ballot and six did so on the vice presidential ballot. On Wednesday, the Supreme Court heard two cases relating to state efforts to ensure that electors vote for their pledged candidates. In summary, POLITICO notes that “the justices appear unlikely to grant legal protection to so-called faithless presidential electors, fearing that it could invite chaos in this fall’s presidential contest or future ones by empowering the obscure officials to ignore state-imposed limits on their critical votes.” Here were the arguments from each side:
Those in favor of unbinding electors from their state’s results argue that the Constitution gives them the right to vote as they choose. Michael Baca, Polly Baca, and Robert W. Nemanich were presidential electors in the 2016 election. They did not vote for their pledged candidate (Hillary Clinton), and they are at the center of the recent Supreme Court case. In a Washington Post opinion piece, they write: “We are here to say conclusively: We are not robots. We are human beings. We should be allowed the ‘vote’ the Framers of our Constitution gave us, one based on our honor and discretion.” They are currently challenging their respective states’ punitive actions against them on the basis that the 20th Amendment of the Constitution allows them the discretion to make their own choice. They believe their federal rights, which are guaranteed by the Constitution, are being stifled by the laws of their states, which mandate them to vote for the pledged candidate. By the way, Micheal Baca of Colorado tried to cast his presidential ballot for Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican even though Democrat Hillary Clinton won the state’s popular vote over Donald Trump.
Critics of “faithless electors” believe the Constitution leaves the selection and regulation of electors to the state. Unlike those in favor of electors being allowed to vote freely, opponents do not believe the Constitution inherently provides presidential electors with the ability to choose whomever they please. In their view, it is not unconstitutional for a state to compel an electors’ pledge. “In the absence of a constitutional restriction on states’ authority, federalism ought to carry the day,” The Editorial Board at the Wall Street Journal argues. They continue, “If there had been a consensus around Electoral College independence, it would have been protected in the Constitution.” Critics also emphasize that in their creation of the Electoral College, the framers of the Constitution did not consider political parties as they presently exist. In addition, some detractors express a fear of “rogue electors” attempting to undermine and subvert the results of an election.
Flag This: The very existence of the Electoral College has often been a contentious subject of debate. Proponents justify it as a necessary way to balance the scales in favor of smaller states and voters living outside of large cities. Critics decry the institution as an outdated relic of slavery, which doesn’t proportionately reflect the will of people. In the increasingly unlikely event that the Supreme Court were to unbind electors from having to vote for the candidate they were pledged to, it could create chaos in the presidential electoral process. Specifically, a close election could result in a stalemate, which would force a “Contingent Election.” This rare process has only occurred three times in the nation’s history, and it shifts the power to elect the President into the hands of the House of Representatives, and the Senate would elect the Vice President. For that reason, some have advocated the dissolution of the electoral college, in favor of placing the power to elect the president directly in the hands of the American people. The electoral college debate is for another time, but for now a Supreme Court’s decision on faithless electors is likely to be announced at the end of June.
🦅 US NEWS
What if America Only Listened to Talk Show Hosts?
If you read this newsletter regularly, you know we are big proponents of diversifying your media diet. Just like in real life, if you only ate ice cream, you might not get the summer body you had hoped for. Let’s say you didn’t take that advice, however, and you just loaded up on Häagen–Dazs and Rush Limbaugh. Or Ben & Jerry’s and Howard Stern. What would that be like? Well yesterday we got a glimpse with some choice words from our favorite hosts.
- On the Right: Rush Limbaugh said, “All these blue state governors that want to keep their states locked down, it’s purely political. They shut down and lock down, and they want to remain locked down until July or August or whatever — and nothing’s gonna open and nothing is gonna happen. And they fully expect the red states to sit there and essentially pay for it. Folks, I’m gonna tell you, these next four months are gonna be a veritable war like we have not seen.”
- On the Left: Howard Stern doesn’t seem to share the same sentiment as Rush. On SiriusXM, the 66-year-old shock jock ridiculed Trump fans saying: “The oddity in all of this is the people Trump despises most, love him the most. The people who are voting for Trump for the most part … he wouldn’t even let them in [his] hotels. Stern’s outburst continued: “I don’t hate Donald. I hate you for voting for him, for not having intelligence. I do think it would be extremely patriotic of Donald to say ‘I’m in over my head and I don’t want to be president anymore.'”
- Flag This: Both of these men are REALLY good at their jobs. But don’t let them be REALLY good at getting you upset. Remember, only eating ice cream would probably make you upset as well.
Please Be True: America’s Job Losses Might Be Slowing
Last week the government showed that the country had shed jobs at an astonishing rate: In the span of just one month, more than 20 million people found themselves out of work. But it appears that the pace of job loss is slowing, according to an analysis of daily surveys conducted by Civis Analytics. Women, workers earning more than $100,000 and part-time workers are continuing to experience growing joblessness or no improvement, but the rate of change is relatively brighter for men, full-time employees and people earning less than $50,000. Because these results are cumulative, a slowdown means that fewer people are joining the ranks of the unemployed but also that few of the workers who became unemployed in March and April are returning to work.
- Flag This: Keep an eye on the latest installment of the jobless claims report today. Last week there were roughly 3.2 million claims. The Briefing.com Forecast for today is 2.475 million. Yes, that’s still horrible, but if that’s true, that means the pace is slowing.
🌎 WORLD NEWS
“At no time since Ibn Saud first consolidated his Arabian conquests into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932 has the ruling Saud dynasty faced such an existential threat to its continued rule over the country,” Simon Watkins writes for Oil Price. How come? Saudi Arabia has broken the basic deal (and therefore, trust) established in 1945 between the U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Saudi King at the time, Abdulaziz: The US would guarantee the security of the ruling House of Saud in return for all the oil it needs. The deal has evolved with the growing power of US shale: Although Saudi Arabia will loose out on export opportunities to U.S. firms, that’s the price they will pay for continued protection from the U.S. – politically, economically, and militarily. Fast forward to today: Saudi Arabia sparked an oil price war in March, just as coronavirus wiped out demand. Not only did Saudi Arabia announce a surprise move on Monday to slash oil output (again) to the lowest in 18 years. but it forced President Trump to get involved.
- Flag This: On April, 2, Trump actually told Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman over the telephone that unless OPEC started cutting oil production he would be powerless to stop lawmakers from passing legislation to withdraw U.S. troops from the Kingdom. Not only that, but now it’s a bipartisan issue: In Congress, the “No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act,” or NOPEC, passed the House Judiciary Committee without objection just over a year ago. Not only would it be illegal to artificially cap oil (and gas) production or to set prices, as OPEC, OPEC+, and Saudi Arabia do, but it would also remove the sovereign immunity that presently exists in U.S. courts for OPEC as a group and for each and every one of its individual member states. This would leave Saudi Arabia open to being sued under existing U.S. anti-trust legislation, with its total liability being its estimated $1 trillion of investments in the U.S. alone.
🗞️ BIZ, SPORTS, & TECH
Las Vegas Sands announced that it has ended its pursuit of developing a casino resort in Japan. The Asian country has long been regarded as one of the gambling industry’s largest potential growth markets. It’s also a setback for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s goal to promote tourism.Bettman Still Betting on a Season
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman reportedly said during a virtual town hall Tuesday that shutting down the 2019-20 season and not handing out the Stanley Cup is “not something I’m even contemplating.” Keep reading.
China Stealing Coronavirus Research
China-linked hackers are breaking into American organizations carrying out research into COVID-19, U.S. officials said on Wednesday, warning both scientists and public health officials to be on the lookout for cyber theft. In less serious news, this tool will tell you when a TV series starts to suck.
📢 PRESENTED BY VINCERO
🗳️ FLAG POLLS
Results From Last Week’s Flag Poll
If the federal government created a contact-tracing app to help eliminate the coronavirus and it meant the US could open its economy faster, would you download it? 36% said Yes, 64% said No. Final results and comments.
This Week’s Flag Poll
If there is a “second wave” of coronavirus infections, do you think the United States should implement the same lock down measures? Click here to vote.