The glue that binds us is love. Our love of USA is rooted in our democracy, knowing that it is the worst form of government, except there is none better. We must therefore live with all the imperfections of a democracy. The most enlightening statistic in this week’s Presidential election was: Out of 232 million eligible voters (or 77% of total population), Hilary Clinton received 26%, Donald Trump received 26%, and “DID NOT VOTE” accounted for 46% (and third parties for the other 2%). In absolute numbers, Barack Obama received 66 million votes in 2012, compared to 59 million for Hilary. Mitt Romney received 61 million votes in 2012, compared to 59 million for Donald. In other words, 9 million less voters voted in 2016, and Mitt Romney would have beaten Hilary based on the number of votes received. Our challenge is to get the 46% non-voters to vote. Without a Constitutional amendment, we cannot change the electoral college. If it is true that we have one person one vote, Hilary would have won with the popular vote.
Because of the electoral college, the location of the voters also makes a difference. In five states (North Carolina, Florida, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan), the difference was less than 180,000 votes in each state. In fact, if Hilary had received 70,000 votes more in Pennsylvania, 28,000 in Wisconsin, and 12,000 in Michigan, she would have received more than 270 electoral votes and won. The irony is that Hilary actually lost both Michigan and Wisconsin in the Democratic primaries to Bernie Sanders, yet they were not “battleground” states until near the very end of the campaign.
USA is a nation of immigrants. Native Americans arrived over 10,000 years ago, and Caucasians arrived 500 years ago. We gained independence from Britain in the year 1776 (240 years ago), ratified our Constitution in 1788, and George Washington was sworn in as the first President in 1789. Many of our Founding Fathers were slave owners, and about 1% of the total population were eligible to vote under various rules such as land ownership which was removed in 1828, after the Supreme Court used the Discovery Doctrine in 1823 to take away all Native Americans land ownership. Non-Caucasians became eligible voters in 1870, after the Civil War; women were allowed to vote in 1920; and the voting age was reduced to 18 in 1971. In other words, the only ineligible voters are children under 18, resident aliens and other people not officially recognized as US citizens. Today, our Constitution is the longest surviving written charter of government in the world, as amended 27 times (most recently in 1992).
The strength of our nation is in the values that we deliver from our hard work in combination with our diversity. In other words, there is no entitlement to value based on diversity alone. Diversity delivers value only in combination with hard work. Hard work does not always mean physical labor, as Bill Gates developed computer software, and Steve Jobs developed computer hardware. We know that the less educated Caucasians in rural America propelled Donald to victory. We can no longer ignore their issues for future elections. Until we address their issues, we may continue to be surprised in elections. Meanwhile, let’s observe if a very visible trend that affects wealth entitlements (by allowing wealthy families to transfer money from generation to generation) will be further reduced. The maximum estate tax rate was 77% between 1941-1976. Ronald Reagan reduced it to 55%; George W Bush reduced it to 45% and the current rate of 40% was reduced under Barack Obama.