Common Sense: Team of rivals

The appointment of Governor Nikki Haley as U.N. Ambassador by President-elect Trump is much more than simply the selection of a conservative, strong and articulate individual to represent our nation in a body that has historically treated the U.S. poorly. The appointment in the best sense mimics Abraham Lincoln’s selection of his cabinet as described in Doris Goodwin’s Team of Rivals.

As of this writing, a selection for Secretary of State has not been announced.  If it should be Mitt Romney, then it would be safe to say that the president-elect has indicated that old animosities within the GOP will be put aside for the betterment of the nation. This certainly would be a welcome development.

Donald Trump’s first moves as president are paying a dividend in that his popularity has turned the corner and he is regarded favorably by the highest margin since he announced well over a year ago.

Of course, there is nothing more fleeting in politics and government then your favorable rating. Fortunately, it became quite evident that this president-elect, as amply shown during the campaign, does not concern himself with such stuff. But, nevertheless, it is nice to know that more and more Americans appreciate his leadership.


I am an un-elected Donald Trump elector as I was one of New York State’s 29 electors for Mr. Trump and he did not carry the state. Not surprisingly, I have an opinion on the Electoral College.

The historical reference is clear. The nation was founded as a republic not a democracy in the true sense. And the nature of the republic, although tweaked many times over the past two and half centuries, has not fundamentally changed.

We indirectly elect our presidents. And it should not shock anyone that in close elections, the losing side always complains about the Electoral College.  In fact, the complaints are bipartisan. The losing side, be it Democratic or Republican, always complains.

The Electoral College — like the U.S. Senate which has two members from each state regardless of size — is designed to protect the role of states in the election of the president, and in doing so, it protects the sovereign powers of each state.

There is a proposal called the National Popular Vote which continues the Electoral College and protects the states. I have not calculated how it would have affected this election, but I believe it would have still resulted in the election of Donald Trump.

It works like this: Every congressional district would have one elector just like it does now.  The winner of that congressional district wins that elector and the majority winner in the state gets the other two electors. The end result would be in New York State, Hillary would have received something like 15 electoral votes and Trump 14. Personally, I am happy with the current system. But then again, we won, so why should I not be.


Next week marks this column’s 28th anniversary.  I am proud once again to say that I have not missed a single week of publication in all these years. That is 1,456 columns in total.

I wish to thank my readers and editors and of course the publisher for sticking with me.  I sense that 2017 will be a great year for politically-oriented writing.

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