On Monday, December 19, electors across America will be called upon to do their solemn duty of casting votes to choose the next President and Vice-President of the United States, gathering in the capitals of all fifty states and in the District of Columbia. Together these electors, 538 in all, constitute the Electoral College, and it is their votes—to be officially tallied by Congress in January—that determine who will be inaugurated to the Presidency and Vice-Presidency on January 20. The electors themselves were chosen by popular election in the states on November 8, running as pledged to vote for one or another slate of candidates. If all the electors vote as pledged, and assuming that recounts do not disturb the current tallies, Mr. Trump and Mr. Pence will defeat Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Kaine by a vote of 306 to 232.
I took a break from blogging a month ago, and the world has changed tremendously. Wow. When I left, nearly everyone thought Hillary Clinton would be the President. The odds were also favorable that there would be a Democratic Senate. Now, of course, Donald Trump will be the President, and the Republicans control not only the House but also the Senate. This is obviously an enormous change. At first, it was really disorienting. And for many opponents of Trump, the effect continues. But there has also been another change. We have started to get more information about Donald Trump and how he is…
General Raúl Castro, in his one-minute announcement on Cuban television disclosing the death of his brother, referred to Fidel Castro as the “Founder of the Cuban Revolution” and ended his brief declaration with the standard exhortation: “Until Victory Always!”
One way of understanding American history is as a struggle between consequential Presidents who expand liberty and consequential Presidents who expand the state. On this view, most Presidents are frankly not all that important: their decisions are marginal and many are reversed or substantially modified.
If so, Donald Trump’s victory had an important benefit for liberty, even if he himself is no classical liberal, because it prevented Barack Obama from being a consequential President on the statist side of the ledger.
With the US House of Representatives representing the people, and the US Senate representing the states (more so prior to the adoption of the 17th Amendment, but that’s another discussion), the US Congress is a recognizable extension of the “mixed-government” rationale for legislative bicameralism.
The world would be a much better place if economists, politicians and pundits had this line from Henry Hazlitt memorized: “What is harmful or disastrous to an individual must be equally harmful of disastrous to the collection of individuals that make up a nation.”
It’s arguably the most important line ever written in any economics book. Hazlitt (1894-1993) was making the essential point that an economy is not a living, breathing blob; rather it’s a collection of individuals.
Those who live in a bubble had best admit it, and apparently I do.