Monthly Archives: July 2016

On the Electoral College – 2016

Here’s how the the U.S. looked in 2012, according to votes in the Electoral College

*   *   *   * you know that a candidate for president could get only 40% of the popular vote, yet get 59% of votes in the Electoral College(Thus “winning?”)  It’s happened before, as noted below.

Which brings up some confusion I felt a few mornings ago, after the first day of the Republican convention.  The confusion was about just who is leading in the polls, Hillary or Donald?

For an example, see Pick a poll:  Is the race tied, or is Clinton beating Trump?  As that article noted:  “It all depends on which national polls you believe.”  Which makes this as good a time as any to bring up the subject of the Electoral College:

Citizens of the United States do not directly elect the president or the vice president;  instead, these voters directly elect designated intermediaries called “electors” … who are themselves selected according to the particular laws of each state.

(See Wikipedia.)  Which is another way of saying the candidate who gets the most popular votes doesn’t necessarily become president.  (Think “President Al Gore.”)

President Harry Truman holds up the Chicago Daily Tribune headline trumpeting his "defeat" in the 1948 presidential election.Then there’s the fact that polls aren’t necessarily accurate.

For example, in 1948 “every major political poll predicted a landslide victory for Thomas Dewey.”  (For the history-challenged, Truman won.)  See also the article about such electoral colleges in general, which added:

In the 19th century and beyond, it was usual in many countries that voters did not directly vote the members of parliament.  In Prussia for example, in 1849–1918 the voters were Urwähler (original voters), appointing with their vote a Wahlmann (elector)…  Such indirect suffrage was a means to steer the voting, to make sure that the electors were “able” persons…  The left wing opposition was very much opposed to indirect suffrage.

Which could be another way of saying the powers that be – which for America includes some Founding Fathers, like at right – “didn’t trust the average voter.”  (And some would say – from recent trends – that they had a point.  See Founding Fathers, Trust Issues and the Popular Vote.)

But we digress…  So just in case I’m being too subtle, there are a couple points here.  One is that those “popularity polls” don’t necessarily mean very much.  The other is that what really counts is – are? – the votes in the Electoral College.

The problem is:  Determining the votes in the Electoral College can be a bit tricky.

On the other hand, the present situation in the Electoral College does seem to favor Hillary.  See for example Welcome to the general election: Where did Hillary’s cakewalk go?

Democrats looking for a cakewalk win over Trump in November may eventually get it.  The electoral college strongly favors Clinton.  And Trump is always a step away from a total meltdown.  But in an election in which Americans are disgusted with their choices, anything can happen and a Trump presidency is a real possibility.

The key passage – emphasized – is that the “electoral college strongly favors Clinton.”  Which seems to be true even though the election may come down to which candidate the voters dislike least.  In other words, the election may come down to choosing “the lesser of two weevils.”  (As noted in Independent Voter.)

For another take on the problem, see Don’t Worry About The Electoral College Math.  Among other things, that article noted that while the Electoral College effectively votes “state by state,” there are few if any purely state polls which can reliably show how a state’s electoral delegates will vote.

On the other hand, there’s, with the trademark, “This isn’t a popularity contest.”

That site shows electoral votes by state.  (Which is – after all – what really matters.)  And that brings up the time in American history where one candidate for president got only 40% of the popular vote, yet won 59% of votes in the Electoral College.

That guy’s name was Abraham Lincoln, and in the presidential election of 1860, he won only 40% of the popular vote.  (The rest were split between John C. Breckinridge, John Bell and Stephen A. Douglas.)  However, Lincoln won 180 Electoral College votes, out of a possible 303.  (Thus his “magic number” was the152 electoral votes needed to win.)  

The amazing thing in that election is that Lincoln lost the Solid South – updated at right – but won what might be called the “Solid North.”  (In 1860, those states generally above the Mason-Dixon line and/or the Ohio River.)

And a side note:  Back in 1860, Lincoln’s “for sure” votes in the Electoral College included New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio.  Those three states had 35, 27 and 23 electoral votes, respectively, for 85 of the total 152 needed for victory.  Which means that those three states alone accounted for almost 60% of the total Abraham Lincoln needed to become president in 1860.

For purposes of comparison – and as updated to the present time – New York state seems “solidly blue,” along with Pennsylvania.  Ohio seems to be one of those swing states, but one big difference – compared to 1860 – is California.  In 1860, California had only four votes in the Electoral College, but today that state has 55.  And it too seems “solidly blue.”

Which means that Hillary seems to start out with a solid 104 votes in the Electoral College.  (29, 20 and 55, respectively.)  Which – along with the beginning – is a “very good place to start.”

That in turn seems similar to the beginning of that other American Civil War.  (Where one side “looked much better on paper.  But many factors undetermined at the outbreak … could have tilted the balance sheet toward a different outcome.”)  But once again we digress…

I’ll be exploring the 2016 presidential election in future posts.  In the meantime, one final note:

This may be the last post I’ll publish for awhile, or the next five weeks.  Next Tuesday – July 26 – I’ll be heading north to Skagway, Alaska.  From there I’ll spend four days hiking the Chilkoot Trail.  (The “meanest 33 miles in history.”)  Once that’s done, my brother and I will spend 16 days canoeing down the Yukon River, from Whitehorse to Dawson City.

Assuming I survive all that, I should be back in business some time after August 29.

But stay tuned.  There may well be “further bulletins as events warrant!”

(See the cartoon below…)


Abraham Lincoln by Alexander Hesler.png

This guy got 40% of the popular vote,  but 59% of the electoral votes…

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The upper image is courtesy of Electoral College (U.S.) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  BTW: There is a movement afoot to pass a “National Popular Vote” bill.  That would “guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in the entire U.S.”  See National Popular

The “news flash” image is courtesy of

Re:  “Pick a poll.”  The article said – among other things – that “Trump’s negatives remain sky-high and higher than Clinton’s, and the GOP brand is horrible (and much worse that the Democratic brand).”  See also Myra Adams: How Does Trump Win 270 Electoral Votes?

If we do see Donald Trump push the white vote up into 63-64%, it suggests that as whites move towards minority status that they become more aware of their whiteness, and it plays into politics.  It is a disheartening and dangerous trend, but it might be something we don’t have any control over…  He has no other path to victory.

The “Dewey Defeats Truman” image is courtesy of the link 5 Historic Presidential Campaign Collapses, in the web article How the Electoral College Works | HowStuffWorks.  (“Dewey Defeats Himself.”)

Re: President Al Gore.  See also Al Gore: Electoral College System Needs National Popular Vote Plan.  But see also Would Al Gore Have Won in 2000 Without the Electoral College?  (Not to mention Famed third-party candidate [Ralph Nader] accused of ruining election for Al Gore in 2000 says Bernie [Sanders] shouldn’t run as independent.)

The Founding Fathers image is courtesy of

Re: “Left wing opposition … opposed to indirect suffrage.”  They might be changing their minds now…

The “lesser of two weevils” image is courtesy of  See also Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World – YouTubeLesser of Two Evils – TV TropesReader Opinion: Clinton v Trump and “the lesser of two weevils, Master and Commander: A Movie Review – Maccabee Society, and/or Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World – Wikipedia.

The actual expression of course is the “lesser of two evils.”  See Idioms …Free Dictionary.

Re:  “magic number.”  That term is also defined online as a “figure regarded as significant or momentous in a particular context.”

The comparison in Electoral College votes – between 1860 and 2016 – was gleaned from sources including, and RealClearPolitics – Opinion, News, Analysis, Video and Polls.

Re:  The beginning of the Civil War, in which “one side ‘looked much better on paper,'” etc. See Strengths and Weaknesses: North vs. South []

Re: “Further bulletins as events warrant.”  See Calvin and Hobbes Comic Strip, October 25, 1986:

Calvin and Hobbes

The lower image is courtesy of United States presidential election, 1860 – Wikipedia.  The caption: “Black and white portrait photograph (bust) of Abraham Lincoln taken immediately after Lincoln’s nomination.”  The article noted that voter turnout was 81.2%, “the highest in American history up to that time, and the second-highest overall (exceeded only in the election of 1876).”

For some recent historical perspective, voter turnout in the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections was 61.6% and 58.2%, respectively.  

Other notes from the presidential election of 1860:  To be precise, Lincoln won only 39.8% of the popular vote.  His closest competitor – in terms of popular votes – was Stephen Douglas.  Douglas got 1,380,202 popular votes, or 29.5 percent of the total, compared to Lincoln’s 39.8%.  However, Douglas’ million-plus popular votes translated to only 12 votes in the Electoral College.

*   *   *   *

And speaking of voter turnout, see The Americans: The National Experience, by Daniel J. Boorstin. Boorstin indicated that political parties were originally designed – in part – to increase voter turnout, though the blessings of that change seem to be mixed. 

Near the end of his book, Boorstin wrote about the “novel institution of a party ticket.” (429)  The idea – of voting along party lines – originally stirred opposition from political idealists.  For example, one editor in 1790 wrote, “We want no Ticket Mongers.”  (Emphasis in the original.)  And in 1800 a Connecticut Federalist “attacked the whole ‘detestable practice of electioneering.”  

But the practice – which eventually led to our two political parties today – proved “too useful for office-seekers, and too entertaining to voters.” (E.A.)  Which brings up the matter of political conventions.  Boorstin wrote that in its original form – before today’s system of voting in primaries – political conventions “concentrated party strength” and increased the chances of victory.  Also in their original form, party conventions were held only at the state and county level.  It was not until 1832 that national conventions – like we have now – “were for the first time held by all the major parties that offered candidates for president.”  See page 430, which also included this thought:

So long as problems of American political life remained compromisable, the political parties were the great arenas of compromise.  When this ceased to be true, the nation itself would be on the brink of dissolution; and then the political parties, like the nation itself, would have to be reconstructed.

A voter marks a ballot for the New Hampshire primary Feb. 9 inside a voting booth at a polling place in Manchester, N.H.And it seems that we may be seeing that Reconstruction “even as we speak.”  See Sick Of Political Parties, Unaffiliated Voters Are Changing Politics.

See also Five myths about independent voters – Washington Post.  Among the findings:  “Independents are more turned off than partisan voters by negative campaign ads;” “Most independents are socially liberal, fiscally responsible centrists, but some are also libertarians and far-left progressives;” and 60% of Independents “agree with the Republicans on some things, such as the economy and national security, and with the Democrats on social issues.” (The red-blue voting booth image is courtesy of the Sick Of Political Parties article.)

“The Coming Fury?”

NY Post's Shameful 'Civil War' Cover On Dallas

Did someone mention The Coming Fury – first book of Bruce Catton‘s Civil War Trilogy?

*   *   *   *  

My last two posts noted a recent 10-day family road-trip north, via “convoy:”

Three cars, carrying five adults and seven younger folk, ranging in age from 10 to 22.  Among other places, we’ll be visiting Valley Forge, the Liberty Bell and Philadelphia in general…  Last but not least we’ll see Hershey PA … “The Sweetest Place On Earth.”

7096For five nights of that 10-day trip, we all stayed with my aunt in Wilmington.  Her three-story house is pretty much a museum, and a much-loved place to visit.  (By nephews, great-nieces and -nephews, and other relatives through marriage.)

Nowhere is that “museum-ness” more evident than on the third floor.  The third floor was pretty much my aunt’s private “penthouse” when she was young.  (My grandparents stayed on the second floor.)  She was an avid reader then, and a great collector of books.  Which means that now the third floor of her home resembles nothing so much as a library.

And so, late one night that last week of June, in Wilmington, I sat relaxing on the third-floor bed – topped by an air mattress – sipping a bottle of Rolling Rock.  It was then that my eyes lighted on a Bruce Catton book I hadn’t read.  I have read – and pretty much loved – all his other CW books.  But that night, I saw “Bruce Catton,” on a thick, hard-cover book, and the unread title, The Coming Fury.

WmLYancey.jpgI was hooked from the first page.

Catton began by describing the first of two 1860 Democratic National Conventions, with the arrival of William L. Yancey.  (At left.)  

It seems that certain “fire-eaters” – like Yancey – didn’t care if they caused a “split convention.”  The result?  A host of Democrat-delegates walked out of the convention.  (In essence, a revolt that split the party.)  That virtually guaranteed the opposition candidate – Abe Lincoln – would be elected.

All of which may sound familiar to modern ears.  That is, what caught my eye – in reading the beginning of The Coming Fury – was the way Catton’s writing seemed to foreshadow some of the surprises that may well be coming at this summer’s Republican convention:

The delegates might look for a safe middle ground [and] work out some sort of compromise that would avert a split in the party and nation;  or they might listen to extremists, scorn the middle ground, and commit all of America to a dramatic leap into the dark.

In 1860, it was the Democrats who saw their party literally split in two.  (Thus virtually guaranteeing the election of a candidate they didn’t want.)  In 2016, it may be the Republicans who experience a delegate revolt, and thus a split party.  (See also karma.)

Alexander H Stephens by Vannerson, 1859.jpgThe first 36 pages of Coming Fury led up to Part Four of Chapter One, “The Party is Split Forever.”  (A quote from Alexander Stephens – at right – after a friend said “things might be patched up” at the second, “rump” Democratic convention in Baltimore.)  Then at pages 78-80, Catton explored some of the reasons behind the split in the party.

He began by saying the choices made at the two competing Democratic conventions “came at least in part out of a general, unreasoned resentment against immigration and the immigrant.”  (E.A.)

[By 1860,] Americans both North and South could see that something cherished and familiar was being lost.  Looking back only a few years, it was easy to see a society where … everyone thought, spoke and acted more or less alike, living harmoniously by a common tradition.

Which is being interpreted:  “Some things never change.”  Aside from that, if anyone in 1860 had thought about it, they might have come up with a catchy slogan like “Make America Great Again.”  (That is, a call to “return the country to its previous glory.”)

However (as Catton wrote), that cherished vision of the past – “singularly uncomplicated and unworried … simple and self-sustaining” – seemed to be on the verge of disappearing:

Revolutionary change was taking place everywhere … and people who liked things as they had been found the change abhorrent.  Furthermore, it seemed possible that newcomers were at least partly responsible for the change…  Germans, Irish, French, Italians, men of new tongues and new creeds and new folk ways, cut adrift from Europe…  It was easy to feel they were corrupting the old America. (E.A.)

(79-80)  Which may be another way of saying that a large group of people who hadn’t been free – before – were about to get freedom for the first time in their lives.

But then and now, such a change in the status quo scares a lot of people.  As Catton wrote, “To fear change meant to fear the alien – the man who looked and talked and acted differently, and who therefore was probably dangerous.” (80)  Which helped give rise to the fire-eaters noted above.  (Defined in part as “extremists who did much to weaken the fragile unity of the nation.”)  

Which brings up the subject of “splitting” in another context.

In Independent Voter, I noted the phenomenon of “splitting,” a personality disorder also called “black and white thinking:”

Splitting … is the failure in a person’s thinking to bring together the dichotomy of both positive and negative qualities of the self and others into a cohesive, realistic whole.  It is a common defense mechanism used by many people.  The individual tends to think in extremes (i.e., an individual’s actions and motivations are all good or all bad with no middle ground).

It’s also known as cognitive distortion, or or “all-or-nothing thinking.”  And as noted, it’s a common defense mechanism that seems to be getting commoner and commoner these days.

joe-walsh-defends-tweetWhich means that in times of great stress, people are more prone to say really hurtful, unproductive or downright stupid things.  (Like ex-congressman Joe Walsh, at right.)

But my personal theory is that resorting to cliches, canned responses, and/or downright stupid remarks – in times of great stress – simply “beats the heck out of having to think!”

So in times of great stress – like we’ve seen in the last week or so – one option is to say something really stupid and/or counterproductive, like This is now war!”  Or you can sheathe your sword – metaphorically or otherwise – and stop adding fuel to the fire.

After all, who wants to start another American Civil War?

Or as that great philosopher Henry Ford once put it (offering a better solution):

Don't find fault, find a remedy... poster

In other words, “Be a part of the solution, not part of the problem…”

*   *   *   *

The upper image is courtesy of NY Post’s Shameful ‘Civil War’ Cover On Dallas | Crooks and Liars. (Although there was a literal plethora of internet sources available:  See for example New York Post Recklessly Hypes ‘Civil War’ After Dallas Shooting (Huffington Post), and New York Post Blares Dallas Police Killings Set Off ‘CIVIL WAR‘” – from the Talking Points Memo website – which described the Post as an “infamous tabloid, known for its inflammatory headlines.”)

The book-cover image is courtesy of The Coming Fury by Bruce Catton — Reviews, Discussion. References to the text are from the are from the 1961 hard-cover Doubleday and Company edition, “The Centennial History of the Civil War, Volume 1.”

Re: “Fire-eaters.”  Here’s a quote I found working on this post, but misplaced the cite:

James M. McPherson suggested in Battle Cry of Freedom that the “Fire-eater” program of breaking up the convention and running a rival ticket was deliberately intended to bring about the election of a Republican as President, and thus trigger secession…  Whatever the “intent” of the fire-eaters may have been, doubtless many of them favored secession, and the logical, probable, and actual consequence of their actions was to fragment the Democratic party and thereby virtually ensure a Republican victory.

The “success-failure” image is courtesy of Why Black or White Thinking May be Keeping Keep Your Clients Stuck:  “I don’t know about you, but ‘Black or White’ or ‘All or Nothing’ thinking is one of the commonest issues I see with my coaching clients.  When a client is stuck – it’s often because they are looking at the world through this Black or White thinking filter…”  

(“The Coaching Tools is based on Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada. Launched in March 2009 … our goal is to inspire coaches and help spread the positive impact of coaching throughout the world. We do this by helping coaches get established, grow their clients, grow their skills and grow their businesses.”)

On that subject, see also All or Nothing’, or ‘Black and White’ Thinking and Depression.

Re:  Ex-congressman Joe Walsh.  See Ex Congressman tweets of war against Obama, Joe Walsh defends tweet threatening “war” on ObamaEx-Congressman Walsh on Dallas shootings: “This is now war,” and/or Ex-congressman threatens “war,’”warns Obama to ‘watch out.” 

And by the way – Joe Walsh – the Bible clearly says, You shall not speak evil of a leader of your people.” (See Exodus 22:28 and the beginning of Acts 23.) 

Re: “sheath your sword.”  See also Sheath Your Sword | Duke Today.

The lower image is courtesy of Don’t find fault, find a remedy… poster | Zazzle.  See also Quote by Henry Ford: “Don’t find fault, find a remedy (Goodreads).  As to the phrase “You’re either part of the solution or you’re part of the problem.”  it is generally – and most recently – attributed to Eldridge Cleaver.  However, a article on the subject included one reader who said this was a “misquotation.”  Another reader wrote:  “Eldridge Cleaver was hardly being original.  ‘Those who are not for us are against us’ is in the Bible – and had probably been said before that.”  

Note that the Bible-quote is from Matthew 12:30 “Whoever is not with me is against me…”  Note further that this was part of Jesus’ sermon on A House Divided.  See also the “House Divided” Speech by Abraham Lincoln, given in 1858, when he was running for the office of Senator from Illinois.  (Two years before the original American Civil War.)  And finally, see the post from my companion blog, On Jesus: Liberal or Fundamentalist?  That post compared Matthew 12:30 with what Jesus said in Mark 9:40:  “For whoever is not against us is for us.” 

On the Independent Voter

Emanuel Leutze (American, Schwäbisch Gmünd 1816–1868 Washington, D.C.) - Washington Crossing the Delaware - Google Art Project.jpg

Washington Crossing the Delaware” – which he managed to do without “rocking the boat…”

*   *   *   *  

In the last post, I noted that I was about to take a 10-day “family trip north:”

Three cars, carrying five adults and seven younger folk, ranging in age from 10 to 22.  Among other places, we’ll be visiting Valley Forge, the Liberty Bell and Philadelphia in general…  Last but not least we’ll see Hershey PA … “The Sweetest Place On Earth.”

I’m now writing two days after that family vacation ended, on Sunday, July 3d.

CB Terminology and Trucker SlangWhich means we all managed to get home – in our three-car convoy – on the eve of July 4th.

(It also meant that we had to drive home through FOJ-Weekend traffic, thought without the use of CB lingo, as shown at left.  We used cell phones…)

The three-car convoy lasted until Sunday, the 3d, when one of our three cars “peeled off” after a stop for gas – and fresh peaches – in Spartanburg SC.  The remaining two cars split up near Commerce GA, at Exit 149 on I-85.  (After dropping off a niece and her two kids.)

That left me alone, in my car, for the first time in 10 days.  But by the time I got back on the road – after getting some iced coffee – there was yet another traffic jam, further down I-85, closer to Atlanta.  (Thank you ATL.)  So I ended up getting home about 8:30 Sunday night.  And as noted, this was after a grueling two-day, thousand-mile-plus drive from Doylestown PA.

(A lot of those “grueling traffic jams” had to do with the fact that – in the America psyche – It’s Not Just Your Car, It’s Your Freedom.  But “too many dang cars” is a whole ‘nother topic entirely…)

Getting back to the grueling drive home:  Saturday we left our family reunion about 1:30, then got to drive down through Independence-Day-Weekend traffic.  (Especially heavy around Philadelphia, Wilmington, Baltimore, Washington D.C., and Richmond VA.)

That left us with 550 miles left to drive on Sunday.  (Two days ago.)  But the good news is that – even after all that “quality time” together – we’re all still speaking to each other.  (Mostly.)

graves-imgTurning to more pleasant topics:  On Friday afternoon – July 1 –  we visited the Washington Crossing Historic Park. (The one on the Pennsylvania side, as seen at right.)  

Which of course makes this a perfect time and place to bring up Independence Day in the U.S.:

Independence Day is a day of family celebrations [with] a great deal of emphasis on the American tradition of political freedom…  Independence Day is a patriotic holiday for celebrating the positive aspects of the United States…  Above all, people in the United States express and give thanks for the freedom and liberties fought by the first generation of many of today’s Americans. (E.A.)

Which brings up the fact that – somewhere along the line – I intended to make this post more about the recent road trip than about Independence Day itself.

For example, I was going to mention what John Steinbeck wrote, about how “We don’t take a trip.  A trip takes us.”  (See also Quote by John Steinbeck.)  I also planned to cite a year-ago post – A Mid-summer Travelog – from my companion blog, along with “I pity the fool!”

The latter post was on Ralph Waldo Emerson – at left – and his saying, “Whoso would be a man, must be a nonconformist.”

Which raises two timely topics for this July 4th.

One topic is Independence Day itself.  The other is the growing number of Independent Voters in this country.  And according to Wikipedia, Independents are those voters who don’t align with either major political party, Republican or Democrat:

An independent is variously defined as a voter who votes for candidates and issues rather than on the basis of a political ideology or partisanship;  a voter who does not have long-standing loyalty to, or identification with, a political party;  a voter who does not usually vote for the same political party from election to election;  or a voter who self-describes as an independent.

And their numbers seem to be growing, which could be either good or bad.

For example, Wikipedia noted first that the definition itself is “controversial and fraught with implications.”  And that according to one theory, the growth of Independent Voters is a bad sign for the country.  (For reasons including but not limited to:  “independents may be more susceptible to the appeals of third-party candidates,” and that “the more independent voters, the more volatile elections and the political system will be.” Which could explain our present political situation…)

But personally I have my own theory.

My theory is that the American political system was designed to keep “moving back toward the middle.”  That is, once a party becomes dominant – for the moment – it tends to pay too much attention to what we might call its lunatic fringe.  Put another way, if one party dominates too long, it tends to move too far away from the middle.  (Left or right, as the case may be.)


And so – traditionally – In response to being out of power, the other party has – generally speaking – tended to move back toward the middle of the spectrum.  It does so primarily to reach out to those voters in the middle.  (Those voters who decide elections.)

But that hasn’t happened lately.

One or both parties – it seems – have refused to compromise, and compromise is the keystone of a American democracy.  (See The Spirit of Compromise: Why Governing Demands It and Campaigning Undermines It, and/or The Spirit of Compromise.)

In other words, one or both parties have moved toward black and white thinking.  Psychologists call that splitting, or “the failure in a person’s thinking to bring together the dichotomy of both positive and negative qualities of the self and others into a cohesive, realistic whole:”

It is a common defense mechanism used by many people.  The individual tends to think in extremes (i.e., an individual’s actions and motivations are all good or all bad with no middle ground)…  Splitting creates instability in relationships because one person can be viewed as either personified virtue or personified vice…  [This] leads to chaotic and unstable relationship patterns, identity diffusion, and mood swings.

So one solution to today’s political-party black-and-white thinking – it seems to me – is the growth in the number of voters who identify themselves as Independents.  The problem there is that Independent or Moderate Voters are losing power in the process of one or both parties deciding on a particular candidate.  (As for President of the United States.)

Which brings up the biggest problem of being an Independent Voter.  That problem is:

“One must always choose the lesser of two weevils!”


*   *   *   *  

The upper image is courtesy of Washington Crossing the Delaware – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Washington Crossing the Delaware is an 1851 oil-on-canvas painting by the German American artist Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze.  It commemorates General George Washington’s crossing of the Delaware River on the night of December 25–26, 1776, during the American Revolutionary War.  That action was the first move in a surprise attack against the Hessianforces at Trenton, New Jersey, in the Battle of Trenton.

I also used the image and related information in my companion blog.  (See On Independence Day, 2016.)  There I noted that “Wikipedia listed inaccuracies” in the painting – by Leutze, working in Germany in 1850 – which included:  The American flag in the boat “did not exist at the time of Washington’s crossing;”  The boat was the wrong model, and much too small;  The painting showed “phantom light sources besides the upcoming sun,” while the crossing itself “took place in the dead of night;”  and finally: “Washington’s stance … would have been very hard to maintain in the stormy conditions of the crossing[, and] would have risked capsizing the boat.”  (See also artistic licence.)

“And speaking of rocking the boat, Washington and his fellow Founding Fathers did in fact rock the boat, according to the British during the Revolutionary War.  (In the sense of causing “trouble where none is welcome;  to disturb a situation that is otherwise stable and satisfactory.”)  See also John Paul Jones’ CLOSEST call, in my companion blog.  It included a British caricature of the man they called “the pirate Paul Jones.”  (To us of course he’s the Father of the American Navy.)”


Re:  Cars representing freedom.  For a different take, see The Car Once Symbolized Freedom… ← The Urban Country, which noted in part:  “Things have changed. We took it too far.”

The image of flags on gravestones is courtesy of Washington Crossing Historic Park – Official Site.  The caption and original image can be found under the “Soldier’s Graves” link:

From the parking area at the Thompson-Neely House, it’s a short walk across the Delaware Canal to the memorial cemetery where an unknown number of Continental soldiers who died during the December 1776 encampment in Bucks County are buried.

The article noted that no American soldiers were killed during the crossing or the First Battle of Trenton, but that “others did succumb to exposure, disease or previous injuries.”  The article also noted a second battle, on or about January 2, 1777, involving Lord Cornwallis:

General Lord Charles Cornwallis of the British Army had been looking forward to a trip home to England…  In fact, on December 27 he had sent his baggage aboard the HMS Bristol.  But after the disaster at Trenton, his leave was promptly cancelled and he was ordered to Princeton.  A very unhappy Cornwallis took command of the British forces there on January 1, 1777.  He had one clear mission: to find the American army and destroy it.

In this second Battle of Trenton, Washington held off the attacking British forces until the evening of January 2, then withdrew north from Trenton, which led to his victory in the Battle of Princeton, on January 3, 1777:  “Washington’s timely withdrawal set the stage for a successful engagement with the enemy at Princeton the following day.”

The full Quote by John Steinbeck on the uniqueness of individual journeys:

Once a journey is designed, equipped, and put in process, a new factor enters and takes over. A trip, a safari, an exploration, is an entity, different from all other journeys.  It has personality, temperament, individuality, uniqueness.  A journey is a person in itself;  no two are alike.  And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless.  We find after years of struggle that we do not take a trip;  a trip takes us.  Tour masters, schedules, reservations, brass-bound and inevitable, dash themselves to wreckage on the personality of the trip.  Only when this is recognized can the blown-in-the glass bum relax and go along with it.  Only then do the frustrations fall away.  In this a journey is like marriage.  The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.  (E.A.)

Re:  “Whoso would be a man, must be a nonconformist… I freely translated that to:  ““I pity the fool who doesn’t do pilgrimages and otherwise push the envelope, even at the advance stage of his life.”

I used the “lunatic fringe” cartoon in Is this “deja vu all over again?”  The cartoon itself is courtesy of Peanuts Comic Strip, April 26, 1961 on  Wikipedia said the term was “popularized by Theodore Roosevelt, who wrote in 1913 that, ‘Every reform movement has a lunatic fringe.’”

The lower image is courtesy of  See also Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World – YouTubeLesser of Two Evils – TV TropesReader Opinion: Clinton v Trump and “the lesser of two weevils, Master and Commander: A Movie Review – Maccabee Society, and/or Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World – Wikipedia.