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Election day for the Republic

By David Kruse - Columnist | Nov 10, 2020

The election mechanics appear to have gone off very well. Only losers and Russians would complain. I think that it is good for everyone to vote. Not everyone shares that opinion. A lot of effort in this country gets put into suppressing targeted areas and groups from exercising voting rights. This is not something new. Women and minorities have fought for their right to vote for decades. They set rules for voting and then make changes that are intended to discourage or make it impossible to count all votes. It is not as universal a process as it could be. It appears that those who claim that there are flaws in the voting process are the ones working the hardest to grow the seeds of disruption purposefully undermining the confidence in it. They should not be able to change the rules so that they invalidate some voters who thought that they were following the rules and then the rules change. Republicans have a better record of voting in elections than democrats have had. High turnout elections have historically favored democrats but this one is impacted by the Covid pandemic which had an impact on how and when people voted. Over 100 mln voted early.

This is a republic and not a democracy as some are led to believe. State electors rather than one person-one vote determines who is president. There is a difference. Brazil is a democracy. Everyone is required to vote there and without a mark on the paper that they voted, people are denied government services or legal processes such as titles, passports and such. Poor people have to vote in order to qualify for welfare. The country had been run by populists who were so corrupt they traded them for a right-wing nut named Jair Bolsonaro who had surprisingly had 50% approval rating in September. He is not up for re-election until 2022. The Brazilian farm sector loves him.

Americans vote by state. The states have to certify their electors. That has not been a problem but there are nuances where that the certification could be made to be an issue. The people vote to determine a slate of electors that then choose the president. It can even get more complicated than that but if the U.S. was a full democracy, we would have elected presidents Gore and Hillary by popular vote. In 2016 national polls showed that Hillary would win by 3% of the vote and she won by 2%. That was a sore spot for DJT who attempted to counter it with the claim that 3 million illegal votes were cast… without evidence. He won by a razor thin 80,000 votes, tipping 3 states to his favor in the Electoral College. It was a surprise to some but not a landslide by any means as Trump attempted to depict it.

Our republic form of governance protects the rights of regional minorities. States like South Dakota and Wyoming have two U.S. Senators yet only one representative. That translates into 3 Electoral College votes, one for the congressional district and one each for the two Senators. It gives rural less populated states more clout than a pure democracy, one person-one vote, would enfranchise them with. Eliminating the Electoral College would shift the balance of power politically to urban areas on the two coasts. Agriculture would have less leverage in Washington. The fact that Wyominh has two Senators irks urban population centers that say cows are better represented than they are. I do not know if the forefathers saw the rural/urban division becoming what it is today but they protected small less-populated states with the present government structure.

DJT will again lose the popular vote in this election just as he lost it in 2016. That is not likely in play. It is state by state results and the margin between Trump and Biden in critical electoral states that will ultimately seal the deal. I do not yet know the outcome as of this writing. First, DJT needed results that are close enough that there is a plausible argument to be made to contest negative results. The vote has to be close in enough states so that the electoral outcome remains in play for Trump to find a pathway to win. The greatest worry today is that the result will not be definitive. I personally think that it will be but elections are hard to pin down until all the votes are counted. DJT wanted to stop counting when he was ahead. Trump was preparing to win the after-vote. So, what Election Day will determine may or may not be the outright president-elect. It will determine whether this can go on to round-two where results are contested and are referred for judicature to the courts. Trump’s remaining opportunity likely lies in the gray land between when votes are counted and when they are certified. This country has not been there for a very long time. I can’t think that it would be someplace where markets would want to be. They can handle a win by either candidate better than they can being thrown into purgatory. We will look to deal with whatever results occur.

David Kruse is president of CommStock Investments Inc., author and producer of The CommStock Report, an ag commentary and market analysis available daily by radio and by subscription on DTN/FarmDayta and the Internet.

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