The Presidential Election of 2016
Spring, 2017
Seminars ~ OLLI at LSU ~ Bulletin, Spring, 2017

Course Webpage:


I.  The Constitutional and Statutory Provisions
    The Constitutional Texts
    The Relevant Federal Statutes
    The Electoral Tradition and Political Theory

II. Understanding the History of Presidential Elections
    Voting and Election Systems
    The Unit (Winner Take All) Rule
    The Elections of 1800, 1824, 1876, 1888, and 2000
    The Twelfth Amendment
    The Problem With the Unit Rule and Electors

III. The Electoral College: 2016
     The Candidates 
     The Popular Vote
     The Electoral Vote
     Campaign Financing in 2016

IV. Attempts to Reform the System
      Proportional Voting
      Direct Popular Election
      National Popular Vote
      Eliminating the Electors' Discretion

V. Evaluating the Reform Proposals
     The Nominating Process: Primaries and Conventions
     Republic v. Democracy
     Political Rhetoric in 2016

VI. Conclusions and Suggestions for Reform
      Difficulties Facing Reformers in 2016
      Media, Money, and Mendacity
      What Have We Learned? 


Internet Resources

Basic Documents

The Constitution of the United States --from

Presidential Elections --from the Scout Report - A Superb Website

History of Voting --from the Gilder Lehrman Institute

18 U.S. Code Title 29 - Elections and Political Activities
Federal Election Commission
Federal Campaign Finance Laws --from the FEC
Campaign Finance Brochure --from the FEC

The Twelfth Amendment --from

Twentieth Amendment Annotated --from
Sessions of Congress --from
Special Sessions of Congress --from the U.S. Senate

The Electoral College - the 2016 Presidential Election --from the National Archives

The Electoral College --from the National Archives

The Electoral College --from

Historic Election Results --from Presidential Elections --from

Louisiana Secretary of State - Elections and Voting

Louisiana 2016 Certificate of Ascertainment --Certifying November 8, 2016 Results
For All States

The Faithless Elector--from Wikipedia
Faithless Electors --from
Faithless Electors - State Laws - from

The Electoral Could Be the GOP's Final Option to Dump Donald Trump --from New York Magazine, August, 2016

The Electoral College --from Encyclopedia Britannica

Alexander Hamilton, Federalist 68 --An explanation and defense of the Electoral College

Electoral College --from

Maryland General Election Ballot, 2012

Louisiana General Election Ballot (East Baton Rouge Parish), 2012

Voting Systems Made Simple --from Electoral Reform Society

Thomas H. Neale, "The Electoral College: How It Works in Contemporary Presidential Elections," --from the Congressional
Research Service, April 13, 2016

"Trump's Victory Another Example of How Electoral College Wins Are Bigger Than Popular Vote Ones" --from the PEW Research Center

Donald J. Trump -- Official website

The Trump Transition Team and Cabinet Nominees --from

Lawrence Lessig, "The Constitution Lets the  Electoral College Choose the Winner: They Should Choose Clinton" --from the
Washington Post, November 24, 2016

President and Vice-President Exempt from Conflict of Interest Laws --from the U.S. Code, 18 U.S. Code 202

President and Vice-President Exempt from Conflict of Interest Laws --from the U.S. Justice Department

Jonathan Turley, "Trump is Legally Correct: Ethics Rules Do Not Apply to Him" --from

Norman Eiser, Richard D. Painter and Lawrence Tribe, "Five Ways You'll Know If Trump is Playing by the Rules" --from

Kathleen Clark and Boyden Gray, Debate on Exempting the President from Cnflict of Interest Laws  --from The New York Times, December 7, 2016

Women Candidates for President --from the Digital Public Library

Donald Trump Inaugural Address, January 20, 2017 --from

A New Nation Votes - American Election Returns - 1787 to 1825  --from Tufts University

Electoral Votes - 1789 to 2016 --from

Bill Allison and others, "Tracking the 2016 Presidential Money Race" --from

Donald Trump Escalator Speech, June 15, 2015 --from


Polling as of November 8, 2017 --from

Campaign Financing

Campaign Spending in 2016 --from

Public Financing of Presidential Campaigns --from the Federal Election Commission
Campaign Finance Regulations --from
Trump Campaign Financing in 2016
Clinton Campaign Financing in 2016

The Election Results

Seven Charts Show Who Propelled Trump to Victory  --from

"How Many Votes Did Trump and Clinton Get: The Final Count" --from

Jason Eaisley, "Here's The Proof That Jill Stein and Gary Johnson Cost Hillary Clinton the
--from --An important website
Election Timeline --from
The 2016 Election Results Under Alternative Voting Methods --from

Final 2016 Election Results --from

Timeline of 2016 Election --from Wikipedia

Voter Turnout in 2016 --from

The Counting of the Electoral Vote --from the Congressional Record, January 6, 2017

Election Results - 2016 --from
How Maine and Nebraska Voted in 2016 --from
2016 Presidential Election Results --from
2016 Presidential Election Resuts --from --A rich source of electoral materials

Court Cases

McPherson v. Blacker (1892) --Supreme Court case on the Electoral College
McPherson v. Blacker (1892) --Excerpt in The Founder's Constitution

Ray v. Blair (1952)

Buckley v. Valeo (1976) and Subsequent Litigation --from Encyclopedia Britannica

Bush v. Gore (2000)

Electoral Problems and Reform


Senator Barbara Boxer, A Bill Proposing a Constitutional Amendment to Abolish the Electoral College --from

Laurin L. Henry, "The Awkward Interval" --from American tage Magazine, October, 1968

"Time to End  the Electoral College"
--from The New York Times, December 20, 2016

National Popular Vote --A Reform Program
Every Vote Equal [ebook] -- from
Mark Joseph Stern, "Yes, We Coould Effectively Abolish the Electoral College Soon.  But We Probably Wont"
--from Slate, November 10, 2016
Amy Sherman, "The Electoral College v. Popular Vote: Could States Do An End Run Around the Present
"  --from

Fuzzy Math: Wrong Way Reforms for Allocating Electoral Votes --from

The Presidential Debate Commission

The 2016 Presidential Election --from the National Archives and Records Administration

Electoral Vote by States - 1789-2008 --from the National Archives and Records Administration

Project Vote Smart

Do You Know Which Four Presidents Were Elected Without Winning the Popular Vote? --from

Electoral College Reform Options --from

Voting in Louisiana --from the Secretary of State

Presidential Candidates - 2016 --from theFederal Election Commission

Election Update - Audio - Diane Rehm Show - October 27, 2016

2016 Presidential Candidate General Election Events Tracker --from Google - maintained by Fairvote

Election of 2016 --from PEW Research Center

Michael Barone, "Ditching the Electoral College Would Allow California to Impose Imperial Rule
 on a Coloniall America"
--from The Washington Post, December 8, 2016

E.J. Dionne, "Minority Rule" --from The Washington Post, December 8, 2016

"The Small-State Advantage in the Electoral College" --from The New York Times, March 10, 2013

Sean Sullivan and Ed O'Keefe, "Electors for Trump Urged to Have Second Thoughts" --from The Washington Post, December 7, 2016

"An Electoral College Coup: the Clinton Campaign Now Suggests That the Election Was Rigged"
from The Wall Street Journal - December 12, 2016

The Hamilton Defenders --A Group Challenging The Election Outcome

James Kenneth Rogers, "The Other ay to Amend the Constitution: the Article V Constitutional Convention
Amendment Process"
--from The Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy

Counting the Electoral Votes in Congress --3 U.S. Code 15

Ruth Silva, "The Lodge-Gosset Resolution: A Critical Analysis" --from The American Political Science Review (1950)

Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., "Not the People's Choice," March 2, 2002 --from

The National Commission on Federal Electoral Reform, "To Assure Pride and Confidence in the Electoral Process"

Howard J. Silver, "NPresidential Nominations: A Quick History"  (2016) --from


Richard Hofstetter, "The Paranoid Style in American Politics" --from Harper's Magazine, November, 1964

James Surowlecki, "The Widening Racial  Wealth Divide" --from The New Yorker, October 10, 2016

James Traub, "The First Rigged Election" --from The Wall Street Journal, October 29, 2016

Arthur Goldhammer, “What Would Alexis de Tocqueville Have Made of the 2016 US Presidential Election?”
--from The Nation, October 17, 2016

Peggy Noonan, "The Politics of 'The Shallows'" --from The Wall Street Journal, October 1, 2016

"Two States Which Almost Always Predict Which Candidate is Headed For Defeat" --from the Washington Post, September 7, 2016

Ana Navarro, "I'm Voting for Hillary and Against Donald Trump," November 8, 2016 --from

David Remnick, "An American Tragedy," --from The New Yorker, November 9, 2016

James Fallows, "How Trump Broke Campaign Norms But Still Won," --from Fresh Air, NPR, November 9, 2016 [Audio]

Trevor Potter, Campaign Legal Center - Response to Trump Campaign and Election - November 10, 2016

"Donald Trump's Victory Was Built on Unique Coalition of White Voters" --from The New York Times, November 9, 2016

"Mr. Trump Lies About the Vote" --from The New York Times, November 29, 2016

"Presidential Election Results" --from

"The 282 People, Places and Things Donald Trump Has Insulted on Twitter: A Complete List" --from The New York Times, October 23, 2016

Robert Reich, "Trump's 7 Techniques to Control the Media" --from The Daily Southtown (Chicago, IL), December 2, 2016

Jose M. Pavía, "On Introducing Proportionality in American Presidential Elections: An Historical Analysis, 1828-2008" --from The Political
July-September, 2011

Gary Glenn, "The Electoral College and the Development of American Democracy" --from Perspectives in Political Science, Winter, 2013

Christopher Suprun, "Why I Will Not Cast My Electoral Vote For Donald Trump" - from The New York Times, December 5, 2016

Ellen Nakashima, Adam Entous, and Greg Miller "CIA: Russia Favored Trump" --from The Washington Post, December 10, 2016

Rheta Grimsley Johnson, "When the Truth Doesn't Matter" --from The Advocate, December 11, 2016

E. J. Dionne, "American Will Soon Be Ruled By a Minority" --from The Advocate, December 11, 2016

Battleground States --from

Mark Sherrer, "Person of the Year: Cover Story" --from Time, December, 2016

The Progressive Magazine --A progressive publication

Barbara Boxer, "Trump Undermines Our Republic" --from USA Today, December 21, 2016

Indivisible - The name of a group dedicated to opposing the implementation of Donald Trump's policies

Jonathan Alter, "Seven Reasons Why Clinton Lost in 2016"  --from

President Obama's Farewell Address, January 10, 2017 --from The Los Angeles Times

President-elect Donald Trump's News Conference, January 11, 2017 --from The New York Times

Susan Chira, "Women Who Voted for Donald Trump, in Their Own Words" --from The New York Times, January 15, 2017

Michael J. Boskin, "Four Lessons From Donald Trump’s U.S. Election Victory" –from
The Guardian, December 13, 2016

H.  L. Mencken, "Bayard vs. Lionheart" --from

Joan C. Williams, "What So Many People Don't Get About the U.S. Working Class." --from The Harvard Business Review,
November 10, 2017

 Michael Gerson, "Trump's Funeral Oration at the Death of Reaganism"  --from The Washington Post, January
 21, 2017

David Van Drehle, "Donald Trump's Unprecedented, Divisive Speech"  --from Time, January , 2017

Dan P. McAdams, ""The Mind of Donald Trump" --from The Atlantic, June, 2016

Campaign Spending in 2016 (Presidential Election) --from openscretsorg

Voter Fraud --from The Wall Street Journal, February 2, 2017

Drew Harwell, "Trump Once Revealed His Income Tax: They Showed He Didn't Pay a Cent" --from The Washington Post, May 21, 2016

Peggy Noonan,, "Declarations: In Trump's Washington, Nothing Feels Stable"   --from The Wall Street Journal, February  4 , 2017

David Frum, "How to Build an Autocracy," The Atlantic, March, 2017

Pankaj Mishra, The Age of Anger [First 50 pages] --from Google Books

Nicholas Confessore and Nick Corassaniti, "Fueled by SmallDonations, Donald Trump Makes Up Major Financial Ground"
--from The New York Times, August 3, 2016
James Bryce, "Why Great Men Are No Longer Elected President" (1888)


John D. Daniels,l "The Indian Population of North American in 1492," --from The William and Mary Quarterly, April, 1992

Evan Osnos, David Remnick, and Josua Yaffa,  "Annals of Diplomacy" --from The New Yorker, March 6, 2017

Protests Following Election - November 20, 2016 --from

Eliza Collins, "Yes, 17 Intelligence Agencies Really Did Say Russia Was Behind the Hacking" --from, October 21, 2016

A. J. Vicens, "Read the U.S. Intelligence Report on Russian Hacking" --from, January 6, 2017

David E. Sanger, "Putin Ordered 'Influence' Campaign Aimed at U.S. Election" --from The New York Times, January 26, 2017

"Fact Check -- Examing Trump's Wiretap Claim" --from USA Today, March 6, 2017