Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Fear: Trump in the White House by Bob Woodward



Fear: Trump in the White House by Bob Woodward is the third book about Donald Trump that I have read this year.  Fire and Fury was an account of the infighting inside the Trump White House during Trump's first 100 days.   House of Putin, House of Trump was a roadmap of Trump's business ties with the Russian Mafia going back 40 years.  Fear is a record of events and conversations that confirm that Americans have reason to fear while Donald Trump is still in the White House.

Woodward figured he would be writing a book about President Hillary Clinton.  But two weeks before the election, he gave a speech in Fort Worth, Texas to 400 mostly white executives of a software company who were from all over the country.  Woodward asked for a show of hands for whom they would vote for in the Presidential election: ten pairs of hands went up for Hillary; over 200 pairs of hands went up for Donald Trump.  Woodward didn't know why, but he figured the polls had to be skewed.  Two weeks later, Donald Trump was elected the President of the United States of America.

"Real Power is––I don't even want to use the word––fear."  Donald Trump made that statement to Bob Woodward and Bob Costa in an interview on March 31, 2016.  Woodward uses Trump's statement as the epigraph of this book.  And he uses it again as a Trump quote on the back cover, with an image of Trump doing a fist pump.  Moreover, Woodward uses Trump's words, "Real power is fear," on three different occasions in the book.

On page 175, Trump was giving advice to a friend who had admitted bad behavior towards women.  Real power is fear.  Trump told him that it was all about strength.  Never show weakness.  Never admit.  "You've got to deny, deny, deny and push back hard on these women."

On pages 274 and 275, Woodward provided an insight into Trump's philosophy regarding tariffs and trade deals.  Trump wanted to impose a 25 percent steel tariff and Gary Cohn was trying to talk him out of it.  Trump said,"we'll try it.  If it doesn't work, we'll undo it."  Cohn said "You do something when you're 100 percent certain it will work, and then you pray like hell that you're right.  You don't do 50/50s with the U.S. economy."

Still on pages 274 and 275,  Woodward said that Trump wanted to blow up the NAFTA deal and renegotiate it.  Trump's philosophy was "to get yes, you first had to say no."  Cohn warned that it was too risky: "That either works or you go bankrupt."  To Trump, Cohn thought, bankruptcy was just another business strategy.  And Trump had gone bankrupt six times. Real power is fear.


On page 300  Woodward wrote about Trump's foreign policy, which Trump believed he was winning.  Iran was under intense pressure, Pakistan was afraid that it might lose our aid, and South Korea was going to bow to Trump's demands for new trade talks.  Then there was North Korea.  Woodward writes that Trump's tweets about who had the biggest Button "may have come close to starting a war with North Korea in 2018."  Woodward continues, "The public never learned the full story of the risks that Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un took as they engaged in a public battle of words."  Real power is fear.  

On the next page, Woodward repeats a tweet from Colin Kahl, former deputy assistant secretary of defense under President Obama:
Folks aren't freaking out about a literal button.  They are freaking out about the mental instability of a man who can kill millions without permission from anybody.
Throughout the book, Woodward matter of factly reports certain actions the White House staff took to prevent Trump from causing  harm to our country.   And Woodward repeats their opinions of what they think of Trump, from calling him an idiot, to having the understanding of a fifth or sixth grader.

Woodward ends the book with Trump's lawyer John Dowd still believing that Trump did not collude with the Russians or obstruct justice, but resigning because Trump would not follow his legal advice about talking to Mueller.  The last paragraph of Woodward's book is worth repeating:
But in the man and his presidency Dowd had seen the tragic flaw.  In the political back-and-forth, the evasions, the denials, the tweeting, the obscuring, crying "Fake News," the indignation, Trump had one overriding problem that Dowd knew  but could not bring himself to say to the president:  "You're a fucking liar."
                                  ________________________

Yes, real power is fear.  And I am afraid.
                        Jerry Morris


Wednesday, September 12, 2018

House of Trump, House of Putin: The Untold Story of Donald Trump and the Russian Mafia



House of Trump, House of Putin: The Untold Story of Donald Trump and the Russian Mafia by Craig Unger is the second of three books about Donald Trump that I have acquired this year.  It is a hard read in that the author is methodical in investigating and tracing forty years of Donald Trump's business relationships with the Russians, many of whom are members of the Russian Mafia.

Unger's book begins with a congratulatory announcement that Deputy Vyacheslev Nikonov, Molotov's grandson, made to the Russian State Duma, the equivalent of our House of Representatives, on election day, November 9, 2016:
"Dear friends, respected colleagues!" Nikonov said.  "Three minutes ago Hillary Clinton admitted her defeat in US presidential elections and a second ago Trump started his speech as an elected president of the United States of America and I congratulate you on this."
If that isn't an acknowledgement of Russian interference in our elections, I don't know what is.

Ten days before his inauguration, Donald Trump tweeted, "Russia has never tried to use leverage over me.  I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA - NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING!"

In the first few pages of his book, Unger declared that Trump had everything to do with Russia.  Unger promised that his book would show:

     That Trump allowed his Trump-branded real estate to be used  by the Russians for money laundering.

     That Trump was $4 billion in debt when Russian money bailed him out, revived his business career, and helped launch his venture into politics.

     That Trump provided a home in Trump Tower for members of the Russian Mafia and that they worked out of Trump Tower.

     That Trump was the subject of one or more Soviet intelligence operations that likely produced kompromat (compromising material) regarding his sexual activities.

     That in James Clapper's words, Trump is a "Russian asset" serving Vladimir Putin.

Trump has repeatedly said that he has had nothing to do with Russia.  But at the end of his book, Unger identifies fifty-nine Trump connections to Russia. And Unger details the actions of these Russian connections throughout the book.

After reading this book, and reviewing the sources and documentation cited, I  have to wonder why Trump was never charged with anything in his forty years of doing business with the Russians––money laundering for sure; a likely reason why he refuses to release his tax returns.  I am astounded by Trump's brazenness: that he believes anything he does or has done is above the law.  I am confident, however, that all will be revealed when Mueller completes his investigation, and Donald Trump will finally pay the piper.

                                     --------------------------------

Here's my review of the first of the three books about Trump that I acquired this year,  Fire and Fury:  Inside the Trump White House by Michael Wolff.

I am currently reading Fear: Trump in the White House by Bob Woodward.  It was no accident that Fear was published on the anniversary of 9/11.  Americans do need to be afraid.






Thursday, September 6, 2018

The Day the Dane Banished Shakespeare From the Dining Room



Here's a picture of marital harmony:  my Shakespeare Collection on my side of the dining room, and my wife's Danish Plate Collection on her side of the dining room.  I snapped this picture six and one-half years ago.  And I included it in my April 2012  My Sentimental Library blog post,  Around the Dining Room Table:  A View of My Shakespeare Collection.





As I mentioned in the post, I brought some of these Shakespeare books back with me from England when I retired from the United States Air Force in 1989.  These books, and their brothers and sisters that I have since added, have travelled all over the Morris house since 1989.  They have moved from the living room, to the master bedroom, to the spare bedroom (converted into a library), to the hallway outside of the library, and then to the dining room, where Hamlet and Romeo and all the other Shakespeare characters rested peacefully for six and one-half years.

But not anymore.

In the last six and one-half years, I have added hundreds of books to my library, many of which I acquired when we went toodling on Fridays to antique stores, and thrift stores, and libraries, and bookstores.  And in the last six and one-half years, my wife has added at least a hundred Bing and Grondahl plates and figurines.  And she even started collecting Royal Copenhagen plates and figurines as well.

Soon, the cabinet on her side of the dining room was overcrowded with Danish dinnerware and vases and figurines.  She really really needed another cabinet for her expanded collection.

And then one day last month she found the perfect cabinet!  But unfortunately for Shakespeare, the perfect place to put this cabinet was on my side of the dining room!


Yes.  On that very day, the Dane banished Shakespeare from the dining room!

I had to empty the bookcase that was on my side of the dining room––or what used to be my side of the dining room––and I spread all the Shakespeare books in piles and piles on the dining room table.  I swear Shakespeare gave me one them stern what-the-hell-are-you-doing looks.




And my bookcase, which looked so happy when it was full...



Now looked sad and forlorn––naked, it was! Completely naked!


Yes, a sad day it was:  the day the Dane banished Shakespeare from the dining room!



But I have to admit that her Danish Collection looks pretty cool in the Dining Room.



And she even has cups and plates on the walls in the kitchen:







Now I am not a poor player––nor am I a fool!  Tomorrow is another day.  So I moved––or I should say, my daughter Anita and my grandson Dylan moved–– my bookcase around the corner into the living room.


The bookcase that used to be on this wall we moved to the other side of the living room next to the front door.





My wife's Obama Collection and her oversized books are located on the other wall:


And in the middle of the living room, on the coffee table, are recent books we have acquired:


No.  I can't complain!  And I don't think Shakespeare  and his characters can complain either!







Saturday, August 4, 2018

Hope Never Dies




 If you are a Democrat, and you never got enough of Barack Obama and Joe Biden, you will want to read this book.

Joe Biden is the narrator.  And he is investigating the untimely death of his favorite Amtrak conductor.  And Amtrak Joe's helpful sidekick is none other than Barack Obama!  As for the author, judging by the gibes in the book about Republicans and the current administration, he almost certainly has to be a Democrat.

A fun read! Moi recommends!

.







Saturday, February 24, 2018

How Paul Fussell and Samuel Johnson Helped Me Write a Review of Michael Wolff's Book, Fire and Fury





When I review a book, the words sometimes seem to flow onto the page directly from my mind.  That was not the case with Michael Wolff's Fire and Fury:  Inside the Trump White House.  The words for my review of this book literally came to me from the writings of Paul Fussell and Samuel Johnson.

The original idea of Michael Wolff's book was to provide an account of the first one hundred days of the Trump Presidency, as seen through the eyes of the people closest to Trump.  And Wolff had open access to the White House––in his words, "something quite close to a fly on the wall."  The events Wolff describes are based on conversations he reportedly had with members of Trump's family and his White House staff.  Wolff himself readily admits that some of the accounts of what happened in the Trump White House are in conflict with each other.  But Wolff reasoned that he would let the readers judge for themselves.

When I finished reading Wolff's book, I sat in front of my computer, and contemplated what to say in my review about the book.  Believe me, I believed every word that was written!  But, at the moment, I was at a temporary loss of words to emphasize that the dastardly things "he said-she said" really could have happened in the White House of the United States of America.  So I put Fire and Fury aside for the time being.

A few days later, I was researching the web on some unrelated matter and came across Paul Fussell's January 1982 Harper's Magazine article, My War:  How I got irony in the infantry –– I will wait here if you want to read his article now; or you can read it later...

After reading his article, I wanted to read more by Paul Fussell.  So I went to Abebooks.  And that's when I discovered that Paul Fussell wrote a book about Samuel Johnson:  Samuel Johnson and the Life of Writing.  Being a Samuel Johnson collector, I immediately ordered a copy of Fussell's book.

And when I received it, and got to page 12 of the book, the idea of the review of Michael Wolff's book, Fire and Fury, was staring at me smack in the face.  Fussell was talking about Johnson's writing and was referring to Samuel Johnson's Preface to Father Jerome Lobo's Voyage to Abyssinia, first published in 1735Johnson translated this book from the French.  But both Fussell and Johnson could have been talking about Michael Wolff's book, Fire and Fury:  Inside the Trump White House.



That first marked sentence is all the more relevant and powerful when it is written in its entirety––as it was first written by Samuel Johnson in 1735:

The Portuguese traveler, contrary to the general vein of his countrymen, has amused his readers with no romantic absurdities or incredible fictions; whatever he relates, whether true or not, is at least probable; and he who tells nothing exceeding the bounds of probability has a right to demand that they believe him who cannot contradict him.

Judging by the leaks that came out almost daily from the White House,  Micheal Wolff's account of what went on in the White House is all the more believable....






Wednesday, December 27, 2017

My Best and My Worst Posts of 2017

You, my readers, have determined which of my posts are the best and the worst of the lot for the year 2017.

My Sentimental Library is still my most popular blog.  And the best three posts of that blog are:

 A Conglomeration of Cookbooks Collected by a Man Who Doesn't Cook

About Elliot Stock, Henry B. Wheatley, and The Book Lover's Library Series

Tom and Jerry:  Friends and Aiders

The "worst" three, or least popular posts are:

The Bewicks and Their Bookplates: Number Six of the Twelve Blog Posts For Christmas

Passages From Lambians in My Library;  Large and Small

The Sentimental Airman

Some of my older posts have found new readers.  Since April, over 200 people have read My Autograph Letter Collection (Sep 2011) and My Many Lives of Samuel Johnson (May 2011).  And over 100 people have read seven other older posts.

With 4,491 pageviews, Mary Hyde and the Unending Pursuit (Nov 2008), on my Bibliophiles in My Library Blog, is still my most popular post of all time, and has gained 341 new readers since April.

Which post is your favorite? You can view all my posts and their updated pageviews on My Blog Browser.

Surprisingly,  most of my readers go directly to the individual blogs than to My Blog Browser.  Maybe I should change that domain name to "My Book Blog Browser."

Here's to a Happy New Year!
Jerry Morris




Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Trumpeterville by Dean Gessie




TrumpeterVille is animal allegory in the tradition of Animal Farm by George Orwell.  The story reflects American political culture before and during the presidency of Donald Trump.

                Overview by Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and Alibris


   TrumpeterVille might be called animal allegory but it doesn't hold a candle to George Orwell's Animal Farm.  It is pure nonsense.  But it did get a laugh or two from me because of the author's selection of names and terms he used in this story.

President Lulu:  the first black knob elected as the leader of Swanville, whose signature accomplishment was the Swan Care Act, also known as Lulu Care.

Trumpeter or the Trumpeter:  his campaign slogan was Make Swanville Great Again!  He boasted that his beak was waaaaaaay bigger than yours.  And so were his feet!  He was going to replace Lulu Care with something terrific.  It was going to be wonderful!   And he was going to drain the swamp.  He honked day and night using one hundred and forty windpipe vocalizations.

Madam Secretary, also called One Percenter and Madam Status Quo.  Trumpeters wanted to put her on a barbecue spit because of her purported crimes.   imPALE Her!  imPale Her! imPALE Her! That's what they yelled at Trumpeter rallies.

Bunion:  Trumpeter's Chief Political Adviser who helped him drain the left-wing swamp and convert it to a right-wing swamp.

Cinnamon:  Trumpeter's Press Secretary who got along great with WHITE BARK NEWS and ROCKS NEWS, but had hissy fits with USS News.

The story goes on.  The beavers in the North built a dam, a veritable wall that lowered the water level in Swan Lake.  And the Trumpeters yelled, "Tear Down That Wall!  Tear Down That Wall!"

Throw in such terms as the White Loaf Rebellion, the War on Error, the Russian Swan Affair, Bewick Swans, and overwhelming evidence of lake to lake collusion and you have the recent sad state of the American Political scenery presented as a satire.

Both the Political Right and the Political Left are ridiculed in this story.  The sad thing is that you're going to think that half of it is true.  It just depends on whose side you're on.






 

 

Saturday, December 16, 2017

The Book Hunters of Katpadi by Pradeep Sebastian



   It is sometimes difficult to switch from writing nonfiction to writing fiction. One is based upon fact and the other is based on figments of one's imagination.   Pradeep Sebastian has succeeded in writing nonfiction.  He is the author of  The Groaning Shelf & other instances of book love, a series of essays about book collecting that was published by Hachette India in 2010.  He is a literary columnist for The Hindu and writes articles about book collecting for other  periodicals as well, including the Business World, IndiaAnd now, Pradeep Sebastian has succeeded in writing fiction.

   In one of his nonfiction articles, Pradeep mentions working in an antiquarian bookshop prior to becoming a teacher.  He has used his past experiences to write a life-like bibliomystery, The Book Hunters of Katpadi.  I say "life-like" because the characters in this book are veritable clones of people you and I have met in the real book world.  Neela, the knowledgeable bookseller and proprietor of the bookstore, Biblio, instructs her assistant, Kayal, on the wiles and ways of bookselling.  Come hell or high water, Nallathambi Whitehead, the Sir Richard Francis Burton collector, wants to be recognized as the foremost Burton collector in the whole wide world.  But Whitehead has an adversary, 'Arcot' Manovalan Templar, owner of Heritage Auctions, the only book auction house in India.  Templar thrives on acquiring choice items for his auction house before Whitehead has the opportunity to purchase them directly from their former owners.  Both men were originally from Katpadi,  about 138 kilometers west of Chennai, and thus the title, The Book Hunters of Katpadi.


   Biblio is located in Chennai in south India, on the Coromandel Coast off the Bay of Bengal, and most of the action takes place in Chennai.  Kayal, however,  is dispatched by train to Ooty, over 500 kilometers away in the Blue Mountains to see a man about a fragment reportedly from a notorious manuscript by Burton.  But I'm getting ahead of myself!  There is more than one plot in this story.  The story begins with a priest who accuses Biblio of trafficking in stolen books!  And the books prove to be originally from the 300-hundred year old library of one of the world's greatest book collectors.  But I'm getting ahead of myself again. You'll just have to read the book to find out whose library I'm hinting about....

   Pradeep Sebastian wrote The Book Hunters of Katpadi for the bibliophiles of India.  But bibliophily is a universal language.  And the bibliophile in America will readily recognize the names of bibliophiles of the past who are mentioned in this book.  The American reader may even be surprised with the connection some of these bibliophiles had with India.  Currently, the book is only being published in India.  But the hardback is available at fairly reasonable prices from several India bookstores via Abebooks and Biblio.  A Kindle edition is available via Amazon UK.

   Pradeep asked his publisher,  Hachette India,  to send a copy of The Book Hunters of Katpadi to me because he wanted to see what I thought of it.  I told him that Hachette should have its American-based Hachette Book Group publish his book in America as well.  I believe that American booklovers will enjoy reading it.

My copy of The Book Hunters of Katpadi now rubs covers with my copy of Sebastian's other book, The Groaning Shelf and other instances of book love.  I had traded a couple of books from My Sentimental Library Collection for Sebastian's first book:







Saturday, October 14, 2017

George & Lizzie: A Novel by Nancy Pearl



   Nancy Pearl, originally a librarian by trade, has written a number of nonfiction books that help people decide what to read.  And she is the host of a television show,  Book Lust with Nancy Pearl, where she interviews writers, and discusses their books with them. Now she has written her own novel.  And it is not about the life of a librarian.  Not even close!
   By the looks of the front cover,  you might think that the book is about a woman who had a whole lot of boyfriends.  But you would be wrong.  Lizzie, the main character in the book had only one true love in her life.  And he left her and never came back.
   The name of her true love is one of the names on the front cover of the book.  But it isn't George.  George was just the name of the guy that she married.
   As for Maverick, Loren, Ranger, and all but one of the others, they were members of Lizzie's high school football team.  They were part of the Great Game Lizzie played during her senior year in high school, a game she replayed in her mind for years on end....

Saturday, September 30, 2017

The Reckless Gamble in Our Electoral System




The results of the 2016 Presidential election were still weighing heavily on my mind when I first saw this book a few months ago. It was in the storage unit containing the remaining stock of books belonging to my friend George Spiero, who was finally retiring from the book business.   The first paragraph on the front flap of the dust jacket immediately attracted my attention:
   This book is essential reading for any United States citizen who wants to understand our present system of choosing a President and a Vice-President, the dangers inherent in it, and what urgently needs to be done to improve it.

James Michener wrote this book in 1969 after serving as an elector of the Pennsylvania Electoral College for the 1968 Presidential election between Richard Nixon, Hubert Humphrey and George Wallace.  Michener believed that Wallace would win the South and all its electoral votes.  And if neither Nixon or Humphrey attained 270 electoral votes, the election would go to the House of Representatives.  Or not.

Wallace had other ideas.  In what he called "a solemn covenant," Wallace intended to offer Nixon and Humphrey his electoral votes in exchange for certain concessions, one of which surely would be "abandonment of any type of civil rights legislation."

But Michener had an alternative plan.  If neither Nixon or Humphrey attained 270 electoral votes,  and if Humphrey won Pennsylvania, he was going to suggest to the other Pennsylvania delegates that they vote for Nixon instead, thus hopefully enabling Nixon to attain the 270 votes needed.

If, however, the Pennsylvania electoral votes weren't enough to make Nixon the President, the election would then have to go to the House.  But Michener was going to talk the New York delegation into casting their votes for Nelson Rockefeller, making him the third candidate to be considered by the House instead of Wallace.  And if necessary, Michener believed he could convince his Pennsylvania delegates to join the New York delegates in voting for Rockefeller. All these electoral concoctions, by the way, are perfectly legal under the Constitution.  But they surely would have been challenged in the Supreme Court, thus delaying the selection of a President.

As it was, Richard Nixon won the 1968 election with 309 electoral votes, and what might have been never did happen.  But the fact that the electoral scenario could have happened so disturbed Michener that he researched the history of the Electoral System and wrote a book about it.  The book, btw, was reprinted by the Dial Press, an affiliate  of Penguin Random House, in 2014, 2015, and in 2016 before the last election.

If you think the Electoral College maneuverings were a mess,  the House system would have been a quagmire.  The three candidates with the highest electoral votes would have moved to the House.  And the House could have chosen anyone of the candidates to be the next President of the United States!  Each of the 50 states had but one vote.  And Michener points out a gross imbalance:  Alaska, Nevada, Wyoming, and Vermont, with a total population of 1,467,000, according to 1968 estimates, would have four votes in choosing the President, and would outvote California, New York, and Pennsylvania, with a population of more than 49 million, but with only three votes (27).

In his book,  Michener tells us about the genesis of the Electoral System and some its flaws that became apparent  as time went on.  The system, according to Michener, was a compromise between large states and small states.  One of the reasons the Founding Fathers had ruled out election solely by popular vote was because, as Eldridge Gerry of Massachusetts said, "The people are uninformed and would be led by a few designing men."  There would still be a "popular vote," but the President would be elected, not by the total of the popular vote but by the vote of men in the electoral vote process who were knowledgable of the credentials of the candidates.  Another reason (which Michener doesn't explicitly state in his book) that the Founding Fathers were against the popular vote was because smaller states were afraid that the larger states would elect their "favorite son."

Michener himself was involved in the election process in 1944 while stationed on Espiritu Santa, an island south of Guadalcanal.  His commander received a directive from President Roosevelt's office that a proper election was to be held, and his commander appointed Michener to organize the vote on the island.  Michener enlisted the aid of commercial artists and plastered the island with signs such as "Your Vote  Is Your Freedom.  Use It."  Prior to the election, a representative from Washington visited the island and observed the voting preparations.  The representative was visibly upset when he saw all the voting signs!  "We want everyone to have the right to vote," he explained slowly.  But we don't want them to vote."  He didn't believe that the military troops on the island knew enough about the issues or the candidates to render knowledgeable votes.  And he directed Michener to take down all the signs.  Afterwards, the representative expressed his political philosophy to Michener, ending with the following statement:

He concluded with a statement I have never forgotten.  'I believe totally in democracy but I want to see great crowds at the polls in only one condition.  When they are filled with blind fury at the mismanagement of the country and are determined to throw the bastards out.  For the rest of the time I think you leave politics to those of us who really care."

Of the Electoral Plan of our Founding Fathers, James Michener had this to say:
I am surprised that this group of keen politicians and social philosophers should have failed to anticipate the two rocks on which their plan would founder.  First, they did not foresee the rise of political parties or the way in which they would destroy the effectiveness of the electors.  Second, they did not guess that the election by the House would work so poorly.  This blindness on the part of the best leadership this nation has ever produced should give one pause if he thinks that in the next few years our current leadership will be able to come up with corrections that will end past abuses without introducing new.  There could well be unforeseen weaknesses in  our plans that would produce results just as unexpected as those which overtook the first great plan (72).                                                                                                                         
Michener went on to say that "men of high principle" no longer met to decide who should lead the country.  Instead, almost all of them voted the party line, with "winner take all."

Michener noted that  polls taken in the 1960s showed that the general public was in favor of direct popular voting: 1966-63%; 1967-65%; 1968, before the election-79%; 1968, after the election-81%.

There were three times, prior to the publication of Michener's book, when a candidate won the popular vote, yet lost the election: 1824, 1876 and 1888.  I will briefly address the 1876 election because it had the most radical effect on our nation.

Samuel J. Tilden was the Democratic candidate in the 1876 Presidential election.  And his Republican opponent was Rutherford B. Hayes.  Tilden won the popular vote by 251,746 votes, and reportedly won the electoral vote 204 to 165, with only 185 votes needed to win. But the Republicans questioned the validity of the electoral votes of four states:  Florida 4, Louisiana 8, South Carolina 7, and Oregon 1(Oregon had three votes, but two votes cast for Hayes were unopposed).  Two sets of electoral vote returns were submitted to Congress for each state, with some of the returns obviously fraudulent.  As an aside, I'm not surprised that Florida had something to do with a stolen election....
A divided Congress, with the House ruled by Democrats and the Senate by Republicans, could not agree on how to go about electing a President under these circumstances.  So they created an Electoral Commission consisting of members of the House, the Senate, and the Supreme Court. To make a long story short, the Democrats bungled the proceedings and the Commission chose Hayes to be the next President of the United States.  The House, however, which rightfully held its own election as per the Constitution, had declared Tilden to be the President, and was prepared to nullify the vote of the Electoral Commission.  But a compromise was reached:  Hayes would be recognized as the winner of the 1876 election.  In return, he would end Reconstruction governments in South Carolina and Louisiana and federal troops would be removed from all parts of the South.

This electoral compromise had a profound effect on the recent emancipation of the black population.  Southern states were once again permitted to rule themselves. And the South rose again, with the Ku Klux Klan putting the black man back in his place, and glorifying the efforts of Confederate generals with monuments heralding their place in Southern Society.

In his book, Michener offers four proposals on how to improve our electoral system:  the Automatic Plan, the District Plan, the Proportional Plan, and the Direct Popular Vote.  All four proposals would require  approval of a constitutional amendment: two-thirds of the House and Senate, and ratification by three-fourths of the States.

Under the Automatic Plan, the Electoral College would be abolished.  The electoral votes would be counted the same as usual but would be sent directly to the Senate.  Under several variations of the plan, House elections might be avoided.  A candidate could win with 40% of the Electoral Vote under one plan, and in a run-off election in another.

Under the District Plan,  the Electoral College would be retained.  The electoral votes would be awarded by the popular vote in each district. eg.  If a state had 38 districts, there would be 38 separate district electoral votes and not a winner-take-all electoral vote.  If no candidate obtained 270 electoral votes,   a joint session of Congress would elect the winner from the three top candidates.  All Congressional members would have one vote.

Under the Proportional Plan,  the Electoral College would be abolished.  Electoral votes would be allocated, not by the winner-take-all system, but by allocating the proportional vote gained by each candidate.  The winner would need 40% of the electoral votes, or a joint session of Congress would elect the winner from the top two candidates.

Under the Direct Popular Vote, the Electoral College would be abolished,  electoral votes would not be allocated, and election by the House would not be necessary.  The winner would be the candidate who won the most popular votes cast in the entire nation.

Michener provided appendixes displaying the relevant numbers for each electoral plan.  But his last paragraph regarding the procedures of the electoral process as of 1969 still holds true today, 48 years later:
They must be abolished.  They must be abolished now.  They must be abolished before they wreck our democracy.

Heaven help us.  The Electoral College was never abolished. And the winner of the 2016 Presidential Election is wrecking our democracy.

Donald J. Trump lost the popular vote by 2,865,075 votes, yet, by hook or by crook, he won the election because he had more electoral votes than Hillary Clinton.  Recent events show that he is not "draining the swamp," or guiding our country through his great leadership–the greatest ever–in his opinion.  Instead, he is making a mockery of the Presidency.

Yes.  Our Founding Fathers were wary of the majority choosing a "favorite son." But they were also wary of the actions of factions.


By a faction, I understand a number of citizens, whether amounting to a  majority or a minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent or aggregate interests of the community.
                     James Madison The Federalist No. 10
Trump's faction essentially hijacked the Republican Party. And by hook or by crook (Russian interference in our election, voter suppression, etc.),  it gained enough electoral votes to win the election.  One by one, Trump is tossing President Obama's achievements for the good of mankind out the window.  And he is mismanaging our government.
If a faction consists of less than a majority, relief is supplied by the republican principle, which enables the majority to defeat the sinister views by regular vote.  It may clog the administration, it may convulse the society, but it will be unable to execute and mask its violence under the forms of the Constitution.

                        James Madison, The Federalist No. 10

Unfortunately, the present forms of the Constitution has allowed a minority to exert its will over the majority, and to elect a President who clogs the administration with unqualified members of his administration,  and who convulses the society every time he tweets.  And that is the least of it!

If Michener were alive today, he would say, "it is time to amend our Constitution."  And he would add,  "it is time to throw the bastards out!"