The Electoral College is one of America's oldest political institutions, but only in electing George Washington did it achieve its stated goal of being a deliberative body picking the best available person. It's time for Democratic members of the Electoral College across the country to meet after Thanksgiving and publicly deliberate a course of action in response to the crisis of a Trump presidency ("FactCheck: Could Electoral College elect Clinton?" Philly.com, Tuesday).
There are at least four basic options:
1. Follow the tradition of quietly casting votes for the Democratic nominee;
2. Aggressively and enthusiastically cast Democratic votes for Hillary Clinton;
3. Consider and perhaps hear from potential Republican candidates who might be interested in having the support of the Democratic electors;
4. Back a Republican candidate who might save the nation from Trumpian excesses by gaining the support of some Republican electors and gaining an Electoral College majority.
A meeting of the electors can be called by a representative group of electors, party chairwoman Donna Brazile, Hillary Clinton, or other leading political or governmental officials. The only relevant precedents are the Democratic traditions of innovation, leadership, and bipartisanship.
The voters have not yet elected a president; they have elected a set of electors. It is time for the electors and leading state and federal Democrats to produce new results.
|Mark B. Cohen, Democratic chairman, State Government Committee, Pennsylvania House, Philadelphia, firstname.lastname@example.org
One person, one vote is the rule of law in every other circumstance. It is impossible to defend the Electoral College, a device created by men who distrusted democracy at a time when the states were almost independent nations. We now have two of the last three presidencies determined by a relic that makes America the free world's least-democratic country.
The complaint that someone in X state would not be as important if the college was abolished is correct. So what? Why do they deserve more input and impact than their numbers permit, while it is all right to disenfranchise about one million people who voted the other way? Those votes no longer count.
I wonder how many people who have suddenly discovered that they love the Electoral College will be enamored with it if electors were to decide to install Hillary Clinton as president.
|Mark Squires, Philadelphia
The ignorance of so many citizens about the Electoral College is appalling. The United States of America never would have been formed without this essential provision in the original Constitution. The smaller colonies/states feared the larger ones would control the central government. Today, voters in California and New York would control the federal government forever. My vote in Pennsylvania could be negated by a fraudulent one in Chicago.
The system is genius. Citizens should count their blessings for the foresight of our Founders.
|Oleg Dudkin, Berwyn
We are appalled by some of Donald Trump's appointees, such as Myron Ebell, a climate-change denier, to lead the transition at the Environmental Protection Agency. To make America "great again," we must embrace and lead in science. To deny human-caused climate change is counterproductive, even if it pleases the coal miners and the fossil fuel industry.
America must be a leader in science and technology, or we will not be able to compete with low-wage countries for manufacturing plants.
|Ernest B. and Elaine H. Cohen, Upper Darby, email@example.com
Like Army Air Corps photographer Milton Dienes ("Witness to the Devastation," Nov. 13), my father, Fred Down, served in the Army and was stationed in Guam in World War II. He and his fellow soldiers were sent into Hiroshima after the atomic bombing to raise the American flag.
At dinner one night when I was a teenager, my father told us that when they entered the city, the only building standing was the Kirin Beer brewery, and the soldiers were glad to see it. Then he whispered in my ear that it was the most devastating thing he had ever experienced.
I never heard him refer to the experience again. My father had unusual scarring in his lungs and died on Jan. 16, 1998 - my 46th birthday. Shortly before he died, he began sketching the devastating landscape he had witnessed; my mother showed them to me after he died.
I am grateful that Dienes' photographs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki will be preserved. May his witness prevent another use of such terrible bombs. Let's learn to live in peace with our neighbors.
|Joanne Sharpless, Philadelphia, firstname.lastname@example.org
few television journalists who combined serious, in-depth reporting with a gracious personality ("Gwen Ifill, 61, journalist, TV anchor," Tuesday). As television news has become increasingly indistinguishable from entertainment, she was a model of integrity and credibility. She was a great educator while our civic literacy has been declining at an alarming rate.
I hope PBS, journalism schools, and foundations will create Gwen Ifill scholarships to support the training and development of television reporters from underrepresented backgrounds, who will carry on her legacy.
|Debra Weiner, Quakertown
Why would there be a red cardinal's hat for the leader of an archdiocese that spent huge amounts of church funds for endless legal appeals for Msgr. William J. Lynn, who enabled pedophile priests by transferring them instead of reporting them ("No red hat for Chaput, but why?" Tuesday).
Imagine how much better that money could have been spent.
|Tim Slattery, Philadelphia
Mayor Kenney needs to wield a stronger hand in managing the City of Brotherly Love, considering the recent violence of flash mobs and our status as a sanctuary city ("Kenney: 'Sanctuary city' despite Trump," Nov. 11).
Philadelphians have always helped one another, but our city is suffering from Kenney's lack of commitment to order and control. Kindness and generosity should always be practiced by those in office, but crime requires full mayoral attention and a strategic, no-nonsense policy.