Monday, December 5, 2016

US Electoral College to vote as Mercury turns retrograde

(5 December 2016) From the perspective of an outsider, one of the curiosities of American democracy is the Electoral College.   Originating in the Constitution of 1787, the Electoral College was a compromise designed to provide a buffer against direct democracy.  While some of the framers backed full and direct democracy, others were fearful of demagogues and mob rule and hence argued that political elites should have the final say in presidential elections.  The Electoral College was created to appease both sides of this debate as trusted, elite electors were chosen on the basis of the result of each state's popular vote. 

In most elections, this has been a mere formality as the popular vote and the Electoral College vote have only differed on five occasions, including three times in the 19th century before the advent of universal suffrage.  More recently, the Electoral College has come under increased scrutiny as Al Gore won the popular vote in 2000 but lost the electoral college and the presidency to George W. Bush.  In last month's election, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by more than two million votes but has lost the Electoral College to Donald Trump.  This discrepancy between the popular vote and the Electoral College has made the unexpected Trump election win even more difficult to accept for Clinton supporters. 

And this is one more reason perhaps why the US now faces the prospects of recounts in key swing states that went narrowly for Trump.  Launched by Green Party leader Jill Stein, the recounts for Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania seek to discover if the voting process may have been tampered with through the hacking of electronic voting machines.  While most observers do not expect any recount or audit of the tally to reverse the election's outcome, some computer experts have endorsed the recount initiative as a way to prove the integrity of the electoral system.

Previously, I suggested there is good reason to think we could be in for some surprises when the Electoral College finally votes on December 19th.  I was uncertain just what would transpire but the planetary alignments pointed to some kind of unusual scenario.  Mercury (rationality, communication, technology) turns retrograde early in the morning on the 19th while just one degree away from Pluto, the planet that symbolizes the application of power. 

Mercury retrograde is associated with surprises or unexpected events, especially those that result from malfunction or suspension of the status quo.  The fact that Mercury is turning retrograde just a few hours before the Electoral College casts its votes for president is a red flag that things may not unfold as normal.  The proximity of Pluto is an appropriate reflection of the day's political importance, in addition to elevated possibility that power will somehow be distorted or broken in some way by Mercury.

But the additional problem is that this Mercury Rx-Pluto conjunction is directly opposite the Sun in the US horoscope.  This opposition is exact to within one degree using the Vedic sidereal zodiac.  The Western tropical zodiac does not correct for the procession of the equinoxes so this opposition appears less urgent as it is almost three degrees away.  The Sun represents leaders and government and the Mercury Rx-Pluto opposition would appear to be inimical to the smooth transfer of power.

In previous posts, I wondered whether "faithless electors" would somehow change their Electoral College vote to deny Donald Trump from reaching the 270 needed to become president.  While there is a small movement afoot spearheaded by two Democrat electors to achieve this, it seems very unlikely to go anywhere.  There has been no new damaging revelations about Trump in the weeks following the election so the case for GOP electors to suddenly change their vote to some other more moderate Republican is quite weak.  

At the same time, it is possible that we will see only a handful of faithless electors act in a symbolic protest but not enough to deny Trump getting to 270.  I could wrong about this but the planets seem to be pointing to something more tangible that a purely symbolic protest.

But perhaps the recounts offer a more plausible scenario for surprises on Dec 19th.  If large irregularities are found, then it could lead to a call for a larger recount process across more states.  This could delay the voting of the Electoral College in affected states thus preventing Trump from reaching 270 on December 19th.  I still can't bring myself to think that somehow Hillary Clinton will win the presidency come January 20th, but the possibility of a deeper political deadlock and dispute is quite real, even if Trump carries the day in the end.  Remember that Donald Trump's horoscope is quite afflicted on Dec 19th so he will likely be unhappy with the result of the vote.  Again, it may only be a symbolic protest vote against him or it could be something bigger.  Of course, Trump's famously thin skin could reflect a lot of anger and frustration even if only a symbolic handful of electors voted against him.

The Electoral College: September 6, 1787

What I find especially intriguing is that the horoscope for the Electoral College itself is activated in a negative way.  The Electoral College was created on September 6, 1787 as part of the Constitutional Convention.   Even just looking at simple transits, we can see why the Electoral College is coming in for more criticism.  Saturn is closely square the Sun (23 Scorpio) while Rahu conjoins Venus and aspects natal Rahu (North Lunar Node) and Ketu (South Lunar Node) aspects the Mars-Ketu-Moon conjunction.   But these afflictions may reflect the increasingly untenable situation of the Electoral College itself in light of the large discrepancy between the popular vote and final outcome in last month's election.   More people than ever before are discussing the possibility of eliminating the EC altogether, even if it will be very difficult to accomplish politically. 

But the short term transits on Dec 19th also point to more specific problems.  Mars will oppose Mercury (error, frustration) and the Sun will oppose Mars (intense energy, disputes).  Again, this could merely reflect the fact that Trump gets 270+ in the vote and thus crystallizes the view in many people that the EC has outlived its usefulness.  However, I think it also is an appropriate astrological signature of an event which creates disorder and breaks with the status quo.  Trump's horoscope does look fairly troubled in January so it is possible this could be the result of a period of uncertainty resulting from a delayed or protracted Electoral College vote. 

If there is a delay or unexpected result on December 19th, I will post a follow-up on possible resolution scenarios for January and beyond.   As I noted last month, Hillary Clinton's chart is strongly activated on Inauguration Day which it really shouldn't be if she is only attending as a guest.  While she could be the special guest of honor at a mass woman's protest planned for Washington at that time, it still looks odd to me.  And to make things more intriguing, both Bill and Hillary Clinton have minor progressed Jupiter direct stations just three weeks apart in late March and early April.  The progressed Jupiter direct station is a classic indication of a gain or reward, usually involving status or career.  When I originally noticed these stations while doing her chart analysis back in 2015, I just assumed they were slightly-off timed hits (but still pretty close) that reflected her election win.  Then after her defeat, I surmised the Jupiter stations would pertain to something else entirely such as major new career-related appointments.  We shall see.  As usual in modern astrology, the questions outnumber the answers. 

Weekly Market Forecast

US stocks traded mostly lower last week ahead as traders took profits from the recent Trump rally.  While the Dow was largely unchanged, broader indexes like the S&P 500 were modestly lower on the week.  Indian stocks also ended last week lower ahead of key political votes in the Eurozone over the weekend.  Stocks have bounced here on Monday despite the defeat of the Italian reforms and the resignation of PM Renzi.  While Renzi's defeat is a net negative factor, the market is now fully expecting the ECB to announce an increase its QE program when it meets on Thursday in order to placate nervous investors.  Last week's market forecast suggested the higher probability of declines, especially in the late week on the multi-planet alignment of Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.

This week again contains some downside risk, especially in the US.  The Sun-Saturn conjunction is exact after the close on Friday but I would expect some late week selling in any event.  We could see more gains in the first half of the week although the short term aspects do not look particularly convincing on that score. 

For more details and analysis on market trends for this week, this month and this year, please check out my weekly MVA Investor Newsletter.  The newsletter is published every Saturday and includes extended discussion of US and Indian stock markets, as well as gold, oil and major currencies.