Before this election nobody had ever heard the term ‘faithless electors.’ Most Americans didn’t know who they were or what they could accomplish. The term refers to the Electors from each state who make up the Electoral College. Next Monday all 538 of them are scheduled to cast their vote for President and Vice-President. The person who receives the most electoral votes becomes our nation’s official President and Vice-President. Traditionally, these electors have followed the will of the people from their state. But now some of them are threatening to not follow orders and instead vote for Hillary Clinton. This is a dangerous game they are playing with far reaching consequences. Today we answer the question: Will there be enough electors who refuse to follow the will of those they represent and effect the final outcome of the presidential election?
Anyone who had the misconception that November the eighth meant the end to contention over who the next president will be now knows that they were sadly mistaken. Though Hillary Clinton finally offered a gracious concession speech the day after Donald Trump trounced her in the Electoral College vote, disgruntled candidates like Jill Stein, quietly backed by Clinton, were quick to push for recounts. To date, those efforts have proved futile. With the battle for a recount all but settled, a few electors have decided to take matters into their own hands and ignore the way the voters of their states directed them to cast their ballot. Such electors are called “faithless electors”.
Twenty-nine states have laws requiring electors to vote as directed by the elections result of their individual state but a few rogue electors are bucking a system that has been in place for well over two hundred years.
Republican elector Christopher Suprun of Texas wrote in a New York Times op-ed that he will not vote for Donald Trump saying, “Mr. Trump lacks the foreign policy experience and demeanor needed to be commander in chief,” Suprun wrote in the New York Times op-ed announcing his intent to be a faithless elector. “Fifteen years ago, I swore an oath to defend my country and Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. On Dec. 19, I will do it again.”
Joining a group calling themselves the Hamilton Electors, Supran rationalized ignoring millions of voters in his state by claiming that Gov. John Kasich of Ohio would make a far better president than either Trump or Clinton.
“The election of the next president,” said Supran, “is not yet a done deal. Electors of conscience can still do the right thing for the good of the country. Presidential electors have the legal right and a constitutional duty to vote their conscience. I believe electors should unify behind a Republican alternative, an honorable and qualified man or woman such as Gov. John Kasich of Ohio. I pray my fellow electors will do their job and join with me in discovering who that person should be.”
Another Texas elector, Art Sisneros, has opted to resign from the Electoral College because he sees Trump as morally unfit to become president.
“Voting for the nominee of our party, Mr. Trump, is certainly what the vast majority of Republicans are urging me to do.” He then argues that no one has made the case that “Trump is indeed biblically qualified.”
The almost bizarre part of the Hamilton Electors is that by changing their vote. Hillary Clinton gains nothing and quite likely Donald Trump becomes President anyway. Their stated goal is to deprive Trump of the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency. Should no candidate win 270 electoral votes, the House of Representatives chooses the next president. But who, in that case, should the House choose? During the primaries, Governor Kasich only managed to garner 13% of the popular vote. That means this group hopes to install someone as president who received over three million less votes than Ted Cruz and ten million less than the eventual Republican nominee. Thanks Glenn Beck, and all other so called conservatives who led the NEVER TRUMP movements. In my humble opinion; this is a result of that movement.
Th Hamilton Electors for whom the group of faithless electors derive their name, encouraged his fellow founders to fashion a Democratic Republic to ensure fair representation among the several states. Despite these faithless electors’ claims, the intent was not to usurp the will of those whom they represented. Many of the 538 electors are not bound to vote for the candidate chosen by their state. Even still faithless electors are rare, with only nine since 1948 and none affecting the outcome of the vote. The last such case was in 2004 when an elector misread the ballot and mistakenly voted for John Edward rather than John Kerry.
Though there is room to debate whether or not electors have the right to defect to Clinton, should these faithless Hamilton Electors succeed in their attempt to install an entirely new candidate who received no popular votes at all, they would have set a precedent that undermines the very fabric that hold this country together. The good news is that just as recounts have fallen short, so will this last minute push for faithless electors. This effort is already showing signs of unraveling and the Republic can breathe a sigh of relief.
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