Can the Electoral College still stop Donald Trump from becoming president?
One group is trying to make it happen, citing Founding Father Alexander Hamilton as inspiration for the unprecedented act of election defiance, The Atlantic reported. Calling their group the “Hamilton Electors,” the two Democratic electors are calling on the Electoral College to follow the directions Hamilton laid out to ensure that “the office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications.”
On Election Day, Donald Trump won the Electoral College vote by a margin of 290 to 232 against Hillary Clinton despite losing the popular vote by a margin that could eventually exceed 2 million votes. But he is not officially elected president until the Electoral College actually votes on December 19, which a number of groups are now trying to block.
The so-called “Hamilton Electors” — Michael Baca from Colorado and Bret Chiafalo from Washington state — are pushing for the Electoral College voters to come together on what they call a “compromise candidate” like Mitt Romney or Ohio Governor John Kasich.
The two men are trying to build support for their plan by starting a Facebook page and website outlining their idea.
“The general strategy right now is to educate and support the Republican electors, to let them know that they have the right — the duty — to pick who they think is right for the presidency,” Chiafalo told The Atlantic.
The idea of the Electoral College stopping Donald Trump is not just coming from the Hamilton Electors. In a letter to the New York Daily News, a group of three political scientists said it was the duty of the electors to prevent the election of Donald Trump.
The group — University of Austin professor Jeffrey Tulis, University of Texas Law School professor Sanford Levinson, and University of Texas professor Jeremi Suri — said it is the duty of the Electoral College to prevent the election of what they called “a demagogue who has manipulated and bullied voters, exploited fears and now threatens the very foundation of our republic.”
— NBC News (@NBCNews) November 20, 2016
But instead of calling for the election of Hillary Clinton, the group echoed the Hamilton Electors and said the electors should choose “a highly qualified Republican who respects our noble traditions, values and laws.”
“The electors have an obligation to think deeply about the sanctity of our democracy and the national interest — and they are sworn to vote not for the most popular candidate in their state, or any party candidate for that matter, but for the individual who they think will best protect the nation and the Constitution,” the group wrote.
The group also made reference to Alexander Hamilton, saying the Founding Father intended for the electors only to “vote for some fit person as President.” They called on Hillary Clinton’s electors to lead the way, suggesting that Democrats organize to vote for someone other than Clinton in an effort to persuade Republican electors to follow suit.
— Peter Beinart (@PeterBeinart) November 22, 2016
The idea that Hillary Clinton could win the electoral college vote goes a bit beyond speculation and internet campaigns. In an article for the left-leaning news outlet Daily Kos, one of the electors wrote that there is a growing sentiment among the group of 538 electors that they may actually follow the popular vote and choose someone other than Donald Trump to serve as the nation’s next president.
“INDEED THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE IS IN AN HISTORIC PLAY. Where this goes is speculation but sentiment is building that the Electors cannot sit by and be ceremonial,” wrote the Colorado elector, Robert Nemanich.
“This assertion is based on the above observations where each Elector I talked to is interested in participating in some form of action,” he wrote.
“This includes the majority being Hillary supporters and party regulars. The reporters and political persons all tell me they are hearing similar, consistent, sentiments across this country. The fact that this election cycle has consistently been unprecedented, and unpredictable, and as those who know math, and mathematical trends, know that trends continue until the something stops that trend line.”
But other political experts have said the idea of the Electoral College stopping Donald Trump from being president is far-fetched at best, or impossible at worst. Many states have laws against so-called “faithless electors,” and experts note that never in the history of American presidential elections have enough electors changed their vote as to sway an election.
[Featured Image by Reed Saxon/AP Images]