Christopher Suprun is making the first move to stop Donald Trump from becoming president, with the Texas presidential elector writing on Monday that he plans to buck his state’s results and instead cast his ballot for Republican John Kasich.
Suprun is one of the 538 Americans to cast their ballots on December 19 as part of the Electoral College, the body that actually votes to select the next president. While these electors are meant to vote according to the results of the states they represent, they are not bound to do so.
In recent weeks, there has been a concerted effort among many different groups to convince these presidential electors to vote against Donald Trump. They have cited what they call worrying conflicts of interest with his business holdings and a series of foreign affairs blunders, including a congratulatory phone call with Taiwan, breaking a 40-year precedent to acknowledge Beijing as the true seat of the Chinese government.
Christopher Suprun is now the first elector to actually follow through. In a column for the New York Times published on Monday evening, Suprun explained that he cannot in good conscience cast a vote to make Donald Trump the next president of the United States.
Suprun noted that, “Trump goes out of his way to attack the cast of Saturday Night Live for bias, tweeting “day and night,” but waiting two days to offer sympathy to Ohio State University after a terrorist attack on campus last week.
Christopher Suprun went on to write that he felt a constitutional duty to follow the example of founding father Alexander Hamilton, who set up the process for selecting a president to avoid putting someone like Donald Trump in power.
“The United States was set up as a republic. Alexander Hamilton provided a blueprint for states’ votes. Federalist 68 argued that an Electoral College should determine if candidates are qualified, not engaged in demagogy, and independent from foreign influence. Mr. Trump shows us again and again that he does not meet these standards. Given his own public statements, it isn’t clear how the Electoral College can ignore these issues, and so it should reject him.”
There have already been a handful of other presidential electors who vowed to do their part in stopping Donald Trump, but to date none of them have been committed to Donald Trump. As The Atlantic noted, a group calling themselves the “Hamilton Electors” — Michael Baca from Colorado and Bret Chiafalo from Washington state — are calling on the Electoral College voters to select what they call a “compromise candidate” like Mitt Romney or Ohio Governor John Kasich.
— Elianne Ramos (@ergeekgoddess) December 4, 2016
The pair even have a Facebook page and website outlining their idea, which involves convincing enough Republican electors to vote against Donald Trump that it would send the decision to the House of Representatives, which could then pick a different Republican.
“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.
— Tea Pain (@TeaPainUSA) December 5, 2016
There has been one other occasion where faithless electors have changed a presidential election. In 1823, the 23 Virginia electors abstained in the vote for vice president Richard M. Johnson, but Johnson was later elected vice president by the U.S. Senate.
But Christopher Suprun and the other Electoral College voters trying to stop Donald Trump from becoming president could run into some problems. There are laws in place in 29 states plus the District of Columbia against faithless electors, but the penalties are as small as a fine in some of these states.
[Featured Image by Drew Angerer/Getty Images]