Six rebel electors have signed an agreement to block Donald Trump from securing the 270 Electoral College votes needed to become president.
Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by more than 1.7 million ballots, with the final tally not yet complete. The founding fathers created the Electoral College to prevent ‘factions’ and unqualified leaders from being voted in, and for the first time in history, this clause may come into play, overturning the election outcome.
So far, six electors have signed an agreement to block Donald Trump from securing the presidency with 270 Electoral College votes.
While it may be tough to convince 37 Republican electors to change their votes – the number needed to erase Trump’s lead among the 538 total electors – an unusually large number of ‘faithless electors’ who refuse to vote for Trump could overturn the original outcome.
Since presidents in the U.S. are elected by the Electoral College – not by the popular vote which Hillary Clinton won by more than 1.7 million votes ahead of Trump — in most states, electors must cast a vote for the winner of their state’s popular vote on December 19th.
Some states like Arizona, Idaho, Michigan and Georgia don’t have a rule against electors going rogue, and phone calls, emails and general calls to action from across the country have been pouring in to try to sway them against voting for Trump.
Many registered Democrats who supported Bernie Sanders are considering rallying behind Mitt Romney or John Kasich if that means garnering more support from other electors.
If this effort is unsuccessful, there are already calls for and legislation on the table to take a serious look into Electoral College reform. An elector who did not want to be identified said: ‘If it gets into the House, the controversy and the uncertainty that would immediately blow up into a political firestorm in the U.S. would cause enough people to look at the whole concept of the Electoral College.
It remains unclear just how many faithless electors there will be, but political science professor George Edwards III said: ‘If you could get eight or 10 Trump electors to vote for someone else then that would probably get people’s attention.’
HOW DOES THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE WORK?
The electoral college is made up of 538 voters – 435 Representatives and 100 Senators, plus three electors for the District of Colombia.
A candidate needs to win a majority of 270 electoral college votes to become President.
This voters’ college are supposed to make their pick based on which candidate receives a majority of votes in their corresponding states. That candidate receives all that state’s electoral college votes.
It is possible to win the electoral college vote and lose the popular vote – as with George W Bush in 2000.
The creators of the Constitution set up the system as a limit on direct democracy – or in Alexander Hamilton’s words, as a way of preserving ‘the sense of the people’ – in other words to avoid a malicious majority forming.
While an electoral college coup is possible, and growing more likely by the hour, it’s improbable that any Republican elector would vote for Clinton – but protest votes would be possible. That could lead to another Republican taking the presidency.
According to a CNN study, around 10 per cent of electors in the past three cycles have considered going against the grain.
The electors cast their votes anonymously on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December (this year, December 19) and are counted in Congress on January 6th and the new President is then sworn in on January 20.
Hillary Clinton’s loss is the second time in five elections a Democrat has won the popular vote without securing a majority in the Electoral College.
Votes are still being tallied, but she stands at more than 1.7 million votes ahead of president-elect Donald Trump, even though she only received 232 electoral votes to Trump’s 290.
Michigan’s 16 electoral votes have still not been officially called, although they are expected to go to Trump.
In Arizona, electors have been hit with a barrage of emails and phone calls from unhappy citizens – most of them from out of state.
‘It is total harassment,’ Robert Graham, an elector and chairman of the state Republican Party, told the Arizona Republic. ‘It started about a week ago. Now? ‘Bam!’ It’s hardcore.’ Arizona elector Saron Geise estimates that she has received as many as 8,000 calls and says she has stopped picking up altogether and it’s a similar story in Idaho, Michigan and Georgia.
The founding fathers created the Electoral College thinking the small group would act as a buffer against the people.
Alexander Hamilton wrote in the Federalist Papers that the small group would ensure ‘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’.
There have been 157 faithless electors over 228 years, 71 of whom changed their votes because a candidate died, according to Fairvote.org.
If the electors manage to block Trump from receiving 270 of the 538 votes, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives may well upset all convention and vote to keep Trump out of office, especially if his bizarre and irrational actions continue. It’s clear with every day that passes that Trump is unfit for this office, and doing a grave injustice to all Republicans — and all Americans. He is flip-flopping daily on his oft-repeated promises on every topic from ‘prosecuting Hillary’ to his stance on immigration, his boasting about ‘building the wall’ between Mexico and the USA, and many trade and climate agreements. Trump cannot be trusted to guide the USA.
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