For Democrats who were shocked by Hillary Clinton’s unexpected loss, the idea of “faithless electors” in the Electoral College snatching victory away from President-elect Donald Trump has always been a tantalizing pipe dream. It’s still unlikely, but there might be a little more momentum behind the movement, as a least six Democratic electors are actively working to block Trump’s inauguration, or at the very least, chip away at the legitimacy of the Electoral College.
Politico reports that at least a half-dozen presidential electors — mostly former Bernie Sanders supporters from Washington and Colorado — signed on for a serious attempt at taking the White House away from Trump. They’re not quite faithless electors, since they’re already pledged to Clinton, but they are little electoral devils sitting on their Republican colleagues’ shoulders urging them to become faithless.
Denying Trump the presidency by getting 37 Republican electors to break ranks and change their vote (risking legal problems and fines in the process) seems impossible. The electors, whose ranks include Colorado democrat Micheal Baca and Washington state elector P. Bret Chiafalo, know this. Even if somehow enough Republicans flip, the GOP-controlled House of Representatives would almost certainly give the win to Trump. However, blocking Trump isn’t this group’s only goal.
Indeed, it might not even be their primary one, since they really want to just burn this whole mother down. The group is also encouraging fellow Democrats to cast their ballots against Clinton and instead vote for Sanders or some other protest candidate. If even a fairly small fraction of the 538 electors — including a couple voters from both sides of the isle — break ranks, it will be a major statement that helps undermine the Electoral College.
“If we cannot use the Electoral College as a deliberative process … then we ought to do away with it,” Democratic elector Polly Baca told Politico.
All that being said, Donald J. Trump is almost certainly going to be sworn in on January 20. There really isn’t a significant chance that anything unexpected happens to deny him the presidency. Hopefully, though, the debate about the legitimacy of the Electoral College will continue past 2016.
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