First Republican faithless elector comes forward: Why I can't vote for Trump

John mentioned earlier that at least one red-stater had joined the “Hamilton electors” but hadn’t identified himself yet. (Another red-stater who concluded that he couldn’t vote for Trump in good conscience chose to resign as an elector rather than vote for someone else.) The mystery man: Christopher Suprun of Texas. He has an op-ed tonight in the Times, two weeks to the day before the big vote.

We should probably start a pool. How many electors in all will break ranks? Over/under is 10.

Mr. Trump lacks the foreign policy experience and demeanor needed to be commander in chief. During the campaign more than 50 Republican former national security officials and foreign policy experts co-signed a letter opposing him. In their words, “he would be a dangerous president.” During the campaign Mr. Trump even said Russia should hack Hillary Clinton’s emails. This encouragement of an illegal act has troubled many members of Congress and troubles me.

Hamilton also reminded us that a president cannot be a demagogue. Mr. Trump urged violence against protesters at his rallies during the campaign. He speaks of retribution against his critics. He has surrounded himself with advisers such as Stephen K. Bannon, who claims to be a Leninist and lauds villains and their thirst for power, including Darth Vader. “Rogue One,” the latest “Star Wars” installment, arrives later this month. I am not taking my children to see it to celebrate evil, but to show them that light can overcome it…

Finally, Mr. Trump does not understand that the Constitution expressly forbids a president to receive payments or gifts from foreign governments. We have reports that Mr. Trump’s organization has business dealings in Argentina, Bahrain, Taiwan and elsewhere. Mr. Trump could be impeached in his first year given his dismissive responses to financial conflicts of interest. He has played fast and loose with the law for years. He may have violated the Cuban embargo, and there are reports of improprieties involving his foundation and actions he took against minority tenants in New York. Mr. Trump still seems to think that pattern of behavior can continue.

Suprun hasn’t committed to an alternative yet but wants a huddle with the other electors to find “an honorable and qualified man or woman such as Gov. John Kasich of Ohio.” Seven other electors have declared that they’ll break with the outcome of their state’s popular vote to cast a protest vote against Trump, most recently a 19-year-old from Washington. But those votes won’t cost Trump anything; they’re all blue-staters, pledged to Hillary. They’re going to write in an alternate Republican like Kasich purely as a statement against Trump and, in theory, to encourage other electors who oppose Trump to join them. Suprun’s vote is the first one to actually pull something out of Trump’s column. (Fitting that it would come from Ted Cruz’s home state.) Point being, it’s quite possible and probably likely that the push in the electoral college by anti-Trumpers to embarrass him will, ironically, end up costing Hillary Clinton more EVs than it will Trump himself.

That being so, you’re left wondering why more Democratic electors haven’t decided to cut Hillary loose completely and cast a protest vote against Trump by writing in “Not Trump” or “End the Electoral College” or something along those lines. That would be an unfortunate precedent since it would probably mainstream the practice for the losing party in future elections, but if the left is serious about turning this into a publicity stunt for letting the national popular vote decide the presidency, they’re being awfully un-creative about it. Maybe this helps explain why:

Brezenoff, a clinical social worker and professor in California, is the man behind a record-breaking petition calling on the Electoral College to make Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton the next president of the United States.

Brezenoff launched his petition on Nov. 9, one day after Donald Trump‘s election, hoping to spark a discussion with friends on social media. But on Thursday, announced that the call to action had officially become the fastest growing and most signed petition in the website’s 10-year history. As of Monday, it had more than 4.7 million signatures, and several celebrity supporters, including Lady Gaga, Laverne Cox and Sia.

The left is actually divided on this. Some want to turn this vote into a gimmick to promote abolishing the electoral college, others are stuck on the silly and futile idea of pressuring electors to make Hillary president. If you think she has some sort of moral claim to the office, or at least would make a more suitable president than Trump, how can you condone taking electoral votes out of her column and wasting them on a “Not Trump” protest? If you want to make the winner of the popular vote president in future elections and you believe (correctly) that there’s no earthly way you’re going to convince 37 Republican electors to vote for Clinton instead of Trump, how could you not condone it?

Here’s a video that the faithless “Hamilton electors” put together for their cause. Highly speculative exit question for legal eagles and constitutional scholars: If the electoral college did deny Trump 270 electoral votes, throwing the election to the House, could Congress simply refuse to certify those results when it meets on January 6th to count the votes? Does Congress have any role beyond affirming that every elector’s vote was recorded properly, per their true intent, or could it reject Texas’s results, for example, on grounds that Suprun’s should have gone to Trump? I assume that the votes of the electors can’t be challenged, at least as a matter of federal law, on grounds that they were “pledged” to a candidate. Does Congress have a remedy in the certification process to make sure that the popular vote of each state election is properly recognized in the form of compelling its electors to vote a certain way?