The Electoral College meets in three days — and Jonathan Barnett can’t wait. The chair of Arkansas’ slate of six electors tells KHBS in Fort Smith that he and his colleagues have received tens of thousands of demands that they change their votes, including some death threats. The effort to intimidate electors has a particular focus on Arkansas, one of 21 states where electors are not bound by state law to the popular vote within their state.
Nonetheless, Barnett tells KHBS that he’s an enthusiastic Electoral College advocate — and that he and his fellow electors will follow tradition and represent the state’s overwhelming choice for president, Donald Trump:
“If it was a popular vote,” Barnett points out, “Arkansas wouldn’t have a voice. … The six members of the Electoral College in Arkansas will vote for Donald Trump, obviously.” KHBS anchor Kelly Johnson adds that 65% of Arkansas’ 1.1 million voters chose Trump, which puts the amount of messages he and other electors into proper perspective.
The strategy to overturn the election in the Electoral College isn’t working in Arkansas. Is it working elsewhere? According to the Associated Press, not at all:
Republican electors are being swamped with pleas to buck tradition and cast ballots for someone else at meetings across the country Monday that are on course to ratify Trump as the winner. AP interviews with more than 330 electors from both parties found little appetite for a revolt.
Whether they like Trump or not, and some plainly don’t, scores of the Republicans chosen to cast votes in the state-capital meetings told AP they feel bound by history, duty, party loyalty or the law to rubber-stamp their state’s results and make him president. Appeals numbering in the tens of thousands — drowning inboxes, ringing cellphones, stuffing home and office mailboxes with actual handwritten letters — have not swayed them.
Not that it hasn’t been amusing, at least at times. Its organization is part of its problem, though:
“Let me give you the total as of right now: 48,324 emails about my role as an elector,” said Brian Westrate, a small-business owner and GOP district chairman in Fall Creek, Wisconsin. “I have a Twitter debate with a former porn star from California asking me to change my vote. It’s been fascinating.” …
But if the effort fails, it won’t be from lack of trying. Most of the pleas to reject Trump are coordinated, automated, professionally generated and, for those reasons, none too persuasive.
“We got a stack of letters from idiots,” said Republican elector Edward Robson, 86, a Phoenix, Arizona, homebuilder.
Even some Democratic electors see the effort as unseemly:
“We lost the election,” said John Padilla of Albuquerque, New Mexico, a Democratic ward chairman. “That’s how elections are and you shake hands with your opponent and you get on with what you have to do and support your candidate.”
But a bunch of Hollywood has-beens and never-wases say differently, Mr. Padilla! Do it for the residuals, man. Thankfully, we only have three more days until this nonsense is over, although the votes won’t be officially tallied until January 6th. The next effort to overturn the election will take place in the House of Representatives, where a few Democrats will no doubt stage an attempt to keep slates of electors from being accepted. That is, unless Democrats learn their lesson from 2016 before the year ends.