The election should (key word is should) be finalized on Monday when the Electoral College votes. It’s certainly been an interesting time with so many people deciding to look at the Electoral College, and attempt to sway voters to not select President-elect Donald Trump. Some voters have gone so far as to write highly-touted (but factually questionable) op-eds, declaring their plan to vote for someone other than Trump. POLITICO reports both sides are nervous about what’s going to happen.
The nation’s 538 presidential electors have been thrust into the political foreground like never before in American history. In the aftermath of a uniquely polarizing presidential contest, the once-anonymous electors are squarely in the spotlight, targeted by death threats, harassing phone calls and reams of hate mail. One Texas Republican elector said he’s been bombarded with more than 200,000 emails.
“I never can imagine harassing people like this. It’s just f—– up,” said Jim Rhoades, a Republican elector from Michigan who runs a home inspection service. “I’ve lost a bunch of business”…
Last week saw the release of a video of celebrities like Martin Sheen pleading with Republican electors to vote for someone other than Trump. On Saturday, Unite for America — the group behind the video — began sending personalized versions to electors in which Sheen and more than a dozen others call them out by name.
A friend of mind also posted a video last Sunday of the requests he’s gotten from Trump supporters and anti-Trump forces, trying to sway him one way or the other. He’s apparently not had any threats, but is being targeted by groups to change his vote. One elector told The Washington Post how crazy it’d been for her.
Carole Joyce of Arizona expected her role as a GOP elector to be pretty simple: She would meet the others in Phoenix and carry out a vote for Trump, who won the most votes in her state and whom she personally supported.
But then came the mail and the emails and the phone calls — first hundreds, then thousands of voters worrying that Trump’s impulsive nature would lead the country into another war.
“Honestly, it had an impact,” said Joyce, a 72-year-old Republican state committee member. “I’ve seen enough funerals. I’m tired of hearing bagpipes. . . . But I signed a loyalty pledge. And that matters.”
The entire notion of convincing electors to change their votes for a “splinter candidate” is probably far-fetched. It doesn’t mean it won’t happen (everything’s possible), but it’s doubtful threats and incessant phone calls will convince people to change. The fact groups are planning on protesting outside Electoral College locations is even more ridiculous. Via POLITICO:
“We go into this with sober expectations. Barring an extraordinary event, the Electoral College will likely elect Donald Trump as president. However, we can achieve two concrete things with these protests even if Trump wins the vote,” writes [ Progressive Change Campaign Committee ] co-founder Adam Green in a letter to the group’s members, which will circulate on Wednesday.
“First, by generating media attention to the idea that Electors who support the popular vote winner, we can make it a source of mockery when Trump claims a ‘mandate’ for an authoritarian, anti-worker, right-wing agenda. And when establishment Republicans in Congress claim a ‘mandate’ to ram millions of dollars of corporate giveaways through Congress,” Green writes. “Second, these events will force the media to report that Trump’s razor thin victories in battleground states were made possible in part by massive voter suppression.”
There is one idea out there on how to keep Trump from the White House, but it involves Hillary Clinton being willing to swallow her ego. Via CATO’s Michael Cannon in The Washington Post:
The only way Democrats stand any chance of persuading Republican electors to abandon Trump is with a dramatic gesture of true bipartisanship. If all 232 Democratic electors pledge to reach across the aisle and vote for a Republican alternative to Trump, it would take just 38 GOP electors to make that person the next president.
If Clinton announced she is releasing “her” electors and asked them to vote for a credible Republican alternative, she could plausibly deliver all 232 Democratic electors. She might even secure similar pledges from House Democrats in the event the election went to the House…
If Democrats believe Trump poses a unique threat to the republic, and signal this is not okay by reaching across the aisle to marginalize and stop him, then win or lose, Democrats could legitimately claim they put partisanship aside for the good of the country.
If Democrats believe Trump poses a unique threat yet don’t support another Republican in the electoral college, it will indicate that Democrats see Trump as no different from any other Republican. And if Democrats treat Trump as normal, they will be complicit in normalizing his behaviors.
The only people who will be responsible for a Trump presidency are those who voted for him — plus Clinton and her campaign, who helped to raise Trump’s profile during the primaries. But if Democrats truly believe what they say about Trump, they should prefer another Republican who does not threaten to normalize what a Trump presidency would.
I certainly wouldn’t complain if the electors decided to support someone like Rand Paul or Gary Johnson or Austin Petersen or Justin Amash over Trump on Monday, but I know that’s not going to happen. I’m not 100% sure a Mitt Romney or John Kasich presidency would be any better than a Trump one (there would still be too much government spending and military interventionism). I know Clinton would be just as bad as Trump. It’ll still be interesting to see what happens on Monday, especially because the Senate doesn’t certify the results until January.
But protests and threats and insert whatever other strategy, just isn’t going to work. It could have worked if Clinton and Democrats showed bipartisanship. But they didn’t, so it’s doubtful anyone but Donald Trump will win on Monday. Doesn’t mean it won’t happen, but sure doesn’t mean it will.