Harvard University law professor Larry Lessig has arranged legal support for any faithless electors who decide they will not cast their vote for Donald Trump when electors gather on December 19th. His effort is also aimed at providing a place for anonymous back-channel communication to take place about the ongoing effort. Politico reports:
Larry Lessig says his new effort, which he calls “The Electors Trust,” will provide free counsel to electors, provided by the midsize firm, Durie Tangri, whose partner Mark Lemley is a longtime associate of Lessig’s.
More significantly, Lessig said, the Trust will offer a platform – with guaranteed anonymity – for electors to strategize about stopping Trump from taking the White House. It’s a platform, he said, that could help electors coordinate to determine whether they’ve gathered enough support to stop Trump from winning the presidency.
“It makes no sense to be elector number five who comes out against Trump. But it might make sense to be elector 38,” Lessig said in a phone interview.
So far there are 8 Democrats who have vowed to vote for someone other than Hillary Clinton as a way to entice GOP electors to also buck the system and change their votes. But only one GOP elector has joined them. As Allahpundit pointed out yesterday, his name is Christopher Suprun and he’s an elector from Texas.
In order to prevent Trump from becoming president, the group organizing this effort would need to find 36 more GOP electors willing to break ranks. And they’d need to do it before December 19th when the electors will gather to cast their votes. That works out to nearly 3 defectors a day between now and then.
It’s simply not going to happen and, contra what Lessig suggests, this would not get easier as the numbers climb it would get harder. It’s easy to find protest votes of conscience for things that everyone knows are going to happen anyway. What’s hard is finding the person who realizes their decision go against party could actually change the outcome of an election. That’s a lot of pressure. If you’re not 110% certain about doing it then you probably take a step back at that point.
Plus, as the numbers get closer to the needed 37 everyone involved realizes they have the power to stop it from happening by simply coming back to the GOP fold. The pressure from friends, family and party would be tremendous at that point. Some of the defectors would surely recant, making it necessary to find new defectors. Meanwhile the Democrats who defected from Hillary have nothing at stake and at some point the GOP defector electors would realize this and begin to have second thoughts.
Trump would have to do something uniquely and truly awful in the next 13 days to breathe any life into this effort. Democrats shouldn’t hold their breath.