Open Letter to Electors
As Presidential electors, you will face one of the more honorable and humbling roles in American democracy. You will be the final arbiters in the selection of our executive leadership for the coming term, and I do not envy the gravity of that choice. I hold great respect for the weight this must lay on your hearts, heads, and souls, even if under ideal conditions; and I pray that you are granted supernatural wisdom and foresight in the coming days. As conceived, the elector is given Constitutional authority to be the voice of the people, but also to be the mediator of the people’s intentions and goals; to — when necessary — protect the people from unsafe decisions. As said by Alexander Hamilton, you are one of the “…men most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the station and acting under circumstances favorable to deliberation, and to a judicious combination of all the reasons and inducements which were proper to govern their choice.”
With all respect and submission, I am sincerely asking that you carefully consider the powers granted to you by our founding documents; the nature of the choice before you; defer to the spirit of the mandate from the people you are asked to represent; and select a better Republican for President.
Donald Trump has never been the preferred choice. He won his nomination with no mandate, securing only 44% of the Republican primary vote, even when including the contests in which he was the only remaining option. A majority of Republican supporters would have greatly preferred another to be the standard bearer for conservative principles, yet they were denied through an overcrowded field of options. Following his nomination, Trump conducted himself with poor candor and a disrespectful tone, showing no understanding or care for the hallowed office he was fighting to occupy. He refused to prepare for debates and interviews, hid from the press, mocked military service, rejected learned counsel (even from fellow Republicans), proposed little sensible policy, and comported himself a braggart and bully that was ignorant of the demands and risks of the White House.
Since winning the general election with a minority of the popular vote, Trump has continued unabated with his unacceptable and embarrassing conduct. He has appointed people to cabinet positions that directly contradict his campaign promises, and has casually dismissed any related concerns. He has architected a very un-conservative attempt at crony capitalism, has flouted numerous long-standing traditions and norms, has made several dangerous missteps in foreign diplomacy with China and India, and is seemingly operating with no plan or sense of caution.
Trump has even begun to attract the occasional ire of members of his own party, including long-time supporters, for various errors in judgment; these include his curious desire to remain a producer on his television show, and his refusal to divest his various financial interests (which would immediately put him in conflict with the emoluments clause of the Constitution). It has also, most terrifyingly, been revealed that he ascended to victory with at least some support and material assistance from a hostile foreign power. After this discovery, rather than express the appropriate concerns one might expect, he went on to deride the talent and ability of the CIA, and has before and since shown undue and unreserved affection for Russia and her President. He has refused to take daily intelligence briefings, is very easily irritated and often provoked by the media and the people, and is willing to leverage his newfound power to enrich and promote himself and his family above national obligation. By all observable measures, he lacks any of the critical qualities that we should expect and deserve from our President.
His approval rating is already below 50% and falling.
Given the conduct that we have witnessed over the last year, including his behavior following his election night victory, Donald Trump may well represent the first and only historical realization of the very threat that birthed the electoral college. He is most certainly a man that has “…talents for low intrigue, and the little arts of popularity.” The Presidency, meanwhile, demands a person of “…other talents, and a different kind of merit, to establish him in the esteem and confidence of the whole Union, or of so considerable a portion of it as would be necessary to make him a successful candidate for the distinguished office of President of the United States.” By words and deeds, Trump is fundamentally unfit.
Many states have made clear that they want the White House to be occupied by a Republican. I would never suggest that any elector violate that popular mandate. However, it is clear that Trump has misled the people and does not hold or honor conservative principles, and he is not capable of honestly and faithfully representing the United States or her people. There are numerous other Republican men and women, including some that have recently fought for the office and won minority support, who would make excellent alternative selections. These are men and women of honor and service, who have devoted their lives to furthering their closely held ideals, and to promoting the success and advancement of all Americans. In this letter, I urge you and your 537 compatriots to fulfill the spirit of the demands of the people, exercise your Constitutional obligations to judge and protect the nation from harm, and select someone of a more suitable stature for service; for example, John Kasich, Marco Rubio, Mitt Romney, or Evan McMullin would all be excellent choices. Despite any policy disagreements I may have with these men, they are certainly patriots and fit to serve.
This situation is most definitely unique and unprecedented. There is no corollary in modern politics. There was no comparable ask from anyone known to me in either election of George W. Bush, nor his father, and it would not have been a request had McCain or Romney won in 2008 or 2012. It was not a request from Republicans after victories for Clinton or Obama. This goes beyond partisanship. Trump, unlike anyone before him, represents a distinct, singular, and desperate threat to core American principles.
My only hope with this letter is to humbly ask that you avail yourself of the full authority of your station, and consider deliberately, thoroughly, and cautiously about what you believe is the right and principled conclusion given all that we know. The American experiment has been designed with many mechanisms to protect our institutions and our principles, and the electoral college is the last line of defense from an unfit executive.
You and your fellow electors will be in my thoughts and prayers.
I thank you for your time.