Electing a Qualified Republican to Stop Trump — FAQ

Mark Goldenson
3 min readDec 6, 2016

A previous post described how we can stop Donald Trump by electing an alternate Republican in the Electoral College. This post answers some common questions.

Don’t some states bind electors to vote for the party’s nominee?

Twenty-nine states have such laws but they are generally considered unconstitutional. Our founders intended for electors to be free agents who can vote their conscience.

Hamilton Defenders have filed lawsuits against all of these elector laws. Many specify no penalty or a minimal fine. They are unlikely to be blocking.

Harvard Law professor Lawrence Lessig has also launched the Electors Trust to provide free legal representation to electors and a private online platform for them to collaborate.

Won’t this undermine our political system?

The current situation is unprecedented. Trump is an unfit demagogue, lost the popular vote by a large margin, and repulses leaders of his own party. The founders created the Electoral College exactly as an emergency brake for this scenario. It’s unlikely these conditions happen again but if they do and the College still exists, it should again serve its purpose.

Concerns about political undermining should instead focus on problems like gerrymandering and voter suppression.

What about the Vice Presidency?

Electors can still choose Mike Pence or another candidate to balance the ticket.

Mike Pence, Paul Ryan, Ben Sasse

That could include mavericks like John McCain and Ben Sasse, centrists like David Patraeus and Jim Webb, or a party leader like Paul Ryan, who remains popular.

Won’t Trump voters riot?

Trump’s supporters will understandably be upset and I do sympathize but Trump does not have a mandate. He only won because of the Constitution’s arcane rules so following those same rules to stop him is legal and fair. Electing a Republican also keeps the same party in the White House.

A few of Trump’s supporters may riot but we are still a country of laws, even fewer people will risk prison sentences, and our police and military are well-equipped. Everyone has a right to peaceful assembly under the First Amendment but violence will earn no sympathy.

Once a President is confirmed, we must respect the result and begin to heal. We are unsustainably divided and major societal changes are ahead. I genuinely hope we care for each other more and find ways to unite.

Why is it so important to stop Trump?

He advocated for the proliferation of nuclear weapons, denies climate change when even Russia and China are fighting it, incites bigotry and violence without apology, bragged about committing sexual assault, and pledged to destabilize alliances that have kept relative peace since World War II.

He is the first candidate in forty years to not disclose his tax returns and has a long history of falsehoods, incompetence, cruelty, and fraud.

Many have waited for Trump to moderate or be contained. This didn’t happen before he won and it’s unlikely after. Trump’s instinct under pressure is to escalate.

Making Trump the most powerful person in the world, in charge of its largest economy, military, surveillance system, and nuclear arsenal, is a risk too dangerous to accept.

Aren’t you just a pouting liberal who can’t take defeat?

Actually, I’m a libertarian-leaning independent. I deeply value the conservative ideals of lean government, free markets, and individual responsibility. I have voted for candidates of all stripes.

I just fear the immense dangers of a Trump presidency. I love our country and what it stands for. We deserve better.



Mark Goldenson

Passionate about improving the world through science and technology. 3x founder, Group Product Manager at Google.