If They Don’t Vote Clinton, Faithless Electors Will Give Us Trump

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In the New York Times, Christopher Suprun announced he would be the first publicly-declared faithless elector in the 2016 Presidential Election. He’ll likely be targeted by Trump on Twitter sometime in the next few days, because he is very firm about his issues with Donald Trump’s election.

Suprun notes that he’s watching “Mr. Trump fail to unite America and drive a wedge between us,” that “he does not encourage civil discourse, but chooses to stoke fear and create outrage” and that “Mr. Trump lacks the foreign policy experience and demeanor needed to be commander in chief.” He reminds people that “Hamilton reminded us that a president cannot be a demagogue” and that “Trump urged violence against protesters at his rallies during the campaign” and that his chief strategist, white nationalist propagandist Steve Bannon, “lauds villains and their thirst for power, including Darth Vader.”

All of this is entirely true. Mr. Suprun’s assessment of what is going on with the next President of the United States of America is a well-informed one. The consequences we’re going to experience as a result of putting Donald Trump into power are going to be far-reaching and very negative.

Then he goes on to say this:

The election of the next president is not yet a done deal. Electors of conscience can still do the right thing for the good of the country. Presidential electors have the legal right and a constitutional duty to vote their conscience. I believe electors should unify behind a Republican alternative, an honorable and qualified man or woman such as Gov. John Kasich of Ohio. I pray my fellow electors will do their job and join with me in discovering who that person should be.

Okay. I mean, do I think Kasich is qualified? You know, yeah. He is more qualified than Trump, at very least. I think “honorable” is a bit subjective, but compared to Trump, I’ll even say “sure.” I certainly don’t want him running the country — but if I’m totally honest, Hillary Clinton isn’t my first choice, either. I’m a progressive and I do not like the neoliberal capitalist ideology that she and many other prominent democrats practice. That doesn’t change the fact that she is still the only other option. And hell — you could be part of history! Just because I don’t like her ideology (to be clear, I really, really don’t) doesn’t mean I wouldn’t be happy we finally at least elected a woman for president.

It’s utterly useless if faithless electors don’t defect to Hillary Clinton. It’s not realistic to assume a majority of Trump’s electors will defect, so the real goal of a defection should be putting him at a maximum of 268 electoral votes — precisely enough to give Hillary Clinton 270.

Some will say “well, he should vote his conscience.” I would say that is purely performative or to make oneself feel better. The previous elector who came forward saying “I can’t vote for Trump” and then resigned his post, essentially gave his vote to Trump, but because he didn’t actually vote for Trump, his feelings have been assuaged. Giving your electoral vote to anyone other than Hillary Clinton essentially amounts to the same net effect. This is not the time for that. If a faithless elector truly wants to change course, this is the time — the very last chance — to stop Trump from getting into the White House.

If Donald Trump is at 269 and all the votes went to Hillary Clinton, then Hillary Clinton will also be at 269. That means the presidential vote goes to the House of Representatives. At this point, enough of the House is sold on Trump that I think it’s essentially unavoidable we’d get him.

Trump has made too many promises already. He’s spent too much time dealing and filled too many of his cabinet positions with GOP favorites. Too many people stand to gain big with Trump at the head. I have no doubt that the House would put him in.

Hell, even if there were some doubt — if your goal is not to put Trump in, doing breaking with 200 years of tradition, painting a big target on your back, and putting yourself at risk to get a situation that might end up with Trump anyhow would seem pointless to me.

Faithless electors need to defect specifically to the person with the most votes to ensure the House does not get to vote on who is President.

At this point, Trump is too far into his transition. He’s made a lot of moves that specifically benefit the GOP. The House is now pro-Trump. If electors do not specifically defect to Hillary Clinton, even if they knock Trump below 270 electors, Trump will most likely get in.

Why even bother if you’re not putting the votes into the only person anywhere within striking distance of Trump? Why take huge action for a situation where Trump still might get it?

I’m skeptical of putting much hope in procedural methods of denying Donald Trump the presidency. By the rules of our country, stupid as they are, he won. If enough electors actually do defect, though, holy shit. If it is in a way that does not totally shut Trump down, it should not feel better.

Christopher Suprun and any electors planning to defect: if your conscience won’t allow you to vote for Trump, it’s because you know that he will be a disaster for not just us, but the whole world. Whatever that means for you — whatever inside you is telling you this can’t be — please understand there is one way to stop him:

You and 37 other people pledged to vote Trump have to vote Hillary Clinton. That’s it. No other options. This is why we’re going to get Trump, too.

They’re not going to do that.

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Peter Coffin is a writer and performer. Aside from essays, he also creates web series. You can support all of his endeavors via Patreon.