The Electoral College Will Not Save Us
Many of my friends and family are hoping that in 14 days the Electoral College will save us from a Donald J. Trump presidency. But for the Electoral College to choose anyone other than Trump would require an allegiance to the Constitution and a love of country that just doesn’t exist right now.
On December 19th, there will be a few “faithless electors,” (a possible candidate for 2016’s word of the year), but I do not believe enough will cast their votes against their state’s results to change the outcome. 38 electors would have to vote this way, which is unlikely given that only 157 electors have ever voted against election results in the history of the electoral college, and nearly half of those votes were changed because the candidate had died.
People are saying that this is the duty of the electors, that this is the moment the system was created for, and it seems in my estimation that it should be. Trump’s behavior in the 28 days since the election has only stoked the fears of many people — he has refused to remove the likely conflicts of interest that surround his business empire, has announced that he will nominate a cadre of inexperienced cabinet members who seem to have their own conflicts of interest, and he has broken diplomatic protocols and seems to be committed to instigating a skirmish with the country with the second largest global economy — all before he is even inaugurated.
The country is just too divided and too partisan for enough electors to cast a vote for country over party. For the past 8 years, the entire GOP platform has been obstructionist. The highest ranking elected republican officials said clearly that their number one goal during President Obama’s first term was to make him a one-term president, not to get the economy back on track, create jobs, support veterans, or get out of the middle east. They showed their commitment to this by shutting down the government and holding 62 votes to repeal Obamacare even when they knew they did not have the votes.
All of this happened, and the GOP retained control of Congress in this election. This illustrates, not just how bitterly divided Washington is, but how little the voting public cares about finding policies that are good for the country compared to not letting the other guy win.
For 8 years conservatives have screamed about how President Obama is the worst president in the country’s history without being able to provide a single example to support that position. Even now that the predictions that Obama would take all our guns and destroy America have clearly been wrong (unless he throws a pretty impressive Hail Mary in these last 7 weeks) people still claim that he has ruined the country. By what measure, I am not sure. Unemployment is at it’s lowest in 10 years, the stock market has reached record highs several times, and more than 16 million Americans have health care that they wouldn’t have been able to get, including those with pre-existing conditions.
Oh, and he killed Osama Bin Laden.
The president did all of that while Republicans did everything to stand in his way, and the country still overwhelmingly voted for Republicans to maintain control of Congress. Now that Trump has been elected, the GOP establishment who rebuked Trump during the campaign have changed their tune asking Americans to give him a chance. Trump has said and done things over and over that would have knocked any other candidate out of the race, but he keeps on winning. Despite pledging that he would do things that clearly violate the constitution over and over, 62 million people cast a vote for him. There’s no reason to think the Electoral College won’t too.
The only way Trump doesn’t become president is if election tampering is found that is wide-spread enough to have given Trump Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, and like most Hillary supporters said when Trump predicted that the election would be rigged, it would be very, very hard, probably impossible, for anyone, including hackers, to have that kind of impact.
The Electoral College won’t do the job it was intended to do, but, what we can do, like many have pointed out, is find ways to work against the Trump presidency. We should support organizations that work to protect the constitutional rights of groups most vulnerable to attacks from Trump surrogates. Donate your money and give of your time to organizations like CAIR, the ACLU and GLAAD.
Be prepared to put use your body to defend the rights of those who can’t. Many of us are largely insulated from Trump attacks — straight, middle income white people, especially men — are the starring role in the vision that Trump has for making America great again. If we care about the safety and well-being of our neighbors and fellow citizens then when the time comes that we need to be in public and defying the powers that be, we must be ready. If you need an example of this works, see Standing Rock.
Lastly, and most importantly when it comes to keeping elected officials accountable to their sworn duties over the desire for party victories, get connected to local politics. Attend the public meetings for your community, follow the voting record of your state and federal elected officials. Start figuring out who and what will be on the ballot in the 2018 midterms because, in addition to wide-spread community organizing and action, a Democratic-led Congress would be the best check to Trump tyranny.
Or the electors could just do what The Washington Post suggests and vote for Mitt Romney.