Liberals Will Cite Russian Hacking To Push For An Electoral College Coup

Over the course of the 2016 presidential campaign, liberal pundits loved to hand-wring about “norms,” namely with regard to how Trump had allegedly violated so many cherished ones. Trump infamously declined to preemptively endorse the veracity of the election results, and this was taken as a big, historic affront, warranting several days’ worth of continuous news coverage. In fairness, it’s probably true that Trump in some sense did defy longstanding “norms” by casting a degree of doubt over whether the election results could be trusted. But that’s history now. Let’s take a look at a new norm violation underway — and this one’s a real barn-burner.

Leading pundits and “think-fluencers” have taken to openly promoting the notion of an Electoral College coup — meaning, the extreme and radical idea that Electors should defy centuries of settled precedent, subvert the will of their states’ voters and refuse to vote for Trump, thus blocking him from the presidency. Nothing like this has ever happened before in US history, and it would fundamentally upend assumptions about how the national electoral process works. Almost certainly, it would produce a full-blown Constitutional Crisis.

Here is a running, incomplete list of politically-influential people that have publicly pushed this coup idea. (Please send me more examples.)

Peter Beinart:

Michael Tomasky:

Neera Tanden, Robert Reich, Jacob Weisberg, Jamil Smith:

E.J. Dionne:

Larry Lessig:

DeRay McKesson:

Michael Moore:

Over 4.8 million people have signed a petition calling for this:

Even if their gambit never comes to fruition, which is exceedingly likely, these pundits will have already obliterated a norm. Henceforth, there’ll be an expectation that the Electoral College should act as a semi-autonomous body, in direct contravention of how they’ve acted since the advent of the Republic. So for all future elections, the final result won’t be who wins on Election Night, but rather who can ensure that the requisite Electors are assembled. This process previously was a formality; now it’s a live matter, subject to active lobbying and campaigning.

So that’s a new norm which we’ll all have to contend with going forward. As usual, these people lack any self-awareness whatsoever; they don’t comprehend that the notion of Trump being uniquely dangerous or “unfit” is totally subjective, and that millions of their fellow citizens feel exactly the same way about Hillary Clinton. But lacking self-awareness has never prevented them from rattling off rash opinions in the past, so expect it to continue.

Now that the Washington Post is out with another “Russian hacking” non-story, the pressure campaign will intensify, and liberals will attempt to goad the Electoral College into interceding against Trump. It really needs to be repeated over and over again that no evidence has yet been presented that the Russian government interfered in the US election on behalf of Trump. Lots of people suddenly believe that as a matter of conventional wisdom, because they keep hearing it repeated uncritically, but it remains the case that no direct evidence has ever been shown to the public. Instead, liberals are cheering CIA’s apparent judgment that Russia hacked the election for Trump. Nevermind that this information was conveyed anonymously, without attribution, to the Washington Post by way of selective leaks. And forget the CIA’s horrendous record of duplicity and wickedness. No, because it is seen to harm Trump, we must all stand up and celebrate this development.

But really, this “development” being treated by some as a bombshell provides no new information. Thus far evidence for wild “Russian hacking” theories is still confined to hearsay and cheap speculation. Nevertheless, desperate Democrats will cite this as reason why the Electoral College should take the unprecedented step of subverting the democratic will of their states’ voters, and blocking the duly-elected president from taking power.

People keep screaming, “The Electoral College is how our system works!” to justify the proposed coup. “How our system has worked” for the last several centuries is that the Electoral College votes according to the popular vote outcome in their state or district. There have been some faithless electors throughout history, but they have never changed the overall outcome. So you are calling for a radical departure from “how our system works” if you advocate this tactic, and it will irrevocably change the “norms” governing presidential elections.

UPDATE: I’m going to keep adding Electoral Coup advocates here as I see them

Michael Cohen:

Former Hillary campaign communications director Jennifer Palmieri:

Paul Krugman:

J. Bradford DeLong:

Heidi Moore: