I got an e-mail the other day asking me to sign a petition to members of the Electoral College pledged to Donald Trump to switch their votes to Hillary Clinton.
This is theoretically possible. “Faithless” electors have violated their pledges in previous elections.
But trying to overturn Trump’s election in the Electoral College would set a terrible precedent. It is a bad and dangerous thing even to attempt.
If I were a Trump voter in a red state, I would be furious at the idea of my vote being set aside by somebody I probably hadn’t even heard of.
It would mean that, in the future, voting would not necessarily decide the Presidential election. The vote would be followed by an attempt to persuade, threaten or bribe the Electors into going against the wishes of the voters.
Democracy is possible only when the results of elections are regarded as legitimate, and a peaceful transfer for power is taken for granted.
When elections are not regarded as legitimate, the basis of power is armed force. And in general the Trump supporters are better armed and better trained in the use of weapons than the Clinton supporters.
The current election is a special case because Hillary Clinton is the apparent winner of the popular vote—at last count, by more than 2 million votes.
It also is a special case because of voting irregularities—not just the possibility that voting machines were hacked, but that legal registered voters were taken off the rolls by the CrossCheck system, and the widespread effort to make it difficult for racial minorities to vote.
But challenging the rules, even when the rules need to be challenged, is something that needs to be done before the game, not after you’ve lost.
What we Americans should be concerned about is making sure vote machine tampering, voter registration tampering and voter suppression don’t happen in future elections.
It would have been a good thing if Barack Obama, Eric Holder or Loretta Lynch had used the powers of their office to do something about vote-rigging. Maybe as African-Americans they were fearful of appearing to show favoritism to minority groups.
Soon these powers will be held by Donald Trump and probably Jeff Sessions. I don’t think they’re going to be fearful of showing favoritism to white people.
I think the USA is in for a bad four years and maybe a bad eight years. But I don’t believe in destroying democracy in order to “save” it.
Democratic presidential electors revolt against Trump by Kyle Cheney for POLITICO.
Two Electors Are Trying to Withhold the Presidency from Donald Trump by Lily O’Donnell for The Atlantic.
Could the Electoral College elect Hillary Clinton instead of Donald Trump by Robert Farley for USA Today.