The Electoral College was originally envisioned as a way to prevent the election of authoritarian tyrants like Donald Trump. To that end, at least six Democratic electors have told POLITICO they will be “faithless” and will work to block Donald Trump’s electoral college majority, not only to potentially keep him from ascending to the Presidency but also to show how undemocratic the Electoral College truly is.
The electors, who are mostly Bernie Sanders supporters, are now trying to persuade their Republican colleagues to join them in defiance of Trump.
There are 538 members of the electoral college; Trump has nominal control of 290 of them. The results from Michigan still being counted, representing another potential 16. The dissidents would need to convince 37 Republican electors to defect.
Even if they were successful, the House of Representatives would have the final say, and it’s likely that festering morass of extremists would vote for Trump anyway. But even if they fail, they hope to show the nation that the Electoral College is a hindrance to democracy and in desperate need of reform.
“If it gets into the House, the controversy and the uncertainty that would immediately blow up into a political firestorm in the U.S. would cause enough people — my hope is — to look at the whole concept of the Electoral College” said one elector.
Twenty-nine states have laws mandating that their electors follow the popular vote – but those laws have never been enforced. While it is looking like the electoral college may not be able to save us from Trump, the coming disruption might be enough to provoke a real conversation which may lead to important reforms that could keep the popular vote from being ignored once again.
If you’d like to reach out to your electoral college voters, you can use this handy website here.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.