The Trump campaign finally noticed that there’s a national campaign to turn the Electoral College’s votes against him and his un-American brand of demagoguery. Trump filed a legal claim to intervene against the “Hamilton Electors” in Colorado who filed suit in federal court seeking to invalidate their state’s elector laws, which bind delegates to select the same presidential candidate which their state’s popular vote indicated. Tellingly, his campaign admits that the Colorado efforts are strategically important:
Plaintiffs’ lawsuit, however, threatens to undermine the many laws in other states that sensibly bind their electors’ votes to represent the will of the citizens, undermining the Electoral College in the process.
In this case, Hamilton Electors claim that their First Amendment right to free speech and expression legally permits them to vote for any candidate of their choosing. According to legal scholars, such state laws are probably not enforceable because the US Constitution’s supremacy clause does not allow any lower government to write a conflicting law. Appropriately only for the demagogue Trump, his legal brief seeks to shrink the scope of the First Amendment and to narrow free speech in American politics.
It’s unknown if the court will allow Trump’s lawyers to intervene, as they have to prove direct harm to have standing in court and these electors are bound to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine.
But we do know that Donald Trump’s lawyers couldn’t resist making a humble brag that might undermine his entire case for interfering in the Colorado electors’ lawsuit. Their filing contains the facetious claim that “Of course, President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence have more than enough electoral votes to secure their respective offices.”
In fact, Trump’s projected electoral advantage is only 36 votes, which ranks as the 46th largest projected margin of victory in 58 total elections.
Of course, even if Trump does manage to intervene in this case, he’s still got little to no argument on the merits of the lawsuit, because judges by law are supposed to interpret freedom of speech liberally in favor of citizen’s rights.
The highest citizen’s right of all in America is the right to vote for their candidate of choice in any political election where they choose their leaders. It’s hard to imagine any court overruling or restricting the First Amendment in the most sacred and high vote cast every four years in America.
But that’s not stopping the desperate Donald Trump from trying.
Grant Stern is the Executive Editor of Occupy Democrats and published author. His new Meet the Candidates 2020 book series is distributed by Simon and Schuster. He's also mortgage broker, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida., as well as the producer of the Dworkin Report podcast. Grant is also an occasional contributor to Raw Story, Alternet, and the DC Report, and a senior advisor to the Democratic Coalition