It’s over. There is no escaping the next four years of the Trump administration. He will make “America great again”; that means no more immigrants and opposing gay marriage; at least, that is what many of those who voted for him are saying.
Technically, though, it is not over yet.
Donald trump is not yet president; he is the President-Elect, the presumed winner, but there is a way the Electoral College can stop him from becoming president.
Most people still do not fully understand the concept of what happens with the Electoral College, or when citizens cast their votes. When citizens vote, they are not just casting their vote for the President; their votes also determine which electors will be representing them during the final decision being made to choose the President. That is what will happen on December 19th: The electors of each state will meet in their state capitals to cast their final ballots, the results of which will then be sent to Washington, D.C.
Right now, Donald Trump is expected to have 306 electors casting their votes for him. Theoretically, though, all 306 do not have to vote for Trump.
29 states have passed their own laws making it mandatory for electors to vote based on the popular votes of their states. Trump won only 15 of these states, as well as three of the electors from the state of Maine.
Totaled together, that is 163 electors who have no choice but to vote for him, because their states have made it mandatory. The rest of the 145 are not bound by any state laws for the electors to vote in favor of the popular votes of their states. If this should happen, they would be called faithless electors.
Faithless electors are a very uncommon phenomenon in the process of choosing the President of the United States; but there are notable events where it has happened.
The last time there was a faithless elector, the name was kept anonymous, and that vote was cast for John Kerry’s running mate John Edwards instead. In 1972, Republican elector Roger L. MacBride of Virginia refused to vote for Richard Nixon and, instead, voted for the Libertarian nominee John Hospers. Barbara Lett-Simmons was chosen as an elector for the District of Columbia in 2000, but refused to cast a vote for anyone and became the first elector to not cast her vote since 1832, when Democrat electors refused to cast their vote for Andrew Jackson’s running mate, Martin van Buren.
Right now, two Democrat electors, P. Brett Chiafalo of Washington state, and Michael Baca of Colorado, are making one last effort to stop Donald Trump from becoming president. It is no secret that there are a good number of people in the Republican Party who do not have favorable opinions about the President-Elect, and it’s clear that almost three-quarters of eligible voters do not want Trump to be president. They have, instead, been making it a mission to convince certain Republican electors to write in a different Republican leader. John Kasich seems to be the preferred favorite, since he was the more moderate Republican running for president, and is willing to work with both parties.
Under the Twelfth Amendment, presidential candidates are required to obtain a majority of 270 electoral votes for the final decision of choosing the President on December 19. If (by a long shot) 38 electors choose to write in the name of another person, rather than Donald Trump, he would lose the required majority. If this were to happen, the House of Representatives would choose from those who received votes from the Electoral College.
Republicans now have the majority in the House and have often been seen as the party of cutting spending and unnecessary programs. If they were to view Trump unfavorably for his plans to increase spending as part his economic policies, they may instead choose someone else to become president.
It really would not be difficult to find the Republican electors that have expressed their opposition to Trump over the course of the election.
One elector from Texas, Chris Suprun, said that he would find it difficult to support Trump even if Texas voted red. Jim Skaggs of Kentucky opposed Trump during the primaries, as did Jane Lynch of Arizona. Dennis Daugaard, the Governor of South Dakota, called for Trump to drop out of the election after a tape of him bragging about groping women was released. The real question, though, would be if they are willing to face the backlash for not casting their votes for Trump.
This is a very long shot, and has a very slim chance of ever happening. In fact, it would be like watching a meteor fall perfectly into a volcano. However, it is still possible for Trump to not become the next President of the United States. It all depends on ‘if’ the Electoral College is willing to take such drastic measures; if they do, it would be a great, historic event that would shake the entire world and change the way we view our system as we know it.
* Charles Shaffer has been a supporter of the libertarian movement since 2012 after my cousin shared a video of Ron Paul, and he have been researching and reading more on the philosophy ever since. He lives in Lexington, Kentucky and recently decided to become more active in the movement.