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My Word is Just a Word

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

The media has been using the historical term "faithless elector" to describe those electors in 2016 who turned their collective backs on their state's voters and voted as they chose for President of the United States. The actions of these electors were possibly precedent setting and undoubtedly damaging to future elections in terms of voters considering themselves disenfranchised. The actions of the so-called "elites" who encouraged these electors to become "faithless electors" and who encouraged intimidation of these electors set a new low in American politics.

If a presidential elector can wake up one morning, determine that both his pledge under law and/or his word to his political party are words without meaning then literally nothing is sacred in our presidential election process.

We are in need of a more damning description of ""faithless electors" and a severe tightening of either or both federal and state law. We cannot have electors invalidating the election process by ignoring the votes of their states and we cannot condone "elites" encouraging electors to break what should be a sacred trust with the voters.

From 1832 until 1948, there were no "faithless electors" in any presidential contest. Since 1848, there was not more than a single "faithless voter" in any presidential contest until the current election. However, in 2016, there were seven. Each of the seven, plus a few more who publicly considered becoming "faithless electors", had their "Andy Warhol moment", famous for fifteen minutes.

Societies change. What was historically an occasional single individual with an axe to grind as a presidential elector could easily become precedent in 2020 after the actions of seven electors in 2016.

Seven nameless, faceless, arrogant, egotistical individuals determined that they were wiser, smarter and far more important than the voters they were supposed to have represented. Each was appointed by a political process involving either the Democrats or Republicans and none indicated at the time of appointment as best as I can find to date that they were not interested in the vote of the people. None is on record that I can find as having mentioned to anyone before being selected that they would even consider voting for someone other than the individual who the people of their state voted for in the general election. None of these electors as I can find had their appointment as electors deemed sufficiently important to have been reported in the local press.

In the State of Washington, just over 3,000,000 voters voted for president including about 102,000 write-in votes for President of the United States. Twelve electors represented those 3,000,000 voters and while 2,964,459 of those voters voted for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, four of these clowns voted for someone else. I would wager that approximately 3,000,000 of those 3,000,000 voters had no input into who their electors were, could not describe the process of their selection and could not name a single elector. Anyone who believes that Hamilton would have believed that voters in 2016 wanted these nameless faceless electors to consider their votes as input as opposed to direction is, to be kind, foolish.

And as to the "elites" who suggested that the electors ignore their scared trust to the voters, one wonders whether they are or should be considered to having engaged in some kind of illegal activity. Certainly the individuals who were attempting to intimidate these electors should be considered to have engaged in a crime.

What should we call a "faithless elector" after 2016? How about "Untrustworthy Elector" It is not over the top.

As a matter of law, states should increase penalties and fines for "Untrustworthy Electors". Those penalties should include jail time. If constitutional, the Congress should consider fashioning a law that makes the votes of the voters of each state the required votes of the electors. States and Congress should enact penalties and fines for those who try to impact electors' votes through intimidation.

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