Yes liberals, we hear you: Clinton is winning the plurality of the popular vote, while Donald Trump took the Electoral College handily. It’s not fair (to you). So, we’re all watching with disgust as you take your temper tantrum to the streets, vandalizing buildings, and setting things on fire. Do I empathize? Hey, I know how it felt to lose in 2012, but I never thought, as did my fellow Republicans, to riot in the streets. Sometimes you lose—and sometimes those losses can be shocking, especially when you indulge in ultraliberal sites, like The Huffington Post, which had Clinton’s chances of winning the presidency at over 90 percent. In the end, Trump delivered a deathblow to Clinton, tearing down the famed Blue Wall, clinching Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania for the first time since the Reagan-Bush era. Now, as the Left goes insane over President-elect Donald J. Trump, there’s this rather unrealistic push to get the electors to withhold support for Trump and back Clinton when the official tally is rendered in December. Even left leaning publications, like Vox, are saying that this is pie-in-the sky for a variety of reasons.
Andrew Prokop wrote that 30 out of 50 states have binding laws regarding their electors and who won their respective states; 37 electors would be needed to defect, which is a tall order since the GOP picked their electors in the primaries, some of which along Trump and anti-Trump lines. Moreover, and most importantly, are GOP electors going to vote en masse to deny Trump the presidency? No. If that should happen, then these folks are surely not Republican and could throw the country in a constitutional crisis. Yet, let’s not dwell to heavily on that because Prokop noted that only nine electors have refused to abide by their states’ popular vote results in the last 100 years. Also, the state parties do a good job to ensure that such a fiasco isn’t going to happen. He added that it’s unrealistic, it’s dangerous, and it degrades our constitutional federal republic:
1) The Trump state electors are Republican Party stalwarts or activists chosen during state party deliberations — check out this excellent Politico feature “The People Who Pick the President” to see who some of them are. Almost always, the parties do a good enough job of vetting their respective electoral slates to ensure that they will indeed loyally back their party’s presidential nominee.
The Republican Party clearly ended up falling behind Trump, and any Republican elector who abandons him would be defying the will of not only their state’s voters but also the party generally. And while there actually are some Trump skeptics who are electors, they’ve pretty much all said they’d affirm the results in their states.
2) Trump now looks likely to end up with 306 electors to Clinton’s 232. So it’s not as if one or two electors could make the difference. Thirty-seven electors would have to desert Trump to deprive him of his majority. That’s a lot.
3) These electors wouldn’t just have to desert Trump. Simply depriving Trump of 270 votes without giving Clinton herself 270 would throw the election to the GOP-controlled House of Representatives, which is certain to award the presidency to Trump. To prevent Trump’s election, they’d all have to affirmatively back Clinton.
Keep in mind that hardly any of even Trump’s strongest critics in the GOP went so far as to actually endorse Hillary Clinton over him. Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush, John Kasich, Lindsey Graham, John McCain, and George W. Bush all refused to go so far, saying instead they’d vote for no one or write in somebody else.
4) Any large-scale defections from Trump would surely be disputed by his supporters in those states, who may well just send in a conflicting set of electoral votes. And an 1887 law holds that if states send in multiple conflicting sets of electoral college votes, Congress gets to vote on which ones to recognize. The Republican-controlled Congress would obviously not go along with an attempt by electors to steal the presidency for Hillary Clinton.
5) Hillary Clinton has conceded the election and recognized Donald Trump as the winner. There is no sign that she would go along with or participate in this endeavor.
Indeed, to be perfectly clear, this idea is essentially a call for destroying American democracy, at least so far as it relates to presidential election results, before Trump can even get the chance to do anything, without any clear idea of what would replace it. It is very, very unlikely to work out well.
The far Left appears to be willing to destroy the village to save it; that village being the United States of America…because their candidate lost an election. It’s beyond childish, though being puerile is the default disposition of progressives. Folks, there will be more elections—and yes, some of them will end with you delivering a shellacking to GOP candidates. It’s happened before, just as it will happen in the future. Four other presidential candidates won the popular vote, but lost the Electoral College. It happens, but we survived. We endured. And we’re still here. So far, 1 million more people voted for Clinton thanks to late returns from California, which is a Democratic bastion, but she didn’t win the states that matter in national elections. And her outright abandonment of white working class voter outreach sunk her. Outgoing Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) is putting forward a bill to abolish the Electoral College, other proposals have been put forward as well, but it’ll fail. It’s not going to happen, folks. My candidate lost isn’t a good enough reason. Moreover, Republicans control 69/99 state legislatures and they control Congress. It’ll require a constitutional amendment to get ride of the system—and that’s just not in the cards. The college is here to stay. Again, if you want to win, nominating people under FBI investigation probably isn’t the best move.
Federal judge Richard A. Posner had a good post on why the Electoral College should remain back in 2012 for Slate. It’s worth the read.