AP: Yeah, There's Really No GOP Elector Rebellion Happening

Matt Vespa
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Posted: Dec 15, 2016 4:35 PM
AP: Yeah, There's Really No GOP Elector Rebellion Happening

Yeah, this Hamilton Electors effort is not going to work, and the Associated Press took a survey of 330 electors and found that a) there are more than enough of them that are voting for President-elect Donald J. Trump on December 19; and b) there’s little interest to cause a constitutional crisis over this election. In short, as many have already known for quite some time, this Hail Mary effort to block Trump is going to go down in flames:

AP interviews with more than 330 electors from both parties found little appetite for a revolt.

Whether they like Trump or not, and some plainly don't, scores of the Republicans chosen to cast votes in the state-capital meetings told AP they feel bound by history, duty, party loyalty or the law to rubber-stamp their state's results and make him president. Appeals numbering in the tens of thousands — drowning inboxes, ringing cellphones, stuffing home and office mailboxes with actual handwritten letters — have not swayed them.

[…]

Even a leader of the anti-Trump effort, Bret Chiafalo of Everett, Washington, calls it a "losing bet" — but one he says the republic's founders would want him to make. "I believe that Donald Trump is a unique danger to our country and the Founding Fathers put the Electoral College in place to, among other things, stop that from happening," said Chiafalo, 38, an Xbox network engineer who backed Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primaries.

It takes 270 electoral votes to make a president. Despite losing the national popular vote, Trump won enough states to total 306 electoral votes. He would need to see three dozen fall away for him to lose his majority. Only one Republican elector told AP he won't vote for Trump.

Salena Zito of The Washington Examiner delved into the other obstacles of a mass defection that could block Trump from winning the Electoral College, least of all the number—it would require 37 electors to jump ship—and the fact that 29 states have binding laws within their election codes that clearly state the winner of the statewide results gets all the votes:

…there are so many barriers to electors overturning an election that it is literally impossible to imagine it happening.

Electoral votes have to be validated by each individual state's secretary of state. Since over half of those states bound the electors by law the official is within their rights to refuse to count that vote.

State legislatures have almost total power over how electors are chosen, so if a massive wave of electors decided to break from their pledge, the state legislature could effectively choose their own slate.

Since most of the state legislatures in this country are majority Republican, that serves as a pretty good barrier against defecting electors.

Some electors filed a lawsuit over these binding laws and failed. Two Colorado electors were told twice—one by a federal judge nominated by Bill Clinton and another by a Denver district judge—that they have to vote for whoever won their state on November 8; that person being Hillary Clinton. The Denver judge, Elizabeth Starrs, also empowered Colorado’s secretary of state to replace electors who violated the law. Besides Judge Starrs, District Judge Wiley Daniel called the lawsuit a political stunt that could upend a peaceful transition of power. About 54 electors, most of them voting for Clinton, are also demanding to get a briefing on the alleged Russian interference into the 2016 election that is still unsubstantiated gossip, with different stories coming from the intelligence community and the FBI/DOJ. That’s not going to happen, as you’d need top-secret clearance to hear or read such sensitive information. This whole Manchurian Candidate drama over Russia that’s unfolded over the past couple of days has been shoddy from the start, namely since there is no solid evidence that Moscow directed cyber hacks to tilt the election in favor of Trump. Everything, even the story about Putin directing the hacks has been from unnamed government sources. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said that they didn’t see any “technical interference” from Russia during the election.

The investigation into this matter is ongoing—and I doubt it will be completed before Monday. In short, Trump will be our next president. So, these Hamilton Electors can pack up shop and spare themselves further embarrassment.