It’s time for the electoral college to serve its actual purpose and stop an unqualified, dangerous and unpredictable candidate from assuming the presidency.
Let me make a disclaimer: This is a long shot, but it is an actual possibility, and it may just save the world.
It would be completely unprecedented, but everything about the 2016 election has been unprecedented.
By now, the reality has sunk in that Donald Trump is the president-elect. Hate crimes are already on the rise. Protesters are filling the streets. Uncertainty mounts. Russia is gloating about their role. For the second time in 16 years during a highly consequential election, the winner of the popular vote is projected to lose the electoral college. That’s right: Hillary Clinton did actually win the will of the people.
Everyone from liberals to conservatives to President-Elect Donald Trump himself has talked about how the electoral college should be abolished because it doesn’t really reflect the will of the people. I can’t say I disagree; it’s an antiquated system that at the very least needs to be re-examined.
Initially, the idea behind the electoral college was that ordinary Americans would lack the knowledge and information to choose intelligently between candidates.
However, following the ratification of the 12th amendment, the electoral college was established to essentially allow Southern slave owners to count their slaves as three-fifths vote to balance against the population in the North having more universal suffrage. While it’s reasoning changed, it’s purpose didn’t. It’s a fail-safe.
So let’s take a deeper look at where we are. Donald Trump has lost the popular election. A wave of hate-filled white extremism is following in his wake. People have taken to the streets in protest. There is a great deal of uncertainty regarding anything involving Trump, and American and citizens of the world wait anxiously for what could be the most disastrous presidency in history. Kids are seeing hate up close in schools from other kids not understanding the gravity of what they are saying, Russia is now openly telling the world they were in contact with the Trump campaign, when even the FBI said they weren’t. Oh, and he’s also standing trial for fraud in a few weeks.
It’s been less than two days since Election Day. It’s not going to calm down. It’s going to get worse. For Trump, for under-served Americans, and for all those people in the rust belt and rural areas who elevated him to an electoral victory.
The damage that will be done to the country is unfathomable and will make George W. Bush look like Obama. Let’s put it in perspective. Trump’s cabinet possibilities consist of people like Rudy Giuliani, Sarah Palin, Joe Arpaio, Newt Gingrich... people wildly unpopular in their heyday and who were all voted out of office, or in Palin’s case, quit. That’s not okay. His campaign was run by Steve Bannon of Breitbart, and Trump TV was considered to be his real end game... can you say “state-run media”?
How does this stop? The electoral college. Hillary Clinton won the popular vote. Turnout was awful, and that’s another set of problems, but that doesn’t change the fact that a majority of Americans voted against Donald Trump. The last time this happened in 2000, we were falsely led to war and the economy tanked.
The presidency is now in the hands of the electoral college. Those 538 electors now have to weigh the response to Trump’s victory in the face of popular defeat, the uncertainty of what’s to come, foreign influence and what we consider core American values are at stake. Sure, you can make the argument that the Electoral College is designed to ensure a geographic distribution to win, but geographics have changed. It’s 2016, not 1857.
Part of the electoral college’s purpose is to prevent tyrants and unfit candidates from becoming president. It is now time for it to serve that purpose.
The electors are under no legal obligation to actually vote for the candidate that the media projects to win. There are some penalties depending on the state, but 21 states have “faithless electors” that can vote any way they see fit. Hillary Clinton would need just 42 of those electoral votes to stop Trump.
Trump divided this country to get where he is now. Whether you like it or not, America is on the verge of becoming a totalitarian state and millions of people ― millions ― are in fear for their lives. Part of me is afraid for all my peaceful opposition. That’s our reality at the moment.
The electoral college can stop this. They can stave off disaster. The Russians are gloating about their influence ― cut them off. The establishment is dead, but American democracy is on life support. The Democrats have to change regardless, as do traditional Republicans. The electoral college voting in Clinton will be unpopular with Trump supporters of course, but the will of the people will be met and it will light the fire to abolish it completely.
Of course, Congress has to count the votes and can challenge the votes. But if both the popular vote and the electoral college rebuke Trump and elect Clinton, defying the will of the majority will not only be wrong, it will be unconstitutional.
I am in fear for my country. In fear for total strangers. My friends. My wife. My children. Myself. It’s time for the electoral college to serve its constitutional purpose and stop the wholly unfit Donald Trump from assuming office.
To stop the rising hate crimes and civil unrest before it gets worse and inevitably bloody. To strip the extremists of their power, Trump must be stripped of power.