Elec­tors in­un­dated by emo­tional pleas to aban­don Trump

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics - BY SETH MCLAUGH­LIN

The mes­sage on Carol Side’s voice­mail went from un­usual to dis­turb­ing as the stranger who left it im­plored and begged her to vote for Hil­lary Clin­ton.

The man said he was re­lay­ing the mes­sage straight from God, who was call­ing on the 538 mem­bers set to rat­ify Don­ald Trump’s vic­tory to do the right thing by ig­nor­ing the re­sults of the Elec­toral Col­lege. Then things went off the rails. “He started un­con­trol­lably cry­ing on the phone, and in or­der to delete it, you had to lis­ten to the whole mes­sage,” Ms. Side said. “The words were over, and I think it went on for another two min­utes with him sob­bing. He went in with a nor­mal voice to some­one who lost it com­pletely.”

More than a month af­ter Mr. Trump’s elec­tion vic­tory Nov. 8, Clin­ton sup­port­ers and anti-Trump forces are strug­gling to come to grips with the out­come, and their frus­tra­tion has man­i­fested it­self into a last-ditch at­tempt to con­vince elec­tors that they can and should block Mr. Trump from the White House.

The Found­ing Fa­thers es­tab­lished the Elec­toral Col­lege as a com­pro­mise be­tween hav­ing pres­i­dents elected by Congress or by pop­u­lar vote.

Un­der the sys­tem, each state gets one elec­tor for each of its mem­bers of Congress. The bal­lots cast on Elec­tion Day are ac­tu­ally for a slate of elec­tors, who in turn are pledged to vote for pres­i­dent and vice pres­i­dent based on the pop­u­lar re­sults in their states.

Crit­ics say the sys­tem cuts against the idea of “one per­son, one vote” and gives smaller states an out­sized role. They also say it robbed Al Gore of a vic­tory over Ge­orge W. Bush in the 2000 elec­tion and now has done the same to Mrs. Clin­ton, who earned more than 3 mil­lion votes than Mr. Trump but lost the Elec­toral Col­lege by a 306-232 mar­gin.

As elec­tors pre­pare to as­sem­ble in state cap­i­tals across the coun­try, their names, email ad­dresses and phone num­bers are cir­cu­lat­ing on­line. They are be­ing in­un­dated with mes­sages — and in some cases threats. The mes­sages also urge them to con­sider that Mrs. Clin­ton won the pop­u­lar vote and ar­gue that the Elec­toral Col­lege is flawed and out­dated.

Wyck Seelig of Michi­gan, who has re­ceived over 45,000 emails, said, “They are all plead­ing for us to not vote for Trump.

“It is sort of not sur­pris­ing,” he said. “Sec­re­tary Clin­ton ran a campaign that said it would be the worst thing in the world and per­haps the world would come to an end if Don­ald Trump be­came pres­i­dent, and of the 60 mil­lion that voted for her it is not sur­pris­ing that a tenth of the peo­ple that sup­ported her would be­lieve her — and they are scared.”

His­tory shows that elec­tors typ­i­cally cast their votes based on the out­come in their re­spec­tive states — though some have gone rogue over the years.

FairVote, a non­par­ti­san group that works to ex­pand the vote, has iden­ti­fied 157 in­stances since the Elec­toral Col­lege was es­tab­lished in 1787 in which “faith­less elec­tors” have not voted for their party’s can­di­date.

In a New York Times op-ed this month, Chris Suprun, a Texas elec­tor, made it clear that he plans to join the “faith­less” crowd by an­nounc­ing he would not back Mr. Trump.

“The elec­tion of the next pres­i­dent is not yet a done deal,” Mr. Suprun said. “Elec­tors of con­science can still do the right thing for the good of the coun­try. Pres­i­den­tial elec­tors have the le­gal right and a con­sti­tu­tional duty to vote their con­science.”

Mr. Suprun sug­gested Ohio Gov. John Ka­sich as an al­ter­na­tive to Mr. Trump.

If the past is a pre­dic­tor of the fu­ture, these sorts of ef­forts are doomed. No body of elec­tors has over­turned an elec­tion out­come.

Bruce Ash of Ari­zona still plans to sup­port Mr. Trump af­ter re­ceiv­ing 50,000 emails, mostly protests of a Trump pres­i­dency. He said the emails cost him money by clog­ging up the work ac­count.

“I be­lieve I am bound to vote the will of Ari­zona vot­ers, and even though Mrs. Clin­ton lost in Ari­zona, there are tons of peo­ple here in Ari­zona. And I also have emails from New York, Mary­land, Maine, Cal­i­for­nia, Wash­ing­ton, Texas and Colorado that are say­ing, ‘For­get about the Con­sti­tu­tion, we ought to have a pop­u­lar elec­tion here in the coun­try and Mrs. Clin­ton won the elec­tion by 2 mil­lion votes,’” Mr. Ash said.

Tony Led­bet­ter, chair­man of the Vo­lu­sia County Repub­li­can Party in Florida, said he has fig­ured out a way to cope with the more than 71,000 emails and over 10 phone calls per day: He no longer reads or lis­tens to them.

“It doesn’t bother me,” Mr. Led­bet­ter said. “I am more re­laxed to­day than I have been in 20 years be­cause I know we have elected the right per­son, and he is go­ing to save the coun­try.”

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