It seems I have a little more to say on the matter after all.
First (and I’m copy/pasting this directly from Facebook comments I’ve made), as others do, I have my personal reasons for being sad, angry, and scared. But, agree [with those who point out] that like it or not, Trump will be our president. Rioting/holding signs/complaining isn’t going to do anything to change that for the next four years. We need to respect the process – and if we don’t like it, do something proactive. We need to go high, and it saddens me to see so many of us going so very low. I am heartened by hearing from friends who were in the silent (electoral) majority who voted for Trump. Friends who I know do not espouse the horrific qualities he has exhibited throughout and even before this campaign. While it doesn’t make me any happier to have him in office, I’m glad to see that in my day-to-day life, reason and kindness can still prevail. We may never come to agree on the issues that led us to vote as we did (and likely will again), but I do feel a little bit safer in seeing evidence that not all Trump supporters are the back-assward individuals who have been highlighted in the media.
Second, if you read yesterday’s post (if not, go ahead, I’ll wait…) you heard me bemoan the imbalance between the electoral college and popular vote. Here’s where the being proactive part comes in. Apparently, I’m not the only one, because petitions have been crafted on change.org and moveon.org to ask the electors to vote their conscience. You see, just because most states’ electors vote with the majority rule of that state (except in Nebraska and Maine, which split their electors proportionally), it is not required in all of them. And according to our Constitution, I’ve recently learned that even in the 24 states that bind their electors to the popular vote of the state, they may still vote otherwise if their conscience (or whatever) leads them to, but risk a fine and people getting angry with them. A fine that I’m sure Hillary’s campaign coffers would cover, and many more supporters would pitch in to cover if needed.
So, in a swing state like Ohio, where Trump won 52% of the popular vote (and Hillary won 44%), the 18 electors of that state could conceivably split their votes down the middle – half for Trump, half for Hillary. In this most divisive of elections, I can see that happening if any of those electors are women or of another demographic that has been marginalized (not a strong enough word) by Trump. And, it’s entirely possible that if the same happened among the 20 Pennsylvania electors, Trump would no longer have a majority of either the national popular vote or the electoral votes and Hillary Clinton would become our President.
As you can imagine, I was very excited about this prospect. I posted links to the petitions on Facebook, and a friend (who I’m fairly certain voted for Trump) asked me a good question. My first answer was a bit knee-jerk, but my second and third comments a bit better phrased (IMO):
I realize that this is a big ol’ long shot, because historically, electors have rarely split their votes or abstained from voting (also an option open to them). The last time the electoral college was challenged was in the 1960s (to no joy). I think it’s time to revisit this issue. If you’re so inclined, please sign the petitions at the below links and share with your like-minded friends. And if this doesn’t work to create the change we want, we shall keep working. As my friend Mary said, real change happens from the bottom up. So, no matter what happens, let’s roll up our sleeves at home and make some good!
Change.org petition: https://www.change.org/p/electoral-college-electors-electoral-college-make-hillary-clinton-president-on-december-19
Moveon.org petition: http://pac.petitions.moveon.org/sign/let-the-electoral-college
I am curious to see how this shakes out. I understand why we have the Electoral College, and why it is generally a good thing. But at the same time, the last few elections have demonstrated that it is time for this part of our election process to catch up with how our country has changed since it was created.