“Hamilton Electors” Are Being Dramatic, Not Effective

I believe that this is one case where living up to the original intent of the founding fathers is a good idea: the electoral college shouldn’t vote for Trump.
But what is currently going on is at best a symbolic protest. Even if these people were GOP delegates, and thus taking votes away from Trump, it wouldn’t matter. So long as he has more than 270 votes, he’s still elected. Perhaps more importantly, if nobody has 270+ votes, nobody wins.

There are 2 ways faithless electors can keep Trump out of office:

  • 270 of them can change their vote to someone who is neither Trump nor Clinton (and presumably not Stein or Johnson, either). And they all have to pick the same someone.
  • 38 of them can change their vote to Clinton (while the 232 pledged to her still vote for her).

Now, getting died-in-the-wool GOP electors to vote for Clinton is a really tall order. These people are picked for their partisan loyalty, not their patriotism or smarts—not saying they don’t have those things, just that they aren’t requirements for getting the job. But getting an eighth of the GOP electors to do so still sounds more plausible to me than getting half the electors (or 7/8ths the GOP electors) to agree on some third person.

And if nobody gets 270 votes, Congress decides. Unlike the electoral college, they only have three options: Trump, Clinton, and Johnson. So probably Trump. Unless they deadlock and we end up with Ryan and {I forget—McConnell?}. I’m not entirely convinced that would be better.

So, yes, if your point is that the electoral college is dumb and should be eliminated, then switch your vote from Clinton to, I dunno, McCain.

But if your point is that the electoral college has an important purpose in protecting people from themselves, then Democrat electors not voting for Clinton is at best a risky strategy, and likely just pointless. Heck, even getting 7 fewer votes for Trump (while still letting him win) would be a more effective statement.

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