WASHINGTON – The members of the “Hamilton Electors” movement are not resigning themselves just yet to a Donald Trump presidency and are trying to convince 37 Republican members of the Electoral College not to vote for the magnate when they meet on Dec. 19 to officially decide who won last month’s election.
The United States has an indirect voting procedure whereby the winner of the presidential election is decided by a vote of the Electoral College’s 538 members – one for each congressman and senator from each state in the national legislature – and not strictly by the nationwide popular vote, which this year Democrat Hillary Clinton handily won.
Trump garnered 306 electoral votes in the Nov. 8 election to Hillary Clinton’s 232, but technically his triumph will not become official until the Electoral College meets to vote on the matter on Dec. 19.
What the Hamilton Electors movement is seeking to do, encouraged by Democratic electors, is convince 37 Republicans to break party ranks and join the eight Democrats who have decided not to vote for Clinton but rather to back an alternative Republican candidate to avoid a Trump presidency.
If 37 people do decide to abandon Trump, the mogul would fail to get the required 270 electoral votes needed to become president and the decision whether or not to hand him the White House would pass to the GOP-controlled House of Representatives.
The Hamilton Electors are backing Ohio Gov. John Kasich as an alternative to Trump to unite the country after a harsh and divisive election campaign.
Kasich, who ran for the GOP presidential nomination in the primaries and never gave his support to Trump, issued a statement this past week asking the electors not to vote for him when they meet in their state capitals on Dec. 19.
“This approach, as well meaning as it is, will only serve to further divide our nation, when unity is what we need. The election is over. Now is the time for all of us to come together as Americans,” said Kasich.
Also calling for a write-in vote for Kasich is Texas Republican elector Christopher Suprun, who has said that he will not vote for Trump because he considers the mogul to be unqualified to be president, and he is asking other conservative electors to follow his lead.
There is no federal law obligating electors to respect the result of the election in their states and state rules on the matter vary, but in virtually all past elections the electors have adhered to the popular vote outcomes in their states.
However, the Hamilton Electors say that the presidential electors are responsible for protecting the country’s future and ensuring that the future president is the “best” person for the post.
Their manifesto says that the Electoral College must, if necessary, act as a constitutional safeguard to keep the country from being governed by a demagogue who lacks the qualifications to be president, and the Hamilton Electors say that this applies to a person like Trump.
Most observers say, however, that it is extraordinarily unlikely that enough Republican electors will join the eight Democrats and Suprun to deny Trump the required 270 electoral votes.