Hillary Clinton can still become America’s 45th President – courtesy of the Electoral College. Though that is such a long shot!
Democrat candidate won the popular vote by 200,000, Trump won the minimum of 270 electoral votes necessary to be elected president. As of late Wednesday, he had 289 to Clinton’s 228.
According to the United States Constitution, chosen electors of the Electoral College are the real people who will vote for president, when they meet on December 19 in their respective state capitals, says New York Post.
According to law, there is nothing stopping any elector from voting their conscience and refusing to support the candidate to whom they were bound, or from abstaining from voting (faithless elector) altogether, reports New York Post.
The outlet however reports electors going “faithless” is outstandingly rare, with 99 percent of electors throughout American history having voted as pledged.
The last case where there was faithless elector was in 2004, when a voter in Minnesota declined to vote for Democrat John Kerry – and instead voted for Kerry’s running mate, John Edwards.
The deviant vote had insignificant impact on final outcome as Bush went ahead to be declared winner with 286 electoral votes, more than the necessary 270 to ensure his re-election.
Faithless electors are barred in only 29 U.S. states from ignoring the will of the voters, though the penalties are light. And a faithless elector has never swung an election, adds the New York Post.
The outlet, however, observes that due to high dissatisfaction with Trump among Republicans, a few faithless Electoral College voters could well go rogue on December 19.
An elector from Texas, Chris Suprun, told Politico in August, 2016 that he “finds Trump so unpalatable he’d consider voting for Clinton when he gets to Georgia’s capital on December 19”.
Baoky Vu, a businessman, told AJC.com in August, 2016 that he couldn’t stomach voting for Trump either, and was quietly convinced by local leaders to refrain from voting.
Clinton would need more than 20 electors to go rogue and vote instead for her — an exceedingly tall order.
Even then, the new, Republican-controlled Congress that is made up of 239 representatives vs. 192 Democrats, meets January 6, 2017 to approve the Electoral College vote, and would certainly vote to void any roguery, handing the victory firmly back to Trump.
FactCheck.org. says the Founding Fathers of the U.S. created the Electoral College because they were “afraid of direct Democracy.”
Alexander Hamilton thought the electors would ensure “the office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications.”
It remains to be seen, given Tuesday’s surprise election result, whether Democrats – and even some Republicans – who question the “requisite qualifications” of Donald Trump will push to revisit the Electoral College system.
Meanwhile, Clinton in her concession speech given Wednesday in New York ostensibly viewed the elector vote scenario as highly unlikely to make her ascend to presidency given Republicans’ near-firm command of the electoral votes from the 50 U.S. states.
“…We must accept this result and look into the future. Donald Trump is going to become our President, we should work with him,” said Hillary Clinton.
“I congratulated Donald Trump and offered to work with him for the best interest of this country,” added Hillary Clinton.
The Democrat said she would not hesitate to defend, point out wrongs when the rights of the American people are violated, especially on freedom of worship, expression and association.