The latest defector is a Washington state teenager who said she will break ranks with her party affiliation and become a “faithless elector.”
Levi Guerra, 19, from Vancouver, Wash., has scheduled a news conference in the state capital, Olympia, today (Dec. 1) to explain. She is joining what’s become known as the the “Hamilton electors.”
The group is justifying its action under a Constitutional provision that the Electoral College has the duty to “stop an unfit man from becoming President. ”
“The Constitution they crafted gives us this tool. Conscience demands that we use it,” it states on its Web site. “Together, we can stop Trump when the Electoral College votes on December 19th.”
But this doesn’t mean the office might go to his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, who is contesting votes in three key states, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.
The group is pledging to fill the job with a “responsible Republican alternative who can unify our country.”
So far, the Hamilton electors haven’t identified who that might be, but Vice President Mike Pence appears to be the logical choice. Ironically, however, many liberals actually consider Pence a worse alternative, given his track record as Indiana governor.
Whether the protest grows beyond a symbolic gesture also remains to be seen. Following the election, 306 electors had committed to support Trump, more than enough to win the Electoral College.
Clinton, in contrast, has 232 pledged electors, even though she has 2 million more, and counting, popular votes than Trump. The skewed outcome is the result of state “winner-take-all” rules, which, in effect, turn the national election into 51 mini elections.
“I stand behind Hamilton electors,” Guerra said in a statement. “I promised those who elected me that I would do everything I could to keep Donald Trump out of office.”
Oddly, Guerra is pledged to vote for Clinton, who won Washington state and all 12 of its electors handily with 53 percent of the vote.
“I’m only 19 and this is my first time being involved in politics, but I hope that my willingness to put my country before my party will show that my generation cares about all Americans,” Guerra explains.
Three other Washington state Clinton electors and four Colorado electors, another state Clinton won, have pledged to switch their votes to another Republican to protest Trump’s election.
The move, although unusual, is not entirely without precedent. In 1912, one elector changed his vote because the Republican vice-presidential candidate, James Sherman, died before the vote was held.
But Trump would be the first president-elect in history to face an Electoral College revolt over his fitness to hold the office.
Among the states Trump won, Art Sisneros from Texas is the only member so far to bolt from his camp. He announced his resignation rather than vote for him. His successor, however, will likely cast the vote for the president-elect.
Electoral College members will meet in statehouses across the country Dec. 19 to cast their official votes for the next president.
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