Let’s take a moment to cover a few details about the past… The Electoral College. The true group of people who vote for the president. Let’s focus on a Faithless Elector.
What Is a Faithless Elector?
The electoral college is made up of electors we vote for. Each electoral vote has a person assigned who votes for the president on our behalf. If you wanted a more detailed look at the electoral system, check out our previous article on the subject.
A faithless elector is a member of the electoral college who has chosen to go against the will of his particular voting base and instead casts a vote for a different candidate, based on the idea that they have a lack of faith in the ability of the candidate they were supposed to support.
That Sounds Wrong, My Vote Counts!
This is something I think the vast majority of Americans from both sides of the aisle agree on.
Faithless electors were the focus of the media the last month and the last hope for a desperate democratic party to overturn the election results in some way. The electoral college, however, ultimately made the choice to go with the candidate they were chosen to represent, and Donald Trump was elected with 304 electoral votes. The 7 faithless electors who did in fact vote against the will of the people was a new record for our country, but they had no effect on the outcome, and actually most defected from their assignment to vote for Hillary Clinton and not Donald Trump.
The Dangerous Precedent
There were countless calls in the news and on social media from people demanding the electoral college change their votes. These ranged from arguments about the popular vote Clinton won handily, the Russian hacking incident, Trump’s general demeanor, and a whole host of other reasons. I have been pretty forthright about my general distaste for Trump’s approach to politics, but as much as I would have preferred a different outcome, the thought of an electoral revolt terrified me.
The backlash to overturning the presidential election results would have been catastrophic for the very foundations of our country. The protests in the streets after the election in November would have been dwarfed by the outrage and civil unrest that would have transpired not just right now, but through the entire 4 years of whatever person was selected to replace Trump as president. The thought of us having a modern civil war or similarly violent revolt may seem a bit of an exaggeration, but I honestly couldn’t dismiss it as a realistic possibility.
The reality is, we all knew the rules going into the election, we knew the candidates after decades in the public eye, the votes were cast fairly, they were counted and in some cases recounted. Those concerned about a Trump presidency may have valid worries, but in my opinion, those worries pale in comparison to us setting a precedent for electoral revolt, and the civil unrest that would follow. The election is over, the results are final. It is now time for us to stop the infighting, and do what we can to improve the lives of as many Americans as possible.
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