Summary: It’s been about two months since the Electoral College elected Mr. Trump as President. Why am I bringing this up now? Because our institutional memory is low or non-existent in the US (because of the fast pace of life). Because we deserve to be reminded that the election of Trump was a shameful act. Because we deserve to be reminded that the Electoral College failed to execute its duty in accordance with its original intent. Why have a Body if its intent is to be a rubber stamp? Its intent was to think and act independently.
By Voting for an unqualified candidate, the Electoral College failed on a monumental level
It’s been about two months since the Electoral College (EC) elected Mr. Trump as President on December 19th. Notice I do not say they “confirmed”. The task of the EC is not to confirm (that is the task of the Supreme Court Justice.) In our democracy, the people vote for the EC and the EC in turn votes for the president. The EC is established as part of our constitutional process (the Twelfth Amendment).
The Twelfth Amendment
“The Electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President …. The person having the greatest number of votes for President, shall be the President …. ”
Note: the amendment denotes a process, not an ethic. It’s more of a physic (this shall be done in such and such a way) as opposed to the intent – it is good or bad to do the process a certain way.
The Intent of the Electoral College
Indeed, Hamilton elaborated on the intent of the EC in Federalist Paper #68. If you read carefully and accustom yourself to the style of the language, you see the following passages:
“It was equally desirable, that the immediate election should be made by men most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the station, and acting under circumstances favorable to deliberation, and to a judicious combination of all the reasons and inducements which were proper to govern their choice. A small number of persons, selected by their fellow-citizens from the general mass, will be most likely to possess the information and discernment requisite to such complicated investigations.”
“The process of election affords a moral certainty, that 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. Talents for low intrigue, and the little arts of popularity, may alone suffice to elevate a man to the first honors in a single State; but it will require other talents, and a different kind of merit, to establish him in the esteem and confidence of the whole Union, or of so considerable a portion of it as would be necessary to make him a successful candidate for the distinguished office of President of the United States.”
Let’s break these important passages out to discern Hamilton’s intent better.
- The … election should be made by men most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the station.
- A small number of persons .. will possess the information and discernment requisite to such complicated investigations.
- The office of President [should] never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications
- Talents for low intrigue, and … popularity, may elevate a man
On point 4, Hamilton believes that low intrigue and popularity may elevate a man only so high, but not to the office of President because of the last check, the last safety valve, the electoral college. But … do I need to point out that #45, Trump, is just exactly such a man, elevated through low Twitter intrigue and TV show popularity to popular myth among a partially-informed public (we still don’t have his tax returns. Is he indebted to Russia or another hostile nation in a way that would compromise his judgement?)
I created a petition over 2 month ago on change.org elucidating these exact points and extolling the EC to not be a rubber stamp, but to be an actual body with free judgement. I wrote the following and two months later, with Trump’s white house in turmoil, roiled by scandal, riddled with a constant machine-gun fire of lies and shaded truths, and rotted at its core with ethics violations. The shaded truths of Sean Spicer, the “alternative fact” world of KellyAnne, the Chief of the National Security Council (NSA) lying to the Vice President about illegal contacts with a foreign hostile power, the ignoring of the Justice Department’s warnings about his corruptibility, the many seats and posts in the West Wing and Executive still unfilled, the general incompetence that leaves a dangerous vacuum for Russia to fill with its next military adventure and invasion …. THE ELECTORS FAILED BY BEING A RUBBER STAMP AND SHAME TO THEM.
a excerpt from my petition that (evidently) gained absolutely no attention even though it was 100% correct in its warning, good intent, and interpretation of the 12th Amendment vis-a-vi the current occupier of seat #45.
That the Presidency should pass to an individual whose guiding internal temperament –unpredictable and self-aggrandizing – a temperament at absolute odds with the principles of selfless sacrifice and magnanimity which Americans and others collectively admire about this country; that this should come to pass is the solemn duty of the Electors of the Electoral College – of YOU – to prevent.
While going “faithless” to your state is no easy task, this petition and the broad support it will evoke, is to ensure you that you have the support of your countrymen in this difficult task. Recall that you are not bound to vote a particular way by law. Your independence was the College’s original intent. That the College has rarely exercised its independence is testament to the strength of this country’s election process in bringing forth the most qualified of individuals to serve. At this point in our country’s history, your independence is sorely needed in selecting that qualified individual. When you are “faithless” to your state you will, in this extra-ordinary time, be faithful to your country.
We ask for only a total of 24 Electors from Florida, North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, or about 6 Electors from each of these states, to go “faithless” and not cast your vote for Donald J. Trump on December 19th. We do not advocate for a specific alternative.