FAITHLESS ELECTORS: A Faithful Historical Review

By Guest Writer Adam Gingrich
Pennsylvania Political Consultant
Twitter Handle: @DissingerToupee

Let’s face it, the Electoral College gets treated like a snowblower in North Carolina: you hope it works when you need it, but you usually forget about it entirely for years at a time.

Let’s try to remember this notion of how we elect our presidents didn’t crop up in the later days of our democracy, but rather in its infancy. A look back at Hamilton’s Constitutional Convention era correspondence to Jefferson tell us all the reasoning behind the establishment of the Electoral College. It’s not based on some surreptitious and oligarchical motivations to deprive our citizens of the right to elect our presidents. Instead, it was a mechanism to protect the interests of the minority’s rights, as guaranteed in the Constitution. A direct and unfettered democracy is little more than a majority rule scheme. If you feel the Founders’ intent was to protect the affluential and bourgeois classes of society only, and befit them with inordinate powers to select the present, you are, in fact, mistaken.

Our Founders took extraordinary measures to protect not merely the heavily populated city dwellings, nor the small bucolic farming communities in between, but rather protections for both. Larger states with large populations have a much higher share of Electoral Votes. Smaller states, less so. Sounds fair to me. To assert otherwise, is to promote a form of urbanite fascism that rules by strict majority and subjugates the rights of the minority. Thus, the brilliance of the Electoral College.

Now, what about the “Faithless Electors” you’ve been reading and hearing about on Twitter and Facebook. “I heard ‘so and so’ say that many of these electors are going to turn against the result of their state!” Well, like the recount rumors, this one is largely beyond the pale. And, also like the recount business, every state is different.

Now, for the reason you probably read this article to this point: is it possible, or even legal to get 37 electors to change their votes against Trump? The answer…. drum roll…yes. And no. Every state handles it a different way, and they rarely look to update or enforce laws because of a 1952 Supreme Court decision that clarified requiring a “pledge” vs. “legal commitment.” In plain speak, SCOTUS ws careful not to trudge on the 12th Amendment. So, while an elector can possibly switch his or her vote against the will of the millions of voters in their state, Congress is under no mandate to accept it.

Here’s the kicker: electors switching their votes has happened at isolated times in history, and aside from Virginia’s 1836 collusion of all 23 Electoral College votes going against the Vice-Presient Elect, no other point in history has seen more than one or two votes change. Those, for the most part, were not even in states with the winning candidate elected.

So for all you conspiracy theorists out there, here’s the truth of the matter. You will need to get 37 of the truest, hardiest, most patriotic and trusted members of the GOP to abdicate their legal responsibility to respect the wishes of the millions of voters they represent. My prediction? You don’t get a single one. Any really turned off elector can resign and be replaced, as already has occurred once with this election. What’s more likely is that a few democratic electors will not cast their vote for Hillary, who has legitimate character and legal issues that may result in less than her 232 Electoral Votes being cast.

It’s all academic anyway. A solidly Republican House of Representatives eagerly awaits their sworn duty on December 19th to declare Donald J. Trump the next President with 306 Electoral College votes. Bank on it, because history sure does.

Recommended For You