Electoral College Electors Should Vote With Conscience

electoral college vote 2016
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By: Nicole Lashomb/Editor-in-Chief—

Like her or hate her, Hillary Clinton won nearly 2.6 million more votes than Donald Trump and has far surpassed the number of votes received by any presidential candidate in the history of the United States, with the exception of Barack Obama. Due to the fact that a black man and a woman have garnered the most votes in our nation’s history, it can’t be denied that we are en route to a future where progress can be made, where there is momentum moving forward. Yet knowing this, I cannot shake the despair and terror in my mind. Though more Americans stand united in the quest for equality and justice, those same Americans, the decisive majority, have lost the White House due to a flawed system by any standard of modern politics.

Our founders developed the Electoral College to be a final system of checks and balances to ensure that a tyrant did not assume the nation’s highest office and most powerful position in the world. In this particular case, even though Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by a significant margin, it is the Electoral College that will prevent her from acquiring the Oval office.

On December 19, 538 electors will cast their votes for the president of the United States. Those electors are the ones who will ultimately put the president in office. Traditionally, electors pledge to vote on the side of the popular vote in their state. However, the Electoral College is grossly disproportionate, favoring smaller, and mostly Republican states. That is how Donald Trump will win the presidency, even when the majority of Americans voted against him.

According to Tony Le, a columnist for MIT’s The Tech, explained that “Each state has the same number of electoral votes as it does members of Congress. Since congressional apportionment in the Senate favors the small states, the Electoral College favors the small states.” He posits the following: “California, with approximately 29,760,021 residents, has 54 electoral votes, or about 551,000 people per elector. Wyoming, with 453,588 people, has three electoral votes, or about 152,000 people per elector. This means that a Wyoming resident has 3.6 times the voting power of a Californian.”

Time magazine reported that the “Electoral College was primarily designed to stop a demagogue—a tyrannical mass leader who preys on our prejudices—from becoming President.”

Since the election, the Southern Poverty Law Center has reported an exponential increase in the number of hate crimes committed against marginalized groups, especially Muslims, immigrants, racial and ethnic minorities, the LGBTQ community, and women. Swastikas are being inscribed on baseball fields and the walls of schools, specifically pledging allegiance to Trump. Notes are being left in students’ backpacks, students that were born American citizens, and who are now being abused and told to go back to their country. The LGBTQ community is being bullied and even physically attacked. Women, such as the students at the all-female Wellesley College were spit upon and verbally attacked by two men that rode around campus in a pickup truck that obnoxiously displayed large Trump flags. White supremacists chanted ‘hail Trump’ while using Hitler salutes at a conference in solidarity to the president-elect. Clearly these people had bias long before Trump was running for office. However, Trump’s actions and comments pinning Americans against one another have encouraged and incited such vitriolic behavior. The worst among us have become emboldened. Anti-Trump protests have erupted nationwide since Nov. 8 and despite the lack of corporate media coverage, they are still occurring throughout the country. And, with good reason.

Trump is well-known for his late night Twitter rants. He has attacked women like Rosie O’Donnell, Megyn Kelly, his alleged victims of sexual assault, and the cast of _Hamilton_ that spoke directly to Mike Pence at a recent show regarding the impending state of the country under a Trump presidency. Other public officials, private citizens, businesses and non-profits have also been targets of his tirades. The list appears to be endless. However, knowing very well that supporters are behaving in such heinous and hateful ways toward others, the most he has said is “stop it.” There have been no Twitter rants about this. There have been no press conferences and there have been no public statements. It is safe to assume that these issues, the issues that are literally terrorizing millions of Americans, are not as important to him as his ego.

According to the Dworkin Report, an investigative report of the Democratic Coalition, there are 10 “clear links” that the FBI failed to investigate about Trump’s business ties to Russia and to the Putin regime. Connected to Russia in a variety of ways, as the report details, Donald Trump has incorporated almost 250 registered businesses in Russia and has been traveling to the Soviet Union since 1987. The report is currently under review by the White House and others.

Alexander Hamilton wrote in Federalist Paper Number 68 that the electors were to “afford as little opportunity as possible to tumult and disorder.” They were even supposed to prevent “the desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils.” Let’s hope so.

Come December 19, I am hopeful that the electors will recognize the dire state of the country, will notice how disenfranchised groups are becoming even more marginalized, and will see that history is repeating itself and white supremacy is becoming mainstream again. I am hopeful they understand that white nationalism cannot be “normalized” or disguised by using phrases like “alt-right” instead of calling it out for what it is—white supremacy and racist ideology. I am hopeful that they will recognize that freedom of religion granted to us under our Constitution is being violated by targeting Muslims, as presented by the incoming administration. I am hopeful that they will empathize with fellow Americans who are terrified that their civil rights will be violated and stripped of them. I am hopeful that they see how a Trump presidency presents hundreds of conflicts of interest around the globe due to his ever expanding empire. Although he finally has said he will remove himself from his business, Trump’s children will be the ones to run the enterprise. Yet, they too have been a part of meetings with foreign officials, which undoubtedly has given the for-profit conglomerate unprecedented access to global leaders. I am hopeful that the electors will listen to the voice of the people, the voice that echoes the majority in this country, the majority that did not vote for him, the majority that voted Democrat, the majority that voted for Hillary Clinton. I am hopeful.

*The author is and has been the editor-inchief and co-founder of The Rainbow Times for almost 10 years. Nicole holds an MBA from Marylhurst University and a BM from the Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam. You can contact Nicole via her work e-mail at: editor@therainbowtimesmass.com.

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