A Republican elector for the state of Texas has authored an op-ed for The New York Times announcing he will not vote for President-elect Donald Trump when the Electoral College convenes in two weeks.
“The election of the next president is not yet a done deal,” writes Christopher Suprun in a piece published Monday night. “Electors of conscience can still do the right thing for the good of the country. Presidential electors have the legal right and a constitutional duty to vote their conscience.”
Several Democratic electors, as well as many grassroots activists, have been actively lobbying Trump’s 306 pledged electors to vote for somebody else, thereby denying Trump a majority and either electing somebody else or throw the race to the House of Representatives. Thus far, though, Suprun is the only elector to publicly state his plan to vote against Trump.
Suprun justifies his decision by citing a litany of common complaints about Trump, such as his personal demeanor and potential conflicts of interest.
“Mr. Trump goes out of his way to attack the cast of ‘Saturday Night Live’ for bias,” he says. “He does not encourage civil discourse, but chooses to stoke fear and create outrage … Mr. Trump urged violence against protesters at his rallies during the campaign. He speaks of retribution against his critics.”
While Suprun cites post-election events to justify his defection, he first warned that he may not vote for Trump all the way back in August.
Suprun, who works a day job as a paramedic, cites the rhetoric of Alexander Hamilton to bolster his claim that electors can and should unite to block a Trump presidency.
“Federalist 68 argued that an Electoral College should determine if candidates are qualified, not engaged in demagogy, and independent from foreign influence,” he says. “Mr. Trump shows us again and again that he does not meet these standards. Given his own public statements, it isn’t clear how the Electoral College can ignore these issues, and so it should reject him.”
Suprun says that instead of Trump, electors should unite behind “an honorable and qualified man or woman such as Gov. John Kasich of Ohio.” Despite signing a pledge during the Republican primary to support the eventual nominee, Kasich balked when Trump won, and offered no support during the general election. The Ohio governor was planning to deliver a major speech on the Republican Party’s direction following Trump’s defeat against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, only to have his plans abruptly derailed when Trump didn’t lose.
Trump won 306 electoral votes in November’s election, and 270 votes constitute a majority, so an additional 35 electors will have to join Suprun by Dec. 19, when the College convenes, for Trump’s election to be in peril.
If no candidate receives a majority, the election will be thrown to the House of Representatives, with each state’s delegation voting collectively for a candidate. A majority of state delegations are controlled by Republicans, meaning Trump could be elected anyway even if the Electoral College blocks him. The House, though, is empowered to choose any of the top three Electoral College vote-getters, so it could conceivably choose whomever is the most popular choice of the faithless electors.
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