There’s a guy who has been emailing me every night for the past few nights pointing me to Medium posts that he has written about how he’s a sworn Donald Trump elector, pledged to cast a vote for the Republican candidate when electors vote next week, but will do no such thing. He, like others who purport to be in the same situation, cloaks that claim in the language of the Founding Fathers. He, like others who purport to be in the same situation, offers no proof that he is an elector, much less an elector committed to Trump who will bail on that duty.
A subset of Democrats frustrated at the surprising outcome of the 2016 presidential election have for some time tried to figure out how the electoral college might intervene on their behalf to hand the presidency to Hillary Clinton — or, at least, not hand it to Trump. As you may remember from high school civics class (or from reading the news in the past month), it’s not the votes of individuals that dictate who will be the next president, it’s the vote of those 538 electors, who are assigned by the results of the popular vote.
Trump has 36 more electors than he needs to be the next president: He has 306 committed and needs 270. (At 269, the race is decided by the House.) So there would need to be 37 people like my anonymous emailer to flip the vote. There’s already one, as we noted last week, an elector named Chris Suprun from Texas. One wobbly elector in Arizona recommitted to Trump, and others in Georgia and Texas plan to resign rather than vote for the Republican. They’ll be replaced.
All of those red boxes above the dotted line would need to flip to change the results.
To accomplish that, a number of people have taken to contacting the known electors and begging them to change their votes. A group called “Hamilton Electors” allows visitors to its website to “get involved” — through candlelight vigils, according to the calendar of upcoming events. At the risk of sounding cynical, that may not get the job done.