Saturday, November 19, 2016

Moral Counsel for the Members of the Electoral College

Following my earlier post on moral counsel, I would like to put forward another group of people who I believe are in need of moral counsel: the 306 members of the Electoral College planning to cast their votes for Donald Trump one month from now on December 19.

The members of the Electoral College will gather one month from today. The founders of our country created a safeguard in the system that allows a small group of electors to choose the president. Alexander Hamilton said the system was created to ensure that, “the office of the president will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications.” This system was created for such a time as this.

Clearly, this attempt to get the members of the electoral college to change their vote is a “Hail Mary” with the lowest of odds. However, it is technically possible and I believe that these times call for the full exploration of rare and unusual strategies.

There are numerous on-line petitions circulating. The petition on calls for the electors to vote for Hillary Clinton instead of Trump. This petition is approaching 5 million signatures. Another petition, called Faithless Now, claims to be putting pressure on the Republican electors to select another Republican instead of Trump. And, a group of three Democratic electors in Colorado and Washington claim to be working on this strategy as well.

There is another way to influence the electors and that is to contact them directly. Possible contact information for many of the electors is available on this website. A full list of electors without contact information can be found here.

I strongly recommend that any direct communication with an elector be polite, personal, and civil. As I reach out I will attempt to convince the electors to vote for someone other than Trump. In these letters I will make my case based on Trump’s incompetence (it’s clear he has no idea what the job of president entails), corruption (his failure to release his taxes, his failure to avoid conflicts of interest with his own business interests and with other nations, his appointment of people with profound ethical entanglements), his disregard for the Constitution of the United States, and his selection of openly bigoted individuals to advisory and cabinet positions.

For these efforts to work we would need to convince at least 37 Republican Party operatives to cast their vote for someone other than Trump. If no candidate reaches 270 votes, the House of Representatives would select a President between the 3 highest electoral vote recipients. In other words, if 37 Republican electors decided to cast a vote for Mitt Romney, the House would choose between Trump, Romney, and Clinton.

Like I said, the odds here are a million to one. But I also believe that those 306 individuals planning to vote for Trump are in need of moral counsel.