Yes, Trump Can Lose the Electoral College — but Then What?
According to Ruben Major, Donald Trump can lose the Presidency but doing so would shock the political system since the Electoral College is an outdated political system.
The Hill reports:
The Electoral College has remained a topic of hot conversation since Nov. 8.
There has been much discussion about faithless electors abandoning their traditional role, Hamilton Electors and what happened in the past when electors have been thrown out during ballot counting by the House and Senate, such as in 1872, when Louisiana and Arkansas’ electors were thrown out.
How could this happen again?
40 Electoral College members demand briefing on Russian interference https://t.co/puCsnXvmgw pic.twitter.com/UavC3ar23v
— The Hill (@thehill) December 13, 2016
It is required that for a person to be elected president, he or she must obtain the magic number of 270 electoral votes. The electors of the state meet separately, at their respective statehouses, on Dec. 19, prior to the formal ballot counting process, which occurs on Jan. 6 with the House and Senate presiding. At the joint session in January, a quorum is required; there can be objections to the electoral votes, which may be discussed and thrown out.
You can probably expect some objections at the ballot counting session this January.
Additionally, the Hamilton Electors — named for Alexander Hamilton, who said in the Federalist Papers that “the office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications” — have advocated having electors vote their conscience. There are even electors who have already decided to vote differently than how they’ve been provisioned.
This is a very real possibility of showmanship at the very least during the ballot counting process, and even possibly of some dramatic changes.
So what would actually happen if electors decided to go the other way?
As in the past, the vote would go to the House of Representatives, where lawmakers will pick from the top three candidates. At this point, there are only two, but if even a single elector votes for an alternative candidate, that candidate might be considered. Who might that be?
Electors have already talked about changing votes to Mitt Romney or John Kasich. What about Mike Pence, Ted Cruz or some other Republican primary contender? Obviously, these individuals have a lot of political influence in the Republican-controlled house, and there is a very real chance for their consideration. The problem here is that if either were elected by the House, it would mean that they could essentially become president without ever being on the ballot. This is one of the many problems with our current system for presidential elections.
Electoral College keeps California from dominating nation, just what Founders wanted. https://t.co/rSQRClaAkJ
— Steve Forbes (@SteveForbesCEO) December 7, 2016
Many people ask why we should even bother having this discussion.
The election is over, Donald Trump already won, Democrats are sore losers, etc. But our country has a real problem, and it needs to be repaired somehow. We shouldn’t be advocating the demolition of the Electoral College, but perhaps there should be some reform of the system as we know it. We need a system that more realistically represents the people of this country. John Adams spoke about the “Tyranny of the Majority,” and this is most certainly something to be avoided, but what about compromise?
Rather than advocating a complete removal and simple popular vote count and the majority wins, it may be more tenable to make some tweaks to the law. The current Electoral College process has not been significantly updated in nearly 150 years. It is wrought with tradition, but this tradition is obsolete and for a much earlier U.S. generation.
The Electoral College should be updated to maintain consistency for the future Americans.
Ruben Major obtained his master’s degree in military history from Norwich University. He writes on politics, public safety, and Emergency Medical Services. He is also a contributing writer for The Hill, and editor in chief of EMS Wire which is an online Public Safety/EMS blog/news service. Ruben is CEO of EMS University and has also served the community as an EMT/Paramedic for 15 years.
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr.