While Hillary Clinton supporters are rioting on the nation’s streets unhappy with the election’s result, experts talk about an improbable but perfectly legal scenario that could put Clinton into the White House.
Democrats now hope that the Electoral College could make a huge difference next month. On Dec. 19, electors will meet to cast their ballot for the next U.S. president. Historically, they stayed in line with their state’s voters.
Clinton Needs Over 20 ‘Rogue’ Votes
But some electors may choose to vote for Clinton not Trump against their states’ wish. And if they’re enough, electors may help Clinton secure the presidency instead of Trump. Clinton supporters also argue that their candidate won the popular vote so she should be president. They even started a petition to remove Trump on Wednesday. So far the petition has over 2 million supporters.
However, it will be hard to swing results, as Trump has secured 290 electoral votes to Clinton’s 228. A presidential candidate needs 270 to win an election. But the U.S. Constitution says the Electoral College has the final say in presidential elections. Electors will either confirm or refute the election’s result via a vote in their state’s capitals.
On the other hand, electors can vote for whomever they choose regardless of their party’s wish. But that rarely happened. About 99 percent of electors stayed true to their states’ voters.
In America’s history, just 170 Electoral College members dissented from their state’s vote. And there have been just one or two so-called “faithless electors” in an election cycle. Experts believe Clinton would need at least 20 “faithless electors” to succeed.
The last time an elector went rogue was in 2004 when he voted for John Kerry instead of John Edwards. But the move had no effect as Bush had secured 286 electoral votes need for a second term.
Twenty-nine states will fine faithless electors if they ignore their voters’ will. Also, the practice is extremely rare and has never changed an election result. On the other hand, some Republicans are disgruntled with Trump so there may be a handful of faithless electors in his own backyard.
Congress Will Not Let it Happen
For instance, a Texas elector from the Republican party said this summer that he would vote for Clinton regardless of the results. After Nov. 8, he backpedaled and said he would respect voters’ will. A former GOP elector from Georgia, Baoky Vu, said a similar thing a few months ago, but the party convinced him to resign.
Moreover, even if over 20 electors vote for Clinton, Republicans will control the new Congress. So, when they’ll meet in January to confirm the electoral college vote they will likely ignore any roguery, experts say.
The Founders envisioned the electoral college system to prevent direct democracy. They also wanted to shield elites from the vote of the masses. Alexander Hamilton said electors should ensure that the U.S. president has the “requisite qualifications” for the position.
In the following weeks, Democrats who challenge President-elect Trump’s “qualifications” could seek to alter the Electoral College system.
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