The First Republican Elector Has Refused To Vote For Donald Trump
In an impassioned New York Times op-ed, Texas Republican Elector Christopher Suprun pledged that when the Electoral College meets on December 19th, he will not cast his vote for Donald Trump. This makes him the first Republican Elector to break ranks with the GOP. Supurn began the op-ed by describing his reasoning:
I do not think presidents-elect should be disqualified for policy disagreements. I do not think they should be disqualified because they won the Electoral College instead of the popular vote. However, now I am asked to cast a vote on Dec. 19 for someone who shows daily he is not qualified for the office.
Supurn, a 9/11 first responder, went on to discuss George W. Bush’s leadership in uniting the country after the attacks and asserted that Trump lacked those leadership qualities. He cited Trump’s conflicts of interest, demeanor, divisiveness, lack of knowledge, and choice of appointees as reasons for why he won’t vote for Trump. He claimed the election for President is not over yet and, “Electors of conscience can still do the right thing for the good of the country.” He went on to discuss the intended purpose of the electoral college:
The United States was set up as a republic. Alexander Hamilton provided a blueprint for states’ votes. Federalist 68 argued that an Electoral College should determine if candidates are qualified, not engaged in demagogy, and independent from foreign influence. 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.
Supurn joins at least 7 other “faithless electors” who have pledged to stop Trump from reaching 270 votes in the electoral college. These electors are from the state of Washington and Colorado. A few of them have started an initiative called the Hamilton Electors. This initiative is dedicated to convincing Republican electors to write in another Republican’s name, like John Kasich, in opposition of Trump. Kasich has already released a statement asking electors not to vote for him.
Trump won states that totaled in 306 electoral votes, so 37 Republicans would need to vote against Trump in order to prevent him from hitting the necessary threshold and throwing the final vote over to the House of Representatives.
Although there is no federal law requiring electors to vote for the candidate who won their state, 29 states have implemented this law at the state level — Including Washington and Colorado. That’s why Democratic electors Polly Baca and Robert Nemanich are suing the state of Colorado in an effort to allow them to not vote for the candidate who won their state, who in this case happens to be Hillary Clinton. They’re hoping their effort will undermine the electoral pledge laws in the other 28 states so Republicans can vote against Trump.
In their brief, Baca and Nemanich claimed the Electoral College was created in order to prevent an unqualified candidate like Donald Trump from being elected President. They cited Alexander Hamilton’s original description of the electoral college from the Federalist Papers No. 68.
Whether or not they are able to prevent a Trump presidency, the “faithless electors” hope their efforts will inspire real reform in the Electoral College, so that a demagogue is never elected again.