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Monday, November 29, 2021

Columns

Our last hope is to trust the faithless electors


As a new post-presidential election day dawns, the results of this year’s race are resonating in one of two ways for Americans.

Despite 290 of the electoral votes going to Donald Trump, the general sentiment (on my end at least) appears to be one of disbelief and of concern, followed by nervous laughter and jokes of migrating elsewhere.

Now, you can also calmly — or not — express your viewpoints in favor of Trump.

You can call me every name in the book and demand I be sent back to Mexico for thinking the way I do (I was born in Houston, though, so there’s not any solid backing for that particular argument).

In true Trump fashion, you could ask me to prove it and demand my birth certificate. However, I am not asking you to provide me a list of reasons to justify why you voted for Trump. If you feel strongly that you must, go right ahead. That is your prerogative.

I know for certain that I do not, and will not, support what Trump stands for.

I hesitate to type Trump’s name, and it angers me to put in so much emotion into an article when I’ve refrained from doing so the entire election. He does not deserve any more attention than he’s already received.

Let’s say he makes it through the next four years of the presidency without being impeached, much to everyone’s dismay. As of right now, he advocates for: Coming together? Wrong. Respecting women? Wrong. Refrains from using derogatory language against minorities? Not even close.

What has been said and done during his campaign is forever ingrained in the minds of those he has explicitly offended, and those who weren’t directly targeted but have friends and family who were.

This is one issue, one position and one belief, that I will not be ashamed to hold in the future. I’ll turn instead to a less-familiar topic, but one that provides me with one last shred of hope: the Electoral College.

Hillary Clinton has been the second Democratic candidate in 20 years to have won the popular vote, but lose the electoral vote. Even so, to seek reform is not where this conversation is geared.

The Nov. 8 election is not a direct election for the president. It is, rather, an indirect one where voters elect a body who in turn pledges to vote for a particular candidate.

Behold, the Electoral College.

If you’re reading this and thinking “Well, sure everyone knows that,” you’re wrong. Most Americans don’t.

Per Alexander Hamilton’s Federalist No. 68, the Electoral College was intended to serve as “the choice of several, to form an intermediate body of electors, will be much less apt to convulse the community with any extraordinary or violent movements, than the choice of one who was himself to be the final object of the public wishes.”

In short, the outcome of the vote in each state determines a number of electors, who will then make the actual choice of president and vice president. Each state has as many electors as it has senators and members of the House of Representatives.

In total, there are 538 electors up for grabs.

Though there are no federal laws requiring electors to honor their pledge, there are 24 states that punish faithless electors. There have been 157 faithless electors in the past who have refused to vote or voted in opposition of their constituents’ wishes.

The Electoral College will meet on Dec. 19 to cast their vote.

Though naturally cynical, I want to believe in humanity, empathy, compassion, the greater good and fighting for what’s right.

I want to believe that those who have been chosen to represent us have the same morals and values when it comes to one another. I want to believe that the majority stands in solidarity with one another.

The sad truth is that, since the polls closed on Tuesday, and states turned red from coast to coast, no electors from Republican states have stated that they won’t vote for Trump.

Yet, in a time of uncertainty for the future, it’s nice to have hope.

While this notion of changing votes from electors is both far-fetched and overly optimistic, I want nothing more than to have faith in faithless electors.

Sanjuanita Gonzales is a print journalism junior and can be reached at [email protected]

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