Faithless Electors For Donald Trump Are Quite The Long Shot For The GOP Nominee
There has been lots of talk about the different complicated political processes like the delegate votes at the convention, party rules, or even the Electoral College that could be used to keep Donald Trump out of the White House. But not much attention has been made about the idea that the same processes could help him get there. In fact, some of the GOP's primary delegate allocations helped Trump reach a majority. And now, is there the chance that faithless electors for Donald Trump swing the election in his favor? Probably not.
As you may know, there hasn't been a faithless elector who voted for another party since 1972. That year Roger MacBride, a Republican who was supposed to vote for Richard Nixon, instead voted for the Libertarian candidate John Hospers. But that's a far cry from voting for the Democrats instead. Imagine the opposite case, if there were faithless Democratic electors, they would likely opt for voting for the Green Party candidate Jill Stein to express their dissatisfaction, not Trump.
There are disgruntled Democrats who have been elected to vote as electors. Take this guy from Washington State - Robert Satiacum Jr., a member of Washington’s Puyallup Tribe, has said he just can't vote for her. "I have to either step down from being this thing I was elected to be or I’ve got to step down from being myself,” he told Politico. “That’s the teeter totter I’m on." But that by no means he would throw his support behind Trump instead.
His main reason for not wanting to vote for Clinton? He thinks she's supposedly too much like Trump, he told Politico:
How can I say and do and be who I am and then cast a vote for somebody that’s the same as Trump? They may be male, female, but they’re in the same canoe.
On top of that, there are all the states in which it's illegal to change your electoral vote. You're locked in to support the candidate who wins in 29 states and D.C. The punishments aren't always that hefty, and they've never been enforced, but it's still a consideration to keep people in line.
The only situation in which I can see an elector flipping to support Trump is if it's not an elector from the Democrats but rather a Libertarian elector or some other third-party candidate. There's a chance that Utah could go for Evan McMullin, a Mormon running as the only choice for Republicans that can't stomach Donald Trump. Perhaps some of his electors would switch to deciding votes if the Electoral College count were that close.
But that is quite the remote possibility. So while technically this is an election year unlike any other, I wouldn't expect to see any faithless electors go for Trump.