Protestors Against Donald Trump Should Challenge The Electoral College If They Want To Create Change
Thousands of protestors across the nation continued chanting into the early hours Thursday, marching down roads and highways in the nation's biggest cities to protest the divisive rhetoric of sexism, xenophobia, and Islamophobia that led to the election of Donald Trump. Maybe you were one of them. Everyone is mad and grieving, and while I understand that, not much attention has been paid to the Electoral College, or electors who will actually elect Trump as president. If Trump reaches the White House, it will be through an outdated, rigged system. So why not protest that by speaking directly to the electors?
I don't mean to say that we shouldn't accept the results of the election. Of course we should. But in the United States, it's not the popular vote that elects the president — it's an 18th Century invention with a 19th Century update that we are still using in the 21st Century called the Electoral College.
A group of 538 electors, a certain number from each state based on population, will vote and that decides who's president. They don't meet until Dec. 19. This has become all but a formality in recent years, but it wasn't designed that way — and it doesn't have to be today.
There are a couple of reasons why we should protest this. First of all, this step in electing the president has not yet taken place. The popular vote is over and done with, but there's still a month to protest the rigged system that could put Trump in the White House at Hillary Clinton's expense. The only way to change it, though, would be a constitutional amendment. Therefore, convincing the Republican electors that voting for Trump will endanger our country both at home and abroad is our next best option because they can still switch their votes.
The second reason why we should protest the Electoral College is its origin. There are two versions of the rules, one in the original bit of the Constitution, and an update in the form of the 12th Amendment. Both could be used as a commentary on this election. The original framers of the Constitution were worried that the everyday voters wouldn't be informed enough. The drafters of the 12th Amendment, on the other hand, were worried about too much enfranchisement of free blacks. The North would have outvoted the South because black people could vote there as opposed to slaves in the South. That's the system that's putting a racist xenophobe in the Oval Office. Shocker.
Thirdly, there's democracy. It's the favorite rallying cry of conservatives — so maybe these electors won't be able to ignore it. We have to propagate this idea by using their language, and "democracy" is a big rallying call. Think about their argument against gay marriage: it should be voted on by the people. That's what Prop. 8 was. The same thing for Pres. Obama's Supreme Court pick, Merrick Garland: let the people choose. Well, let's point out that they did choose a president and the will of the people is being subjugated by an outdated system.
It's maybe a long shot, but that's what I think we ought to focus on right now. We can be mad and depressed by the results, but let's protest something that can change. Trump's likely to remain sexist, racist, Islamophobic, ableist, and what have you. But the Electoral College could go someday with enough pressure, or the electors could honor the will of the people and what's best for America, a Clinton presidency. They're not even bound to vote for Trump in most states, and where they are, the fine is minimal. So until the Electoral College vote is final, do what you can.