There's been lots of talk since the Nov. 8 election about faithless electors potentially swinging thevote, and a new op-ed by one Texas elector has inspired more hope that the Electoral College will keep Donald Trump out of the White House. Christopher Suprun, a Dallas-based paramedic and former FDNY firefighter, penned an inspiring op-ed for the New York Times that will hopefully remind all electors that they have a Constitutional duty, passed down directly from the Founding Fathers, not to let Trump become the president.
In his op-ed piece, Suprun makes it very clear that he's a staunch Republican. Simply to be chosen as an elector, one must be loyal and active in the party, meaning Suprun must have a strong ideological connection to conservative politics. Yet for the sake of his country, he is choosing to turn away from the party's now mainstream and seek an alternative choice. "I have poured countless hours into serving the party of Lincoln and electing its candidates. I will pour many more into being more faithful to my party than some in its leadership," Suprun writes. "But I owe no debt to a party. I owe a debt to my children to leave them a nation they can trust."
For Suprun, as it should for all electors, that means ensuring that Trump is not allowed to assume the presidency. Suprun points out all the failings that should completely disqualify Trump from being president, from the ridiculous to the truly dangerous — his Twitter rants and insults, his lack of foreign policy experience, his business conflicts, and several more. Suprun succinctly attacks the actions and characteristics which have proven how unqualified Trump is to lead, and invokes the Founding Fathers to back him up.
Suprun powerfully paraphrased Alexander Hamilton's "Federal 68" essay in which Hamilton defends the institution of the Electoral College and clarifies his beliefs on its intended purpose, which has unprecedented meaning in this election. "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," Hamilton wrote in the Federalist Papers over 200 years ago.
"And as the electors, chosen in each State, are to assemble and vote in the State in which they are chosen, this detached and divided situation will expose them much less to heats and ferments, which might be communicated from them to the people, than if they were all to be convened at one time, in one place." Just as George Washington advocated against a two-party system to avoid partisan fighting, Suprun is beseeching his fellow electors not to fall into the trap of division and elect a president who has done nothing but divide the United States.
It is the electors' duty not to succumb to the "heats and ferments" of the election or the bitter tears of partisanship or the globalizing world. It is their duty to see beyond their own wants and ideologies and truly stand for the people, especially the Muslims, Jews, LGBTQ+, Latinxs, African Americans, and women who have been harassed and assaulted in the name of the president-elect. Trump's election and the public sentiment it has inspired is exactly the kind of "extraordinary or violent movement" that Hamilton wrote about — it's clearly the electors' responsibility to make sure that movement does not assume power.
The Electoral College has a legitimate purpose, and Suprun is showing his fellow electors that now is the time to invoke their Constitutional power. To carry on the true legacy of the Founding Fathers, Suprun and his fellow electors should use the power of their votes to keep Trump from tearing at the very fabric of American democracy.