Could Christopher Suprun Be Fined? The Faithless Elector From Texas Is Not Bound To Donald Trump
Monday brought a glimmer of good news for the countless people hoping the Electoral College will deny Donald Trump the presidency on Dec. 19. Christopher Suprun, a Republican elector from Texas, publicly announced in a New York Times op-ed that he will not be voting for the current president-elect. Twenty-nine states have laws binding electors to either the nominee of the party to which they're pledged or to the candidate who wins their state's popular vote, but fortunately for Suprun, Texas has no law dictating electors' votes.
The elector has been subject to both criticism and praise on social media since making his decision public. Angry Trump supporters have accused him of taking bribes and undermining the voters of Texas. One user on Twitter said, "I hope you are tried for treason once President Trump takes office on January 20th. You feckless coward." Suprun responded, "I worry about America when taking a vote is considered treason." Some have even sent him anti-Semitic insults. On the other side of the fence, Suprun is being hailed a hero.
Though he won't be voting for Trump, Suprun has also made it clear that his ballot will not be cast in favor of Hillary Clinton. He instead plans on throwing his supporting behind a "good third person." Judging from his op-ed, Suprun's vote will likely go to John Kasich. "I believe electors should unify behind a Republican alternative, an honorable and qualified man or woman such as Gov. John Kasich of Ohio," he wrote.
Suprun cites Trump's lack of qualifications and un-presidential behavior as the main reasons behind his decision to withdraw his support:
Mr. Trump goes out of his way to attack the cast of “Saturday Night Live” for bias. He tweets day and night, but waited two days to offer sympathy to the Ohio State community after an attack there... This is unacceptable. For me, America is that shining city on a hill that Ronald Reagan envisioned... 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... Mr. Trump lacks the foreign policy experience and demeanor needed to be commander in chief... During the campaign Mr. Trump even said Russia should hack Hillary Clinton’s emails. This encouragement of an illegal act has troubled many members of Congress and troubles me.
Hamilton also reminded us that a president cannot be a demagogue. Mr. Trump urged violence against protesters at his rallies during the campaign. He speaks of retribution against his critics... Finally, Mr. Trump does not understand that the Constitution expressly forbids a president to receive payments or gifts from foreign governments. We have reports that Mr. Trump’s organization has business dealings in Argentina, Bahrain, Taiwan and elsewhere... The election of the next president is not yet a done deal. Electors of conscience can still do the right thing for the good of the country.... Fifteen years ago, I swore an oath to defend my country and Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. On Dec. 19, I will do it again.
Suprun has had reservations about Trump's candidacy for months and is the first Republican elector to announce his intention to go against his party's nominee. While faithless electors in other states might have to deal with fines — usually between $500 to $1,000 — for breaking laws binding them to Trump, Suprun is free of having these worries. It'll be interesting to see if his decision to speak out will influence any of his Republican peers.