Christopher Suprun's Faithless Elector Strategy Is Completely Useless For Those Who Want To Stop Donald Trump
This week, Texas presidential elector and 9/11 first responder Christopher Suprun nabbed a lot of attention when he announced a principled stand he'd be taking when the electoral college casts its votes on Dec. 19. Namely, Suprun will not vote for Donald Trump, despite having won states totaling 306 electoral voters, well more than the 270 minimum he needs to win. The stance has earned him praise in some circles, and ferocious condemnation in others. But ultimately, it doesn't really matter. Suprun's faithless elector strategy is completely useless for those who want to stop Trump, because he's not planning to support Hillary Clinton instead.
To the contrary, Suprun has made it clear that he's planning to cast his vote for a third candidate, possibly Ohio's Republican governor, John Kasich. This, in a way, is a position genuinely more radical than it's being given credit for, given that Kasich won precisely one state in the GOP primaries (his home state) and wasn't even on the ballot on Election Day.
In his op-ed for The New York Times explaining his decision-making, Suprun specifically said he's not making this decision because of Trump's massive popular vote loss (by currently trails Clinton by more than 2.6 million votes), and there's a very good reason for that — if that were his attitude, he'd have to support Clinton. To the contrary, Suprun is opposing Trump on the simple grounds that he "shows daily he is not qualified for the office," a vague (albeit plainly true) objection that isn't rooted whatsoever in the will of the voters.
But in reality, if he declines to back Clinton — the only candidate besides Trump with any credibility to lead, and a pretty compelling case at that — he is voting for Trump. Not unlike progressives or anti-Trump conservatives who voted for third party candidates this cycle, unwilling to compromise on their disdain for the former Secretary of State even when she was opposed by a wildly unqualified, inflammatory reality TV show host with a slew of sexual assault allegations against him, what Suprun is proposing might sting Trump's ego, but it won't stop him.
That's because if faithless electors start casting third-party votes, even if Trump dips below 270, Clinton won't move up over 270. That would mean the Republican-led House of Representatives would vote to pick the president. In other words, welcome to the Trump administration.
To be clear, it is theoretically possible that the House GOP could dump Trump in favor of Kasich, or whomever got the third-most electoral votes. But after Trump rode his scattershot, atypical political coalition to victory, and with all the anti-establishment fervor he whipped up, that's as unlikely as anything. Simply put, the Republican Party is not going to imperil itself to stop Trump for the good of the country. It didn't do so during the election, and it surely won't do so now that it's been proven his coalition is a winning one, at least in the electoral college sense.
In other words, while you might cheer Suprun's bold act of defiance, it's important not to blow things out of proportion. Because, ultimately, the principled stand he's taking is one that's entirely compatible with Trump ascending to the White House. For it to be otherwise would require him to vote for Clinton, and while that's a decision that might seem blindingly, unbearably obvious to some of us, the general election proved that there's a big share of American voters who disagree, even though a minority.