As the Electoral College results came in and confirmed beyond a doubt that Donald Trump will become our next president, it seemed that the so-called Hamilton Electors, who unsuccessfully urged their fellow electors to vote their consciences against Trump, had failed. It now appears that they've taken the news in stride, and are more motivated than ever to work against the now-inevitable Trump presidency. The Hamilton Electors' fight isn't over, and they won't let the broken Electoral College system stop them from pushing back against the president-elect in the coming months and years.
Released soon after it became clear that Trump had secured the 270 votes needed to win the Electoral College, the Hamilton Electors released a joint statement and a series of quotes on Twitter in response to Trump's irrefutable win (and their disappointing loss). The statement is a message of resigned hope, and points not to their failure, but to the sheer force of Trump's unpopularity, especially among citizens who lobbied their electors to vote against Trump. There seemed to also be a consensus among this principled bunch about the legitimacy of the Electoral College, best stated by Washington elector Bret Chiafolo:
If we cannot count on the Electoral College to act as a failsafe against an unqualified demagogue under foreign influence, then it's probably time for it to be placed in the dustbin of history.
Rather than giving in to cynics whose chorus of "I told you so" is threatening to reach a fever pitch, the Hamilton Electors' statement had two complementary underlying messages: that stopping Trump is now Congress' problem, and that the need for popular rejection of Trump and his agendas has become that much more urgent.
The fact that people who were chosen by their parties to take part in this flawed-yet-hallowed institution are now coming out against that very institution is incredible, and symbolizes a shift in the public perception of elections. This election, perhaps even more than the 2000 election of George W. Bush, has tested the integrity of our entire electoral system. And the Hamilton Electors' statement both reflects the growing disillusionment with our political system and responds to it in an optimistic yet realistic manner.
There's no doubt in anyone's mind that the upcoming battle against Trump will be difficult. It will be brutally tough and thankless work, as all forms of resistance are. There is now nothing standing in the way between Trump and inauguration, but the Hamilton Electors will not leave their supporters — or the rest of America — now that their initial fight has been lost.