Russian media examines whether there is still a chance of a Hillary Clinton White House.
US Electoral College voters are set to elect the US president and vice president on December 19. The meeting of electors could find President-elect Donald Trump unfit for office, opening a path for Hillary Clinton to the White House. The November 8 presidential election in the US was not, in fact, the final point of the election process of the US head of state.
Back in the 18th century, the Founding Fathers of the US prudently excluded any chances for unfit people to become the country’s President.
Not trusting the choice of the masses, they designed a system of bringing a trustworthy candidate into office. The system has also become a compromise to the idea suggested at the time that the President would be voted for by Congress.
And so the scheme whereby the election of the US President is decided by the popular vote of qualified citizens, the Electoral College, came into being.
It’s made up of the 538 Americans who actually elect the president. The number corresponds to the seats each state has in the US Senate and the House of Representatives (there are 100 seats in the Senate and 435 in the House), plus the three electoral votes allotted to Washington, D.C.
Pegging each state’s electoral vote count to the size of its congressional delegation was specifically designed to give smaller states proportionally more influence than larger states.
The national popular vote therefore simply doesn’t matter to the election of the president, however it awards electoral votes to each state based on state-by-state results.
Therefore, on November 8 the country was choosing the qualified citizens who would then elect the president.
“The presidential election is held every four years on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November. You help choose your state’s electors when you vote for President because when you vote for your candidate you are actually voting for your candidate’s electors,” says the official website of the Electoral College. The electors are generally chosen by the candidate’s political party, but state laws vary on how the electors are selected.
The meeting of the electors takes place on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December after the presidential election, this year it falls on December 19.
Most states have a “winner-take-all” system that awards all electors to the winning presidential candidate. However, Maine and Nebraska each have a variation of “proportional representation.”
Under the winner-take-all system, the state’s electors are awarded to the presidential candidate with the most votes in that state.
Maine and Nebraska use the “congressional district method”, selecting one elector within each congressional district by popular vote and awarding two electors by a statewide popular vote. A majority of 270 electoral votes is required to elect the President.
No elector is required by federal law to honor their pledge, which suggests electors can go their own way. In 29 states, there are either statutes or party rules that theoretically bind electors to honor state results. But the penalty for becoming a so-called “faithless elector” is typically a fine measured in the hundreds of dollars.
The US Supreme Court has never ruled explicitly on those state laws and party rules, and some constitutional scholars say such state restrictions would be struck down if challenged.
Thus Clinton electors are now appealing to Republican electors to become “faithless” and abandon Trump on December 19. They have even posted a petition on Change.org website urging to “make Clinton president on December 19.”
“On December 19, the Electors of the Electoral College will cast their ballots. If they all vote the way their states voted, Donald Trump will win. However, in 14 of the states in Trump’s column, they can vote for Hillary Clinton without any legal penalty if they choose,” it says.
“We are calling on the 149 Electors in those states to ignore their states’ votes and cast their ballots for Secretary Clinton,” it adds, explaining that “Mr. Trump is unfit to serve.” By now, the petition has been signed by over four million six hundred thousand people.
Commenting on the ongoing campaign, Russian online newspaper Vzglyad suggested that these efforts are in vain.
Firstly, it says, in order to tip the existing balance in favor of Clinton, her supporters need to win over the support of a minimum of 37 Republican electors, which, they admit, is next to impossible. Current projections suggest that Trump looks likely to end up with 306 electors to Clinton’s 232.
Secondly, it reminds, Clinton as well as Obama have already accepted the results of the elections and have already recognized Trump as the 45th US president.
Thirdly, it says, even if to suppose that the electors give their votes to Clinton and she agrees to their decision, there are still very few chances that she will become the president: the results of this vote are to be adopted by the Congress, where the Republicans hold the majority.
Certainly many of them have no special liking for their nominee, but not to the degree of ushering his opponent into the White House, in full view of their voters.
With regards to the posted petition, the website doubts that the number of signatories really correspond to the number of Trump’s opponents in the US, as the petition is available for signing to any internet user around the globe.
The newspaper also suggests that the attempts to push the Election College to the “revolt” are made in the hope of cancelling this institution of the American electoral system rather than to change the results of the elections.