Sunday, December 18, 2016

#HistoryMade? Will Electoral College Electors Tell Trump "You're Fired"?

“Everyone during the election perceived accurately—that in fact what the Russian hack had done was create more problems for the Clinton campaign than it had for the Trump campaign. There’s no doubt that it contributed to an atmosphere in which the only focus for weeks at a time, months at a time were Hillary's emails, the Clinton Foundation, political gossip surrounding the DNC...  
I think there is no doubt that when any foreign government tries to impact the integrity of our elections … we need to take action, and we will—at a time and place of our own choosing. Some of it may be explicit and publicized; some of it may not be.” - President Barack Obama
The Electoral College votes on America's next president on Monday. Anti-Trump voters have been at work since Hillary Clinton won the popular vote but lost the election in circumstances that are highly suspect. Apart from the country-wide protests, a petition was started by Daniel Brezenoff, asking the electors to elect Hillary Clinton. It now has close to 5 million signatures. People in every state have signed it.
There has also been a storm of protest from President Obama, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and other Democrat and Republican senators and representatives, and some electors, triggered by 17 intelligence agencies unanimously reporting that Russians intervened in the election through hacking and that “only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities”  

Vladimir Putin, of course, laughed the Intelligence report off. But he did that when the scandal first broke of Russian State sponsored Olympic doping. And now it's undeniable fact. Trump also laughed it off, as did his vacuous mouthpiece Rep Chris Collins. Speaking to CNN's Wolf Blitzer he said it was time to "put this nonsense aside." Blitzer shot him down, as he did when Collins said that President Obama had never acknowledged Trump's win.

A bipartisan group of electors, calling themselves the Hamilton Electors, published an open letter to the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, requesting that he release all the facts on Russian interference before they vote.
“...We intend to discharge our duties as Electors by ensuring that we select a candidate for president who, as our Founding Fathers envisioned, would be “endowed with the requisite qualifications.” As Electors, we also believe that deliberation is at the heart of democracy itself, not an empty or formalistic task…

The Constitution envisions the Electoral College as a deliberative body that plays a critical role in our system of government — ensuring that the American people elect a president who is constitutionally qualified and fit to serve. Accordingly, to fulfill our role as Electors, we seek an informed and unrestrained opportunity to fulfill our constitutional role leading up to December 19th — that is, the ability to investigate, discuss, and deliberate with our colleagues about whom to vote for in the Electoral College.
We further emphasize Alexander Hamilton’s assertion in Federalist Paper #68 that a core purpose of the Electoral College was to prevent a “desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils.”
To date eighty Presidential electors have signed the letter. Those wishing to add their names can contact ElectoralCollege16@gmail.com

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid told Buzzfeed News that he supports that call for an Intelligence briefing on the Russian interference before they vote. Reid said he believed this was as "big a deal as Watergate, as 9/11 and he believes, along with US Senators Dianne Feinstein and Ben Cardin, that a 9/11 type commission should be set up to investigate.

Reid also blamed FBI Director James Comey for his role in Hillary Clinton's surprise loss. A view shared by many, including Hillary Clinton and her supporters. The FBI agents received Weiner's computer from the NYPD and held onto it for two weeks before sending it up the chain of command to Comey. Their later excuse was that they needed time to better assess the emails. But they were prohibited by law from reading any of them without a warrant, for which they needed Comey's OK. 

If they had sent it immediately, Comey's 2nd letter acknowledging that there was nothing to investigate, would have been released before early voting began, instead of 48 hours before the election, and probably wouldn't have changed the outcome of the election.

On Thursday, Hillary Clinton spoke to donors about how Comey's letter to Congress swung the election in Trump's favor, and added that Putin had a longstanding grudge against her for her 2011 accusation that Russian parliamentary elections had been rigged.

But, she said, “Make no mistake as the press is finally catching up to the facts, which we desperately tried to present to them during the last months of the campaign. This is not just an attack on me and my campaign, although that may have added fuel to it. This is an attack against our country. We are well beyond normal political concerns here. This is about the integrity of our democracy and the security of our nation.”

California attorney Michael Hawley said to The Hollywood Reporter that electors have received thousands of emails, and some have received death threats. Hawley, Mark Lemley and Larry Lessig co-founded the Electors Trust, an organization that provides free and confidential legal counsel and defence to electors who "wish to vote their conscience." 

An Elector, speaking to Salon on condition of anonymity, said “We have gotten reports from multiple people that the Donald Trump campaign is putting [career] pressure on Republican electors to vote for him based on…future political outcomes based on whether they vote for Donald Trump or not.”

Legally and constitutionally Trump isn't president yet. The number of electors who have voted their conscience is rare throughout American history, but as everybody has been pointing out for a year, this is no ordinary American election. Never has there been a candidate who has:
And that's the short list.

This degree of protest from electors, politicians and the general public is unprecedented, and the highest number of electors to ever break from a presidential candidate was in 1808, when six Democratic-Republican electors voted against James Madison. But, as everybody keeps reiterating, it's been an unusual American presidential election, so one final unusual event will fit right in.

History has already been made, for better or for worse. Why not go for broke and eliminate the worse? All it needs is for 37 electors to vote their conscience and Donald Trump is history. I'm going to let myself hope for two more days that Hillary Clinton can still be America's next president.

She won the popular vote by 2.8 million, which means a clear majority of Americans want her. The world wants her. #ImStillWithHer.