Petition To Elect Hillary Is So Popular, It Could Change Results In 14 States
This is now Change.org's most popular petition ever, which is probably linked to the fact that Clinton won the popular vote by a massive margin: over 2.5 million votes.
If this seems like a huge lead, that's because it is.
In fact, Trump has the worst popular vote performance of any president-elect in 140 years.
But at the end of the day, the Electoral College is what matters. This is why Donald Trump is our president-elect.
He defeated Clinton with 306 electoral votes to Clinton's 232 electoral votes.
In theory, this could still change, which is what this Change.org petition is all about.
As Daniel Brezenoff – the organizer of the petition – wrote,
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.
We are calling on the 149 Electors in those states to ignore their states' votes and cast their ballots for Secretary Clinton.
Electors are not constitutionally bound to vote in accordance with their states' majority. They can call upon their conscience and vote for whichever candidate they think is most fit to lead the country. If they do so, they are known as “faithless electors.”
There have only been 157 faithless electors in the history of the US, and none have ever changed the outcome of an election.
Twenty-nine states and Washington DC require electors to take a pledge to vote in accordance with their state's majority.
Violating these pledges generally results in a fine, sometimes up to $1,000. According to The Washington Post, these penalties typically aren't enforced.
But some states (21 in total) have no such legal penalties, and this Change.org petition aims to convince the 149 electors from 14 of these states to vote for Hillary Clinton.
There is a lot of debate over what the Electoral College is designed to do, and whether it is an antiquated institution that should be abolished.
Many continue to argue that the Electoral College was created in order to prevent the general populace from electing an unfit leader, which is the viewpoint the Change.org petition adopts in relation to Donald Trump.
There is certainly a case to be made for this perspective when you look at what Alexander Hamilton wrote about the Electoral College in the Federalist Papers.
[The Constitution is designed to ensure] that the office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications.
Talents for low intrigue, and the little arts of popularity, may alone suffice to elevate a man to the first honors in a single State; but it will require other talents, and a different kind of merit, to establish him in the esteem and confidence of the whole Union, or of so considerable a portion of it as would be necessary to make him a successful candidate for the distinguished office of President of the United States.
Trump is arguably unfit to be president, given he's never held elected office, served in the military or done any type of prolonged public service.
Also, he seems to spend a great amount of time tweeting, instead of preparing for a job he has very few qualifications for.
For all these reasons and more, it's understandable why many have signed the Change.org petition.
But history – among many other factors – suggests the Electoral College will not defy tradition.
Simply put, it seems highly unlikely that such a large number of electors will break away from the state vote and cast their ballots for Clinton.
It's safe to say Donald Trump is extremely likely to be inaugurated as the next president of the United States in January.
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