If your week has gone anything like ours, you’re probably feeling a range of emotions right now: fear, anger, disbelief, numbness, distrust, concern, sadness. There aren’t words for what we’ve gone through, there is only time and each other. As we move through these next few weeks, we encourage each of you to support one another in whatever way feels best, and to take care of yourselves. But, if you have the energy and the passion (and the slightest bit of hope) we encourage you to join with us in one last Hail Mary.
Will it work? Probably not. Would we ever forgive ourselves if we didn’t try? Probably not.
So here goes.
If you recall your U.S. history (or Hamiltonian soundtrack or 2000-election outrage), you’ll remember that the popular vote doesn’t determine the U.S. Presidency. That’s up to the Electoral College. Though many are outraged that a group of politicians will determine our future instead of going by the popular vote, there may yet be hope.
It’s incredibly unlikely (that is, why we’re calling it a Hail Mary), but here’s the thing: members of the Electoral College, Electors, do not have to vote according to their states’ elections. An Elector can choose to vote otherwise, making them what is called a “faithless Elector.” That is to say, even though the U.S. President-elect won 278 electoral votes on Tuesday night, those 278 Electors are not required to vote for him.
If, by some stroke of luck, 42 of those Electors became “faithless,” they could nominate Secretary Clinton President-elect and save us all from this hell-hole.
Is that likely to happen? Absolutely not. But, there is an alternative.
If even nine Electors changed their votes to support Clinton, neither Candidate would reach a majority of 270 votes–meaning that the Presidential Election would be taken to the House of Representatives and the Vice-Presidential to the Senate. Even if all that happens, there’s no guarantee that the House and Senate will go the way we want, but there’s more of a chance then what we’ve got now. It’s not something we’ve seen happen before, but hey, this is a week of firsts.
So here’s the plan:
The Electoral College votes on the U.S. President and Vice-President on December 19, 2016. States have already chosen their Electors, so now is the time to reach out to them. We’ve never heard of it being done before, but if you can call your state representatives to ask them to support bills in Congress, we’re sure as hell going to try to call them to prevent a sexist, racist, xenophobic, homophobic, tax-evading rapist from becoming the next President of the United States.
Now some of you might be saying–“Hey, be gracious, leave the system alone.”
But the stakes are so damn high. After all, the Electoral College was created by the U.S. Founding Fathers to save American government from the potential stupidity of the American populace (their exact words were not “stupid,” but rather ““radically vicious” or “liable to deceptions,” but who’s counting). If we happen to want to use a system of checks-and-balances that were created for occasions like this, then let’s get to work.
Find out if you live in a state where your Electors matter
If your state went red on election day, this means you.
We’re especially looking at you, swing states. Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Pennsylvania. Let’s fix this.
But swing state or not, reach out. Even one change of heart could mean all the difference.
Tumblr user “ChonceGiving” has already started the work. Check out their map of the U.S., states without “faithless Elector” punishment laws, and potential Democratic Electors.
Petition your State government
You may or may not be able to find out who your Electors are yet. Most states have not yet released lists, but there’s a way to find out: reach out to your state’s Governor’s Office or Secretary of State. They will be able to tell you specifics about your state policies (including who your Electors are and whether they punish “faithless Electors”).
We wish we could, but we can’t do this ourselves. We need you to create the momentum necessary to bringing about change. Share, share, share. We’ll be on Twitter with others under #NotMyPresident. Find us there.
Once you know who your Electors are, and if there’s hope for petitioning them, let us know, let your friends know, let your family members know.
Organize. Create a community ready to take action and fix this mess.
Tell them the stakes. If you’re from Florida, tell them you can’t handle another Orlando. If you’re from North Carolina, tell them you won’t survive under bathroom laws. If you live on this planet, tell them you need to know our earth will survive mounting climate change. Wherever you’re from, tell them what’s at risk for your female, POC, LGBTQ, low-income, immigrant and other communities. Make sure they know that this is an election like no other. That the stakes have never been higher.
We can’t guarantee this will work, but it’s the best we’ve got.
Texas GOP Elector, Chris Suprun of Texas, has already told Politico “that he finds Trump so unpalatable he would consider voting for Clinton.” Where there’s one, there may be nine.
After a week like this, it’s easy to feel cynical and powerless. We understand and whole-heartedly respect that. But, we’re asking now for the little hope you have left. We’re asking you to try your damnedest and use this country’s institutions like they were designed to be used. We’re asking you to hope, one last time. To not go quietly into that good night.