Protesters critical of the recent election of Donald Trump as U.S. president gather for a demonstration near the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany, on Saturday. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
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Donald Trump may have won the electoral votes necessary to win the White House, but he he's likely going to lose the popular vote to Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. And now two electors have launched a last-minute effort to convince their colleagues to abandon the president-elect.
"This is a long shot. It’s a hail Mary," Bret Chiafolo, a Washington state elector who previously pledged not to vote for Clinton, told Politico Monday. "However, I do see situations where — when we’ve already had two or three [Republican] electors state publicly they didn’t want to vote for Trump. How many of them have real issues with Donald Trump in private?"
Chiafolo along with Colorado elector Micheal Baca have launched what they call a "moral electors" movement in hopes of convincing 37 of their Republican colleagues to deny Trump their votes. Should they succeed in their radical effort, the presidential decision would be thrown to the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.
And that would be fine with those so-called "moral electors," as they aren't trying to get a Democrat into the White House. In fact, they are encouraging electors to write in 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney or Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a one-time contender for the 2016 Republican nomination.
The Electoral College consists of 538 members who are expected to convene in their respective state capitals on Dec. 19 to formally vote for the next president. According to the latest count, Trump had earned 290 electoral votes and is narrowly ahead in Michigan, though a final announcement has not been made. Should those go to the billionaire businessman, he will have 306 electoral votes, well above the necessary 270 votes to win. That is how Chiafolo and Baca arrived at the number 37.
So far, Republican elector Art Sisneros, a libertarian activist from Texas, is the only conservative on record considering abandoning Trump. He told Politico he remains "undecided" about his vote.
Even if the effort fails, though, which is likely, Baca said he hopes the move launches a serious national discussion about abolishing the Electoral College, which would require either a constitutional amendment or legislation in several states (whose combined electoral votes total at least 270) mandating the popular vote dictate how their respective electors vote.
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