MoveOn Petition Asks Electoral College to Vote Hillary Clinton
A petition on MoveOn.org asks the Electoral College to vote for Hillary Clinton, in spite of the clear outcome of Tuesday's election. While the returns are still coming in, it seems that Donald Trump has won the presidency but Hillary Clinton has won the popular vote. Democrats and proponents of absolute democracy are furious that this can happen.
More than 3,000 Clinton supporters have signed a petition urging the Electoral College to dismiss the state-by-state results of the election and instead cast their votes for Clinton.
"For the second time in sixteen years the presidential candidate with the fewer votes won the national election. This is due to the Electoral College," wrote Thomas Reich, the petition's author. "When an anti-democratic candidate wins without national popular support in conjunction with authoritarian tendencies it's incumbent on the Electoral College to decide if said candidate is a threat to democracy. I encourage them to consider this issue seriously before casting their votes for Donald Trump."
While the text of the petition does not explicitly call for the Electoral College to vote Clinton, the headline does: "Tell the Electoral College to cast their votes for Hillary Clinton." It is important to note that MoveOn as an organization is merely serving as a platform for this petition, and the organization itself "has not reviewed" it. Nevertheless, I highly suspect the organization would support it.
The petition seems to have launched in the early hours of Thursday morning. As of 10:25 a.m., it has 3,549 signatures.
As far as I can tell, there is no constitutional mandate that the Electoral College must follow the will of the voters in their states, but not doing so would be unprecedented.
Furthermore, Hillary Clinton has already done the right thing, conceding the race to Trump and encouraging her supporters to accept the results of the election. Even if the Electoral College were to buck the voters and cast their ballots for Clinton, that would not alter the election, as she has already ruled herself out.
Nevertheless, anti-Trump protests broke out in at least eight cities across the nation after Clinton conceded to Trump. People across the country are angry. Indeed, one anti-Trump rioter declared, "People have to die!" This divisiveness is ugly, and both Trump and Clinton have urged against it. Trump promised to be the president of all Americans, and Clinton insisted that America give him a chance.
In fact, this prolonged anger seems to confirm a suspicion I've long had about this election — that it was an unpopularity contest, and Clinton won. But even being slightly more popular than Clinton means Trump is heavily disliked. He has his work cut out for him, and he needs to address these riots with strength and understanding.
Ironically, one of the petition signers wrote, "This is the failsafe our founding fathers built in to Constitution and just the type of situation they were protecting us against. The popular vote supports Hillary." This petitioner is somewhat right — but the popular vote is irrelevant if the founders' intentions are to be taken seriously.
Next Page: Why the spirit of this petition is in keeping with the Founders' idea of the electoral college.