MoveOn Petition Asks Electoral College to Vote Hillary Clinton
This petition, urging the Electoral College to make a different decision, is actually defensible in terms of why the Electoral College actually exists.
When the Constitutional Convention developed the idea of the Electoral College, it was meant to be a body of electors, not a mere formality over the will of the people. The electors were to be decided by the people of the states, and to discuss amongst themselves who should be president. Were the electors to make this independent decision, petitions like this one could guide their reasoning.
For a very long time now, however, that's not how the system has worked. Instead, the voters choose a candidate and the states send electors on behalf of that candidate. The Electoral College is a mere rubber stamp on the will of the voters in their states.
This becomes confusing when people ask why America even has an Electoral College in the first place. Why not just accept the results of the popular vote? The answer is because the country is the United States — to an important extent the states still have some degree of sovereignty. The Senate and the Electoral College exist to represent the states in contrast to the mere unchecked will of the people. This is why America is a constitutional republic, not a democracy.
Even if the Electoral College is a formality, it still protects the importance of the states. It is a vital part of the country's governance, especially because it is undemocratic to some extent.
The difficulty with the Electoral College becoming even less democratic — by making its own decisions as America's founders intended — is that the people would perhaps become even more angry.
If the Electoral College were to ignore the results of the state elections and choose Hillary Clinton anyway, this might be more democratic, but it would not stop the riots. Instead, it would likely further enflame them. Both anti-Trump and pro-Trump people would be rioting, and the country would be thrown into chaos.
As a personal note, I stand for the way America's founders intended the system to work, and I would like the Electoral College to make its own decisions. Unpopular as it might be, I think the idea of voters in each state choosing an elector who then wisely debates and chooses a president is a better idea than having the people do it directly. But America would have to change to make this a reality. Perhaps an unpopular presidency will help it along.
Petitions like this will not help that cause. Not only has Clinton conceded — and that is important — but Americans have already come to accept that Trump will be president, even if many thousands of them are rioting against that outcome. I would encourage them to get over it, accept the election, and give Trump a chance.
Furthermore, the Constitution presents various checks on a president's power. If he truly is as horrible as they fear, impeachment is an option, and there will be another election in four years. But Trump will be president, and there's no stopping that. Seriously, now is the time to just get over it.