On Monday, Texas Republican elector Christopher Suprun announced that he will not be voting for Donald Trump. Suprun, a paramedic and one of the first responders to the Pentagon after the 9/11 terror attacks, is the first Republican elector to publicly denounce the president-elect and pledge to vote against him. Echoing sentiments shared by Civitas and millions of Americans, Suprun said, “Federalist 68 argued that an Electoral College should determine if candidates are qualified, not engaged in demagogy, and independent from foreign influence. Mr. Trump shows us again and again that he does not meet these standards.”
Suprun clarified that he does not believe a president-elect should be disqualified over policy differences, or because another candidate wins the popular vote; his reasons for refusing to vote Trump are based on Trump’s divisiveness, demagogy, dangerous lack of qualifications, and massive conflicts of interest. We agree that Donald Trump is unfit to be president, and we also agree that a primary purpose of the electoral college is to protect the nation from an unqualified or dangerous president-elect. On December 19th, 538 electors will cast the official votes that determine the next president. We hope they will heed the words of Mr. Suprun: “The election of the next president is not yet a done deal. Electors of conscience can still do the right thing for the good of the country. Presidential electors have the legal right and a constitutional duty to vote their conscience.”
Read Mr. Suprun’s entire letter here.
To prevent Donald Trump from winning the presidency, 36 Republican electors in addition to Mr. Suprun would have to defect from Trump. If they all voted for Hillary Clinton instead (and none of her own electors defected), she would become the next president. If the defectors instead voted for a third candidate (other Republicans such as Ohio Gov. John Kasich have been suggested), the House of Representatives would choose the next president.
Such a reversal is unlikely and would be unprecedented… but everything about the 2016 election has been unlikely and unprecedented. The protest and outrage resulting from an electoral denial of Trump would be significant; however, we believe that the consequences of a reversal would be less harmful than the consequences of a Trump presidency. It is unfortunate that America is facing these difficult choices, but our republic was not built on a foundation of easy choices, and our Constitution charges electors with the most important choice of all: who will lead our nation and represent us to the world. Let’s hope they get it right.
If you would like to add your name to the 4.7 million signers of the Change.org petition asking electors to change their votes, go here.