Top Colorado Dem supports elector’s effort to throw the presidential election to the House

“The electoral college didn’t do a majority of the American people a favor in this election.”
3 min. read
Donald Trump at the Western Conservative Conference 2016. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Two Democratic electors who were already thinking about being faithless to Hillary Clinton are now trying to get Republican electors to abandon Donald Trump and throw the presidential election to the U.S. House of Representatives.

One of them is from Denver, and the Denver Post reports that Colorado Democratic Chairman Rick Palacio supports the effort.

Clinton won the popular vote, but Trump has a pretty commanding electoral college lead. Similarly, George W. Bush won the presidency despite losing the popular vote to Al Gore (leaving aside Florida, hanging chads, recounts and Supreme Court decisions).

That's led to agonizing from Democrats over why we still have this archaic system that comes from a time when leaders feared direct democracy and some long-shot efforts to manipulate the electoral college. The electors, who are generally chosen at a party convention or other internal process, meet on Dec. 19 in their respective states to formally vote for president.

Their vote is supposed to be in accordance with the majority vote of their state -- in Colorado, where Clinton won a majority, all the electors would vote for Clinton, while in Florida, where Trump won a majority -- all electors would vote for Trump -- but very occasionally electors do something they weren't supposed to do.

P. Bret Chiafalo, a Washington State elector, and Micheal Baca of Colorado started "Moral Electors," which sounds much better than Faithless Electors. Politico reports that they are trying to persuade 37 Republicans to vote for a Republican other than Trump, like Mitt Romney or John Kasich. If they can get Trump below the 270 electoral votes needed to win, the election would go to the House of Representatives, whose members would vote among the top three vote-getters in the Electoral College.

“I think the majority of the voters in this country are very upset at the outcome of this election,” Palacio told the Post. “The electoral college didn’t do a majority of the American people a favor in this election, and I think there are many who are trying to figure out ways to prevent Trump from taking office. I applaud Micheal for doing his part.”

Chiafalo and Baca both were supporters of Sanders and had said they might not vote for Clinton if she won.

“This is a longshot. It’s a Hail Mary,” Chiafalo told Politico. “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?”

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