Washington: A petition calling on the US Electoral College to defy convention and pick Hillary Clinton as President based in part on the greater popular votes she got in the election has quickly racked up more than 3.2 million signatures, even as President-elect Trump has already begun backing down from some of the campaign pledges he made.
By convention, the 538 Electors of the Electoral College meet on December 19 to cast their ballots, and if they vote the way their states voted in terms of popular vote (with the winner getting all the state’s electoral votes), Donald Trump will formally win the Presidency. But this covenant of electors voting according to the wishes of the state is not set in stone in many states, and in the past there have been occasional rogue electors who have defied the state’s popular vote.
Even in the 24 states where such rebellion is not permitted and Electors are rule-bound, they can get away with cross-voting by paying a small fine. In fact, even before the results, at least one elector who is a Bernie Sanders supporter, who had assumed Hillary Clinton would win the election, had warned he would not vote for her even if she won the electoral college.
Declaring that Clinton supporters would be only too glad to pay the fine, the change.org petition is now urging Electors to ignore their states’ votes and cast their ballots for Hillary Clinton.
“Mr. Trump is unfit to serve. His scapegoating of so many Americans, and his impulsivity, bullying, lying, admitted history of sexual assault, and utter lack of experience make him a danger to the Republic,” the petition says, arguing that Clinton WON THE POPULAR VOTE and should be President.
Such an revolt is unlikely to happen on a large scale, but the mood to defy the electoral verdict is particularly strong in cities across America that voted overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton, underscoring a growing urban/suburban-rural/hinterland divide.
The prospective Trump administration has already initiated a clash with some cities by declaring in its governance plan for first 100 days that it will cancel all federal funding for so-called ‘sanctuary cities.’ These are cities that limit cooperation with federal immigration authorities to turn over immigrants living in the country without proper documentation.
San Francisco, New York, Philadelphia, Miami, Baltimore, Boston are among scores of sanctuary cities across the country.
While ratcheting up a possible confrontation with America’s plural, diverse, multi-cultural cities, some of which are already roiling with anti-Trump protests, the President-elect also dialed down on some of his campaign pledges.
Among them, his promise to repeal Obamacare. Trump told Wall Street Journal that he is open to keeping parts of Obamacare that has worked well, reportedly after President Obama asked him to reconsider his stand.
The provisions he favors include keeping the ban against insurers denying coverage because of patients’ existing conditions, and a clause that allows parents to provide years of additional coverage for children on their insurance policies.
Trump campaign surrogates also slid back on threats to prosecute Hillary Clinton, with Rudy Giuliani and Chris Christie, both in line for top law enforcement jobs in the new administration, shying away from the pledge.