The Electoral College was put in place to save the country from evil and mischief
This year, for the first time in our 32-year-plus history, Dallas Voice endorsed a political candidate. We officially backed Hillary Clinton for president, and we did so because we believed — and still do believe — that Clinton was the most experienced, most qualified candidate in the race.
We believed that Hillary Clinton was the best candidate for our country in general and for our community, the LGBT community, specifically. We believed — and I still do — that Donald Trump presented a clear and present danger to this country in general and to the LGBT and other minority communities specifically — especially to minority communities.
And everything Donald Trump has done since Nov. 8 has proven that we were right.
So far, Trump has set about establishing a Cabinet full of white supremacists, homophobes and bigots of all types. His pick for chief White House strategist and senior counsel is Steve Bannon, a man who proudly proclaims his affiliation with the “alt-right,” which is code for white nationalist, which is just another word for white supremacist.
Trump has tapped Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama — a man rejected for a federal judge seat in 1986 because the Senate deemed him too racist — for attorney general. Rep. Tom Price of Georgia — Trump’s pick for Secretary of Health and Human Services — is already gleefully planning to gut the Affordable Health Care, and he is a Tea Partier who opposes a women’s right to choose and marriage equality.
And what about Trump’s choice for Secretary of Education? Betsy DeVos is a billionaire philanthropist who champions school vouchers over public schools, and who has no degree in education and no experience working in education. Her main qualification seems to be her money — she’s married to the heir of the Amway fortune and the sister of the founder of Blackwater.
Want more? Trump has nominated former Goldman-Sachs partner and current hedge fund manager Steve Mnuchin as Secretary of the Treasury, and billionaire Wilbur Ross, who made his fortune “restructuring” companies in the steel and coal industries, as Secretary of Commerce.
And then there are the people being considered for posts, like Gen. David Petraeus — on probation for sharing classified information with his mistress — for Secretary of State, and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin of “Drill, baby, drill” fame for Secretary of the Interior.
Oh, and let’s not forget that Mike Pence, the man Trump chose as his vice presidential running mate, advocates conversion therapy for LGBT people and cost his state, Indiana, millions with his anti-LGBT “religious freedom bill.”
Yet, as things stand right now, on Jan. 20, Donald Trump will be inaugurated as president of the United States.
We have one last hope of avoiding the unmitigated disaster that would be a Trump presidency, and it lies in the hands of the Electoral College.
Hillary Clinton, as I write this, leads Donald Trump in the popular vote by more than 2.2 million ballots (Trump’s petulant Twitter tantrum about “millions of illegal votes” notwithstanding). But thanks to minute leads in some “swing states” — Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania among them — Trump wins the presidency by virtue of a 306-232 lead over Clinton in the Electoral College.
But do the electors have to choose Trump? I say no.
As Alexander Hamilton explained in the Federalist Papers, this country’s Founding Fathers believed “that the immediate election should be made by men most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the station, and acting under circumstances favorable to deliberation, and to a judicious combination of all the reasons and inducements which were proper to govern their choice.
“A small number of persons, selected by their fellow-citizens from the general mass, will be most likely to possess the information and discernment requisite to such complicated investigations. It was also peculiarly desirable to afford as little opportunity as possible to tumult and disorder,” Hamilton wrote.
“This evil was not least to be dreaded in the election of a magistrate, who was to have so important an agency in the administration of the government as the President of the United States. But the precautions which have been so happily concerted in the system under consideration, promise an effectual security against this mischief.”
In other words, the Founding Fathers were afraid that some con man would come along and dupe the American public. So they created a system whereby a small, select group of citizens “most likely to possess the information and discernment requisite to such complicated investigations” would have the last word in who sits in The Oval Office.
Times have changed since the days of the Founding Fathers, and the Electoral College system now gives an unfair advantage to some smaller states, giving greater weight to the ballots cast in those smaller states than those cast in medium and larger states. There’s also the fact that over the years, states have adopted an “all-or-nothing” system, in which whoever wins the most votes in a state gets all that state’s Electoral College votes.
That, folks, is not mandated in the U.S. Constitution. It is not set in stone. And the time has come, I believe, for that to change.
The Electoral College was put in place to save the American people, to save our country from evil and mischief. Well, we say it is time for the Electoral College to do just that.
We call on the members of the Electoral College to do their duty, to live up to the expectations of our Founding Fathers, and to avert the catastrophe of a Donald Trump presidency by voting on Dec. 19 to put Hillary Clinton in the White House.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 2, 2016.