Twenty-two-year-old Michael Banerian, a political science major at Oakland University, and one of Michigan’s 16 electors, has received death threats from individuals who do not want him to cast his vote for Republican Donald Trump. Since Trump has apparently won Michigan, all 16 electors are Republicans.
“It’s mostly just a lot of angry people who don’t completely understand how the process works,” Banerian said.
Either that, or they believe the end justifies the means.
Layne Bangerter and Melinda Smyser, two electors from Idaho — another state carried by the Republican nominee Donald Trump — have said they’ve been overwhelmed with e-mails, telephone calls, and Facebook messages urging them not to vote for Trump.
Presidential electors across the nation have told similar stories, with the efforts at persuasion varying from pleading to threatening. The last time such an effort was made was in 2000, when Republican Texas Governor George W. Bush trailed Democrat Vice President Al Gore in the national popular vote. In Florida, a state Bush carried by about 500 votes out of six million cast, the efforts were particularly intense.
Carole Jean Jordan, a Florida elector in 2000, recalled that it was “unbelievably ugly,” with efforts made by Gore supporters to intimidate her with nasty letters. It was considered serious enough that police watched her home until after the electors cast the state’s votes. Electors were all lodged at the same hotel in Tallahassee (the state capital) and escorted by security officers to the Capitol.
In 2000, I was an elector, and I also received mail “encouraging” me to support Gore, even though I was nominated by the Fourth Congressional District Republican Convention as an elector, then chosen by the voters of Oklahoma to be one of the state’s eight electors, when Bush easily carried Oklahoma. (Oklahoma has not gone Democrat since 1964, and no Democrat has even carried one county in the state since 2000). We were likewise housed in the same hotel in Oklahoma City, but we drove separate vehicles from there to the Capitol. There was a discussion of being bussed together to the Capitol, but then it was decided that it would be safer to travel separately. We did, however, choose an alternate elector, just in case one of us did not “make it.”
I was not at all enthralled with Bush at the time (and grew even less so after seeing his performance as president); however, I had been nominated by the Republican Party with the understanding that I would cast my one electoral vote for the nominees of the party for president and vice-president, and therefore, there was no chance that I would have changed my vote.
But could this year’s effort succeed?
It is not likely, since if Michigan’s 16 electoral votes go to Trump, as expected, that would give him 306 electoral votes, with only 270 needed to win. This means that 38 electors, chosen by their state’s Republican Party, would have to switch from Trump to Clinton for her to win. It should be understood that those individuals tapped as elector nominees are not just random people; they are almost always hard-core party loyalists. While they may not all be enthusiastic about their party’s nominee, these Republicans are certainly not going to give the election to any Democrat — much less Hillary Clinton…