As the revolt against Donald Trump’s victory Nov. 8 takes another turn – with calls to challenge results in three states and more “faithless” electors vowing not to vote for Trump – Hillary Clinton’s lecture to Trump after the third presidential debate on the virtue of accepting election outcomes comes to mind.
When considerable attention was given to Trump’s reluctance during the third presidential debate to pledge that he would accept the results of the election, Clinton went on record stating, “One of our hallmarks has always been that we accept the outcomes of our election.”
Clinton told reporters after the Oct. 19 event that “it was horrifying what he said on the debate stage tonight.”
“Our country has been around for 240 years, and we’re a country based on laws, and we have hot, contested elections going back to the very beginning,” she said, “But one of our hallmarks has always been that we accept the outcomes of our election. We do the best we can to have free and fair elections, which we do, and somebody wins and somebody loses.”
Meanwhile, New York magazine cited a source saying computer scientists who believe vote results were manipulated or hacked in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania presented their findings to top Clinton aides on a call last Thursday.
The experts, according to the source, said they spotted a questionable trend of Clinton performing worse in counties that relied on electronic voting machines compared to paper ballots and optical scanners.
Among the computer scientists is J. Alex Halderman, the director of the University of Michigan Center for Computer Security and Society, the magazine reported.
The group informed John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chairman, and Marc Elias, the campaign’s general counsel, that Clinton received 7 percent fewer votes in counties that relied on electronic voting machines,
The experts said it’s possible those machines were hacked, although they found no evidence.
They insisted, nevertheless, that they detected a pattern that should be independently reviewed.
Election statistics guru Nate Silver doubts the analysis, tweeting “the effect COMPLETELY DISAPPEARS once you control for race and education levels, the key factors in predicting vote shifts this year.”
Radio host Rush Limbaugh had an even more dramatic view of the hacking claim and calls for recounts.
“The story is a total lie. It’s a misdirection, it’s a head feint. They haven’t found anything,” Limbaugh said in his national broadcast Wednesday.
“There is not a shred of evidence. It’s just three people calling themselves computer scientists claiming that they have looked at trends and concluding there could have been hackery of voting machines. And they admit there’s no evidence of it! But that doesn’t matter. Because once again a favorite tactic of the left: The seriousness of the charge vastly outweighs the nature of the evidence.”
Meanwhile, at least six electors have stated they will not vote for Trump when the 538 members of the Electoral College meet Dec. 19, even though the popular vote in their respective states went to the Republican candidate, the Associated Press reported.
Michael Baca, an elector from Colorado, argued the Founding Fathers “created the Electoral College as the last line of defense, and I think we must do all that we can to ensure that we have a Reasonable Republican candidate who shares our American values.”
Baca is part of a group called Hamilton Electors, after Alexander Hamilton.
Politico said the electors are mostly former Bernie Sanders supporters in Washington state and Colorado.
Washington state elector Bret Chiafalo said, “All we’re trying to do is honor what the Founding Fathers gave us.”
The U.S. Constitution, indeed, does not require that the electors vote for a particular candidate, even though 24 states penalize electors if they don’t vote according to the popular vote in their state. There have been only 157 so-called “faithless electors” in U.S. history who have gone against the wishes of their state’s voters, according to the nonprofit FairVote.
Limbaugh claimed it’s Hillary Clinton herself who’s pushing for electors not to vote for Trump.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I think the Clinton campaign’s behind this,” he said. “I think it is the Clinton campaign that is mounting this effort to intimidate and threaten the electors.”
WND reported last week that one of the 16 Michigan electors has testified on video that he and others in the state are receiving “dozens and dozens of death threats” from Hillary Clinton supporters urging them to switch their votes to Clinton.
WND also reported a petition that now claims to have more than 4.6 million signatures urges members of the Electoral College to vote for Clinton, arguing she won the popular vote and asserting Trump is “unfit to serve” and a “danger to the Republic.”
Currently, Trump has won 290 electoral votes, while Clinton has 232, with Michigan’s 16 electoral votes still up for grabs because the race is too close to call.
Politico commented that it’s unlikely the Hamilton electors could get the necessary 37 Republican electors to reject Trump and send the final decision to the House of Representatives.
Even if they do, the Republican-run House likely would elect Trump.
But the ultimate aim of the Democratic electors, according to Politico, is to erode confidence in the Electoral College and eventually repeal it, which would require a constitutional amendment.
Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., proposed one last week, but it has little chance of success in a Republican-controlled Congress.
Another effort to eliminate the Electoral College is a multistate compact that has been enacted so far in 11 states that would require electors to support the winner of the national popular vote. It would take effect, however, only if enough states join to make up a majority of the Electoral College.
In the Federalist Papers, Hamilton described the Electoral College as a deliberative body with the liberty to choose freely, using the popular votes only as a guide.
Hamilton wrote that the Founders intent in creating a republic was to strike a balance between pure majority rule and aristocracy, as Jarrett Stepman noted in the Heritage Foundation’s Daily Signal.
In Federalist 68, Hamilton argued that while the people should have considerable power to choose the president, it’s “desirable” 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.”
Proponents of the Electoral College point out that a pure national vote would make smaller states irrelevant, with campaigns focusing their energies on major population centers.