WASHINGTON – A last-ditch attempt and all-out blitz by Democrats to keep Donald Trump from becoming president does not seem to be working, judging by the results of an informal survey of voters in the Electoral College.
As WND has reported in detail, the plan has been to persuade electors from both major parties to vote for a compromise third candidate, one other than Republican Donald Trump or Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Democrats have been pushing hard, pleading, begging and sometimes even threatening Electoral College voters not to confirm Trump’s victory in the general election, deluging them with a barrage of newspaper ads, a celebrity video, phone calls, letters, emails, tweets and Facebook posts.
But a survey of electors taken by the Associated Press seems to strongly indicate the plan is not working, because, “Most of it is falling on deaf ears.”
The wire service reported, “Whether they like Trump or not, and some surely don’t, scores of the Republicans chosen to cast votes in the state-capital meetings told AP they feel bound by history, duty, party loyalty or the law to rubber-stamp their state’s results and make him president.”
The AP said it tried to contact all 538 electors and actually interviewed more than 330 of them. It found little appetite among electors of either party to go rogue.
The AP reported most Republican electors have been swamped with ineffective pleas and tirades, and although many Democrats have been aggravated with the system, they, too, have been unpersuaded to join a revolt.
Brian Westrate, a small-business owner and GOP district chairman in Fall Creek, Wisconsin, said he has received 48,324 emails and has engaged in a “Twitter debate with a former porn star from California asking me to change my vote. It’s been fascinating.”
Nashville attorney Tom Lawless supported Marco Rubio in the primaries, but told AP, “Hell will freeze and we will be skating on the lava before I change,” adding, “He (Trump) won the state and I’ve pledged and gave my word that that’s what I would do. And I won’t break it.”
Republican elector Edward Robson of Phoenix bluntly told AP, “We got a stack of letters from idiots.”
Also in Phoenix, elector Carole Joyce remarked, “I average anywhere from a thousand to 3,000 emails a day. And I’m getting inundated in my regular mailbox out front – anywhere from 17 to 35 letters a day coming from Washington state, Oregon, all around the country. Hand-written, some of them five or six pages long, quoting me the Federalist Papers, the Constitution, asking me again out of desperation not to vote for Donald Trump.”
“And that’s their right,” she added. “I’ve had nothing threatening, I’m happy to say. The election is over, they need to move on.”
Democrats were similarly reluctant.
“We lost the election,” said Democratic ward chairman John Padilla of Albuquerque, New Mexico. “That’s how elections are and you shake hands with your opponent and you get on with what you have to do and support your candidate.”
The all-out assault on electors comports with what WND and other media outlets reported on Thursday.
The New York Post reported, “Electors around the country are being harassed with a barrage of emails, phone calls and letters – and even death threats – in an effort to block Donald Trump from being voted in as president by the Electoral College on Monday.”
Harassment of electors was reported in many states, including Georgia, Idaho, Tennessee, Arizona, Utah and Michigan.
One elector in Arizona said she has received more than 50,000 emails, including 1,500 just Wednesday morning, demanding she not vote for Trump. An elector in Tennessee said she’s received 2,000 emails, 120 letters and five phone calls urging her not to vote for Trump.
An elector in Michigan said he’s received death threats through the mail, email, Twitter and Facebook.
A number of Hollywood celebrities appeared in a video, begging GOP electors not to vote for Trump.
Anchored by actor Martin Sheen, who played the president on television’s “West Wing,” the celebrities pleaded for 37 “conscientious Republican electors” to deny Trump the presidency by not voting for him. The actors say they would “respect” those electors as “heroes.”
Sheen warned, “As you know, our Founding Fathers built the Electoral College to safeguard the American people from the dangers of a demagogue and to ensure that the presidency only goes to someone who is to an eminent degree and down with the requisite qualifications.”
The actors repeatedly insist they are not asking electors to vote for Clinton, just not to vote for Trump.
Their message claims, “What is evident is that Donald Trump lacks more than the qualifications to be president. He lacks the necessary stability and clearly the respect for the Constitution of our great nation.”
The video, released on YouTube by a group called Unite for America, does not have any superstar Democrats such as George Clooney or Barbara Streisand, but it does include such recognizable actors as Debra Messing, Noah Wyle, Mike Farrell and Loretta Swit.
Additionally, Democratic Party activist Daniel Brezenoff ran full-page newspaper ads across the country on Wednesday urging Electoral College members to “vote their conscience” as part of what Politico called “a pressure campaign intended to block the election of Donald Trump.”
The ads ran in the Washington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer, Austin American-Statesman, Salt Lake City Tribune and Tampa Bay Times and were set to appear in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Wisconsin State Journal on Thursday.
The ads said Trump’s “inauguration would present a grave and continual threat to the Constitution, to domestic tranquility and to international stability.”
Brezenoff recently gained notoriety by launching a Change.org petition asking the Electoral College to pick Clinton instead of Trump.
According to Politico, “The petition went viral and is approaching 5 million signatures, the largest in Change.org’s history. He leveraged that list to raise about $250,000 through a GoFundMe page to support the ads. He said the newspaper campaign has exhausted virtually all of the funds raised.”
Brezenoff told Politico he still wants electors to vote for Clinton, but he also implied the real goal is to stop Trump.
The website reported, “Brezenoff said the ad campaign is designed to reach electors but also raise public pressure on them in states with large Democratic populations or widespread anti-Trump sentiment.”
But even stopping Trump in the Electoral College probably would not stop him from becoming president.
That’s because if no one candidate receives enough votes in the Electoral College to become president, the election would move to the House of Representatives, where Trump would almost certainly win.
That’s because there most likely would be only two candidates on the House ballot, Trump and Clinton, and that chamber has a GOP majority.
Here’s how it works.
To become president, 270 votes in the Electoral College are needed. Trump earned 306 electoral votes in the general election, and Clinton won 232.
The plan to keep Trump from officially receiving those 270 votes in Monday’s gathering of the Electoral College is the brainchild of Democrats who call themselves “The Hamilton Electors.”
They say they want the Electoral College to elect a third candidate, and have Republican and Democratic electors reach a consensus on who that might be. But, most of all, they want to stop Trump from reaching 270 votes.
If no candidate were to receive 270 votes on Monday in the Electoral College, the election would go to the House of Representatives.
The House would then hold what is called a “contingent election” in which each state would receive one vote, with the GOP holding a majority.
Just 37 Republican electors would need to defect to deny Trump victory, which is what has fueled Democrats’ hopes.
And, according to Fox News, “The Hamilton Electors hope that House Republicans would then pick the alternative Republican over Trump.”
But that would not seem to be possible.
That’s because the rules for a contingent election of the president in the House, outlined in the 12th Amendment, stipulate that only the three candidates who received the most electoral votes are eligible, when no one candidate reaches 270.
And the only candidates who received any Electoral College votes were Trump and Clinton.
Runners-up Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party and the Green Party’s Jill Stein won no Electoral College votes.
And no viable third candidate has emerged. Of the names mentioned as possibilities, former Secretary of State Colin Powell has stayed mum, and Republican Gov. John Kasich of Ohio tweeted, “The election is over.”
Unless a consensus third candidate suddenly does emerge to receive 270 electoral votes on Monday, the only two candidates eligible for a contingent election in the House would be Trump and Clinton.
And the GOP still has a commanding majority in the House, retaining control of the chamber in the 2016 election, winning 241 seats to the Democrats’ 194.
So, even if Trump does not get 270 votes from the Electoral College on Monday, given a choice of either him or Clinton, with no other option, it would appear certain the GOP-dominated House would select the Republican in a contingent election.
But the lack of a third candidate hasn’t stopped Democrats from trying everything possible to stop Trump in the Electoral College on Monday.
Their hopes were raised Wednesday when Fox reported that Harvard constitutional law professor Larry Lessig claimed there were at least 20 GOP electors seriously considering not voting for Trump.
With only 37 GOP defectors needed, Lessig has been actively trying to stop Trump by setting up “a legal group, ‘The Electors Trust,’ to offer legal counsel to anti-Trump electors.”
Lessig told Fox he believed GOP electors will vote against Trump only if they are sure they have at least 37 defectors.
“There are some who will do it as a matter of principle; one has already said he will. But most will be in the situation where they won’t make that sacrifice unless there a reason to sacrifice,” said the Harvard professor.
Although Fox downplayed the likelihood of enough electors defecting, a Republican heavyweight cautioned that Lessig should not be underestimated.
Gary Bauer, the former under secretary of education and chief domestic policy adviser to President Reagan, said “Professor Lessig is not just any Harvard leftist professor” and warned of the potential for “a political earthquake” when electors gather to vote for president on Monday.
Bauer described Lessig as both “far left” and “well connected,” and he warned he “has been providing free legal help to electors from states Trump won.”
“At the same time as he is providing ‘counsel,’ Republican electors are reportedly being harassed 24 hours a day by left wing fanatics,” continued Bauer.
“The harassment includes death threats that has left some of them fearful for themselves and their families. Sounds like hate crimes to me. Where is the Justice Department?”
Despite the assault on electors, Bauer said he is somewhat reassured that the Republican National Committee is monitoring the situation and regularly talking to them.
Additionally, Lessig faces a significant legal hurdle.
Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia have laws requiring their electors to cast ballots for the winner of the popular vote.
To get around that, the Hamilton Electors have been trying to use the courts to free up enough anti-Trump electoral votes, filing a lawsuit to overturn Colorado’s law requiring the state’s nine electors to vote for the winner in that state.
Even though Clinton won in their state, Democratic electors Polly Baca and Robert Nemanich, who are part of the Hamilton Electors movement, filed the suit in the hope it would set a precedent, freeing electors in states that Trump won to vote against the president-elect.
But a federal judge in Denver ruled on Tuesday that Colorado’s nine electors must vote for Clinton, the winner of the state’s popular vote.
On Wednesday, the same federal judge ruled that if the Democratic electors refuse to vote for Clinton, Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams may replace them with electors who will follow the law, if he so chooses.
Additionally, Williams, a Republican, has told Politico that any Colorado elector who does not vote for Clinton could face a perjury charge, because he intends to make them take an oath to uphold the law.
Baca and Nemanich have filed an emergency appeal to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Lawsuits similar to the one filed in Colorado seeking to overturn laws requiring electors to vote for the winner in their states have been filed in California and Washington state.