There is a great misunderstanding that currently exists in the United States of America. That myth is one perpetrated by newspapers, politicians, well-meaning citizens, and social studies teachers (like me), it states that the election for President of the United States took place on November 9, 2016. While true in theory, the fact is that the next President of the United States has not yet technically been elected. That's because the real election, the only one that legally matters at the end of the day, will take place in statehouses across the nation on December 19th. This of course is when 538 members of the Electoral College (EC), like you, will meet and formally elect the next President. You should know that most Americans don't fully understand the EC or why it exists. Do you? You should also know that no one knows who you are or why you have been chosen with this sacred albeit undemocratic honor. Mr. Elector, I'm an outspoken critic of the EC and have been for years. However, with knowledge that it isn't going away anytime soon, I'm asking you to fulfill the true purpose of the EC and do what is best for our nation. Allow me to explain.
The Electoral College was created in 1787 when the delegates in Philadelphia came up with a compromise that would allow for a small group of elite individuals to choose the President. Thanks to the three-fifths compromise the EC allowed for slaveholding states to have inflated representation and exercise more power against the more populated, non-slaveholding, northern states. Consequently, the first several decades of our republic's life were dominated by Southern Slaveowning men in the White House. This didn't work out too well for the nation you may remember.
Nevertheless, the system thrived as elite politicians, supposedly the most honorable and educated of all the population, would gather every four years to select a new president regardless as to what the people wished. Being one of those honorable and educated men, I don't need to tell you that we don't even know how the average citizen would have voted in the first several presidential elections because a national popular vote was not even counted until 1824, a full 35 years after the ratification of the Constitution! In that election, the popular vote clearly supported Andrew Jackson, but ultimately John Q. Adams won the presidency. I don't have to tell you, Mr. Elector that things didn't go well after that.
In fact, 4 times throughout our history the candidate who has won the popular vote has failed to win the Electoral College vote. Each of those times, the men elected president (Qunicy Adams, Hayes, Harrison, and Bush) have gone on to have unsuccessful presidencies. Their presidencies ranged anywhere from forgettable, to tragic, to all out failure. This year, the same thing happened. One candidate, Hillary Clinton, was decisively chosen by the American people by a margin of more than 2.5 million votes. Yet sadly, Donald Trump won the EC vote and in a few days you are going to cast a vote for him.
The interesting thing is, you don't have to! In Kentucky, there is no law requiring that you vote in accordance with your state. In those states where there are such laws, it is important to remember that such a system is in no way in line with the plan created by our Founding Fathers. Even as I type this a group of electors are challenging such laws as unconstitutional. Alexander Hamilton, one of the architects of the Constitution and the EC, explained the reasons for the Electoral College in Federalist #68:
"It was equally 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. 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. [...] Nothing was more to be desired than that every practicable obstacle should be opposed to cabal, intrigue, and corruption. These most deadly adversaries of republican government might naturally have been expected to make their approaches from more than one querter, but chiefly from the desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils. How could they better gratify this, than by raising a creature of their own to the chief magistracy of the Union? [...] The process of election affords a moral certainty, that the office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications."
Sir, it is as if Mr. Hamilton was writing specifically about the 2016 election. You, in your honored post, are the last obstacle against the election of a man who is wholly unqualified to be president. Your job is not to be an affirmation of the masses within your state. Rather, your job is to cast a vote in the best interest of the Republic. You are not supposed to be a rubber stamp. The Electoral College actually still meets for a reason, not just for tradition. Your purpose is to choose the next president. If you believe the creators of the Electoral College you are meeting to vote in the best interest of the republic! Never before has this responsibility been as serious as it is today.
Throughout our history, our nation has been blessed to have men run for the office of president who are of high character. They have been honorable men of both political parties that have understood the great responsibility of running a nation. While we may disagree with the policies enacted by a particular president, reasonable citizens have always understood that, despite our differences of opinion, the safety, security, and prosperity of the United States was always the goal of all presidents.
This is no longer the case. Donald Trump has disqualified himself from the presidency many times over the past 18 months. His treatment of women, inflammatory language regarding minorities, disrespect of veterans, and total lack of knowledge of the most basic public policy have revealed a man unfit to lead. The American people had a choice on November 9th and they chose Hillary Clinton. They rejected Donald Trump. This is a fact. However, a Constitutional loophole has allowed Mr. Trump to be, in all likelihood elected President of the United States by the Electoral College. Regardless, of my feelings about the institution, America needs the wisdom of the electors at this time.
Recent revelation regarding the close ties between the Trump campaign and the Russian government should concern all citizens. Mr. Trump's continual praise of Russian autocrat Vladimir Putin, a thug and a killer who tramples on civil liberties, has given us a clue as to the kind of government Mr. Trump believes will "Make America Great Again." Now the nation's top intelligence agencies have revealed evidence that the Russian government intentionally hacked into the computers of American citizens, coordinated cyber-attacks, released private email conversations, and created fake news stories all in an effort to weaken the Clinton campaign and ensure Donald Trump's election. They did this, you may recall, at Mr. Trump's urging when he encouraged Russians to hack into the Clinton campaign over the summer.
This is an act of cyber war. The Russian government has attempted to undermine the very essence of our democracy. Clearly, the Russians believe that Mr. Trump will carry out his promises to weaken NATO and remove sanctions placed on the Russians because of their recent aggression in Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Russia believes a Trump presidency will allow it to consolidate its power in places like Syria and Ukraine. In short, Vladimir Putin believes that with Donald Trump’s help, he can “Make Russia Great Again.” Putin has succeeded in convincing many Americans to cast votes for his own personal puppet to run our affairs. Such treachery cannot stand. Now, it's up to you.
On December 19th, do not vote for Donald Trump. I'm certainly not asking you to vote for Hillary Clinton. Vote for another qualified conservative whose motives cannot be questioned. John Kasich, John McCain, Mitt Romney, or many others are qualified to be President of the United States. Vote for a person of honor, who will put the interests of all Americans first and whose commitment to America cannot be questioned.
By casting your vote for someone else, you will help to deny Donald Trump the necessary 270 votes needed to be elected president. When this happens, the House of Representatives will make the decision just as the Constitution requires. The members of Congress, with access to classified information regarding Russian involvement in our election, will be best equipped to choose a candidate worth of the high office of President. No doubt, an honorable conservative President would have broad bipartisan support in the coming years.
By voting for someone else, you will honor your post. Do what the Electoral College was designed to do according to its creators and provide "moral certainty, that the office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications."
A Concerned Citizen
Derek Trent Ashcraft
A place to discuss, among other things, politics, culture, food, faith, and nonsense.