The General Election happened last month, but today marks the finality of the campaign as the Electoral College electors will vote and certify Donald Trump as the next President, or will they? Analysts tend to agree that all the efforts to sway the electors to “vote their conscience,” and support someone other than Trump, will be fruitless in the end. There are several reasons for that, not the least of which is that most of the electors don’t want to be seen as thwarting the will of the people in their respective state.
Report from NBC News:
In the aftermath of a wild, norm-busting 2016 campaign, it’s only fitting that Monday’s Electoral College vote — the next step in formalizing Donald Trump’s election to the presidency — has generated frenzied, star-studded arguments to somehow change the results.
But regardless of whether you view these efforts as proper and legitimate uses of Constitutional authority, sour grapes or just democracy’s version of primal scream therapy, don’t expect any reversal of November’s overall result.
The weeks since the election have seen an unprecedented number of headlines teasing various scenarios about changing the results in the Electoral College — whose 538 members meet Monday in the 50 state capitals to cast their official votes. Trump won the Electoral College, 306 votes to Hillary Clinton’s 232, but lost the popular vote by over 2.5 million votes, the third worst margin since 1824.
A handful of Democrats and even a few Republican electors have embarked on an unusual effort to deny Trump the victory — or at the very least, raise the specter of changing the election.
Some of the electors have reported death threats and threats to their families and livelihoods if they proceed with their bound vote for Donald Trump. The UK Telegraph reports:
Republican electors due to cast the votes on Monday that will seal Donald Trump’s presidency, are facing death threats and organised campaigns in a ditch bid by desperate opponents to avert the outcome of the US election.
Amid concerns that Russia intervened in the election, members of the Electoral College have been bombarded with calls to post-pone this final seal of approval – or choose a different candidate for the presidency.
“This is absolutely unique,” Mary Barket, an elector and long time Republican politician in Pennsylvania, a crucial swing state which broke for Mr Trump, told The Telegraph.
Following one of the most divisive campaigns in electoral history, the intelligence reports that Russian president Vladimir Putin authorised cyber attacks to help Mr Trump get elected have rocked the, usually quieter, transition weeks before the January inauguration.
As Mr Trump continued to openly refute the findings of the intelligence agencies, some 79 of the presidential electors, most of them Democrats, called on James Clapper, the director of national intelligence to authorise a classified briefing on the Russia hacking allegations before the Electoral College vote.
Even as Mr Clapper rejected the call, a barrage of other organisations have taken it upon themselves to campaign to stop the electors on Monday casting the votes, according to centuries old tradition, in accordance with the popular election result in their state.
The “Russian hacking” story is not being taken as conventional wisdom by the media and being pushed heavily by supporters outside and within the Clinton campaign. The FBI stated yesterday that it agrees with the CIA that Russia attempted to alter the US election by releasing damning information against Hillary Clinton. This operation could lead back to Vladimir Putin, but that trail seems vague depending on the source.
In total, it appears that today should mark the end of the campaign with Donald Trump officially being named the victor in 2016. Then again, this is 2016 and anything can happen so stay tuned.