Professor: 20 Republican Electors Ready to Flip on Trump
Harvard law professor Larry Lessig said this week that 20 Republican members of the Electoral College have consulted him about the legal ramifications of switching their vote on December 19. Lessig has been offering free legal advice for any electors who want to vote against Donald Trump, and he says that there are more potential defectors than you might think.
“Obviously, whether an elector ultimately votes his or her conscience will depend in part upon whether there are enough doing the same. We now believe there are more than half the number needed to change the result seriously considering making that vote,” Lessig told Politico.
To throw the election results into utter chaos, 36 Republican electors would have to change their vote when they go to their respective state capitals on Monday. Even if all 20 of the electors who have spoken to Lessig decide to break their pledges, Trump will still be sworn in as the 45th President of the United States. And so far, only one Republican elector has said that he will not vote for Trump.
But Lessig’s claim comes at a time when dozens of Democratic Party electors are planning a revolt of another kind. Forty members of the Electoral College (all but one being Democrat; the other being the aforementioned Republican – Chris Suprun of Texas) have signed a letter to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper asking for a classified briefing. The letter – written by Christine Pelosi, daughter of Nancy – says the electors cannot do their jobs properly without more information about Russia.
“We further require a briefing on all investigative findings, as these matters directly impact the core factors in our deliberations of whether Mr. Trump is fit to serve as President of the United States,” the letter says.
The campaign for an intelligence briefing has public support from the Hillary Clinton campaign, because…well, of course it does.
“Despite our protestations, this matter did not receive the attention it deserved by the media in the campaign,” Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta said. “We now know that the CIA has determined Russia’s interference in our elections was for the purpose of electing Donald Trump. This should distress every American.”
But it’s unlikely that any of these machinations will make a significant difference. The Hill newspaper spoke to several Republican electors, and they aren’t even close to wavering:
“I’m voting how the people of Florida have told me to vote,” said Brian Ballard, a Florida elector who raised money for Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio during the GOP primary. “I don’t know anyone who isn’t. I appreciate people using First Amendment rights to reach out and try to convince me otherwise, but I’m obligated to support Trump because he won Florida.
“Also, I love the guy and want him to be president.”