If you haven’t heard already, Donald Trump is going to be the next President of the United State after his surprise win this week. That certainly hasn’t stopped people from suggesting that his opponent, Hillary Clinton, can still somehow usurp him.
An online petition making the rounds is calling for the electors of the Electoral College to cast their electoral vote for Clinton, regardless of how their state actually voted.
“On December 19, the Electors of the Electoral College will cast their ballots,” the petition reads. “If they all vote the way their states voted, Donald Trump will win. However, they can vote for Hillary Clinton if they choose. Even in states where that is not allowed, their vote would still be counted, they would simply pay a small fine - which we can be sure Clinton supporters will be glad to pay!”
“We are calling on the Electors to ignore their states' votes and cast their ballots for Secretary Clinton,” it continues.
The crux of the petition’s argument is that Clinton is likely to win the popular vote, despite Trump winning enough states to push him over 270 votes in the Electoral College. The petition also lists off the usual insults towards Trump and calls him “a danger to the Republic.”
The Electoral College was designed by the framers of the U.S. Constitution as a way to balance out the fears that cities with larger populations would control who won the presidency. By giving a set number of electors to a state (based off how many representatives that state has in Congress) this was seen as a way to give a voice to the more rural parts of the country as well as populous cities.
That is apparently not a good enough reason for the over 2 million people who have already “signed” the online petition.
Historically speaking, there have been so-called “faithless electors” in the past, but an incredibly small amount. Only 157 electors have ever not cast their votes for the candidate their state’s voted for, and nearly half of those votes were because the candidate they were supposed to support died before the Electoral College met. That means only 82 people have ever cast a different vote in the 240-year history of the U.S using the Electoral College system.
To those who might worry about the large number of “signatures” on this petition, fear not. Despite having some good stories where the petitions have caused actual change, Change.org petitions are seen by some to be the best case of slacktivism: something that requires very little effort for a user to do, and mainly done to make the user feel good.
Change.org also spawns crazy and sometimes ridiculously funny petitions as well. There was one petition that asked McDonald to bring back its hot mustard and chipotle sauce back because the person had used the sauce to eat nuggets for 29 years! There was another petition that called for a musician in the band Owl City to post more selfies of himself. There has even been the wonderfully self-aware petition calling for other users to stop creating stupid petitions.
So have no fear, this petition is unlikely to change the eventual outcome that Donald Trump is going to be elected the next President of the United States.
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