By Harvey Wasserman, (Cross-posted from Reader Supported News)
here are less than 24 hours to go before the Electoral College begins casting its votes.
Here is a petition to sign that might make a difference.
The desperate search for a successful Hail Mary to prevent Donald Trump from becoming president is down to the wire. The attempts can be easily seen by many as pollyannish. But we honor such individual acts of extreme clarity in John Kennedy’s “Profiles in Courage.”
And given the specter of a Trump presidency, this could be one of them.
In the final moment, it all rests on Hillary Clinton. Given the legal strictures of the Twelfth Amendment, she may be the only one who can possibly stop a Trump presidency.
Here’s the petition to sign asking her to do just that.
It reminds her that she can instruct her delegates to vote for a moderate Republican who might attract enough Trump delegates to win the Electoral College. Possibilities might include Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) or others.
Here are the mechanics of the Twelfth Amendment that could allow this to happen:
As explained in the previously published “December Surprise“ article linked at Reader Supported News, if 37 electors abandon Donald Trump, the choice of a new president will revert to the House of Representatives. The House will choose the new president based on a state-by-state vote, with each state having one ballot. They can choose only from among the top three vote-getters in the Electoral College.
At this point, there are only two such candidates, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. One potential defector from Trump has mentioned Republican John Kasich of Ohio. Kasich says he doesn’t want it.
But if Secretary Clinton were to choose someone (most likely a moderate Republican, perhaps such as Collins) that could carry all her delegates plus 37 Trump defectors, that person would become president.
Should enough delegates pledged to Trump or Clinton make Clinton’s choice the number three vote-getter, with Trump falling short of 270, the House would have to consider that third person (and ONLY her or him) as an alternative to Trump and Clinton.
But, as mentioned, if Clinton asks her electors to vote for a third choice in the Electoral College, and they all do, and 37 Trump electors join in, that alternative choice would be come the next president of the United States without going to the House.
The choice of a vice president then becomes critical. Should no one be elected president outright by Inauguration Day, the new vice president, as chosen by the US Senate, takes over. At the moment it would seem that could be Mike Pence. But there are a number of things that could also happen to avoid that.
In the meantime, as Steve Rosenfeld has written at Alternet, there are a range of state laws meant to bind electors to the candidate for whom they were chosen to vote. They could, of course, break those laws during the Electoral College voting. There are indications some may be willing to do so.
Their votes might then count as they cast them, but be subject to later litigation, which no doubt Donald Trump would be prepared to fund.
In any event, it is possible for a number of electors from both camps to defect to a third choice and throw the election into the House, with that choice as the third candidate.
And it’s also possible, if Clinton instructs all her delegates to vote for that alternative, and enough Trump delegates join in, to make him or her president outright.
Is it worth a try?
But for now, the choice – and opportunity – is Hillary Clinton’s … and yours.
Harvey Wasserman’s America at the Brink of Rebirth: The Organic Spiral of Us History can be had via www.solartopia.org. The Strip & Flip Selection of 2016: Five Jim Crows & Electronic Election Theft,co-written with Bob Fitrakis, is at www.freepress.org.
Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.