With less than 72 hours before Colorado’s nine Electoral College members meet at the state Capitol to cast their votes, the biggest question remains: Who will they vote for, if not Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton?
Although the election was more than a month ago, the final act is for the 538 electors of the Electoral College to cast their official ballots, based on which candidate won their state. Clinton won Colorado, so all nine of the state’s Democratic electors would normally vote for her. But since Election Day, two of the nine, former state Sen. Polly Baca of Denver and Bob Nemanich of Colorado Springs, have been talking about not voting for Clinton in an attempt to keep President-elect Donald Trump from the White House.
How could a vote against Clinton stop The Donald? Trump is slated, based on the results from Nov. 8, to receive 306 electoral votes. He needs 270 to win, meaning that 37 Republican electors would have to cast their votes for someone else, presumably another Republican, in order to deny him the presidency. Baca and Nemanich are willing to also vote for a Republican alternative to help the effort.
Were Trump to miss the 270-vote threshold, the decision would be routed to the U.S. House of Representatives.
But as state Sen. Rollie Heath, one of our nine electors, sees it, once Ohio Gov. John Kasich told his state electors not to write him in, there hasn’t been a consensus on another Republican nominee to take the 37 votes away from Trump.
Heath told The Colorado Independent he has not heard any other names being floated as the definitive candidate. According to Slate, several other names have been mentioned — Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Jon Huntsman, John McCain and Mitt Romney all made their list — but there isn’t any indication that the so-called Hamilton electors have yet coalesced around one in particular.
“I can’t stand the idea” of Trump being president, Heath said. But he also noted that when he ran for state elector at the Democratic state convention last April, he had two choices: former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. He was elected as a Clinton backer, and pledges to vote for her on Monday.
But despite his protests, some hope Kasich could still wind up the choice of the Hamilton electors.
This afternoon, Hamilton Elector founder and Washington Democratic elector Bret Chiafalo and Republican elector Chris Suprun of Texas participated in an AMA — “Ask Me Anything” — discussion on Reddit to talk about Monday’s vote as well as a “draft Kasich” effort, which, though well-received, hasn’t taken off beyond several Twitter accounts, a #draftKasich hashtag, and the Reddit thread itself.
During the discussion, Chiafalo said he and Suprun have had conversations with “countless” Republican electors who are concerned about what Trump will do to the nation. Many of these electors continue to voice support for Kasich, Chiafolo said. He is a pragmatic choice, he said, as well as one “with the integrity and experience that we believe Republican electors will rally around.”
Chiafolo and Suprun also believe Kasich is someone the U.S. House of Representatives will endorse for president, given his 18 years of experience as a congressman. “They know him,” Chiafolo said today in the Reddit discussion.
Some Hamilton electors say a precedent for Electoral College intervention already exists, although it happened more than 225 years ago. In 1789, the Electoral College unanimously drafted George Washington to be president, despite his claims that he didn’t want to be president, instead preferring to go back to Mount Vernon and retire.
As Monday approaches, protesters are gearing up to make their voices heard, that includes several events in Denver, despite forecasts for bitter cold.
On Sunday, the night before the electors meet, a nationwide “Vigil for America” is scheduled at state capitols around the country. In Colorado, that vigil will begin on the west steps of the state capitol at 4 p.m.
A “March Out Trump” Denver rally is also scheduled for Sunday for Civic Center Park at 2:30 p.m.
On Monday, a “Stop Trump. Defend Democracy” rally will be held at the state Capitol beginning at 8 a.m. and continuing through the noon vote.