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Dropping out of Electoral College

I have some respect for this.

A Texas Republican elector is resigning over the election of Donald Trump, saying he cannot “in good conscience” vote for the incoming president.

The elector, Art Sisneros of Dayton, detailed his decision in a blog post Saturday that said he believed voting for Trump “would bring dishonor to God.” The remaining 537 members of the Electoral College will choose Sisneros’ replacement when they convene Dec. 19 in state capitals across the country.

[…]

Sisneros has previously been critical of Trump, raising the prospect that he could turn into a “faithless elector” — one who votes against the winner of the popular vote in his or her state. He ruled out that option in his blog post, writing that it “would be difficult to justify how being faithless could be a righteous act.”

The post in question is here, and it’s rather wordy but worth a read. Basically, Sisneros felt constrained because the Texas GOP requires people who want to become electors to sign a pledge affirming that they will only vote for the candidate who won the vote in the state, which if you want to get all original-constructionist is a perversion of the intent of the Electoral College. He admits he shouldn’t have signed the pledge (and thus not been chosen as an elector), but sign it he did, and thus was faced with voting for a candidate he couldn’t abide, being a “faithless elector” (a term he says he despises), or resigning. His reasoning comes from a place that I don’t share, but given his starting point, I do agree that this was the honorable path for him to take. Not that any of this matters in the grand scheme of things, nor does it address the underlying tension of the huge disparity between the popular vote and the electoral vote, but there you have it.

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11 Comments

  1. Flypusher says:

    From Alexander Hamilton, Federalist #68:

    “The process of election affords a moral certainty, that the office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications. Talents for low intrigue, and the little arts of popularity, may alone suffice to elevate a man to the first honors in a single State; but it will require other talents, and a different kind of merit, to establish him in the esteem and confidence of the whole Union, or of so considerable a portion of it as would be necessary to make him a successful candidate for the distinguished office of President of the United States.”

    “Low intrigue” and “little arts of popularity”- sounds familiar.

    So if the EC is supposed to be the final check against putting an unqualified person in office, any restrictions on the electors renders it worse than useless. This is the 2nd time in the past 16 years that the less qualified candidate gets the office despite losing the popular vote. I absolutely would vote to scrap it. My second choice, if we had to keep it, would be to free the electors, no pledges, no restrictions on how they vote other than what is in the 12th Amendment.

    Keeping a pledge is usually a good thing, but sometimes circumstances arise where the more moral thing is to break it.

  2. Bill Daniels says:

    Let’s say Hillary had won. Does Sisneros really think she would have brought any more honor to God than Trump? Honoring God didn’t seem to be a priority for the electorate this year, period.

  3. Bill – Each party chooses its own electors, so if Hillary had won Texas, Sisneros would not have been in this position.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_presidential_electors,_2016#Democratic_Party_19

  4. Flypusher says:

    Each person can decide what they think honors God or not, but Trump is unapologetically profane, has done lots of horrible, dishonest things with no regret, and pretty obviously cares primarily about himself. Clinton doesn’t come anywhere close.

  5. brad m says:

    By resigning Sisneros is honorable to his pledge, albeit to a political party that shows tremendous hypocrisy in its approach to God and Christian values.

    By resigning, Sisneros is really gutless in choosing a pledge to a political party over his responsibility to his country.

  6. Flypusher says:

    A statement from many American Evangelicals concerning Trump:

    https://www.change.org/p/donald-trump-a-declaration-by-american-evangelicals-concerning-donald-trump

    This is what sticking to your values when things are difficult looks like. I’m not a religious person, but I completely agree with them on ethical grounds.

  7. Joel says:

    “He admits he shouldn’t have signed the pledge (and thus not been chosen as an elector), but sign it he did, and thus was faced with voting for a candidate he couldn’t abide, being a “faithless elector” (a term he says he despises), or resigning. His reasoning comes from a place that I don’t share, but given his starting point, I do agree that this was the honorable path for him to take. ”

    no, the “honorable” thing would have been to do his job as an elector and vote for the candidate he thought most qualified. the fact that he had to sign a pledge in the first place should be unconstitutional. it directly contravenes the entire point of the electoral college.

    his decision to resign seems entirely driven by the use of the word “faithless.” which is unfortunate, because that term is being used inappropriately to describe what would actually an act of great patriotism and apparently uncommon constitutional understanding.

  8. Bill Daniels says:

    @Flypusher:

    I wouldn’t exactly call 23,000 votes an evangelical mandate for this anti-Trump missive. I suspect Sheila Jackson Lee delivered that many “souls to the poll” with the express purpose block voting for Hillary. I also find it interesting that, while she was so excited to bring church goers to the polls, she neglected to send buses to Lakewood, Second Baptist, Grace, or Sagemont. Why? Don’t those Christian souls’ votes matter, too?

  9. Flypusher says:

    The point wasn’t numbers or mandates. The point was what do you do with your values when you are tested.

  10. Kris Overstreet says:

    Matthew 27:24.

  11. brad m says:

    Tangentless “Seque Bill” is back!