Jordan Stefanacci ’18 – Inside Politics Participant
The 2016 election results stunned the nation in more ways than one. However, the constituents’ reactions to Donald Trump being named the 45th President of the United States were exactly what anti-Trump supporters predicted would occur if Hillary Clinton had won the election. In the days following the election, we have seen anti-Trump protests, demonstrations, and even riots taking place on college campuses and throughout our great nation. Even more concerning however is that the anti-Trump movement has spread nationwide, with the purpose to delegitimize the election results and threaten the peaceful transfer of power. The most notable movement is the wearing of safety pins on clothing to show support for the most vulnerable groups in society who feel threatened and insecure about Donald Trump and Mike Pence being in the White House. While it is important to spread awareness for a cause, these actions of protests are only making the nation more divided and are not going to change the result of the election.
It is ironic that many people were concerned over the fact that Trump would jeopardize the legitimacy of what it means to be a respectable Presidential candidate if he contested the results of the election had he lost, but meanwhile anti-Trump people across the country are trying to persuade members of the electoral college to not vote for Trump. These online petitions have gone so far that several members of the electoral college have disclosed that they are receiving death threats over the phone and through email if they vote for Trump. Layne Bangerter, one of Idaho’s electors, said that these petitions are not going to work and that he hopes people stop sending threatening messages to members of the electoral college. Hillary Clinton gracefully accepted defeat, unfortunately many of her supports are unable to do the same and are attempting to challenge the electoral college system that has been the foundation for Presidential elections since the Constitution was signed and ratified. Never in the nation’s history has a petition campaign gone so far as to attempt to overturn the election’s results after the people have already spoken.
The chances of these protesters being successful are extremely thin and they are not helping the nation come together and get behind our next President. According to the National Archives, more than 99 percent of electors have voted as pledged throughout the nation’s history. Many states also have strict laws against electors who do not vote loyally. In North Carolina, a faithless elector’s vote is automatically cancelled and a new elector must replace their vote. While Texas Republican elector Art Sisneros has said that he does not feel comfortable voting for Trump when the electoral college meets to vote, he also said that he would never vote for Hillary Clinton. Therefore, he has announced that he is considering resigning and giving his position in the electoral college to another representative. Sisneros’s reaction to the election results are much more democratic than constituents attempting to dissuade members of the electoral college to vote against their party. While this election has been unconventional, the democracy that the Founding Father’s established deserves to be respected. The United States government system was founded on principles of checks and balances to ensure a stable system is always in place, and the nation as a whole must have more faith in its democracy.
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