ThinkProgress

Two Democratic electors threaten to throw the election to Donald Trump

CREDIT: AP Photo/David Zalubowski

In the looming election, a solid majority of the American people could cast a ballot for Hillary Clinton. Yet, thanks to two guys from Washington state, Donald Trump could be sworn in as the next president of the United States.

Two men who were selected as members of the Electoral College in the likely event that Clinton wins the state of Washington, are, at the very least, uncertain that they will honor the will of the people of their state. Robert Satiacum told the Seattle Times that he is “absolutely not” voting for Clinton and that “I hope it comes down to a swing vote and it’s me,” because then “she ain’t getting it. Maybe it’ll wake this country up.”

The other likely elector, Bret Chiafalo, says that he has “not ruled out that possibility” of voting against Clinton.

It is unlikely, but not impossible, that the race could be close enough that these two men could effectively rig it for Donald Trump.

If no candidate receives a majority of the votes cast in the Electoral College, or at least 270 votes, then the House of Representatives will choose the president, with each state delegation being allowed to cast a single vote. Such an arrangement would overwhelmingly favor the Republican candidate, Donald Trump.

The fact that two men who think they have the right to override the will of their states’ voters were chosen as Democratic electors appears to be the fault of an utterly reckless method the Washington Democratic Party uses to name those electors. Electors were chosen at the state party convention in June, an event where so-called Bernie-or-Busters were overrepresented.

In other words, rather than, say, allowing the party’s nominee to name reliable electors, the party chose to select electors during an emotional primary season at an event that could be gamed by a minority faction that was willing to sabotage the party if Democrats did not chose that faction’s preferred nominee.

Nevertheless, if these two electors succeed in throwing the election to Donald Trump, the lion’s share of the blame should rest with the framers of the Constitution, who gave us the Electoral College system in the first place. Thanks to this system, the losing candidate has gone on to be the president in four different presidential elections — most recently when Al Gore was “defeated” by Texas Gov. George W. Bush.