by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Some in Washington and others on social media are speculating that President-elect Trump is on the cusp of a tidal wave of “faithless electors” defecting from their pledges.
The notion is provocative, titillating — and has no root in reality and is nothing new.
Anti-Trump forces are advancing efforts to invalidate his election in the only venue that matters: the Electoral College. The electors of the Electoral College — the people who actually choose the next president — will gather on Dec. 19 to make their choices; choices that are supposed to represent the will of the voters of the 50 sovereign states.
When the Electoral College meets on Dec. 19th in each separate state, there may be some defectors, but that tradition is nearly as old as our republic, and Trump’s electoral majority is simply too large for a faithless-elector rebellion to cause him to lose the election.
“A faithless elector is someone who breaks their promise and votes for someone else,” said Paul Sracic, a political science professor at Youngstown University and expert on the electoral process.
“There are different ways of counting faithless electors, but using a fairly liberal definition yields 157 faithless electors throughout our history,” he said.
“While it is not that uncommon to have one faithless elector, those who oppose Trump would need 37 faithless electors to deny Trump the majority demanded by the Constitution,” said Sracic.