I teach college-age people and, over the past few weeks – with no Bernie Sanders to cheer for – their attention has focused on how to get State Electors to turn their back on Trump and vote for someone more liberal. It was not the time to debate the issue with them, since my first goal was to get them to do well on their Final Exams.
Now it’s neutral time, and I can speak out: Gang, it’s not going to happen. I know you circulated petitions on-line, I know you had high hopes for full-page ads published in some newspapers imploring electors to “vote for a qualified person”. But let’s examine the reality of it all.
First, on-line petitions have no value whatsoever. If you really believe in something, folks, go door-to-door and collect real signatures from real voters. I know that the on-line deal gathered about 5 million signatures, but who cares? Are these voters? Are they citizens? Are they people who signed multiple times? A stack of paper petitions, signed by legitimate voters, and presented to a state electoral body might – just might – have meant something. On-line material is just more twitter-fodder. If you want to motivate me, knock on my door and talk to me.
Now, of course, that’s a lot of work. If one diligent, non-stop door-to-door campaigner could gather 200 live signatures, 5 million signatures would have taken 25,000 campaigners, or 500 per state. So, how badly did you really want to accomplish this?
Second, and more important, you made the mistake that all activists make when addressing a political situation – you tried an appeal to reason. Life lesson: it doesn’t work. It did not stop the draft in the 60’s, it didn’t make either LBJ or Nixon stop the Viet Nam war. It doesn’t influence the Supreme Court in any of its decisions, and has never worked with the Congress.
Someone far smarter than me once commented that protesting before a legislative body is like peeing your pants when you’re wearing dark black woolen slacks. Nobody notices, but it gives you a nice warm feeling.
Electors are political animals. They were appointed by a party, Democrat or GOP. That appointment was made for some loyal work or gesture over time. They are not going to go against the party, even when the party has made or supported the wrong decision. Oh, one or two might do it. But they would be an exception, probably because they have other interests and have no wish for further growth in the party. They are party members because there is something in it for them. That’s the nature of politics.
So, I’m sorry to bring you the bad news. And I’m even sorrier that your hopes for the next 4 years have been dashed if you were leaning toward the Democratic ticket. But please read my blog on “Why The Democrats Lost”. The election was won by votes from hungry people. People who have no jobs, people whose children are hungry, people who are not students, people whose every waking moment is spent not in causes, but in finding some way to earn money to keep their families. Can and will Trump do that? I have no idea. Voters believed it. Hunger beats reason every time.