We have just learned that Donald Trump is threatening political retaliation for any electoral college member who doesn’t vote for him.
A member of the electoral college was quoted telling Salon:
“We have gotten reports from multiple people,” the elector said, “that the Donald Trump campaign is putting pressure on Republican electors to vote for him based on … future political outcomes based on whether they vote for Donald Trump or not.”
These aren’t hearsay reports; this is coming directly from the members themselves. Instead of physical retaliation, Trump is vowing to ruin people’s political careers when he assumes the office.
“It’s all political, basically,” the elector said. “If Trump becomes the president, he’s going to be able to put pressure on the state parties, and they won’t be involved anymore.”
Trump is likely feeling the pressure given the fact that a Democratic group within the Electoral College is trying to convince around 37 electoral members to instead give their vote to a moderate Republican, someone like Gov. John Kasich of Ohio.
Currently, Trump has 306 electoral votes to Clinton’s 232. He needs 270 to win. If he loses 37 votes, that would only give him 269 votes. This would force the election to be decided by the House of Representatives.
Since Hillary Clinton has already lost the recount battle in three battleground states, this would be the only way for her to become president. It’s improbable, but not impossible.
The Federalist Papers – which are often used to determine the intent of our founders when writing the U.S. Constitution – says in No. 68 written by Alexander Hamilton that “the office of President will never fall to a lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications.”
It also stated that electors had a duty to keep a president from assuming office if a foreign threat ever compromised the president. That is precisely the debate raging on today on whether Russia helped hacked the election in order for Trump to be elected.
With that said – chances are Trump is still going to be president. There’s no need for him to threaten the electoral college. But, that’s what he just did. It’s unbecoming and unprecedented.
Electors are scheduled to meet next Monday to cast their votes.