This is it. After today, there’s no going back. The sooner this is official, the sooner we can move on to more important things. Let’s get to it!
By Jerome Cartillier
Donald Trump’s fiercest critics may be dreaming of a last-minute revolt, but the Electoral College, a peculiarly American institution, appears near-certain on Monday to select the 70-year-old real estate mogul as the 45th US president.
Its detractors — and they are many — have denounced an electoral system that flies in the face of the venerated “one man, one vote” principle, and which perversely encourages presidential candidates to campaign in only a few key states while ignoring whole swaths of the country.
But despite the torrent of criticism this method has faced for decades, no reform attempt has ever succeeded.
When American voters cast their ballots on November 8, they did not in fact directly elect the next occupant of the White House. Instead, they picked 538 “electors” charged with translating their wishes into reality.
Trump won a clear majority of those electors — 306, with 270 needed for election — despite dramatically losing the popular vote to his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton.
A similar scenario took place in 2000, when George W. Bush became president even though Democrat Al Gore won more popular votes.
However, the gap is far more dramatic in 2016, with Clinton scoring nearly three million extra votes over Trump.
This Monday, electors will convene in each of the 50 states, plus the District of Columbia, to officially designate the next president and vice president.
Following an extraordinarily vitriolic campaign, this step in the electoral process — normally little more than a formality — has been thrust into the spotlight.
– ‘Faithless electors’ –
Historically, electors only rarely defy the expressed wishes of the majority of voters in their district. And never have the votes of these “faithless electors” changed the outcome of a presidential election.
Still, some Democrats — who see a Trump presidency as presenting an existential danger to American democracy — are clinging to the slender hope that a few dozen Republican electors might decide not to vote for their party’s populist leader.