Some call it “slacktivism,” the signing of online petitions in lieu of actual personal commitments of time and effort. But given the growing influence of social media, that definition could be getting a little outdated. Or not. Either way, there’s an interesting process underway right now on Change.org, the website where individuals post petitions for every imaginable cause.
The day after our recent presidential election, with protest marches in progress across the country, a new petition was posted. It implores the electors of the Electoral College to cast their votes for the winner of the popular vote, Hillary Clinton. Although electors could be penalized by their states for not voting as pledged (“faithless electors”), they can vote for any candidate they choose. Or not vote at all. They are not legally bound to vote as their states voted.
Regardless of what you think of online petitions, it’s hard to ignore this one. In less than a week, it has garnered more than four million signatures (4,332,997 at this writing) and the signatures keep coming. It’s the most popular petition ever on Change.org, and the fastest growing. I started watching it about two days ago and in that time it has gained almost a million signatures.
The media are calling this a “Hail Mary” move. A last ditch, pie-in-the-sky pipedream. And it is. The electors vote on December 19 and if history is any indicator, they will simply confirm their states’ votes. Still, the Electoral College was included in the Constitution in part as a way to prevent, if necessary, the election of an unfit individual. It’s never happened. But it could. It could.
This is the fourth time in American history that a president-elect has lost the popular vote. Or it could be the first time the Electoral College has stood up for and honored the will of the majority.
69 thoughts on “‘Hail Mary’ petition headed for Electoral College”
I signed it.
Oh – and I voted, too! I’m just a sore loser…
I voted too (always do). And I’m still in denial about the result.
It is a basic right of the people to petition their government – after all hopes and dreams are the stuff that life is made of.
I’ve always been a dreamer.
Great article, and I love the term “Hail Mary” petition that this movement has been named. This little known, or regarded, law is blossoming! Four million signatures! Go, Hillary! This would make up for those Democrats too put-off by this election’s nasty stuff to get out and vote for their country.
I’ve no words for people who didn’t vote and now dare to complain.
BTW — I love your tagline! In my time, I had a couple stints of newspaper reporting…
Thank you! Reporter was one publishing job I avoided. Too shy to ask questions.
I’ll wager the Electoral College will not have the guts to stand for what is right.
The courage of the Founding Fathers seems forever, gone.
Americans appear to embrace the portrayal of “THE ALL AMERCAN HERO”; sadly this epithet does not apply where it’s needed.
If this isn’t the time for the electors to stand up and do what our Founding Fathers envisioned for them, then that time will never come. But at least they’ll have demonstrated, once and for all, that the Electoral College should be abolished.
I do not recommend you holding your breath. :'(
Don’t worry, I’m not.
Well, if there was ever an “undesirable election result,” this was certainly it, Then again, there have been so few that did achieve a desirable result…
“If not now, when?”
I’ve done a little more research and rephrased that “undesirable election result.”
I understand your reasoning, but my comment would be essentially the same…
I know, I just didn’t want other readers looking for a phrase that no longer exists.
It would be hard to ignore 4 million signatures. We do live in interesting times!
I’m pretty awed by the number. I don’t expect it to make any difference, but I’m fascinated by the number. I keep going back and looking to see how much the total has grown.
So THAT’S what the electoral college is for.
* Pushes button *
Let’s see if it works.
Admittedly this wasn’t the college’s number one reason for being. It was originally established as a compromise between letting the general population choose the new president, and letting the Senate do it.
Based on my experience in the past (politically active co-workers in OK), being chosen as an elector has devolved into just a way to reward certain party loyalists for their hard work and devotion. So I assume these are the people least likely to be faithless electors. Still, if enough of them put the good of the country ahead of party loyalty …
Hey, if the Cubs can win the Series, who knows?
I gather that most of your respondents are okay with voters who represent the worst schools, most crime and most dependent on other peoples money deciding that voters who represent the (by FAR) greatest US land mass are meaningless. Apparently welcoming a tyranny of the majority is in vogue these days.
What tyranny? What’s more democratic than a direct vote, “one man, one vote,” in which the majority vote wins? What’s more undemocratic than a system (Electoral College) that awards a victory to the person with the smaller number of votes?
And btw, I wouldn’t presume to speak for my respondents.
2 wolves and a sheep voting on what’s for dinner is no different than a preponderance of voters who represent denying womens rights being able to reinstate anti-abortion laws. No different than white mens white makes right philosophy being able to murder indigenous North Americans.
I guess I’m missing your point. The preponderance of voters (the majority of the popular vote) supported the candidate who wants to protect women’s rights. The Electoral College, which IMHO is less democratic than the popular vote, is pledged to the candidate who wants to deny women’s rights. Apparently you see no difference, but given a choice, I would support the popular vote every time.
If I understand what you’re saying, you don’t think either system should prevail. In that case, how would you choose a president?
The point is that democracy allows a majority to dictate. For good OR evil. A constitutional republic reserves certain individual and states rights to be inviolate. Our constitution (though the electoral college) attempts to preserve equality.of influence among the states rather than allow a concentration of voters who represent a narrow view to dictate political direction. Whether good OR bad.
The electoral college attempts (and for the most part) to achieve that goal. It’s the best method heretofore conceived. If someone could come up with another solution, I’d be interested in seeing it.
Our president isn’t a king. I wouldn’t look for many of your fears to be realized because our system of government isn’t going to (legally) allow very many drastic changes. On the other hand, our cowardly congress has been conceding imaginary power to the current president for nearly eight years.
Okay, I see what you’re getting at. I’m still in favor of majority rule a la direct popular vote.
No, our president isn’t a king. But I’m very worried about what the new, highly unqualified president is likely to do with a majority in both the House and Senate. I think the man is a wingnut. Nor am I reassured by anything or any appointment that has taken place since the election.
Represent land mass? Like rocks and trees?
Exactly. Last time I looked, rocks, trees, and land mass weren’t legal voters. Of course, SCOTUS thinks corporations are people, so who knows …
Like fuel, food, transportation and communications infrastructure and most everything else urbanites need to stay alive.
Those things don’t vote either. People vote.
When urbanites are starving and freezing in the dark, maybe they will understand the importance of diversity equalization. And maybe even wish that crops, transportation lifelines and fuel producers actually did have a voice. But I doubt it.
They do have voices. Every individual has a voice. And where corporations are involved (eg, energy), the Supreme Court has given them even bigger voices. Corporations are not and never will be people, IMO.
What kind of representation do you think would equalize the rural farmer, or suburban producer who, individually, produce enough food, fuel and life support systems to satisfy the needs of 1000 urbanites? One man, one vote… right?
I suppose you think each of those farmers deserves 1000 votes — one for every urbanite they support? And just how would you calculate that number?
Since you don’t like the way it’s done now, maybe you have an alternate method in mind?
I don’t pretend to be smarter than the Founding Fathers, but I do think “one man, one vote” in a nationwide popular vote (for president) sounds fair. I assume that you, being a states’ right proponent, support the current system?
For all the reasons I’ve mentioned previously, I believe it’s more fair than a system that would allow a simple majority to dictate to the remaining 49 percent.
I don’t think it’s ideal, but I don’t know of anything better and I do believe that the member states (along with their unique contributions) should be able to have a (somewhat) equal influence on nationwide direction.
Now you’ve gone from talking about giving individuals more votes back to the states’ allocations. I’ve no problem with that except with presidential elections, where I’m not at all sure the current system is best. But then, the Electoral College has the power to set it right if they see fit. So I guess we’ll see.
Maybe this map will help to explain my previous assertion
The winner is (or should be) the one with the most votes, not the most acres.
Your electoral college was a mystery to me (I’m Canadian) so I did some research!
A presidential election isn’t a national one, but rather fifty-one separate elections, one in each state and one in the District of Columbia. The framers of your Constitution decided that the states should do the voting, so that each state could have its say. High population states still have the most influence, but small states aren’t completely lost in the national vote.
So, ‘one man one vote’ came into play at the state level. Seems like a good system to me, but I suppose high population states don’t like it when their party doesn’t win.
If you eliminate the state allocation thing and just let everyone vote in a national election, you’ll have a true popular vote and it won’t matter where the voters live. But, as ImALibertarian points out, that would result in some states giving up their “states rights” to the national majority. I don’t see that as any different than say, a Supreme Court ruling on abortion or same-sex marriage. It applies to all the states, whether they support those things or not. The presidency is a national institution that affects everyone in the country, so I think everyone’s vote should count equally regardless of which state they happen to live in. Currently a Democrat living in a red state ends up not really having a voice on the national level, and vice versa. I think all votes should count equally.
As it stands, your Senate, House of Representatives and President are all chosen by votes cast within a State. It is how the relationship between the State and the Federal Government is constructed. How would you change one without redefining the whole?
A constitutional amendment could eliminate the Electoral College and declare that the president shall be elected by a direct popular vote of all US voters, regardless of where they live. Such an amendment would have no effect on how states select their senators and representatives because the college has no say in those elections.
I seldom sign online petitions, but I did this one.
It’s certainly not just another run-of-the-mill petition.
I’m sick of the election. It’s not the first time people have been unhappy, but it is what it is. The sun still comes up in the morning. I’m with Chuck Schumer – have to find a way to work with it.
All those people who didn’t register to vote or didn’t bother to vote need to shut up and face that there are consequences for actions – sometimes big ones. Tantrums and distruction don’t help – learning the process/system and working from within will produce results.
It appears the poluar vote is still being counted and isn’t certified. A pretty close split in any case – just like the last election – I doubt there will ever be a clear majority vote again – we are far too divided with each region having different issues/needs that concern them…areas have less and less in common – or so we are all taught?
Sigh. So tired of it
(With such a horrid campaign, do you think there is any chance any honorable, good, “do what is right for the country even if I personally dislike it” person would want to run next time? Which leaves us with what/who?)
I heard a rumor that there were still some moderate Republicans in Washington. If they will assert themselves (and I’m not at all sure they will), we might survive having a terrorist in the White House. His early appointments have not been reassuring. And the campaign fractured the country so badly, I honestly despair for the future. The man is a loose cannon. They should at least take his phone away so he can’t tweet something insane in the middle of the night and start a war before anyone knows what’s happened.
People had a choice of one who could used technology or one baffled by it….although maybe not exactly what they meant?
I’m with Chuck (Dem). Let’s sit back and see. There are some common interests with both parties. With luck there will be some serious calming stabilizing voices. Negotiation and willingness to work together is important in business as well as govenment – as well as all recognizing there’s many roads to the same destination.
And there’s always the “give them enough rope…” concept. HA HA
I think we’re going to need a lot of rope …
If only there was enough to hog tie career politicians (and gag them.)….
(Please please don’t let Rick Perry have any input – or stage to speak from…..he was just one of those “well, we only have 2 choices and the other is worse” elections. Luckily the state power does not sit in the governor’s office – but people elsewhere look at his title and get confused….)
Can we just shout “Squirrel’ and get them to run off?
As a Texas resident, I echo your plea.
Where is Ron Paul?
I’m guessing Ron Paul is buying gold.
You two give me hope that Texas is not a complete loss. That and the fact that I have a couple of relatives living there … but they aren’t Texas natives.
Always a surprise when people discover the major population areas (Houston, Dallas-Ft Worth, San Antonio, Austin, El Paso) vote Democrat. The parties will have to realize how many independent voters are here, too. It a big state with widely varying views despite the Hollywood images. Campaigns will have to fine tune their messages and areas covered. It’s a whole new game – for better or worse.
What you’ve just done, philosophermouse, is list the only places a future candidate will campaign if we do away with the electoral college. States with a vested interest in rural health won’t have a voice. No need to worry about the needs of agriculture, of rural oriented industrial and production, or of rural infrastructure… none of that will produce enough votes to make any difference.
Yep. That’s the issue. Rural areas (the ones that feed everyone) and anyone outside the big population areas would basically have no voice – their votes would be pointless. Like friends in upper NY state who always complain NYC makes all the decisions with their voting numbers
Even this time the campaign stops were very targeted. Irritatingly so.
Many stops here for money, but no time for anything else.
Electoral College or not, candidates will campaign where they can reach the most voters, and that means mostly in the cities. Voters who want to have a say, no matter where they live, must vote. One man, one vote, regardless of residence, seems fair to me. (Given the gun laws in Colo., I’d say the rural vote here has plenty of say in how things are done.)
I like the way the Australians must show up on voting day. Emphasize the importance.
If you don’t like the Colorado gun laws, move to New Jersey, or New York… then your vote will count.
I was only citing that as an example of where rural areas have plenty of votes and are not losing out to urbanites.
Since urbanites cast the majority of all votes… Urbanites must be in favor of the gun laws you dislike.
Some are, of course. A lot of it has to do with the state legislature, and I don’t pay that much attention to local politics.