On Monday, members of the Electoral College will convene in their states to cast their votes for the next President of the United States. In most election seasons, electors serve as little more than human rubber stamps certifying the results of a free, democratic election for president. In most election seasons, they vote for the same person who won their state’s popular vote and let the (albeit flawed) representative democracy we inherited determine the next Commander-In-Chief. But this is not most election seasons, and this year all 538 electors have a unique responsibility: stopping Donald Trump from ever sitting in the Oval Office.
On Monday, 538 electors will have the opportunity to save us from dictatorship and safeguard democracy. On Monday, 538 electors will be faced with their responsibility to do what they were in fact appointed to do: save the republic from itself. By voting against Donald Trump and for Hillary Clinton, electors on Monday from red states can end the circus of our President-Elect’s dangerous incompetency and affirm the democratic majority which voted for his opponent and her policy platform.
Since November 8, 2016 — a No Good, Very Bad Day in which Donald Trump somehow eked out a mathematical win for the highest office in the land despite losing the popular vote by around 3 million votes and crushed Hillary Clinton’s dreams and, along with them, my very soul — a lot has gone down. Each and every day since his surprise upset, the news emerging around his transition, his plans for the future, and his erratic tweets has proven only more cause for concern for the future of our country.
First, the hate crimes began. Hundreds of them. Swastikas painted on public land. Little boys grabbing girls “by the p*ssy.” Muslim women being physically and verbally harassed. America began a slow descent into an era in which we are, indeed, stripped of “political correctness.” In its place we now have white nationalist celebration parades and Nazi salutes.
Then, the political games began. Donald Trump, a man with no political experience, began his tenure as President-Elect by announcing that his campaign’s CEO, Steve Bannon, would become his Chief Strategist. Bannon, who built the right-wing media empire Breitbart and then willingly allowed it to become a platform for white supremacy, anti-semitism, and outright sexism, among other No Good Very Bad Things, said in his first interview that darkness was certain to come in the time ahead of us, comparing Trump to Andrew Jackson and harkening where we’re going back to the Great Depression. (But like, in a good way?) In the time since, Donald Trump has announced his intentions to appoint a slew of incompetent, unqualified right-wing extremists to his cabinet.
His picks include a Secretary of Labor whose own businesses have been sued time and time again for wage theft, a Secretary of Health and Human Services who refuses to believe women can’t afford birth control and wants to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, a Secretary of Housing and Urban Development who is a neurosurgeon with no idea what HUD is probably, a Secretary of Education who has never been a teacher or sent her kids to public school but nonetheless sees them as vehicles for spreading God’s word, a Director of National Security who hated Muslims too much to be in the military, an Attorney General who was too racist to be appointed to the bench decades ago and doesn’t mind when the KKK kills Black people, a Secretary of State who runs a gas station corporation, and a Secretary of Transportation who is married to the man who dropped the cone of silence on that whole “Russia stealing the election away from millions of empathetic and compassionate Americans” thing.
Oh! Right, then there was that thing. Then there was the CIA announcement that Russia not only purposefully interfered with the election, but that they didn’t just do so for funsies or to flex their muscle as a hostile foreign power. No, they did so to elect Donald Trump! The dude who insisted if he lost, it would only be because the election was “rigged.” The dude who hasn’t held a press conference since the press conference over 145 days ago in which he asked Russia to hack more of Hillary Clinton’s emails. The dude who now refuses to accept the conclusions of every national intelligence agency – the ones he would hypothetically soon be beholden to the knowledge of to make his decisions as POTUS – and insists his personal relationship with Vladimir Putin had nothing to do with a hack he won’t admit happened.
Like, can we hold up at this point? Can we pause? A foreign power intervened in our election. Donald Trump’s party leaders chose not to sound the alarm, knowing full well that the interference would benefit an alleged serial rapist and noted demagogue and also hideously uninformed and disrespectful ugly piece of human garbage hijacking their party so that he could have wet dreams about his ceaseless pursuit of power.
As all of these events transpired, as all of these painful and ugly moments in time passed slowly by while we contemplated our existences in the cruel world, Donald Trump snuck his business-owning daughter into meetings with foreign leaders, announced he would be using taxpayer money to make more traffic in New York, went on a victory tour literally like Hitler, evaded questions about how he would stop his businesses from fueling international turmoil and how he would stop himself from using his office to boost his own income stream, sent over 1,400 tweets but not one condemning the Nazi violence, dispatched spokesmen to invoke internment camps on television, asked President Obama for advice on How To President, asked Paul Ryan for tutoring lessons on the Constitution, interfered in completely constitutional, legal, fully-funded recounts, and continued to have the ugliest little eyes I’ve ever seen.
Last month, a bunch of queers – including yours truly! – launched a campaign that empowered folks like you to reach out to your electors and demand that Donald Trump be blocked from assuming the presidency through a legal, fully constitutional process of rejection by the Electoral College. Since then, it has only become more and more clear that our drive to stop him from ruling the country is a true act of patriotism.
This is not about partisan ideology. This is not about who I voted for or who I supported or who you voted for or who you supported. This is about an unqualified, dangerous leader rising to power by way of an electoral mishap in the midst of rumors and proven instances of election fraud, corruption, and the politics of division.
These things that have occurred are not normal. They say in an autocracy that humans adapt too quickly to recognize that, so let me say it over and over and over again: This is not normal. The facts? They’re here, plain as day: A man who sympathizes with Nazis and the KKK stole the election and plans to use it to instate policies that lack a public mandate and would, explicitly, be put in place to set us back over 70 years. A man with no experience is meddling in global affairs to benefit his family’s wealth while also threatening our own stability and safety as Americans reliant on the person in his position to keep us safe and temper international conflict, not sew it. A man who did not win the presidency is about to claim it.
Many have said that we should lose faith. We haven’t. Since Donald Trump’s speech on November 8, developments across the country have indicated that we are not screaming into a void – we are making a difference. Electoral attorneys are at the ready to protect anyone who goes “faithless” and abandons Trump on Monday and faces punitive action in their states. Multiple campaigns like ours – including a petition to electors with nearly 5 million signatures, various campaigns enabling person-to-person contact between electors by civilians, and even campaigns coming from electors themselves – have popped up and made waves. Electors have gone on the record as saying they will not be voting for Trump in their red states. Others have admitted they feel conflicted.
On Monday, 538 electors will convene in 50 states. Before they do so, Donald Trump is not president. Before they do so, make yourself heard.
Summon hope and channel faith one more time. Email the electors in your state. Tell them why this matters to you. Tell them that the entire country is counting on them to do what is right and just. Tell them the entire world is watching. Tell them that their one act of resistance could be the line in the sand between an America that lives up to its potential and one in which those in power did not do all they could to protect its values.
On Monday, 538 electors will convene in 50 states.