Following President Donald Trump’s upset victory in 2016, a group of celebrities released an ad calling on Republican members of the Electoral College to act as “faithless electors” and cast their votes for someone else for president, as Fox News’ Bret Baier reported at the time.
In an article published Wednesday, however, New York Post writer Laura Italiano turned the tables back on Democrats, laying out a scenario in which so-called faithless electors could blindside Joe Biden this year and send Trump right back to the White House for another term.
Breaking it down
According to Italiano, the situation could arise if Trump doesn’t win enough states to secure 270 votes in the Electoral College.
Italiano explains that, as voters, “when we fill in those ballot ovals to select a president, we are actually selecting a slate of ‘electors,’ human beings who are bound to vote for a particular party’s candidate when they meet next month in their respective state capitals.”
After the electors vote next month, “Congress will then meet in joint session on Jan. 6 for the official tally of the Electoral College votes,” Italiano writes for the New York Post.
But what happens if the electors don’t vote along party lines, as they’re supposed to? What if electors from a state that former Vice President Joe Biden won switch their votes to Trump, abstain, or vote for another individual?
A move like that by an elector has only been made “85 times in America’s history,” Italiano notes. “That number includes three electors who abstained,” and 82 who changed their votes on their own “personal initiative,” Italiano reported. Most of those cases occurred decades ago.
But the possibility remains. Italiano writes that “it has happened as recently as 2016, when 10 electors went rogue — and seven of those votes actually stuck.” It remains to be seen how many electors would needed “to flip the Electoral College balance” this time around, a possibility that “America has never even come close to” in the past, according to Italiano.
Trump puts up a fight
Of course, the speculation could all be moot; after all, a winner in Tuesday’s presidential election still has not been named. The decision has come down to a number of key battleground states, like Arizona, Nevada, Michigan, Georgia, and Pennsylvania, where razor-thin margins separate the two major candidates.
Indeed, while the Biden camp may be already claiming victory, President Trump isn’t throwing in the towel yet. The president’s campaign has filed lawsuits in several states in an effort to ensure the vote was fair and the count is honest.
As those cases move forward, President Trump is predicting a comeback.
I had such a big lead in all of these states late into election night, only to see the leads miraculously disappear as the days went by. Perhaps these leads will return as our legal proceedings move forward!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 6, 2020