Dear MoveOn member,
The Electoral College is meeting in six days to decide who will be the next president of the United States, and we have a critically important decision to make together before that happens: Should MoveOn call on the Electoral College to reject Donald Trump as president of the United States?
This would be a big step for us, but the CIA's reported conclusion that the Russian government actively interfered with the U.S. presidential election—with the goal of helping Trump win—is a big deal.1
Before we decide whether to enter this fight, we need your input: Should MoveOn call on the Electoral College to reject Donald Trump as president of the United States?
Note: Your vote must be received by 11:59pm E.T. on Wednesday, December 14 to be counted. Only your first click will be recorded, so please take care in making your choice.
There were many arguments for the Electoral College to reject Trump, even before the CIA's revelations.
Ethics experts—Republican and Democrat—say that Trump's business entanglements with foreign governments will put him in violation of the U.S. Constitution the minute he's sworn in.2 He has now delayed giving any answers on how he will (or won't) resolve these conflicts until after the Electoral College votes.3
Already, one Republican elector from a state Trump won has said that he will not cast his vote for Trump—and he says there are others who will not either.4
Several lawsuits have been filed to allow electors to vote their conscience without facing fines or legal punishment. A bipartisan group of electors has sent an open letter to intelligence agencies requesting access to classified information on Russian interference in the election—a request that MoveOn is actively supporting.5 And this weekend, Representative Jim Himes became one of the first members of Congress to call for the Electoral College to reject Trump.6
Let's be clear:
- The MoveOn community overwhelmingly wants to abolish the Electoral College. We believe in "one person, one vote."
- Given that the Electoral College does exist, there's a strong case that it should serve its constitutional purpose. The Electoral College "was primarily designed to stop a demagogue—a tyrannical mass leader who preys on our prejudices—from becoming President."7 And, as spelled out in the Federalist Papers, to prevent "the desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils."8 That's what we will urge the Electoral College to do, if MoveOn members vote to move ahead with this effort.
- The odds of this effort succeeding in denying Trump the White House are exceedingly small. It would take 37 "conscientious electors" from states that voted for Trump to defeat him.
- But that doesn't necessarily mean that we shouldn't try. Even a small number of electoral votes against Trump will send a strong message that he does not have a mandate. It will remind Americans that Trump lost the popular vote by 2.8 million votes. It could embolden lawmakers to investigate Russian meddling in the election. And it could strengthen the movement against some of Trump's most shocking nominees, including Rex Tillerson, the long-time CEO of Exxon Mobile, who has deep ties to Vladimir Putin, and John Bolton, the extreme hawk who's being proposed as Tillerson's deputy.
If two-thirds or more of MoveOn members vote "yes," we will mobilize our resources in the remaining time we have—joining with protests in state capitals around the country next Monday, organizing our members to call on specific electors to reject Trump, and more. And in any scenario, we will continue to call for electors to be fully briefed on what the CIA knows before they are asked to vote.
With just six days until the Electoral College meets to elect our next president, we need to decide NOW whether to join the movement calling on the Electoral College to stop Trump. Will you tell us what you think?
Your vote must be received by 11:59pm E.T. on Wednesday, December 14 to be counted. Only your first click will be recorded, so please take care in making your choice.
Thanks for all you do.
–Anna, Mark, Robert, Iram, and the rest of the team
1. "Russian Hackers Acted to Aid Trump in Election, U.S. Says," The New York Times, December 9, 2016
2. "'It’s Like a Powder Keg That’s Going to Explode,'" Politico Magazine, December 11, 2016
3. "Donald Trump delays announcement on separation from business ties," CBS News, December 12, 2016
4. "GOP elector: Not all of us are voting for Trump," The Hill, December 9, 2016
5. "Bipartisan Electors Ask James Clapper: Release Facts on Outside Interference in U.S. Election," Extra Newsfeed, December 12, 2016
6. "Tweet by Jim Himes," December 11, 2016
7. "The Electoral College Was Created to Stop Demagogues Like Trump," Time, November 17, 2016
8. "Virginian-Pilot editorial: Russia's influence in election needs strong inquiry," The Virginian-Pilot, December 12, 2016
Want to support our work? The MoveOn community will work every moment, day by day and year by year, to resist Trump's agenda, contain the damage, defeat hate with love, and begin the process of swinging the nation's pendulum back toward sanity, decency, and the kind of future that we must never give up on. And to do it we need your support, now more than ever. Will you stand with us?
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