The Hamilton Electors won't prevent Donald Trump from being elected: report

A survey conducted by Politico found that most Washington insiders believe Trump will win on Monday

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published December 19, 2016 12:53PM (EST)

 (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

The Hamilton Electors' chances of thwarting Donald Trump seem to have diminished considerably.

More than 160 Republican and Democratic insiders were surveyed last week and only one of them thought that enough Republican electors would defect from Trump to throw the presidency into the House of Representatives, according to a report by Politico.

It also reported that more than 70 percent of the insiders it contacted believed that the number of "faithless electors" will be fewer than 10. During a conference call in which Salon was included on Thursday, Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig placed the number at anywhere from 17 to 29.

The Hamilton Electors are a group of rogue electors named after Federalist Paper No. 68, in which founding father Alexander Hamilton warned that the Electoral College should thwart a president who was elected despite being "not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications" to hold the presidency. He also believed the Electoral College should stop a president if it was believed that his candidacy was an attempt by "foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils."

Although Politico's story mentions that their findings are "in keeping with a Republican National Committee whip count," it neglected to cover whether that so-called "whip count" included threats of political reprisal against Republican electors who refuse to toe the party line. If either the Trump campaign or the Republican Party has been threatening to ruin the careers of electors who don't vote the way they want them to, this could constitute a violation of 18 U.S. Code 594, which Salon's legal experts believe would be a serious crime.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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Donald Trump Electoral College Hamilton Electors