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State of Colorado’s Hamilton electors
Photo courtesy: Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame

By James Mejia

Pioneering Democrat, Polly Baca was campaigning for Robert Kennedy during the presidential primary of 1968 when he was assassinated. As frightened and angry as she was with his murder, Baca says she “never feared for our country” in the aftermath. Her belief in U.S. democratic systems and other candidates, including Republicans, gave her hope that the country would be ok. “Now things have changed. I have had many disagreements with politicians of all stripes, but I have never found any of them to be so radically disqualified, unprepared, and irresponsible as Trump. This year, we, the Electoral College, must invoke our extraordinary constitutional power and vote for someone other than Mr. Trump.”

That’s why the pioneering Democrat has teamed with another Colorado elector, Colorado Springs math teacher, Robert Nemanich, in the lawsuit to allow the Colorado Electoral College to vote their “conscience,” essentially unbinding them from the current legal requirement of voting for the winner of the most votes for president in the state. These staunch Democrats want to team with Republicans to vote for an alternate Republican to deny Trump the presidency.

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, who along with the Governor and Colorado Attorney General, Cynthia Coffman, are named in the lawsuit, issued a statement prior to the hearing, condemning Baca and Nemanich for their efforts to deny Colorado voters a voice at the national level, “Make no mistake, this is not some noble effort to fight some unjust or unconstitutional law; rather, this is an arrogant attempt by two faithless electors to elevate their personal desires over the entire will of the people of Colorado.”

The Trump campaign also filed a “Motion to Intervene” in the court case writing, “Plaintiffs claim that “Donald Trump is unfit for office,” and aim to deny him the presidency… It is little exaggeration, then, to say that this lawsuit threatens to impair the interests of the President-elect and the campaign.”

This week, U.S. District Court Judge, Wiley Daniel, ruled against Nemanich and Baca calling it a “political stunt” that would “undermine” the Electoral College process. Members of the Electoral College not voting as promised are threatened with fines and jail time.

Just how far are Baca and Nemanich willing to go to deny Trump the presidency? These members of the Electoral College are hard core Democrats but more importantly, democratic Americans – the kind that might be willing to give up personal freedom for the sake of the country. In a television interview after the court hearing, the attorney for the electors, Jason Wesoky said, “Just like conscientious objectors during the Vietnam War, just like the sit-ins during the Civil Rights Movement, sometimes people feel the need and the ability to risk personal liberty in order for a greater cause.”

According to the U.S. National Archives, “No Elector has ever been prosecuted for failing to vote as pledged,” but may be subject to fines, disqualification and replacement if they fail to vote for the person who won the highest number of votes for president.

Baca admits that any scenario to deny Trump the presidency will be difficult to achieve especially after a negative court ruling, but cites three possible scenarios. “The first scenario is that we can convince a majority of electors to vote for the person that got the most votes, in this case Hillary Clinton. The second possibility is that we can convince 38 Republican electors and all the Democrats to agree upon an alternate candidate. Several names have been floated including Governors John Kasich, Mitt Romney, and John Huntsman, Secretary Colin Powell and Senator John McCain. Finally, electors could vote their conscience and the total for Donald Trump could very well be short of 270 votes needed. The decision for President would then go to the House of Representatives where each state would have one vote. The decision for Vice President would go to the Senate.”

The unique nature of this case is summed by the National Archives statement, “Throughout our history as a nation, more than 99 percent of Electors have voted as pledged.” Baca wants to be the exception, citing Founding Father Alexander Hamilton’s interpretation of the importance of the Electoral College as a moral and political safeguard, “When Alexander Hamilton spoke of preventing those with “talents for low intrigue, and the little arts of popularity” from becoming President, he was talking about people like Mr. Trump. We take our job as elector very, very seriously and we will not let this country be upended by this person.”

Another Colorado-founded movement trying to derail Trump also refers to Alexander Hamilton’s analysis of the role of the Electoral College. Colorado elector, Micheal Baca, helped to start the Hamilton Electors citing on their Facebook page, the Founding Fathers’ interpretation of the Electoral College in Federalist Paper #68, “The process of the Electoral College affords a moral certainty, that the office of the President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications.”

Micheal Baca and eight other Democratic electors and one Republican have penned an “Open Letter to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper” insisting on an intelligence briefing before the vote on December 19, “The Electors require to know from the intelligence community whether there are ongoing investigations into ties between Donald Trump, his campaign or associates, and Russian government interference in the election, the scope of those investigations, how far those investigations may have reached, and who was involved in those investigations. We further require a briefing on all investigative findings, as these matters directly impact the core factors in our deliberations of whether Trump is fit to serve as President of the United States.” Since the letter was written, the group has been joined by 19 additional electors including Coloradans Nemanich and Jerad Sutton.

Texas Electoral College member, Christoper Suprun, the only Republican to sign on to the letter says he will vote for an alternate Republican in lieu of Trump citing 50 foreign policy experts calling Trump dangerous, his continued attempts to stifle free speech under the 1st Amendment and his non-disclosure of financial dealings including taxes. He wrote an Op-Ed in the New York Times outlining his rationale and appeared on Fox News hoping to convince other Republican electors to join his cause.

On December 19, members of the Electoral College across the country will meet in their state capitals to formally vote for the President of the United States. With a security briefing request by the Hamilton Electors pending and possible appeal to the District Court ruling, Nemanich tweeted, “We’re not dead yet.”





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