Democratic Electors Launch Final Bid to Block Trump Presidency

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump spar during the second presidential debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri on October 9, 2016. (Credit: PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump spar during the second presidential debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri on October 9, 2016. (Credit: PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

Democratic electors are launching one last bid to block Donald Trump from taking the White House — reaching out to their Republican counterparts with the plea they break rank and support another Republican candidate.

Democrats working with a group that’s lobbying electors from states Trump won to get them to vote against him. The effort is just the latest dive into the mechanics of American democracy by Trump’s opponents, on the left and right, and is astronomically unlikely to the point of being virtually impossible.

“Nothing’s ever a done deal. Quite honestly, Mr. Trump is not the president-elect,” said Polly Baca, an elector from Colorado, noting that Trump is not technically president-elect until the electoral votes have been compiled by the Electoral College.

Baca, a Democratic elector and former state senator from Colorado, said she has been working on Republican electors since she joined the effort the day after the election and she admits, “I’m like Don Quixote.”

To block Trump, the group would have to convince 37 electors to break with the results from their states and either abstain from voting for Trump or select someone else. They have until December 19, when electors gather in statehouses across the nation to formally record their votes for president.

They call their effort Hamilton Elector after Federalist Paper #68, in which Alexander Hamilton wrote that the Electoral College would stand as one more check on power — part of the movement, at that time, to win ratification of the Constitution.

Hamilton’s argument was that the College would prevent against selecting a president with poor judgment or under the influence of a foreign government, said Ryan Clayton, a volunteer with the project and veteran liberal activist.

“If you read Federalist 68, it literally reads like a list of attributes for Donald Trump,” Clayton said.

If they can succeed in denying Trump the 270 electoral votes needed to win, the decision would then go to the House of Representatives, where delegations of representatives from each state would decide whom to support.

Messages left with Trump’s transition team and Clinton’s campaign were not immediately returned Wednesday.

There have been cases before of electors breaking from their state’s popular vote tallies before — so-called “faithless electors” — but they have been scattered and unorganized.

“I don’t think this year is a normal year, it’s been a very divisive campaign and I’m reaching out to Republican electors, Democratic electors, searching for a unity Hamilton candidate to really unite this country,” Micheal Baca, a Colorado elector, told CNN’s Carol Costello Wednesday.

Micheal Baca, who is unrelated to Polly Baca, said that it’s not impossible to convince the electors to switch.

“It can be. It’s within the rules, it’s within the law,” he said.