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Oh, do we ever need a December Surprise. The situation is so dire, the despised Electoral College has become our last chance saloon on the road to tyranny.

Electoral College

Electoral College: Will An Alternate Candidate Please Stand Up?—Steve Fine

You might think the growing furor over Russian influence in the elections, which implies treasonous ties at the very least, and Trump’s across the board extreme right appointments (to put it mildly) to agencies of our federal government would be sufficient to jar more than a few electors into voting their conscience this coming Monday, December 19, when they meet at their respective statehouses to choose our president and vice-president.

Sadly, as I write this, only ten or so electors have gone public with a decision not to honor their pledge, all but one of them Democrats. Should that remain the extent of the rebellion, then it will amount to a historically large protest vote for the Electoral College, for which it will have some symbolic value, but a very small December Surprise, one that leaves Trump with his winning margin of electoral votes. In short, a wasted opportunity; the very last before Inauguration Day in January.

What is needed is for breakaway electors to organize themselves into a voting block pledged to a single alternative candidate, regardless of party affiliation.

What is needed is for breakaway electors to organize themselves into a voting block pledged to a single alternative candidate, regardless of party affiliation. Someone who would be also popular with the other members of the electoral college; in particular Republican electors planning to vote for Trump despite their reservations about him because they don’t see any viable alternative.

Colin Powell is a name that has been mentioned and there may be others who fit the bill for a bi-partisan pick with enough name recognition on a national level to summon up a wave of enthusiasm in a hurry. Someone everyone immediately grasps is a far better person to enter the White House.

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If an alternative does throw his or her hat into the ring in the coming days ahead, then that act alone will become a huge December Surprise; the first time the Electoral College will be used as a viable electoral arena in its own right. Due to the oddities of our presidential election system, that does make sense, since the Electoral College does have the final say.

As for Hilary Clinton’s prospects, yes, the math is good—with 232 electoral votes, she only needs 38 Republican electors to switch allegiance in order to give her the 270 she needs to win. But I doubt Republican electors will do her or any Democrat the favor. This is why a bi-partisan alternative candidate with a chance of winning must come from the Republican side.

The other possibility of a major upset on Monday is if there is a block of anti-Trump Republican electors large enough on their own to deprive him of the 270 votes he needs to maintain his majority. If that happens, then the election goes to the House of Representatives. That, too, will be a December Surprise. Unfortunately, the outcome may not be. The Republicans have a majority in the House and under the House’s special rules governing a presidential election each state casts one vote. Trump won more states in the November election. Could the minority Democrats in the House convince any to switch to Clinton?

Good luck with that. Back to start.


In any case, as December 19 approaches, let us raise a toast to all the electors who have the future of our democracy uppermost in their minds. There is more riding on your vote than you may know.

Steve Fine