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Effort to Get Electoral College Away From Trump Fizzles as Florida’s 29 Votes Go All In

| December 19, 2016

donald trump electoral college

He likes what he sees. (Matt Johnson)

With more attention than usual — following the most-unusual presidential campaign in recent memory — Florida’s 29 electors met Monday to formally cast their votes to send Republican Donald Trump to the White House.

A last-ditch effort in Florida, and across the nation, tried to get members of the Electoral College to bolt from Trump and throw the election into the U.S. House, where supporters hoped that a more mainstream Republican could prevail.

But the effort largely fizzled, with only four defections reported Monday in Washington state and two in Texas. Three of the Washington electors voted for former Secretary of State Colin Powell, and another voted for Native American leader Faith Spotted Eagle. One Texas elector voted for former Republican Congressman Ron Paul, while another voted for Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

In Florida, the votes for Trump and his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, were never really in doubt. The slate of electors was made up of GOP stalwarts, from fundraisers to activists to elected officials.

None of them voiced any doubt about voting for Trump, despite the fact that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton won the popular vote nationally by more than 2.5 million votes. That, Trump’s supporters pointed out, is not how presidential elections are decided.

“The strategy was to spend all of your money in these truly swing states that decide the presidency,” said state House Appropriations Chairman Carlos Trujillo, a Miami Republican and elector. “That was the strategy that both sides invoked. Obviously, one was successful and one wasn’t.”

Outside the Senate chamber at the state Capitol, where the electors gathered, about 100 protesters asked Trump’s supporters to look elsewhere for a president. Signs referred to Trump as racist, sexist or xenophobic.

“Trump Has No Conscience. Do You?” read one poster. Another, alluding to Florida’s role in the disputed 2000 election that saw Republican George W. Bush elected despite losing the popular vote, said: “I can’t believe I have to protest this again.” As the electors voted, protesters chanted “Love Trumps Hate.”

In addition to the argument that Clinton won the popular vote, some protesters portrayed Trump as the kind of dangerous demagogue that the Electoral College was meant to prevent.

“This is the time,” said Anne Timoner, a self-described liberal Democrat who said she would join a movement against the Electoral College if Trump won. “And I’ll say another thing to them: If (the electors) don’t do it now, they do not deserve to exist. … I think this is their life-or-death moment.”

Some electors said they didn’t hear or didn’t pay attention to the chants of the protesters outside the chamber. But it was hard to ignore a torrent of messages leading up to the votes. Some of them were belligerent and included death threats.

Republican Party of Florida Chairman Blaise Ingoglia said he received about 55,000 emails, pieces of mail and Facebook messages asking him to change his vote.

Ingoglia, who is also a state representative from Spring Hill, thanked electors after the vote for persevering.

“I know it was a long, hard haul and I know over the past couple of months you have been inundated with a lot of sometimes harassing messages asking you to switch your vote,” Ingoglia said. “And I know that for many of you, if it was like me, it was an intrusion on your privacy, and it took away some family time.”

Others didn’t seem to mind. Senate President Joe Negron, a Stuart Republican who served as an elector, said he also heard from thousands of people inside and outside of Florida wanting him to back another candidate.

“I viewed the public input a little differently, as redress of grievances,” Negron said. “And so I didn’t really object to the vast majority of people that wrote or contacted us (who) were reasonable.”

He also shrugged off the less-tolerant messages.

“It was such a small percentage that I don’t think it’s worth noting,” Negron said.

Ingoglia said he believed that the protests would lead to a wider movement, of the sort described by Timoner.

“I think that this is a start of a narrative that the left wants to have from now up until the next election cycle and the election cycle after that for a push for a national popular vote, which obviously our government was never intended to do that,” he said. “We’re a constitutional republic; we’re not a democracy.”

The opponents made clear they want to have such a discussion.

“We’re here to say we don’t want that system anymore,” said Maxwell Frost, state organizer for Democracy Spring, which planned demonstrations against the electoral vote in all 50 states. “And we’re here to tell those electors that they should vote with the United States of America, which is against Trump.”

–Brandon Larrabee, News Service of Florida

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12 Responses for “Effort to Get Electoral College Away From Trump Fizzles as Florida’s 29 Votes Go All In”

  1. footballen says:

    A Christmas wish to all my neighbors and fellow citizens. I wish you all the very best this holiday season, election aside I really do hope you all have a safe and prosperous holiday. I understand your concerns for our future as a nation. I urge you all to lean on your wisdom and faith during this time of political transition and to remember that we are all in this thing together. I am going to make it a personal goal to try and be more open minded and mindful of the feelings of those who do not share my political opinion. Merry Christmas and happy new year to all. May we all live in peace and harmony together.

  2. Pogo says:

    Hey you. Yeah you – Tea Party know nothing: ammosexual coward, only alive thanks to Social Security and Medicare elder, and Limbaugh-Jones-Drudge-National Enquirer fan. Still looking for the ‘death panel’ out to get you?

    Look in a mirror. You’ve arrived.

  3. Brian says:

    I am now hearing that the next movement by the left-wing goofballs is the impeachment of Trump! Too funny! Stop embarrassing yourselves people – it’s gonna be alt right!

  4. W.Ryan says:

    So called Banana Republics are made to adhere to a one person one vote. This as the US says is Democracy. Well what do we have? The popular vote for Hillary is round 3 million and still the people cannot have a say in their government for the second time in twenty years. What do you say when only the wealthy have people in Government and Governmental positions? The Electoral College must go. One person one vote.

  5. Knightwatch says:

    Brian, there are millions upon millions of people in this country who will never accept that sciopathic pervert as president. We will work to harrass him, to humiliate him, to openly reject him. We are going to make his life miserable. And while we work from the outside to bring him down, we have a secret weapon on the inside… his tiny, unbalanced, narcissistic, buffoon brain. The madder he gets, the more unstable he becomes. Eventually his rat’s nest head will explode, while the entire world watches.

    Oops… I’m being too negative. O.k., we’ll all give him the very same respect and support you Republicans gave President Obama. How about that?

  6. Katie Semore says:

    Brian, I see you are one of the haters. When Karma comes knocking on your door, don’t be surprised and take like a man.

  7. Anonymous says:

    The time for gloating is over, Republicans. Now, you will actually have to govern. Time will tell if you are up to the task.

  8. footballen says:

    It was worth a shot. Peace

  9. YankeeExPat says:

    Is the Triumphant Leader going to take his “Thank You Tour” on the road to Moscow and
    St. Petersburg…. (Russia-not Florida)

    Товарищи Спасибо!……Thank You Comrades!

  10. Brian says:

    Hey Knightwatch – I indeed have never respected the weak and incompetent Barak Obama. And what you crybabies will never accept is that Trump’s election was a total repudiation and rejection of the dismal failure of the last eight years. But I did accept the fact that he won – both times. Why not direct all of that energy of “working from the outside to bring him down” and help your party find a worthy candidate for next time? Trump beat out seventeen other candidates in the primaries – Crooked Hillary beat out a seventy-five year old communist. You lefties need do no more than look in the mirror.

  11. Edith Campins says:

    Everyday I think, I should try to give Trump a chance and every day there is another story proving just how unfit to be president he is.
    How about his sons setting up a company to sell access to him?

  12. Pogo says:

    Edith my dear – have another…

    The Most Overlooked Vitals of Trump’s Conflicts of Interest: Pharmaceuticals

    The public spotlight may be on President-elect Donald Trump’s conflicts of interests, but his nominee to be secretary of health and human services, Rep. Tom Price, could have conflicts of his own.

    The National Physicians Alliance opposes the nomination of Dr. Tom Price to become the next Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS).

    From The Atlanta Journal Constitution newspaper – Report: Tom Price traded health-related stocks while in Congress

    Investments by Trump’s HHS pick raise questions over conflict of interest

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