Massachusetts Protesters Urge Electoral College to ‘Dump the Trump’
Outside the State House today, protesters trotted out a scarecrow in a suit and a too-long red tie protruding below its waistline. Atop its head was placed a mop of golden locks, and instead of a mouth, there was a toilet seat. The scarecrow had been positioned inside a trash can. There was also a sign: “Dump the Trump,” it said.
— Stanley Forman (@sjforman138) December 19, 2016
On the day that members of the Electoral College were scheduled to cast their votes for president—technically, the only ones that actually count—demonstrators around the country spent the morning making a last-ditch effort in a long-shot campaign to get those electors to break with tradition and, well, dump Donald Trump. By mid-morning the crowd had grown to more than 100.
Few question what Massachusetts’ 11 electors will do today when they convene to complete the ritual at 3 p.m. Hillary Clinton won the state handily in the general election and thus is all but assured to collect each of the 11 votes the state has to offer her now-defunct campaign.
But could a show of solidarity among Trump opponents in Boston and elsewhere convince enough electors in other states (they need 37), who had been expected to vote for Trump, to vote for someone else? That’s what protesters hope for, even if, as an Associated Press survey found, the effort is likely to fall short.
If Trump opponents get what they want, though, it would fall to the Republican-controlled Congress to pick the next president. It’s not exactly clear what the body would do were it given that responsibility, but the scenario would certainly send yet another message to Washington that most of the country does not support the president-elect (Clinton’s share of the popular vote bests Trump’s by 2.8 million), and that his most ardent opponents believe he is uniquely unfit to lead. Those who support electors flipping on the Republican also believe that now is the time for the Electoral College to do what it was formed to do in the first place: intervene when voters get it wrong.
“We think we should speak to our electors around the country today and let them know that we’re watching, and we’re very concerned about the vote they’re about to cast,” Sean Recroft, a Gloucester resident, said, according to the State House News Service. “It’s one country. We’re not just Massachusetts voters, we’re United States voters, and Hillary Clinton won this election by nearly 3 million more votes.”
Despite Massachusetts’ electors minimal role to play in this unusual scenario, one of the electors did manage to figure into the national conversation about all this. Three of them were among those who requested a national security briefing on Russia’s role in hacking into Democrats’ communications before the vote. They won’t get one.
This was only the latest protest to form in Massachusetts since Trump’s surprise victory. A rally on November 9 drew thousands to the streets of Boston.
Mayor Marty Walsh, despite being clearly upset about Trump’s election, wasn’t all that excited about the prospect of an Electoral College upset.
“We can see what happens,” Walsh told WGBH’s Boston Public Radio on Friday, “but Donald Trump won the election.”