GOP electors go off the reservation
Fri September 14, 2012 12:59 pm

The internal rifts within the Republican party are getting more frequent and more serious. From an AP story in yesterday’s Statesman:

At least three Republican electors say they may not support their party’s presidential ticket when the Electoral College meets in December to formally elect the new president, escalating tensions within the GOP and adding a fresh layer of intrigue to the final weeks of the White House race.

Supporters of Ron Paul have expressed their frustration against the Republican Party’s refusal to give them a voice in their own party. The Associated Press reports: “’They’ve never given Ron Paul a fair shot, and I’m disgusted with that. I’d like to show them how disgusted I am,’ said Melinda Wadsley, an Iowa mother of three who was selected a Republican elector earlier this year. She said she believes Paul is the better choice and noted that the Electoral College was founded with the idea that electors wouldn’t just mimic the popular vote.”

The electors — all are supporters of former GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul — said they are exploring options should Mitt Romney win their states. 

One of the electors who is threatening to go rogue is from Texas. Her name is Billie Zimmerman, and she calls the RNC “a shocking display of deception and treachery and cheating.”

And another report, this one from the Web site AllVoices.com, about how America could end up with a Republican president and Democrat for vice president:

This may seem like a far-fetched idea, but it is possible. As the rift within the Republican Party continues, this unexpected possibility is rearing its head. This may be the best chance our nation has to re-establish a sense of unity instead of allowing further division to continue to grow.

Supporters of Ron Paul have expressed their frustration against the Republican Party’s refusal to give them a voice in their own party. The Associated Press reports: “’They’ve never given Ron Paul a fair shot, and I’m disgusted with that. I’d like to show them how disgusted I am,’ said Melinda Wadsley, an Iowa mother of three who was selected a Republican elector earlier this year. She said she believes Paul is the better choice and noted that the Electoral College was founded with the idea that electors wouldn’t just mimic the popular vote.”

At least three electors for the Republican Party have expressed this sentiment. This raises some new concerns for the party as well as voters nationwide. At this time, no formal discussions have been held by Paul supporters on a national level.

So how would we end up with a Republican president and a vice president from the Democratic Party? If Romney or President Obama fail to receive the necessary Electoral College votes in December, it would force the House to determine who wins the presidency. If the House were to remain in the control of the Republican Party, they would most likely elect Romney. The Senate would then be called upon to elect the Vice President. If the Democrats maintain control over the Senate, they would most likely elect Joe Biden. This would leave America with a Republican president and a vice president who is a Democrat.

The Associated Press reports, “The last time multiple electors defected was in 1896, when William Jennings Bryan was the presidential candidate of both the Democratic Party and the People’s Party, with both parties choosing different vice presidential picks. Twenty-seven electors in that race chose the People’s Party ticket, even though it didn’t win the popular vote.”

Voters have always considered the votes cast by the electors as symbolic. However, laws are in place in approximately one half of the nation to require electors to cast their vote with their party, leaving the electors in remaining states with the power to cast their vote the way they choose. However, for example, the law in Nevada carries no punishment for failure to comply. This may leave America in a situation that would be extraordinary, to say the least.

Electors have started to speak out on this issue. Nevada’s electors are a unique group. Four of the six slots are filled by Ron Paul supporters. Jesse Law is one of them. The Associated Press reports: “Jesse Law, an elector and Paul supporter, said he may have qualms with Romney but has always intended to cast his electoral vote for the party nominee. ‘I just want to beat Obama,’ Law said. But Ken Eastman may not cast his Nevada electoral vote for Romney, if the former Massachusetts governor wins the state. Eastman said he wants to explore options with Republican leaders in Clark County, a group now dominated by Paul supporters. ‘I’m undecided at this point,’ Eastman said, adding that he’s ‘pretty disgusted’ with the national Republican Party and how it has worked to suppress Paul’s grassroots movement. He said the GOP has not been open to an influx of people with different ideas.”

Nevada’s Ken Searles expressed interest in casting his vote for Paul if it would not affect the final outcome of the election as a method of protest against his party. Billie Zimmerman, an elector from Texas, called the RNC a “shocking display of deception and treachery and cheating.” Zimmerman is undecided on how to cast her vote. Alaska’s Kathleen Miller has also expressed the possibility of casting a vote for Paul if it would not affect the final outcome of the election. Her vote would be cast in protest against leaders of the Republican Party’s “shenanigans.”

To win the election, a candidate must receive 270 of the 538 electoral votes. In 1825, the House selected John Quincy Adams when none of the candidates received the number of votes that were necessary. Electors have cast votes outside their party’s line in more recent history as well. In 2004, John Edwards received one elector vote in Minnesota. In 2000 an elector abstained in protest of what was perceived as a lack of congressional representation in their district.

As we rapidly approach the Presidential election of 2012, this new possibility will make voters stop to ponder the idea of a White House split between the parties. Although this possibility does not seem realistic, it leaves one wondering if this might be just exactly what our nation needs. If we have leaders setting the example of working together, it may set the bar for Americans nationwide.

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