An Ajar Letter to Arkansas Electors

Graphic of hand dropping ballot into slot
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To the Honorable (Arkansas elector)

Dear M-. _______,

I am a native of our state, now living in Northwest Arkansas. This letter is to request you vote for any presidential candidate besides Donald J. Trump when the state’s electors meet Monday, Dec. 19.

This request does not come from partisanship but from consideration of the man Mr. Trump has shown himself to be personally and professionally through his adult life, since he declared his candidacy 17 months ago and, especially, the two weeks before and two weeks since the Nov. 8 general election.

Of the last period in particular, Mr. Trump

  • Has dropped promises he repeatedly and consistently made to woo voters
  • Continues or allows subordinates to engage in business that profits from his federal standing
  • Nominated individuals to top Executive Branch positions who lack sufficient competence in the areas they are to lead (yes, some seem OK)
  • Displays a lack of shrewdness and self-control when reacting on social and news media to mere criticism
  • Exhibits other serious character flaws as reported in reputable journalism organizations, so well covered that you don’t need me to further list

None of us has a crystal ball, but Mr. Trump will need far less than the four-year term as Commander in Chief to — at the least — bring shame to the people of the United States of America. Indeed, it is reasonable to foresee domestically economic turmoil or internationally greater risk of military or terroristic upheaval during his administration. Greater risk, that is, than with any of the other top candidates of either major party.

This is not a plea to vote for the Democratic Clinton-Kaine ticket. By your helping to drop Mr. Trump’s electoral total below the 270 simple-majority votes — by choosing anyone else or abstaining — you will prove your patriotism. Please let the Constitution guide the next steps, in Congress.

You were selected as an Arkansas elector because you are a longtime loyal Republican. You may find “disruptive” or “overwhelming” — as the Democrat-Gazette quoted two electors Nov. 20 in “State GOP Electors: Changing Trump Vote Out of the Question” — citizens contacting you about the Electoral College. Perhaps this is because you were appointed by your party, not by the state nor by voters. But by the Constitution, U.S. Code and state law, you do help select the president of this democracy.

Arkansas unlike some other states has no regulation ordering you to follow the state’s popular vote. (If it did I’d ask you to be as strong and farsighted as our Founding Fathers in civil disobedience.) I ask you to stand aside any pledge then vote for your civic conscience, for the future of America, and not cast for Donald J. Trump. The dishonor and disrespect he already is bringing to Washington reflects on those who choose him as well as the rest of us who see him for what he is.

Sincerely,

Ben S. Pollock Jr.
(Mailing address)


I have sent this letter to the Arkansas electors:

Main source: Republican Party of Arkansas — Leadership

Trump scares me, more since the Nov. 8 election than before. How can any Republican or independent conservative not see his words and actions as putting us, the country, at risk? How can any decent American less than two months before Inauguration not see him on the world stage, blush and cross one’s fingers?

What’s left? We voted, rather only 58 percent of eligible American adults voted (even as it means as tallies are certified that 27.8 percent of American adults (48 percent of votes cast) chose the Clinton-Kaine ticket and 27.0 of everybody (46.6 percent) chose Trump-Pence. That’s done.

Still, the popular vote only guides the Electoral College. That’s an effort to prevent mob rule or might-over-right (and historically to entice Southern states and their slave economy). The Founding Fathers and succeeding legislation set each state to choose electors equalling the tally of its senators and representatives.

(Parenthetically, I want to apologize to my friends who supported third-party candidates. At most 6 percent in any state cast for Libertarian and Green candidates combined. While arithmetically that may have cost Hillary Rodham Clinton her goal, the truth is some portion of the 42 percent non-voters killed it. You Greens and Libs voted your heart, no one should criticize that. I’m sorry.

(In Arkansas, 34.6 percent of registered voters came out; 65.4 percent couldn’t be bothered even with a couple of weeks for early voting.) CORRECTION, Dec. 12, 2016: A reader kindly let me know that this link was for the 2008 election. This year’s results as of today are not yet posted at the Arkansas Secretary of State’s website; when they do, that link is here.)

Long before Nov. 8, each party including the small ones fielding candidates, selected electors in the event their ticket won. The six chosen by the Republican Party of Arkansas will meet Monday, Dec. 19, in Little Rock.

Rather than continually irritate our social media friends by agonizing aloud, maybe we can reach these loyal Republicans.

Finding them along with addresses took minutes online, without employing any professional journalist tactics. Could’ve, chose not to.

Shortening this postscript:

Trump is the first U.S. fringe candidate who figured out how to win.

He appealed to voters wanting dramatic change in government. Though they had many reasons, overall it appears they want to turn back time — politically, racially, sexually, environmentally. I understand. My family and I have suffered setbacks. Longing for some year in the 20th century that never quite existed is no solution.

Trump will mess up, and sooner not later — within range are needless recession, large-scale terrorism or small-scale war, loss of allies, growth of enemies, corruption, at the least bringing dishonor and disrespect to citizen and country, if not mayhem. His fans probably won’t see it that way.

The rest of us hold today’s leaders accountable. We blame both conservatives and other Republicans who have supported Trump even though they know better along with those who through silence or acquiescence allow Trump his apparent victory.

The 538 electors are among that number. Those names are on the record.

If Electoral College independence works, here and in other states, and its delegates fail to give a candidate 270 or more votes, Congress takes up the process. Let ’em. Don’t worry about a slow start to the new (blank) administration this winter. It won’t be much different than shut-downs from all those congressional-executive budget impasses.


Updates:

Dec. 12, 2016: With one week before the meetings in state capitols of electors, note that there are several groups across the country wanting to influence the Electoral College through civil action. The main one, in terms of getting media attention at least, appears to be Hamilton Electors. While glad this organization exists and advise keeping an eye on it, I’m hesitant. 1) Its website call to action is merely for state capitol vigils. 2) it has not corrected calling Arkansas Alaska on a Facebook post for a day-of protest in Little Rock.

Dec. 12, 2016: The Hill reports in “Electors Want Briefing on Russian Interference” of an open letter by 10 electors — of whom one is Republican the rest Democrats, representing six states and the District of Columbia — seeking intel on the reports of hacking before they vote Dec. 19.

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