WASHINGTON, D.C. — Democrats have been bemoaning a Donald Trump presidency for two days after he beat Hillary Clinton in Tuesday’s election.
Many have taken to social media and to streets across the country to voice their displeasure after the real estate mogul secured enough electoral votes to become president-elect.
But there is a last incredibly long shot that could still get Clinton into the White House on Jan. 20 – a twist in the Electoral College.
Though Clinton led the popular vote by about 280,000 on Thursday morning, Trump has won the minimum of 270 electoral votes necessary to be elected president. As of late Wednesday, he had 290 to Clinton’s 228.
According to the Constitution, electors will meet in their respective state capitals on Dec. 19. In most cases, whoever wins the popular vote gains all of that state’s electoral votes.
- Why did Clinton lose despite possibly winning the popular vote?
The number of electoral votes per state is determined by the number of congressional districts plus one for each senator — a total of 538.
But there is nothing in the Constitution that would prevent any of the electors from refusing to support the candidate who won their state. Or from abstaining. They are dubbed a “faithless elector,” though 29 states ban the practice.
A petition on Change.org is pushing for electors to vote for Clinton instead of Trump. It had more than 555,000 signatures as of Thursday afternoon.
It’s rare for electors to defect or abstain. Even in the razor-close 2000 election in which George W. Bush beat Al Gore, no one withheld their vote for Bush and gave it to Gore, who won 271-266 with one abstention.
The New York Times reported more than 99 percent of electors throughout history have voted as pledged.