A reader emailed me yesterday with a fascinating suggestion: What if we asked the Electoral College (EC) to select Mike Pence instead of Donald Trump as president?
While I certainly prefer Clinton to Pence, I worry about the repercussions of the EC picking the other party to be president. Trump won. Granted, his election was unfair — FBI Director Comey and Russian intelligence rigged it so that Hillary couldn’t win. But, I still worry about what would happen if the EC chose the Democratic candidate instead of the Republican one.
Now, it’s the EC’s right to choose whomever is best suited for the job. And, admittedly, it would be ironic for Republicans to claim that it’s fair for the EC to pick Trump over Hillary, even though Hillary has nearly 3 million more votes than Trump, but it wouldn’t be fair for the EC college to fulfill the rest of its mission, stopping unworthy candidates from assuming the presidency.
Still, I worry about popular unrest should Trump not be seated. So what about the EC picking Pence instead of Trump? This proposal has the advantage of picking not only someone who was on the ticket, but also someone of the same party as the man who won the electoral vote. It would be harder for the Republicans to complain if the EC chose someone of their own party, someone they like. This would help to create a divide between die-hard Trump supporters, and the rest of the Republican party that never really liked Trump anyway.
I get that Mike Pence is awful. And in some ways, Pence is even worse than Donald Trump. Mike Pence is a religious right extremist. He also has significant Washington experience, which means, unlike Trump, Pence might actually be able to get something done. But Pence has one thing going for him: He’s not crazy. Mike Pence isn’t irrational and he isn’t unpredictable. Mike Pence poses a danger to nearly every issue Democrats care about, but he doesn’t pose a danger to our democracy — at least not in the way Trump does –Pence won’t be handing our country over to a foreign enemy, and he’s much less likely to get us into World War III. And that’s something.
Republican electors unwilling to vote for a Democrat, might just support a slightly more sane Republican.