What if[edited]Trump is GOP candidate, wins, but electors don't vote for him?

What if Trump is elected the president candidate for the Republican, and then wins the president election, but some of the electoral colleges refuse to vote for him?

The delegates to the Electoral college have no legal obligation to vote for the person they are pledged to. The specter of faithless electors is raised every election year, but never actually seems to happen. This is because the electors are all loyal party bigwigs who are chosen because they’re loyal party bigwigs. The only difference is if Trump spends most of his time in the general election trashing the Republican party, thus enraging the loyal republican party bigwigs who have been chosen as electors.

So if some electors are faithless and vote for someone else, then there’s nothing stopping them. Even if it changed the results of the election. We might have a real movement for a constitutional amendment to do away with the electoral college after that. I mean, the 2000 election was pretty bad, but this would be completely different.

If nobody receives a majority in the electoral college, the House of Representatives determine the outcome. Each state casts one vote.

Electoral College Fast Facts

This is exactly the sort of situation the Electoral College was created for. If anything, if they are faithful, that would represent an even greater failing of the concept of the Electoral College.

This is not true in every state. In some it’s a crime to vote another way (with exceptions for things like when the candidate dies), and in others an illegal vote causes an automatic vacancy for the elector’s seat.

Not only that, but they get sent back to Electoral High School!

And they can only choose one of the three candidates who got the most electoral votes. So the House of Representatives can’t just decide to make Harrison Ford the President.

A legal obligation on from the point of view of the state. From the point of view of Congress assembled to count the electoral votes, the legal obligation is meaningless. Who they vote for there is subject to exactly one rule: they cannot vote for two people from their home state. Everything else is fair game. It would get them in legal trouble with the state, but that’s irrelevant from the federal point of view.

In the states that vacate the seat, the elector is replaced on the spot. So Congress would get a certificate that never even mentioned the unpleasantness.

But if anything really hinky happens, people will just make up rules as they go along and try to justify them later, like in 1876. Hopefully that would go relatively well, but when democratic norms fail, sometimes the consequences are pretty nasty.

These laws have never been tested, and are, in my opinion, unconstitutional.

Maybe the criminal penalties, but why would the automatic vacancies be unconstitutional?

Because it’s punishing them for not voting the way they were told to. They were selected as a member of the Electoral College, and once selected, cannot be controlled. The whole system depends on trust.

The power to vote is conferred by the federal Constitution, which does not place any limits on the way the electoral votes. If the state purports to tell the elector how to vote, there’s a good argument that the state is intruding on the federal constitutional provision

Plus, there’s nothing in the Constitution that gives the states the power to cancel a vote duly cast by an electoral, but that’s what the replacement provisions try to do.

And it’s usually effective, because electors are typically chosen by their state parties from among their most dedicated longtime volunteer workers, as a gesture of appreciation. “Faithless elector” situations almost never occur because almost never is an elector chosen who would even consider it.

Right, which is why Donald Trump is the only person where this discussion is worth having. The Republican electors are faithful Republicans, that’s why they were chosen as electors. Except Donald Trump is not a traditional Republican, and it’s easy to imagine Republican party hacks who would normally vote the straight Republican ticket like robots might choke at the notion of voting for Trump.

Easy to imagine. Doesn’t mean it would actually happen. It could only happen if during the election Trump is openly trashing the Republican Party. If he’s the nominee and the party falls in line like good soldiers, then the electors will do the same. If he’s openly campaigning against the Republican party despite being the party nominee then the elector’s loyalty to the Republican party might lead them to change their vote.

But if Trump gets the nomination he’s not going to do that, unless the Republican establishment refuses to fall in line behind him.

Bolding mine. I *almost *agree.

There’s another scenario you skipped: It could *also *happen if during the election the Republican Party is openly trashing Trump.

If the R Establishment falls short in their schemes to have, say, Romney run as 3rd party, they may just decide to nominate Trump then snipe at him. Or have a bunch of shiny new PACs do it. Whose provenance will leak somehow.

For sure, if Trump & the R Establishment start sniping, odds are very quickly it’ll be impossible to say who’s trashing who more or who started it. It’s kind of like grabbing the cat’s tail. Even if you don’t pull, he will and the tug-o-war is inevitable.

But I could imagine Trump’s “tack to the center” for the general would mostly be a matter of demonstrating smiling magnanimity (or is it faux invincibility) in the face of withering criticism from the Establishment. Which his base might eat up like Budweiser & bacon cheeseburgers.
The real point is that Trump might not choose to start that fight; the Establishment might start it for him. And if so the faithless elector problem looms large & Trump doesn’t have an obvious counter to prevent it. That risk was part of the package deal he accepted when he chose to run under the R banner rather than the D banner or one of his own making.

So… really, nobody else is curious about the [edited] thing? Just me?

And those laws may or may not be unconstitutional.

Based on where the [edited] is in the title, I assume the original title was simply “What if”. It’s rare for the mods to strike as do ninjas then slink unseen back into the darkness, but it does happen from time to time.

I think the original title was just “What if…”
Usually the editing mod leaves a post as to the change.