Donald Trump became President-elect Trump on Monday when the Electoral College officially voted to send him to the White House in January. For those that aren’t aware, every four years, a select number of people known as electors gather in their respective states a month or so after the Presidential election to formally cast their votes for the President and Vice President-elect. This gathering has long been considered a symbolic tradition, not anything particularly significant. However, due to the controversial victory of the President-elect, despite him losing the national popular vote, many began clamoring for a revolution of so-called “faithless electors” to band together to deny Trump the presidency. especially after a Republican elector from Texas came out publicly to say that he would not be casting his vote for the businessman. The idea even made its way onto the popular nighttime television show, Saturday Night Live. The only way this long-shot attempt could’ve worked would have been if at least 36 other Republican electors chose not to vote for Trump.
The effort faced long odds from the start, reasons for this including the fact that even if 37 electors didn’t vote for Trump, the decision would then go to the Republican-controlled House. In all likelihood, they would choose him anyway, and the fact that nearly half the states in the country prohibit electors from voting for a candidate other than the one that won that particular state.
By Monday evening, despite thousands of protesters gathering outside voting sites across the country, what had been expected from the start became reality, as Donald Trump was indeed formally elected the next President of the United States. What wasn’t expected however, was the fact that more faithless electors actually went against Hillary Clinton than they did Donald Trump. When the smoke cleared, there were seven total faithless electors, five going against Clinton, two against Trump, bringing their final electoral vote totals to 304 for Trump, and 227 for Clinton. Four of the seven faithless electors were found in one state, Washington, a state that Clinton won, where three electors cast their votes for former Secretary of State, Colin Powell, and in a particularly unusual occurrence, one electoral vote was also cast for a Native American woman by the name of Faith Spotted Eagle, who has been an outspoken opponent to the Dakota Access pipeline drilling. Two other faithless electoral votes were cast in the state of Texas, one being cast for Ohio Governor and former GOP candidate for President, John Kasich, and the other going to Kentucky Senator, Rand Paul. Finally, one more faithless elector from Hawaii cast their vote for Vermont Senator and former Democratic candidate for President, Bernie Sanders.
With the books now closed on the electoral process, all eyes are now on January 20th, when President-elect Trump, in front of the nation, and the world, will be sworn in as the 45th President of the United States.