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Wasserman writes: "Those wanting someone other than Donald Trump to become president must now persuade some 37 electors from states officially won by Trump to not vote for him. They must either switch those votes to Hillary Clinton or produce at least one electoral vote for a third candidate who would then be selected in the House of Representatives by a majority of the state delegations. Such a 'December Surprise' has never happened in US history."

Members of Washington state's Electoral College are instructed on the paperwork in casting their votes December 17, 2012, in Olympia, Washington. (photo: Elaine Thompson/AP)
Members of Washington state's Electoral College are instructed on the paperwork in casting their votes December 17, 2012, in Olympia, Washington. (photo: Elaine Thompson/AP)


Will There Be a “December Surprise?”

By Harvey Wasserman, Reader Supported News

16 December 16

 

s millions of Americans desperately seek an alternative to Donald Trump, the 2016 presidential election now faces the volatile possibility of a “December Surprise.”

Here are some Constitutional realities:

The Electoral College is set to vote Monday, December 19.

Of 538 electors, Donald Trump apparently has 306 committed to him. Exactly 270 are needed to win. Hillary Clinton apparently has 232. There do not seem to be any other candidates with confirmed committed electors at this point.

The Twelfth Amendment stipulates that if no one gets 270 votes, the decision reverts to the House of Representatives.

But the House would vote state by state, with each delegation getting one vote. A strong majority of the delegations are controlled by Republicans.

The House can only choose among the top three candidates with actual electoral votes.

So if Trump fails to get 270 votes, but no one else has electoral votes besides Hillary Clinton, the House will still choose between Trump and Clinton. If 37 electors abandon Trump, but don’t give their votes to Clinton, the only other choice would be whoever has the next highest number of electoral votes.

In other words, the House can’t anoint a candidate who does not have at least one electoral vote.

(There are also complex circumstances whereby the Senate might choose the new vice president, who would become president if no new one were chosen. At this point, the likeliest nominee might be Mike Pence).

Harvard Professor Lawrence Lessig is offering legal advice to Electors who may want to vote for candidates other than those to whom they are apparently committed. He has estimated 20 or more electors may jump from voting for Trump.

But so far, the only other candidate named by a possible “faithless elector” from a Trump state is Ohio’s Republican governor, John Kasich.

That elector is Chris Suprun, a Texas-based paramedic who penned an op-ed in The New York Times saying Trump is unfit to be president, and mentioning Kasich as someone he might support.

Kasich was one of Trump’s most vehement opponents during the primaries. He now says he does not want the Electoral College to consider him as an alternative candidate.

Nonetheless, Colorado elector Michael Baca, who is committed to Hillary Clinton, has told Brad Friedman on his BradBlog radio show that he would consider voting for Kasich if that would help rally Republican electors around a candidate other than Trump. He cites the hamiltonelectors.com website aimed at informing the public about the possibility of an Electoral College not voting for the candidate with the apparent majority of electoral votes.

Given the fluidity of the situation, things may have changed between the time I am writing this and the time you are reading it.

But this much seems firm: Hillary Clinton still stands to become the sixth presidential candidate to win the majority of eligible voters but lose the White House. At nearly 3 million votes, hers is by far the largest margin of any popular vote victory to frame an Electoral College defeat.

Despite his claims that three million Americans voted fraudulently, the Trump campaign brutally stonewalled Jill Stein’s attempts to get meaningful recounts in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania.

Greg Palast has shown that this year hundreds of thousands of mostly black and Hispanic citizens were systematically stripped from the voter rolls. Numerous statisticians have also warned that vote counts could have been flipped in many states by “black box” electronic machines.

Until we have a transparent system based on universal automatic voter registration, hand counted paper ballots, mandatory audited recounts, and more, we have nothing resembling a democracy.

What we DO have in 2016 is this: Donald Trump lost the popular vote by nearly three million votes but is apparently leading in the Electoral College with official victories in five states (Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Florida) where he lost in the exit polls. Those vote counts were not contested by Hillary Clinton, and Green Party recount attempts in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania were stymied.

Those wanting someone other than Donald Trump to become president must now persuade some 37 electors from states officially won by Trump to not vote for him. They must either switch those votes to Hillary Clinton or produce at least one electoral vote for a third candidate who would then be selected in the House of Representatives by a majority of the state delegations.

Such a “December Surprise” has never happened in US history. It would appear to be a Constitutional possibility. But the only certainty at this point seems to be that the clock is ticking.

Stay tuned.



Harvey Wasserman co-wrote (with Bob Fitrakis) THE STRIP & FLIP SELECTION OF 2016: FIVE JIM CROWS & ELECTRONIC ELECTION THEFT www.freepress.org and SOLARTOPIA! OUR GREEN-POWERED EARTH at www.solartopia.org.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

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Comments   

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We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

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Founder, Reader Supported News

 
+21 # tedrey 2016-12-16 13:13
Clearly the Democratic party is not going to accept a Trump government as legitimate.

Just as clearly the voters on the other side are not going to accept a Clinton government as legitimate.

Between them the two parties have managed to destroy the possibility of any government considered legitimate by half the country.

Congratulations!

One possible way out. There were some 71 million registered voters who didn't vote for either Clinton or Trump . . . more than Clinton's 66 milllion or Trump's 63 million
Maybe we could ask them to come up with a better candidate for whom they would be willing to vote.

Hope springs eternal.
 
 
+16 # grandlakeguy 2016-12-16 16:07
Yes, this is a crisis!
The real hackers here were clearly that nefarious group with the first initial "R".
(Hint: not the Russians)
 
 
+8 # Jim Rocket 2016-12-16 16:35
"Clearly the Democratic party is not going to accept a Trump government as legitimate."
It seems to me that the Democratic party will accept just about anything as long as the cash keeps flowing their way.
 
 
-1 # jdd 2016-12-16 22:25
All this is nonsense. None of it will happen. Trump will become president and seeks determined to normalize relations with Russia and China. Meanwhile the real danger is coming from Obama. who is a lame duck and loose cannon, supplying the Aleppo terrorists with manpads and now threatening retaliation against Russia on the basis of the same unproven allegations that have been made since the Democratic Convention. Obama is angry, armed and should be considered dangerous.
 
 
0 # lfeuille 2016-12-17 01:02
Not China. He has antagonized them by challenging the "One China" policy and indulges in late night Twitter rants against them. Remember, he thinks they invented the climate change "hoax".
 
 
+5 # Radscal 2016-12-17 20:34
Trump's had remarkably harsh words for China for years now.

But actually, abandoning the "One China" duplicity by which the US supports Taiwan could actually be appreciated by the Chinese ruling class.
 
 
+3 # ericlipps 2016-12-16 18:41
If they didn't vote in November, how many could be counted on to vote now?
 
 
+5 # tedrey 2016-12-16 19:11
If Clinton and Trump were both off the ballot, say in prison, it would be a whole new election.
 
 
+4 # lfeuille 2016-12-17 00:59
I don't think so. I think Congress would decide. And who's going to send them to prison before Monday?
 
 
+1 # lfeuille 2016-12-17 01:05
He said they should get to pick a candidate they would vote for. Change candidates, it's a whole new game.
 
 
+2 # lfeuille 2016-12-17 01:03
That would require a constitutional amendment.
 
 
+3 # Radscal 2016-12-17 18:05
I've devoted most of my electoral energy for decades to trying to convince those self-disenfranc hised citizens to vote for alternative candidates.

Most know that neither half of the single corporate party will represent them. But, they have been convinced by the propaganda that voting for an alternative is a waste of time.

I now see Wasserman's observation as an impenetrable obstacle for progressive change through electoral politics:

"Until we have a transparent system based on universal automatic voter registration, hand counted paper ballots, mandatory audited recounts, and more, we have nothing resembling a democracy."
 
 
+2 # jimmyjames 2016-12-16 15:43
Maybe it should be mandatory for everyone to vote. Mail them a paper ballot. Require them to fill it out and drop it in the mail. Give them a week to do so. Every ballot would have a scanable bar code that identifies each qualified voter. Ballots are then scanned, verified, and secured in case of a necessary recount. Problem solved.
 
 
-3 # Philothustra 2016-12-16 15:56
Its done in other countries.

The Russian hacking was a simple matter of self-interest, since they have everything to gain from a Trump presidency. But Tedrey is right-- the goal of this campaign was to make the US, like Europe today, ungovernable... And it worked like a charm. The Russians are "winning" at everything lately..
 
 
+12 # tedrey 2016-12-16 16:11
Sorry, that is NOT my position. Actually I think the CIA is lying about its findings, and at least in this case the Russians are the relative innocents. But I only *think* that: unlike many posters and officials, I don't claim to know what I can't be sure of.
 
 
+7 # jdd 2016-12-16 22:31
You don't have to prove the Russians not guilty of the hacking. Not in our legal system. The accusers, Obama and his CIA and neo-con supporters need to put up or shut up. Russia's presidential spokesman, Dmitry Peskov said that the United States should stop groundlessly accusing Russia of intervention.
"They should either stop talking about that, or produce some proof at last."
But don't hold your breath.
 
 
-3 # Jaax88 2016-12-16 23:54
jdd:
You have it wrong! We are dealing in the realm of international relations, politics and perceptions. There are no courts, no judges, no oaths, no cross examination, no laws for punishment. None of that counts. This is one country's, ours, basic premises for existence as America was organized being attacked. The right to vote.

Now you, an American no, may understand this? Your simple and misleading (and I am being kind here) claim America needs to put up or shut up is hogwash. In my experienced judgment there is sufficient evidence to act against Putin and Russia now. I do not believe the President, CIA, FBI are lying. I think trump and his mouthpieces are lying or trying to avoid any and all responsibility for the Russians fucking with our elective system.

All the Americans officials involved in this situation have everything to lose, jobs, reputations, future employment, families and likely jail time. trump, his hooligans and mouthpieces have a presidency to lose unless they lie or are compliant with trump's game, consequently cannot tell what they know. Some would probably be jailed and certainly run out of town and be pariahs for the rest of their lives if they did. You and a number of others here need to use your brains and quit being anti-America.
 
 
+7 # Radscal 2016-12-17 20:44
"All the Americans officials involved in this situation have everything to lose, jobs, reputations, future employment, families and likely jail time."

Yep. That's likely why they made up this "Russia did it" BS to cover up what was uncovered by the leaks. And it's also why they cover up their inability to provide any evidence for their claims with the typical "protect national interests" BS.
 
 
+4 # itchyvet 2016-12-17 23:02
Well Jaxx88, I sincerely hope that you never come under scrutiny for illegal matters of any kind, because if you do, and still believe in the tripe you've posted, you'd be in a heap of serious trouble.
Everyone, anywhere charged with a crime, must be able to see the EVIDENCE upon which the charge is based. B.T.W. why is the U.S. immune from interfering in other countries elections ?????????? After all, What's good for the Goose, is also good for the Gander, No ?
 
 
0 # Radscal 2016-12-18 14:08
Yes, in all legitimate legal proceedings in the US, the onus is on the accuser to provide legal "proof."

Of course, the President now has the power to indefinitely detain or even kill US citizens without any evidence that a crime was even committed. In fact, he can do this on his claim that the targeted individual might do some crime in the future!

Even Rachel Maddow was quite upset when Obama claimed this power.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vbslm1h8xjI
 
 
+6 # grandlakeguy 2016-12-16 16:05
Who someone votes for is a cherished secret. Such a system would void the concept of a secret ballot.
 
 
+5 # lfeuille 2016-12-17 01:08
It is unnecessarily intrusive and coercive. It is up to the parties to present candidates voters want to vote for.
 
 
-6 # MidwestTom 2016-12-16 15:54
For the sake of the country, we had better all hope that Trump is elected Monday. If he is not elected there will be dire consequences. It is one thing to say that you are unhappy, it is another to risk splitting the country, and as someone who does business in Oklahoma and Texas, I believe that electing Hillary Monday could cause both states to exit. We are a nation of laws, and Hillary lost.
 
 
+18 # RMF 2016-12-16 17:08
Well, as a resident up north I would say good riddance to TX and OK, and then the better off states could stop subsidizing the south via the tax rolls, partly due to the low-wage, anti-union policies of the southern states (yes, I know those reactionary policies are spreading to the upper Midwest.) But because of that subsidy also suspect the threat of secession is way overblown -- the southerners, rhetoric to contrary, don't want to stop feeding at the public trough.
 
 
+1 # Robbee 2016-12-17 10:19
Quoting RMF:
Well, as a resident up north I would say good riddance to TX and OK, and then the better off states could stop subsidizing the south via the tax rolls, partly due to the low-wage, anti-union policies of the southern states (yes, I know those reactionary policies are spreading to the upper Midwest.) But because of that subsidy also suspect the threat of secession is way overblown -- the southerners, rhetoric to contrary, don't want to stop feeding at the public trough.

- texas' huge yearly federal subsidy is tip of the iceberg

thru republican federal gov't, texas mibillionaires control foreign policy of this planet's only superpower - mibillionaires will never give up the right, at every other state's expense, you and i foot the bill, to rule their planet!
 
 
+2 # Robbee 2016-12-17 10:40
mibillionaires have evolved tiny, little hands - to reach into other peoples' pockets
 
 
+10 # ericlipps 2016-12-16 18:45
Oklahoma and Texas would bolt the Union if Hillary became president? Good luck and good riddance. But it wouldn't come to that; both states suck too heavily at the federal teat to leave it behind.

Texas, in particular, benefits heavily from federal largesse, starting with subsidies for its "awl bidness" and moving on from there. I think it would have second thoughts in a hurry.
 
 
+1 # lfeuille 2016-12-17 01:10
Well, I am not going to cry over losing Oklahoma and Texas.
 
 
+26 # grandlakeguy 2016-12-16 16:09
What would happen if a majority of the electors demanded a new election (primaries included since the Democratic primary was fraudulent) with full voter registration and verifiable hand counted paper ballots?

That seems to be the only path to restore legitimacy in our government!
 
 
+5 # lfeuille 2016-12-17 01:15
If would be meaningless. There are not in the position to demand anything. And there isn't time. Obama has to leave Jan 20th. We have to have a President. It would require a constitutional amendment to allow an interim President and their would be a big fight over who it should be. It would have to be passed by Congress and two thirds or three fourths of the states(I forget which). The time for altering the constitution is not in the middle of a crisis. It is too late.
 
 
+1 # librarian1984 2016-12-17 16:06
Bernie 2020
 
 
+2 # itchyvet 2016-12-17 23:07
There are certain individuals around the World who have predicted that Obuma will be last President of the U.S.
No predictions have been made as to who, or what would replace him, so clearly, if these predictions have any validity at all, America is in for an extremely trying time.
 
 
+1 # dotlady 2016-12-16 16:46
A world-stage serial version of the Hatfields and the McCoys, or maybe a rumble of two Chicago gangs. All one can do is "stay tuned" with robotical semi-interest in the recounts and tallies of electors, eating popcorn and trying to avoid the onset of clinical depression. The TV screen and the computer screen has surely put us where we are today.
 
 
+6 # elly105 2016-12-16 16:54
Disillusioned me...
"What would happen if a majority of the electors demanded a new election (primaries included since the Democratic primary was fraudulent) with full voter registration and verifiable hand counted paper ballots?

That seems to be the only path to restore legitimacy in our government!"

I agree - we should simply re-do the election entirely if we wanted to really know the truth of who deserves to win... I know it'w too expensive and it would extend Obama's term for the next while... I am unable to trust any reports from either side anymore -- how do I know WHAT to believe...? If Hilary had won I think surely Trump would have challenged that outcome... What sickens me is that the integrity of our voting system is suspected of corruption. And to hear that the US has interfered with the elections in other countries is very disturbing... what is true?
 
 
+11 # ericlipps 2016-12-16 18:49
"Expensive"? Try "impossible." Do you really think the Republican Congress would allow a re-vote when as things stand it will be their nominee who'll go to the White House?
 
 
+4 # itchyvet 2016-12-17 22:55
Seriously #elly105, you need to rethink what your saying.
Some time ago, in my country, we had a referendum on daylight saving. This referendum cost millions of dollars of tax payers money. The results that came back were the MAJORITY did not want day light saving, thus the idea was scrapped.
However, the folks pushing for it, refused to accept the results. Pushed for another referendum, the cowardly Government of the day, caved in, and spent further millions of dollars conducting another referendum which came back with the SAME RESULTS AS THE PREVIOUS ONE. Opponents walked away with a bruised ego, allow the matter to rest for four years and again, pushed for it at the next election, again the Government caved in and held ANOTHER referendum, this time the results were OVERWHELMING against the idea. Sadly after spending millions of taxpayers money the result was the same as the first time. Some folks need to practice what they preach, if they place creditability in they can do is support the outcome. What makes the opposition think, holding another election will go their way ??????????????
 
 
+2 # John Puma 2016-12-17 04:43
December surprise? The CIA and FBI will insist they have reliable proof that Santa Claus exits.

----------
As to: "At nearly 3 million votes, hers is by far the largest margin of any popular vote victory to frame an Electoral College defeat."

This may be the largest numerical margin but relates ONLY to population increase. Let us see the relative percentage figure before we are compelled to shed more crocodile tears for HRC.
 
 
+5 # itchyvet 2016-12-17 22:47
WOW, really folks, what's all the Hoo Hah about on this issue anyway ???
Even IF the Russians were involved, (which I don't believe for a second )what difference does it make ?
America has no problems INTERFERING in other countries elections.
Even in Russia it'self, America has NGO's organizing against the current Government. In the Ukraine, it interfered on a massive scale, to the tune of $5 billion dollars, which is common knowledge. In South America it interferes every day, and even supports and initiates clandestine actions to assassinate leaders it is displeased with. Even Europe or Australia is not immune.
So why all the Hoo Hah, when finally there's blow back and the U.S. MIGHT be getting back what it's sown for hundreds of years ???????????
 
 
0 # Radscal 2016-12-18 14:19
Perhaps it is the knowledge - as suppressed as it may be - of the horrors the US has rained down upon so much of the world is precisely why so many are hysterical over the (absurdly slim) possibility that even a tiny bit of that is being done to us.
 

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