Can Hillary Clinton still win? Unlikely, but possible

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is introduced during a campaign stop Friday, Jan. 22, 2016, in Rochester, N.H. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is introduced during a campaign stop Friday, Jan. 22, 2016, in Rochester, N.H. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

(WCMH) – Is there still a chance Hillary Clinton could win the presidency? Technically, yes.

There’s a petition online with over 3.5 million signatures as of Saturday evening, asking electors of the electoral college to cast their votes for Clinton instead of President-elect Donald Trump.

The petition’s creator Elijah Berg writes:

“If they all vote the way their states voted, Donald Trump will win. However, they can vote for Hillary Clinton if they choose. Even in states where that is not allowed, their vote would still be counted, they would simply pay a small fine – which we can be sure Clinton supporters will be glad to pay!”

There is another petition online with about 1,000 signatures as of Saturday evening, urging the electoral college to confirm Mr. Trump as the president.

The petition’s creator writes:

“The Electoral system is the system that allows every state to make their vote heard. Without it; the populous dense, liberal, inner cities would decide the election every year. That’s not democracy, that’s a farce.”

The votes have been counted here in Ohio and Mr. Trump is the winner. It’s been a bitter pill for some to swallow and that’s why millions are urging state electors to change their minds when they meet in December to cast their votes.

But, an expert from the Ohio State University says don’t hold your breath.

Political science professor emeritus Paul Beck says while electors can choose to ignore how their state voted and instead vote for Clinton, it is very unlikely that they would. He says even if one or two electors went “rogue” it wouldn’t be enough to change the results.

“Could one or two of them not vote for Trump? I think that’s always possible,” he says. “I think it’s not likely and they would suffer the consequences of that, particularly if it changed the outcome of the election.”

Beck says electors will meet in their state capitols on December 19th and cast their votes. Right now, President-elect Trump is the projected winner with 290 electoral votes and Clinton with 228.

He says electors are not compelled to pick a particular candidate, but they are carefully chosen by the political parties and are usually already committed to voting a certain way.

“Every once in a while, maybe in a state like Ohio where some of the party leadership was not supporting Trump there could be somebody that goes rogue, but I really doubt that is going to happen and you don’t want to be in a position that you’re changing the result of an election by your single vote,” he says.

However, Beck says there is still a legitimate question on why the electoral college is the determining institution for the election rather than the popular vote.

“I don’t expect it to change in the future. It would require individual states that have small numbers of electoral votes to be able to go to the popular vote and they’re not going to want to do that. It dilutes the kind of influence that they have,” he says. “I think it is antiquated. It was a deal that was cut back in 1787. It was the price among other deals or compromises. It was the price we paid for our Constitution. On the other hand, changing it is difficult.”

For now, Beck says his best advice is to accept that the contest is over and watch for the announcement of cabinet positions.

“We need to deal with that,” he says. “There will be a new administration in Washington. We need to keep an eye, of course, on what they do.”

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