High-profile actors and musicians are joining calls to deny Donald Trump the 270 electoral votes he needs to clinch the presidency, urging members of the Electoral College to choose someone more qualified in a video posted on YouTube Wednesday.
“As you know, our Founding Fathers built the Electoral College to safeguard the American people from the dangers of a demagogue, and to ensure that the presidency only goes to someone who is ‘to an eminent degree, endowed with the requisite qualifications,’” “The West Wing” star Martin Sheen said. He was joined by 17 other celebrities, including Bob Odenkirk, Debra Messing and Moby.
The video, paid for by the anti-Trump group Unite For America, is the latest in a long-shot effort to urge Republican electors in states where Trump won the popular vote to break from the presumed president-elect and choose anyone else. Electoral College members will meet in their respective state capitals on Dec. 19 to formally elect the next president.
Several celebrities in the video said they’re not asking electors to vote for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. They’re asking the electors not to vote for Trump.
“As you know, the Constitution gives the electors the right to vote for any eligible person,” “M.A.S.H” star Mike Farrell says.
“But it should certainly be someone you consider especially competent,” Debra Messing adds.
Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia have laws requiring members of the Electoral College to cast their ballots based on the winner of the popular vote in their state. But federal lawsuits in several states, including California and Washington, are challenging those laws, aiming to undo them across the country and free electors to vote for whomever they wish.
Harvard constitutional law professor Lawrence Lessig and law firm Durie Tangri have offered to provide free legal counsel to Republican electors who break from their states’ popular votes.
Trump won 306 electoral votes in the Nov. 8 election, while Clinton took 232. But Clinton leads Trump in the national popular vote by more than 2.8 million – the widest margin in history in which a candidate won the popular vote, but lost the electoral vote.
One Republican elector from Texas, Chris Suprun, has indicated he will not vote for Trump. Opponents of the real estate mogul will have to convince an additional 36 Republican electors to cast their votes for someone other than Trump if they hope to deny him the presidency.
A coalition of public interest groups, meanwhile, has launched a petition calling for the Electoral College to be reformed or ended. Read more on it here, or sign it below.