Tuesday 20 August 2019

Protesters fail in bid to halt Trump presidency

Victory: Donald Trump. Image: AP Photo/Evan Vucci
Victory: Donald Trump. Image: AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Rachael Alexander Washington

There were many protesters but few faithless electors as Donald Trump won the Electoral College vote last night - ensuring he will become America's 45th president.

An effort by anti-Trump forces to persuade Republican electors to abandon the president-elect came to practically nothing and the process unfolded largely according to its traditions. Trump's polarising victory on November 8 and the fact Democrat Hillary Clinton had won the national popular vote had stirred an intense lobbying effort, but to no avail.

Even one of Trump's fiercest Republican rivals, Ohio Governor John Kasich, said it was time to get behind the president-elect.

"We want unity, we want love," Kasich said as Ohio's electors voted to back Trump at a statehouse ceremony. Kasich refused to endorse or even vote for Trump in the election.

With several states still voting, Trump had 304 votes and Clinton had 169. It takes 270 Electoral College votes to win the presidency. Texas put Trump over the top, despite two Republican electors casting protest votes.

Befitting an election filled with acrimony, thousands of protesters converged on state capitols across the country yesterday, urging Republican electors to abandon their party's winning candidate.

More than 200 demonstrators braved freezing temperatures at Pennsylvania's capitol, chanting, "No Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA!" and "No treason, no Trump!"

In Madison, Wisconsin, protesters shouted, cried and sang 'Silent Night'. In Augusta, Maine, they banged on drums and held signs that said, "Don't Let Putin Pick Our President," referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Despite the noise outside state Capitols, inside, the voting went pretty much as planned.

In Nashville, Tennessee, one audience member tried to read out some Bible scripture before the ballots were cast, but was told he could not speak.

"We certainly appreciate the scripture," said state election coordinator Mark Goins from the podium. "The answer is no."

With all Republican states reporting, Trump lost only the two electors in Texas. One voted for Kasich, the Ohio governor; the other voted for former Texas Rep. Ron Paul.

Clinton lost four electors in Washington state - three voted for former Secretary of State Colin Powell and one voted for Native American tribal leader Faith Spotted Eagle.

Several Democratic electors in other states tried to vote for protest candidates but they either changed their votes to Clinton or were replaced.

Republican electors had been deluged with emails, phone calls and letters urging them not to support Trump.

Irish Independent

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