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Top Ten Reasons South Dakota Electors Should Dump Trump

Members of the Electoral College are feeling besieged by partisans lobbying them to vote for one candidate or another on December 19. A dramatic surge of electors, largely consisting of mainstream party loyalists, deviating from the recommendation of their states’ voters in large enough numbers to change the expected outcome of the election seems unlikely… but then so did a Donald Trump Presidency, until November 8 at 8 p.m.

In that spirit of unlikelihood, I thus offer South Dakota’s electors—Governor Dennis Daugaard, Lieutenant Governor Matt Michels, and Attorney General Marty Jackley (who said in October they’d Electorialize for Trump, and who now aren’t feeling besieged by calls and form letters, because even though the Electoral College is supposed to make small states more important, folks nationwide still don’t give a rip which way South Dakota votes)—the top ten reasons they should lead an Electoral College revolt and vote for someone other than Trump:

Lt. Gov. Matt Michels, Gov. Dennis Daugaard, and Attorney General Marty Jackley cast South Dakota's three Electoral College votes for Mitt Romney in 2012. Photo by Kelsey Webb, SD Governor's Office, 2012.12.18.
Matt, don’t write yourself in—Lt. Gov. Matt Michels, Gov. Dennis Daugaard, and Attorney General Marty Jackley cast South Dakota’s three Electoral College votes for Mitt Romney in 2012. Photo by Kelsey Webb, SD Governor’s Office, 2012.12.18.

1. The people have spoken: Americans want Hillary Clinton, not Donald Trump, to be the next President, by a margin at this writing of over two million voters, or 1.5%. Enact the will of the people: vote for Hillary Clinton.

2. The man who won your party’s nomination and this state’s popular vote is not the man sitting in Trump Tower right now, flip-flopping on his wall, climate change, and jailing Hillary Clinton, and other promises he made to get elected. Never mind if going back on some of his promises, like torture, is a good thing. If he can’t keep faith with us just two weeks after the election, he won’t keep faith with us after inauguration. Faithless electors will do far less damage than a faithless President. Pick someone else.

3. Trump’s refusal to step away from his businesses show he’s unwilling to be a full-time President. He even wants us to fly him home to Trump Tower every weekend to get away from the job. Leading the free world is not a part-time job. Hillary Clinton has spent almost all of her career as a public servant; she’s ready to continue working full-time for America. Get back to basics and vote someone who is willing to do the job.

4. Governor Daugaard specifically: you still want Medicaid expansion, right? After slashing the budget to remedy Mike Rounds’s deficit in 2011, reforming the criminal justice system in 2013, fixing the roads in 2015, and raising teacher pay in 2016, you don’t want to spend the last two years letting the unchecked GOP culture warriors in the Legislature drive the agenda. You want one more policy crown jewel. Medicaid expansion is it. Vote for Hillary Clinton. The Republican Congress won’t let her wreak any new havoc, but the gridlock will keep the ACA and Medicaid expansion on the books. Our revenues are lagging; we need the federal stimulus… and 50,000 working but poor South Dakotans need affordable health coverage.

Bonus: Matt, Marty, jump in! Lt. Gov. Michels, your pals at Avera want it. A.G. Jackley, you’re running for Governor in 2018: your donors in the health care industry would love to back you over repeat-ACA-repeal voter Rep. Kristi Noem.

5. Your state-level success in the last four elections has grown in the fertile soil of antipathy for that Democrat in the White House. Keep a good thing going: send another Democrat to the White House to ensure the South Dakota Republican Party’s continued electoral success in 2018 and 2020.

6. If Clinton is a bridge too far, pick Mike Pence. He won’t lie to you. he won’t bobble the culture war you want. He won’t meddle in other nations’ ambassadorial picks or start a war over some foreign newspaper showing his chins. He won’t embarrass your party and imperil your nation.

7. Besides, if you don’t stop Trump now, you’ll have to impeach him later when he starts sending aircraft carriers to provide pleasure cruises for his business partners in Argentina, India, and the Philippines. Why wait? Why let Trump do any damage? Avoid the messiness of an impeachment and make Pence President now.

8. On the off chance that Trump doesn’t do anything obviously impeachable, then poor Mike Pence will be stuck having to House of Cards his boss. I’m not convinced Pence has enough Frank Underwood in him—are you? Spare him that difficulty; just give Pence the job on December 19.

9. The Electoral College is a remnant of the Founding Fathers’ compromise to keep slave states from bolting. And even after that crazy compromise they still bolted, and we had to fight a four-year war to bring them back. Ingrates! Electors, reject your own slavery-based supremacy and default to the will of the popular vote.

But if you don’t want to reject the Electoral College, then embrace it…

10. You have a unique historical opportunity to fulfill the original intent of the Electoral College. The Founding Fathers implemented the Electoral College as a final firewall between the Presidency and demagogues:

Consider what Alexander Hamilton wrote in Federalist Paper Number 68. The Electors were supposed to stop a candidate with “Talents for low intrigue, and the little arts of popularity” from becoming President. The Electors were supposed to be “men most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the station, and acting under circumstances favorable to deliberation, and to a judicious combination of all the reasons and inducements which were proper to govern their choice.”

They were to “possess the information and discernment requisite to such complicated investigations” as the selection of the President, and they were supposed to “afford as little opportunity as possible to tumult and disorder.” They were even supposed to prevent “the desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils.”

Hamilton was talking about demagogues. The word “demagogue” appears in both the first and last Federalist Papers; in Federalist Paper Number 1, for instance, Hamilton worried about the “military despotism of a victorious demagogue” [Michael Singer, “The Electoral College Was Created to Stop Demagogues Like Trump,” Time, 2016.11.17].

Do what Alexander Hamilton—yes, Hamilton—said. Use deliberation, information, and discernment. Avoid tumult, disorder, and an improper ascendant serving the desires of foreign powers (speaking of which, computer security experts and election lawyers say they have found persuasive evidence of manipulation or hacking of vote counts in pro-Trump Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania—10, 16, and 20 Electoral votes, enough if moved to Clinton’s column to make her President). Do the job the Founding Fathers defined for you. Don’t elect a demagogue. Elect Hillary Clinton. Elect Mike Pence. Don’t elect Donald Trump.


  1. Jim Bolin 2016-11-23 15:13

    Cory: Interesting post. Quite clever. # 5 is the best of the bunch. It is true. South Dakota Republicans flourish during the times that a Democrat occupies the White House. History shows us that the SD GOP loses a bit when one of their own occupies 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. David Montgomery had a story about this phenomenon in the Argus about 4-5 years ago. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Jim Bolin

  2. Rorschach 2016-11-23 15:46

    The governor will regret not appointing you to the senate, Jim. But he wouldn’t dare cast his electoral vote for someone other than Trump. Happy Thanksgiving to you!

  3. Robert McTaggart 2016-11-23 15:57

    For #1, saying “we won the popular vote” hides the fact that the Democratic messaging didn’t work in the heartland.

    The rules shouldn’t have been a tremendous surprise. The winner of the popular vote sometimes becomes President, but the winner of the electoral college always wins becomes President.

    It is clear that they need a better message and to fight across all 50 states. Abandoning the heart of the country was sort of like saying “I finished the exam” but left problems 3,4, and 5 completely blank.

  4. mike from iowa 2016-11-23 16:21

    The economic prosperity of the Obama administration trumped Drumpf’s no message of HRC being a crook. This country is so far ahead of the mess wingnuts leave after their taxcuts for the wealthy fail to do anything but enrich the rich. Nowm in four years Dems will be called upon to clean up the sewer Drumpf leaves behind. I would tell Dems to tell wingnuts to clean up their own messes, but they don’t know how they keep making messes.

  5. Porter Lansing 2016-11-23 16:31

    Awwwww …… Let him be President. He’s so spooked he’ll be impotent. Trump’s the next Nixon and the perfect punch line.

  6. leslie 2016-11-23 16:38

    10 reasons to undo trump:

    In just 24 hours a preview of the drama trump seems likely to bring to the White House.

    1. Trump summoned two dozen television executives and news anchors to his offices Monday to berate them as dishonest and disobedient.

    2. He sought to strong-arm the British government to appoint his Brexit ally, Nigel Farage, as ambassador to the United States.

    3. He dropped his threat to prosecute Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton, disregarding his “lock her up” campaign chant.

    4. Tuesday’s meeting with the New York Times, the newspaper Trump loves to mock as “failing” was scheduled, then canceled, then rescheduled.

    5. And once the president-elect settled in at the Grey Lady’s boardroom, he softened his position on climate change,

    6. floated the idea that his son-in-law could broker peace in the Middle East,

    6.5 Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, revealed that Donald Trump is dyslexic and that he cannot read.

    7. voiced new doubts about the effectiveness of torturing terrorism suspects,

    8. savaged Republicans who wavered on his candidacy and

    9. left unresolved concerns about how — or even whether — he would disassociate himself from his global business holdings to avoid conflicts of interest.

    10. Trump has announced that his wife, Melania, will become his Secretary of State.

    Whew. Welcome to Washington’s new normal: One Trump drama after another
    Washington Post · 23 hours ago

  7. Spike 2016-11-23 16:46

    I’m really missing something on this middle of America being ignored and should have more electoral votes per capita than the rest of the country. ‘Middle of America?’ Gee that makes us special. In fact…blue states send us your federal tax money while we wait to realize the glory days of industry are over.

  8. moses6 2016-11-23 17:08

    Our leaders in Pierre are not that sharp,He couldn;t even do anythingwith the Dept of education after the mid central co-op.

  9. moses6 2016-11-23 17:09

    All these vets who served in Vietnam have now put another draft dodger in POTUS.

  10. Roger Cornelius 2016-11-23 17:18

    Vote Trump for one reason, he promised to show his tax returns if elected, he is elected, where are the tax returns.
    I know it was another lie and he won’t show us squat, but in the off chance he does, they’ll probably get him impeached.

    Hillary and President Obama now have their own birther issue to lay on Trump.

  11. jerry 2016-11-23 17:30

    Vets who served in Vietnam did not vote for Trump. At least this one did not. I went on record to that. BTW, I have nothing against draft dodgers period, as they were all pardoned by President Ford. They did not miss a thing by not going there, except the sheer beauty of the place. I often wondered how in the hell there could be a war in such a place of brilliant contrasts. You get up in the high country and look out to see the South China Sea that is as blue as you could ever imagine, with white sandy beaches…Beats the hell out of the Middle East that is for sure.

  12. jerry 2016-11-23 17:34

    Dumping Trump is not likely from this brood, but Spike is right on where we get our money. Trump is gonna have to send more that he thought as the bunch in Pierre screwed the pooch and we are now at least 16% short on sales tax. When ya ain’t got nothing of value to sell, it is time to change the vendors.

  13. Greg 2016-11-23 17:47

    Didn’t the voters in South Dakota choose Trump. I am not a big Trump supporter but the majority of the voters voted for Trump. Does the will of the voters mean anything, Cory

  14. Darin Larson 2016-11-23 17:51

    Greg, same question to you. Does the will of the voters mean anything with regard to IM22? Is the legislature going to respect IM22?

  15. mike from iowa 2016-11-23 17:57

    Since the damn press won’t do its job, it looks like it is up to me to say Happy Thanksgiving to all, even you wingnuts.

    I am out of here for the evening.

  16. Porter Lansing 2016-11-23 18:01

    Thanks for Vietnam ??, Jerry. Denver has the largest Vietnamese community between the coasts and I’m thankful for all my many friends in that group. From them and the Anglo friends who’ve worked and visited Vietnam I’ve learned that Vietnam loves Americans who come visit. Give it a try, Republicans. It’s beautiful and cheap. Not many places in the world that accept you, now. ?

  17. Roger Cornelius 2016-11-23 18:16

    You haven’t been following along, Donald Trump did not win a majority of the popular vote, Hillary did.
    The last I checked Hillary was ahead of Trump by nearly 1.7 million votes.

  18. grudznick 2016-11-23 18:23

    But Mr. C, that Trump fellow won a majority of the popular vote in South Dakota. Which does not matter. What does matter is Mr. Trump apparently won a majority of the electoral vote. Which does matter.

    * I was a huge Johnson supporter

  19. grudznick 2016-11-23 19:03

    That is indeed interesting, Mr. Larson.
    Mr. Johnson still has a chance, then, eh?

  20. Derek 2016-11-23 19:24

    I’m thrilled as little as the next (actually, policy-based) Bernie supporter when it comes to Trump taking the White House, but how do you balance the threat of four years of Trump against the threat of a second Civil War? Because I’m honestly terrified that that’s the next logical step in the progression of Trump riling up heavily-armed bigots, Trump “winning” the election, and Trump having the election “stolen” from him by faithless electors.

  21. Porter Lansing 2016-11-23 19:57

    Good one, Jerry. You’re right. I can’t discuss SD for very long without referencing the Dakota’s Russian German heritage (the highest percentage of any two states in USA) I’m half German American, myself. I’m proud that my letters and discussion groups helped convince Watertown school board to change Ki-Yi from being about Indians (of which there aren’t any in the town, for exclusionary reasons) to being about Germans. I’m not too worried about Trump. He looks easy to manipulate. And on top of that, Hitler won the popular vote. Trump couldn’t.

  22. jerry 2016-11-23 20:38

    Indeed, Clinton now leads over 2.5 million with more outstanding votes that have not been counted. She actually won a landslide in the popular vote. A truly remarkable feat, that is far from over. BTW, also German blood and French from Quebec, via Avignon area in the early 1600’s as well. Crossed into other bloods too, so I am a child of the universe. That also means that I am a pissed off, happy go lucky guy who likes to conquer other people’s stuff while eating good cheese and drinking good wine/or warm beer.

  23. Porter Lansing 2016-11-23 20:52

    A good bloody mix. ????

  24. jerry 2016-11-23 21:09

    Porter, I wish you well and hope that you have a good visit with family and friends. I know that you will keep those who are doing the heavy lifting at Standing Rock in your thoughts. To all who read this, the same good wishes for your homes and lodges wherever you are.

  25. John Kennedy Claussen, Sr. 2016-11-23 22:16

    I don’t hold out much hope for the electors helping us with this one. It probably explains why Trump is reaching out to many of his known opponents within the GOP, like Romney and Haley, and having second thoughts about water boarding, prosecuting Hillary, and climate change so as to keep them all at bay.

    But our friends of the Green Party might be our answer:

    Oh, and just as a side note, don’t we already have a constitutional crisis with a Trump presidency in the future? I mean, is there any legal president, I mean precedent, for a turkey being allowed legally to pardon to fellow turkeys? Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

  26. mike from iowa 2016-11-24 07:30

    Grudz-did you just admit @18:23 that you are/were a “jockstrap”? Or maybe you meant you admire large “johnsons”? You have me confused.

  27. Robert McTaggart 2016-11-24 11:07

    I don’t know why everyone seems fixated on the popular vote total….that isn’t what wins the White House….nothing more than a Pyrrhic victory.

    I guess they should have asked enough voters from California to move to Texas a year ago if the messaging wasn’t going to work. But you don’t get a do-over.

  28. Porter Lansing 2016-11-24 11:17

    Dr. McTaggart … The win for the White House is a victory in any Presidential election. The win of a mandate from the voters is also a victory. Trump has no mandate to initiate anything. Democrats have a clear mandate to obstruct Trump’s goals and make him another Dick Nixon, removed from history in embarrassment, ridicule and national shame.

  29. mike from iowa 2016-11-24 11:22

    Wisconsin is going to do a recount. Enough dinero was raised for that recount. Wisconsin, under Fitzwalkerstan has a history of shaky election results.

    NC guv is screaming foul about voter fraud in his own state who has done everything to prevent voters from voting. His only hope is if the wingnut lege steps in and hands him the governorship regardless of vote count.

  30. Robert McTaggart 2016-11-24 12:15


    I guess the secret to life is finding victories wherever you can. But to have control of the White House a different campaign needs to be developed.

    Clinton had more money for the campaign…heck Jeb Bush had more money to campaign with…and they both lost. I will say that Clinton tried to promote a plan to help Appalachia, but “take a look at my web site” and thinking they should be convinced is not as good as going to Appalachia, getting voter feedback, and making adjustments.

    Some pure opposition will occur, which is inevitable because the Republicans do not hold a super-majority in the Senate. But I would be disappointed in the Democrats if a principled opposition did not include viable solutions that addressed people’s problems, not just satisfy big-money donors. I could say the same about Republicans…fix the country first, then have dessert.

  31. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-11-24 15:37

    Robert, I’m not trying to hide any facts. Sure, Democratic messaging didn’t sell in the heartland any more than it sold here in District 3, or at an evangelical church revival meeting. The dominance of Republican voters in Aberdeen doesn’t erase over two million Clinton votes or justify a Trump Presidency. The “heartland” is not the only America.

  32. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-11-24 15:38

    When Jim Bolin calls me clever, I can’t help feeling he’s avoiding the actual point and just looking for another chance to needle me personally. Have some more cranberries, Jim.

  33. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-11-24 16:25

    Dang, Super Sweet! That DeVos graphic is good enough I’ll put it right here:

    Why Betsy DeVos isn't qualified to be Secretary of Education

  34. mike from iowa 2016-11-24 16:35

    But I would be disappointed in the Democrats if a principled opposition did not include viable solutions that addressed people’s problems, not just satisfy big-money donors. I could say the same about Republicans…fix the country first, then have dessert.

    Doc, you sure dump plenty on Dems after 8 solid years of just say no and abstinence only governance out of wingnuts. Dems did a superlative job of running the country while wingnuts did everything they could to destroy us. It is way past time to heap the S### on the wingnuts and give Dems and Obama all the credit in the world. Dems had a plan and it worked as well as could be expected in the face of so much opposition.

  35. moses6 2016-11-25 01:00

    Jerry thank you for your service.Should I say three presidents elected would they send their kids into battle.Again thak you for your service.

  36. leslie 2016-11-25 01:32

    Carsen as HUD chief apparently doesn’t require experience either.
    Doc-i’m so disappointed in U, an educated person who thinks more pipelines r needed yet DAP just sold, so natl gas infrastructure will bring more profit than oil; AND you still want nuke waste in this state despite the will of Spink Heartland County. Mouth piece for Daugaard it seems. And doing your best to distract from the popular vote for HRC. Climate denier too? Scared uneducated blue collar voters were duped as Trump strategy.

  37. leslie 2016-11-25 01:36

    jerry- u have all my sincere admiration.

  38. mike from iowa 2016-11-25 09:42

    Grudz, I will give you a pass on being a jockstrap. However, if you have ever attended a paid sporting event at a highschool or University, you are still an athletic supporter-which is the same as a jock strap. :)

  39. grudznick 2016-11-25 14:33

    Mr. Mike, I know you are from Iowa and not South Dakota, but back in the day I had my name engraved on things in the old Nash Gym. I was quite the jock indeed. You should visit it sometime and see if my name is still there.

  40. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-11-25 20:55

    Greg, the will of the voters means a lot. But if seventeen legislators can go to court to overturn the will of the voters just to protect their free lunches from lobbyists, I think we can far more morally and Constitutionally justify calling on our Electors to carry out the duty assigned to them by the Founding Fathers.

    And if the will of the voters is our primary value in today’s debate, then the will of the voters who constitute Clinton’s national margin of popular vote victory over Trump is more than nine times larger than the will of all the South Dakota voters who picked Trump. Hmm….

  41. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-11-25 21:02

    Lawrence Lessig agrees with me:

    …indeed, there is an especially good reason for them not to nullify what the people have said — the fundamental principle of one person, one vote. We are all citizens equally. Our votes should count equally. And since nothing in our Constitution compels a decision otherwise, the electors should respect the equal vote by the people by ratifying it on Dec. 19 [Lawrence Lessig, “The Constitution Lets the Electoral College Choose the Winner. They Should Choose Clinton,” Washington Post, 2016.11.24].

    Interestingly, Lessig says the Founders meant the Electoral College to be “citizens exercising judgment,  not cogs turning a wheel.”

  42. leslie 2016-11-27 07:15

    The hill editorializes there are no more loving and caring people than trump supporters. Gee. This is from a law student discussing the hawaiian rep. Gabbard as possible SOS.trump Will Draw Americans Into Just making Up Facts As They Go.

  43. Jana 2016-11-27 21:02

    Here’s 3 more. Thune, Rounds and Noem.

    The latter two are empty suits and Thune is number three because he’s easy on the eyes and in a safe seat. Not one of them has brought any substance to their representation of South Dakota and Trump has absolutely no reason to care what they think.

    So when South Dakota relies so heavily on Federal Government support, how will our ineffectual representation expose South Dakota to losing Federal dollars?

    How about we start with the Department of Education that the Donald so wants to get rid of…what’s that cost South Dakota and how much will South Dakota taxpayers have to make up?

    Does anyone really think Donald gives a s**t about agriculture? Look at his investments. See ya Federal support. Now that Kristi has bailed on the Ag committee and for that matter her job, who will protect that funding?

    Public parks and lands for recreation and hunting…now open to the highest bidder…foreign or domestic.

  44. Leo 2016-12-16 12:08

    Apparently, there will be protests in 50 state capitols on Monday, December 19th calling on the Electors of the Electoral College to use their discretion:

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