Campaign finance reform advocate Lawrence Lessig, who briefly ran as a candidate in the Democratic primary, is calling on electors to pick Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonRepublicans seem set to win the midterms — unless they defeat themselves Poll: Democracy is under attack, and more violence may be the future Popping the progressive bubble MORE over President-elect Donald TrumpDonald TrumpJan. 6 panel faces double-edged sword with Alex Jones, Roger Stone Trump goes after Woodward, Costa over China Republicans seem set to win the midterms — unless they defeat themselves MORE.
In a Thursday op-ed for The Washington Post, Lessig argues that the Constitution gives the electoral college the power to choose the winner of presidential elections. The Harvard law professor compared it to a judge reviewing a jury verdict, “where the people voted, the electoral college was intended to confirm — or not — the people’s choice.”
“The Constitution says nothing about ‘winner take all.’ It says nothing to suggest that electors’ freedom should be constrained in any way,” Lessig wrote. “Instead, their wisdom — about whether to overrule ‘the people’ or not — was to be free of political control yet guided by democratic values.”
Lessig, who dropped out of the race last year after accusing the Democratic Party of shutting him out of its debates, added that it would be an “insult” to the framers to let a candidate who lost the popular vote win the presidency.
“It is not meant to deny a reasonable judgment by the people. “It is meant to be a circuit breaker — just in case the people go crazy,” he wrote. “In this election, the people did not go crazy. The winner, by far, of the popular vote is the most qualified candidate for president in more than a generation."
Trump easily won the Electoral College, but Clinton is leading the popular vote by nearly 2 million people, according to recent counts.
At least six electors have already vowed to cast ballots that don't align with the popular vote results of their states on Dec. 19.
But Lessig didn’t go as far as suggesting that the Electoral College be abolished. Instead, he urged the electors to “be citizens exercising judgment, not cogs turning a wheel.”
“The framers left the electors free to choose,” he said. “They should exercise that choice by leaving the election as the people decided it: in Clinton’s favor.