On Tuesday, voters took to the polls to elect the next president of the United States. By the end of the night, media outlets had announced that Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpNearly 300 former national security officials sign Biden endorsement letter DC correspondent on the death of Michael Reinoehl: 'The folks I know in law enforcement are extremely angry about it' Late night hosts targeted Trump over Biden 97 percent of the time in September: study MORE won, and that the country had a new president elect.

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Trump offered a vision of his work in a gracious victory speech, and noted that Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonLate night hosts targeted Trump over Biden 97 percent of the time in September: study 10 steps toward better presidential debating Continuity is (mostly) on the menu for government contracting in the next administration MORE had conceded the election in a phone call.

A few hours later, Clinton made a concession speech. President Obama offered a smooth transition to the White House for Mr. Trump.

Yet the final decision is not yet recorded.

It won't be until the Electoral College casts its ballots that the final decision is in.

I wrote in August that it "it appears to many that the Trump candidacy imperils both party and country." And it is important to remember the purpose of the Electoral College. Alexander Hamilton wrote in Federalist No. 68 that "the immediate election should be made by men most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the station, and acting under circumstances favorable to deliberation" who "possess the information and discernment requisite to such complicated investigations."

Despite the results of the election paper, many continue to have these concerns that perhaps the Trump victory will prove to be pyrrhic.

And this is not merely from Clinton voters and liberals who didn't vote for her. Conservative columnist George Will writes that the GOP "won a ruinous triumph that convinced them that they can forever prosper by capturing an ever-larger portion of an ever-smaller portion of the electorate."

Jennifer Rubin of The Washington Post openly questions the GOP as the continued home American political conservatives, wondering if "conservatism and conservatives separate from the GOP. ... Perhaps the agenda of conservatism (supply-side tax breaks, social conservatism, 'small government') is no longer viable. The Reagan era seems finally done. Perhaps conservatism endures by virtue of adherence to its governing principles (a preference for free markets, federalism), which can moderate and modulate whatever agenda Trump is pushing."

Moreover, I noted at the time that "if the returns on Nov. 8 show that Donald Trump has garnered the most popular votes, the country likely should hold its breath — the real decision will take place in December."

Here, I was wrong. While the returns suggest that the clear majority of the electoral votes are for Trump, he seemingly failed to garner the most popular votes. This result suggests the importance of the Electoral College, and its individual members.

I don't mean this to stoke a conspiracy theory. Some Electoral College voters have publicly voiced that they may refuse to vote for Trump, including in conservative states such as Texas. One Texas elector was a first responder on 9/11, and according to an August article in Politico, has "reluctance to cast a vote for Trump is due to the nominee's security rhetoric," fearing "Trump's approach on military issues," in particular his seeming penchant toward war crimes.

I sincerely hope for a smooth transition, and that Trump is genuine and earnest in saying "I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be president for all of Americans, and this is so important to me. For those who have chosen not to support me in the past, of which there were a few people, I'm reaching out to you for your guidance and your help so that we can work together and unify our great country" (emphasis added).

My initial guidance is that he should remember the eyes of the world are upon him, the reconciliation of the country is upon his shoulders, and that while he certainly he can afford several rogue electors, the election results are not complete.

Gibson is an associate professor of political science at Westminster College in Missouri.


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