With the Electoral College set to vote in just a few days, the debate over the role of Presidential Electors has reached a fever pitch. Should this year’s Electors follow longstanding norms and rubberstamp their state’s popular vote winner, or should they buck tradition and dump Trump? Missing from these discussions is an alternative that seems tailor-made for the age of Trump. Perhaps Electors should do what Trump himself would likely do in their shoes: negotiate.
Encouraging Electors to negotiate with a would-be President may be a way to reconcile, at least in part, our competing instincts about the Electoral College’s function. Negotiations are an option because, as the dump Trump contingent correctly observes, the Constitution does not require Electors to ratify state popular vote outcomes. Constitutionally speaking, Electors are free agents.