Texas Elector…A Matter of Conscience

I am a Texas elector.

Donald Trump was not my first choice in the Republican Primary. I am an unrepentant Rand Paul supporter; but by the first week of March, Rand Paul was out of the race. I voted for Ted Cruz. 

When Texas electors were chosen last May 14 it was clear that Donald Trump was the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party. Every person who asked to be an elector did so fully informed of who was to be the nominee.

Each of us signed a pledge that, as electors, we will support the nominee when called to Austin on December 19.

It is a remarkable year to be an elector. We have received more than 60,000 emails from anti-Trump forces. The emails include passionate pleas, promises of fame, death threats and every vile and vulgar language imaginable. Anyone who is tossed back and forth by waves of public criticism, or who is blown here and there by every wind of a crafty and cunning media, probably ought not be an elector.

Is it possible that our vote could be a matter of conscience? Yes it is. Always. Every state. Each elector. I agree with Hamilton in Federalist 68. But there is nothing new here nor does it rise to the level of disqualification.

So you think that being "without scruple," or "unprincipled and voluptuary," someone "who would plunder the country," is a disqualification?

That's precisely what Alexander Hamilton thought of Aaron Burr, yet I have found no record of Hamilton lobbying electors to change their vote in 1800 when Burr tied Jefferson in the Electoral College. 

Perhaps that is because those are opinions, not facts, and Hamilton knew the difference. 

Are there greater spiritual principles applicable? Certainly. But they are not esoteric proclamations of "ought" to a man whose heart I cannot possibly judge.

The principles that matter apply much closer to home.

As to seeking the role of an elector there is this one: 

Suppose one of you wants to do some great thing. Won't you first sit down and count the cost to see if you have what it takes to see it through? Because if you don't you may find yourself unable to finish and everyone who sees it will ridicule you saying, "This person started something and didn't know what he was getting into." (Luke 14, paraphrased). 

We each knew what we were getting into. This is politics, not choir practice, and it is always a messy business involving imperfect people. God only knows how conflicted the mind of a Hillary Clinton elector must be.

But judging righteousness isn't my job. Not here; not hereafter.

"It is God who judges: He brings one down, he exalts another," (Psalm 75.7 NIV).

Can one really imagine a 1980 Republican elector making judgments of righteousness between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan? It wasn't their job then; it isn't my job now.

What role does conscience play in my decision? It obliges me to do my duty and to keep my word.

I signed a pledge to vote for the party's nominee. The document was probably legally flawed, but I am not looking for a reason to be derelict in my duty.

So, if you want to make this about faith and conscience, let's do. You may call it ethics, morality or values, but something guides one's conscience. Here is how it applies to me; I can speak only to my own.

Conscience and faith compel me to make no commitment without having counted the cost to see if I have the moral fortitude to fulfill my commitment.

Jesus said, "I tell you, do not swear an oath at all…all you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’."

My conscience also tells that my word ought not depend on the validity of the oath I swore. That my "yes" should mean "yes," not "maybe." Trustworthy.

It comes down to whether I will do my duty or seek an excuse in the face of pressure based on non-adjudicated allegations or my distaste for one cabinet pick or another. 

Ironically, to quote the Federalist papers, which were written under pseudonym, as justification for changing a vote because someone doesn't like how the President-Elect uses social media, belies an ignorance of the times. Newspapers and publishing under pseudonym were to readers in 1787 what social media is today: the leading edge of public discourse.

That same thinking might have abandoned Madison in 1808 because one didn't like the fact that Madison previously wrote under an assumed name.

Yes, there is a reason they are called "faithless electors." I refuse to become one. 

I will vote for Donald Trump on December 19 regardless of pressure, peril, or promise of publicity. No oath necessary.

Because I am a Texas elector.