Politico reported Monday that Art Sisneros, a Texas Republican elector, has chosen to resign his position instead of voting for Donald Trump. Sisneros signed a pledge with the Republican Party of Texas to vote for the nominee, but says he regrets that decision and calls the pledge “illegal” and “immoral.”
Sisneros has openly criticized President-elect Donald Trump on a number of occasions and previously suggested that he was considering his options to vote against Trump. He explained his ultimate decision to resign in a blog post, in which he contends that the Electoral College is no longer being used as originally intended:
“The essence of a republic is that the authority rests in elected representatives, not in the people directly… The Electoral College was created with this mind. In the original design the Electors were chosen, either by an election or appointment, to represent the people of their district in the selection of a President. The assumption was these Electors would be 1) men most familiar with those that were capable of filling this office, 2) possess wisdom and discernment to know those who sought the office but weren’t capable, and 3) could be trusted to act in the best interest of those they represented.”
Further, Sisneros argues that the rise of political parties was responsible for the original intent of the Electoral College being lost on both conservatives and progressives.
“The rise of political parties, as George Washington prophetically predicted, has had a ‘baneful effect’ on our nation. They have all but ruined our Electoral College system,” he writes.
“Originally Electors were free from political parties and their pledges. What mattered most was the character and qualifications of the candidate, not the viability of their path to victory (primaries) or the team that any candidate represented. The Electors were also free from these statewide popular vote contests that run all but two states today.”
Instead of being “free from political parties and their pledges,” the Republican and Democratic parties not only control who becomes electors, but make sure they are party loyalists.
This difference between a republic and democracy is all but lost in public discourse by conservatives and progressives alike.Art Sisneros
The Republican Party of Texas requires electors to sign a pledge, vowing to cast their vote for the party’s nominee. Sisneros believes that this pledge violates the U.S. Constitution by not allowing him to vote his conscience as an elected representative. However, he signed the pledge, though he believes firmly that Trump is not qualified to be president. He says he regrets that decision.
“Since I can’t in good conscience vote for Donald Trump, and yet have sinfully made a pledge that I would, the best option I see at this time is to resign my position as an Elector,” he writes. “This will allow the remaining body of Electors to fill my vacancy when they convene on Dec 19 with someone that can vote for Trump. The people will get their vote … I will sleep well at night knowing I neither gave in to their demands nor caved to my convictions. I will also mourn the loss of our republic.”
Sisneros’ replacement will be chosen by the remaining Texas electors when they meet to cast their official votes on December 19.