A Minnesota member of the electoral college was replaced with an alternate at today’s state ceremony for the state’s electors to officially cast their ballots, after he refused to support Hillary Clinton.
Clinton won the popular vote in Minnesota on Nov. 8, and state law thus mandated that all of the state’s electoral votes go to her.
Muhammad Abdurrahman, however, had other ideas. When the first round of voting took place, he supported U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders for president and U.S. Representative Tulsi Gabbard for vice president.
Sanders ran a passionate bid for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination earlier this year, but ended up losing to Hillary Clinton. Gabbard was never an official candidate for the vice presidency, but she was long a vociferous Sanders supporter throughout the 2016 Democratic primary season.
Resentment has brewed more strongly than ever among Sanders supporters since Donald Trump managed to pull off a presidential win just over one month ago, since Sanders likely would have done much better than Clinton when pitted against Trump in the general election.
This resentment has been directed since Nov. 8 not only at the Democratic Party leadership for allegedly squelching Sanders’s presidential candidacy, but also at the institution of the Electoral College.
After all, Clinton did manage to pull off a winning margin in the national popular vote total, a margin of almost 3 million votes. Her margin over Trump in the national popular vote is bigger than those which gave dozens of former commanders-in-chief their positions.
And yet, she isn’t going to be the next president. Trump, while losing the popular vote, garnered a winning margin in the electoral college by winning enough densely populated states. More densely populated states have more members of the Electoral College.
With this in mind, the electoral college has become the latest target of rage for those opposed to Trump’s candidacy, a group including Sanders’ most passionate supporters, such as Abdurrahman, who reportedly served as a Sanders delegate to the 2016 Democratic National Convention.
Many have pointed to the origins of the Electoral College as an institution specifically designed to protect the national influence of states with large populations of slaves and proclaimed that the body is outdated and needs to go.
This issue of the undemocratic nature of the electoral college, as opposed to pure opposition to Trump, or even Clinton, is what Minneapolis’s Star-Tribune cited as underlying Abdurrahman’s decision to break with the way that his vote was assigned and support Sanders.
The paper reported that he “was protesting the Minnesota law that requires the electors to cast their ballot for the Minnesota popular vote winner.”
The Star-Tribune also notes that, along with state ceremonies hosting electors’ official voting across the nation, the Minnesota electoral vote casting ceremony saw a group of protesters “in raised voices that Secretary of State Steve Simon — who presided over the proceedings — and electors should delay the vote or abstain until a proper investigation of Russian interference in the election.”
Maine elector David Bright also cast his vote for Sanders instead of Clinton on Monday.
Featured Image via Brooks Kraft/Getty Images.