Randy Kirkpatrick figures he's received about 88,000 emails, 400 letters and countless phone calls since Nov. 8. That's what happens when you're one of 11 Indiana Electoral College delegates being targeted by a campaign imploring you to "vote your conscience" and support somebody — anybody — other than Donald J. Trump.
The chairman of the Noble County Republican Party did just that at the Statehouse in Indianapolis Monday as he and all 10 other Hoosier electors cast their ballots for the man the so-called "Hamilton Electors" insist is unfit for the White House because of his alleged ignorance on national security issues, his ties to Russia, his international business dealings, his abuse of the media, his disregard for civil liberties and his constitutional indifference.
Monday's nationwide Electoral College results provided a stunning rebuke to such fear-mongering: Just as Trump actually gained votes in the Wisconsin recount demanded by Green Party candidate Jill Stein, his electoral-vote margin over Democrat Hillary Clinton grew Monday despite the best effort of Hollywood celebrities and others to convince people like Kirkpatrick their personal beliefs are somehow unconscionable and, presumably, un-American.
To Kirkpatrick, who was named an elector for the first time by Third Congressional District party officials in April, there was no conflict between his own beliefs and his desire and duty to reflect the will of Hoosier voters. If conscience had not allowed him to vote for Trump Monday, Kirkpatrick said, he would have resigned so somebody else could.
Had the Electoral College not given Trump the 270 votes necessary for victory, the next president would have been selected by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives. "That would have thrown chaos into the world, and you don't know where it would end," Kirkpatrick said. "But this is the way the system is supposed to work. I was honored to be an elector; history was being made."
Yes, and that history has once again revealed the chasm between "red" and "blue" America — a nation in which almost 3 million more Americans voted for Clinton but a large majority of states, and hence electors, supported Trump. Even before Monday's electoral results were known, only the delusional could have expected success for the "anybody but Trump" campaign.
To be fair, the Hamilton Electors were not urging Kirkpatrick and his peers to support Clinton. Rather, the group urged electors "from both red and blue states to unite behind a responsible Republican candidate." Such a principled revolt, the group insisted, would honor what Alexander Hamilton, America's first secretary of the treasury, wrote in Federalist 68: "The process of election affords a moral certainty that the office of the president will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications."
But notice the condescension inherent in the stop-Trump campaign: Having just decided Trump does indeed possess the qualifications needed for the presidency, Americans are once again being lectured by supposedly intellectually and morally superior elites whose commitment to the Constitution has resulted in undeclared wars, out-of-control judiciary, refusal to protect the border, rule by executive order and a national debt that has doubled under President Obama to nearly $20 trillion.
Despite Trump's his often-reckless rhetoric, millions of Americans concluded in good conscience Trump could do no worse — and events since Election Day indicate he may do better. So, yes: Kirkpatrick's conscience is as clear as his support for the Electoral College is strong.
"Look at all the red (Trump) states. If we went by the popular vote, the people in Las Angeles, Philadelphia and New York would all have more votes than Indiana," Kirkpatrick observed, noting that people in large cities tend to rely on a large federal bureaucracy and, hence, tend to vote for Democrats.
That's their right, of course, and Monday's results confirmed America's "deplorables" will insist on exercising their rights, too, despite sermons from B-list actors who seem to believe their side has a monopoly on truth, justice, the American way — and conscience.
This column is the commentary of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of The News-Sentinel. Email Kevin Leininger at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 461-8355.