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Politics & Policy

The Nonexistent GOP Elector Revolt and ‘Fake News’

As Facebook rolls out is new efforts to help users to report and dispute “fake news”, it’s fair to ask whether the recent hype about Republican electors choosing to not vote for Trump would qualify. 

As noted in today’s Jolt, two days ago Harvard Law School professor Lawrence Lessig was telling reporters that significant numbers of Republican electors were prepared to flip to another candidate:

Continuing years of long-shot efforts to reform the American electoral system, Harvard Law School professor Lawrence Lessig said Tuesday that at least 20 Republican members of the Electoral College may not cast their votes for President-elect Donald Trump.

Since Donald Trump’s upset victory in the 2016 presidential election, Lessig, who briefly ran for the Democratic presidential nomination, and his anti-Trump group, “Electors Trust,” have been working to offer legal advice to members of the Electoral College who are considering voting for a candidate that did not win the popular vote in their state. The group also promises to inform interested electors of how many others are planning to flip their votes.

Yesterday 304 out of the 306 Republican electors voted for Trump. One Texas elector voted for John Kasich; another voted for Ron Paul.

Why did more Democratic electors flip than Republican ones? Either they’re more narcissistic and inclined to public preening about how special they are. . . or they put a lot of misplaced faith in Lessig’s predictions. Michael Tracey reports, “Protesters told me they sincerely thought upwards of 30 GOP electors were set to defect from Trump, based on rumors spread by Lessig.” 

Do Lessig’s boasts count as “fake news” under Facebook’s standards? If not, why not?



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