Clinton is projected to win the popular vote by about 200,000, but Trump won 279 electoral votes to Clinton’s 228 as of Thursday. This is a point of contention among protesters, who have taken to the streets against Trump’s presidency.
On Dec. 19, the members of the Electoral College will vote for president when they meet in their respective state capitals. There is nothing stopping electors from voting against Trump—and they could theoretically not vote altogether.
The name for that, according to the New York Post, is a “faithless elector.”
This same question was raised during the 2000 election in which George W. Bush narrowly beat Al Gore.
But according to an analysis from the New York Times, more than 99 percent of electors throughout American history have voted as they pledged.
For Clinton, it’s a very unlikely scenario. Clinton would need more than 20 electors from Republican states to vote for her.
In 2004, an anonymous voter from Minnesota declined to vote for Democrat John Kerry—instead casting his ballot Kerry’s running mate, John Edwards. Bush already had 286 electoral votes.
“Faithless electors” are barred in 29 states.
Before the 2000 election, Andrew Jackson, Samuel Tilden, and Grover Cleveland—in the 19th century—won the popular vote and lost the election.
The U.S. Founding Fathers designed the Electoral College because they were “afraid of direct Democracy,” according to FactCheck.org. “The office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications,” said Alexander Hamilton.
Back in 2012, Trump tweeted about the Electoral College. “The electoral college is a disaster for a democracy,” he wrote on Nov. 6, 2012.
“This election is a total sham and a travesty. We are not a democracy!” he wrote again in November 2012.