A group of Anti-Trump organizers who had formed a national allegiance aimed at pressuring the Electoral College to vote for an alternative candidate to the president-elect next month is now calling for them to instead back another Republican "unity candidate" as a compromise.
Several members of #NotMyPresident, which was formed following the backlash of President-elect Donald Trump's election victory and now now created the group Unite For America, and called on members of the Electoral College to "right its wrong" and elect a "more responsible candidate than Donald Trump" — i.e. Hillary Clinton.
But Jon Gedney, who started New York City's #NotMyPresident division, launched a petition Thursday that now calls on electors to form a united coalition with their colleagues across the aisle and elect, in his view, a more moderate Republican president with qualifications necessary to represent the United States, such as John Kasich, Mitt Romney, or independent Michael Bloomberg.
The notion that the electors would vote for another candidate is far-fetched, but the organizers remain hopeful.
"This option is available," Jim Clark, co-founder of Unite For America, told BuzzFeed News. "It’s not changing the rules of the game. All the candidates know how this works."
Clark and Gedney said they're aiming for enough electors to defect on Dec. 19 so that Trump's total vote tally falls below 270 — the amount needed to win the presidency. In that case, the vote would then go to the House of Representatives.
"This is a feasible and practical way to elect a compromise candidate," Clark said. "A unity candidate a moment in history when the country is unprecedentedly divided."
The petition does not need to gather a specific number of signatures. It is an outreach method aimed at starting a discussion with very little time left, Clark said.
Gedney said that while Democrats may not entirely align with Romney's, Kasich's, or Bloomberg's policies, these candidates have the experience and statesmanship necessary to "avoid plunging us into a nuclear war or a national crisis of as-yet-unknown character."
Anti-Trump organizers appear to have shifted their method of protesting. Following Trump's victory on Nov. 8, thousands of people across the country took to the streets to protest his presidency. By the following week most protests appeared to be student walkouts and smaller, peaceful rallies.
"[The petition] was the logical next step — there's only so far that protests can go," Gedney said. "There has to be a point where people organizing take that raw emotion and start doing the busy work and take action to come up with a solution for the next plan."
Unite for America's efforts are separate than those of Jill Stein's to fund election recounts in three key states. Last week, Stein raised more than $4.5 million to cover filing fees for recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania — swing states that went to Donald Trump in the presidential election. Had those states been declared for Hillary Clinton, she would have passed the 270 electoral votes necessary to win the presidency.
If new information comes out "that causes the electoral college outcome to reflect the popular vote results, then that stands, and this project becomes a contingency plan," Clark said.