Texas Elector Resigns, Saying He Can't Vote For Trump In Electoral College
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
When the Electoral College casts 538 votes for president this month, 38 will come from the state of Texas. All 38 were expected to go to Donald Trump. But Art Sisneros, one of the electors, says he just can't do it.
ART SISNEROS: I came to the conclusion, well, I can't vote for Donald Trump. I don't, in good conscience, think that he's qualified.
INSKEEP: Sisneros is resigning as an elector rather than vote for a candidate he has concerns about. Another Texas elector says he will not vote for Trump either and may write in another Republican. Sisneros had that option, too.
Help me through the process. When did you begin to realize this was going to be a crisis for you?
SISNEROS: It was right before the election. I was really still weighing in how I was going to cast my vote. And so I come at it from a Christian perspective. So I say, OK, what are the moral implications of my vote? Like, how do I think morally about what my vote is?
And so I came to the conclusion it's wrong to vote for somebody who's not going to be treating people as people ought to be treated. And so I can't say that this is the guy that I desire to be any kind of leader over - an authority over me.
INSKEEP: What was it about Donald Trump that made you feel as a Christian that he would be unjust or not treat people properly, as you put it?
SISNEROS: Well, I think you can look at his history. You can look at his past and say, what is his business about - you know, how he treated women and so forth. I think the qualifications that I see - most people don't abide by these, but my conscience is bound by these - that he must rule fairly. He must have wisdom. He must treat people fairly, and he must fear God. And so as I began to look at, does he meet those, I think we could see very clearly that he doesn't.
INSKEEP: I guess then you faced a decision. You could quit as an elector or act as electors used to act more commonly and vote your conscience or what you thought was best for the country.
SISNEROS: Yeah, and I talked to a lot of men that are wise, that know history far more than I do, know the Bible far more than I do, that are much more advanced in years. And, you know, really, they all came to different conclusions. So I realize that any avenue I took could be right. Some said, you can't vote for Trump on the basis that you're representing the people, and the people have a voice to be heard. And so there was a moral argument to be made for that. There was a moral argument to be made for going faithless, but...
INSKEEP: Faithless elector, meaning you wouldn't go the way the popular vote in Texas had gone.
SISNEROS: That's right. I would vote my conscience, but in specific, my vote would be different than the popular vote of the state.
INSKEEP: Or you could quit.
SISNEROS: Or I could quit. So I wrestled with all of those and finally landed on voting for him would violate my conscience. But at the same time, I was elected on the basis of a pledge that I would support the nominee. So it's probably the best route if I resign.
INSKEEP: Somebody listening is surely saying, well, you could have voted against Donald Trump. But instead, you're resigning and being replaced by somebody who will cast the very same vote that you think is wrong.
INSKEEP: What do you say to them?
SISNEROS: Yeah. Even in casting my vote opposed to Donald Trump, that was never going to change the results of the election. Donald Trump is going to be president. So this is purely somebody standing on their principles and their conscience.
INSKEEP: What kind of response have you received since announcing this resignation?
SISNEROS: It's been all over the board. I've received death threats and all kinds of ugliness. I've received it from both sides of the political spectrum. People have been, you know, threatening my family and all sort of stuff. Some of the people, you know, are so upset they're - I'm going to find you. I'm going to hunt you down like the pig you are. And I'm going to take care of you like I do my other vermin on my land - and just all kinds of really, really ugly threats.
INSKEEP: Since you told us some of the ugliest things you've heard, what's one of the kindest things you've heard?
SISNEROS: I have heard people from both sides say, thank you for giving me hope. I'd lost hope that people firmly believed in something and were willing to stand on it, whatever the cost.
I've heard other people tell me that they despised Christianity and my faith 'cause they've seen people claim to believe these things and then act in contradiction. And they said, you know, I didn't think that people actually believed it in such a way that they acted upon it. But you've given me hope that some people do, and they appreciate that.
INSKEEP: Well, Art Sisneros, thanks for sharing your story with us.
SISNEROS: Great talking with you.
INSKEEP: He's a Texas elector who's resigning rather than vote for President-elect Trump. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.