As the Electoral College voted Monday to award Donald Trump the presidency, scores of opponentsassembled at state capitals throughout the countrywith the hope of urging them to break ranks and either abstain or vote for a different candidate.
By late afternoon, protesters wrestled with their disappointment. The Associated Press reported that Trump had officially gained the 270 electoral votes necessary to win the presidency.
In Boston, anti-Trump protesters rallied at the Massachusetts State House to add their voice to the opposition. The state had overwhelmingly voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton in the election.
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A crowd of about 200 people gathered in front of the State House steps and chanted, “It’s unprecedented but we must un-president him,” and, “See that freedom trail? Electors do not fail.”
The 538 members of the Electoral Collegewere expected to cast their votes in accordance with the popular vote of their state. It was anticipated that Trump would easily surpass the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency.
To deny Trump the Oval Office, 37 Republican electors would have had to abstain or vote for a candidate other than Trump.
Participants in Boston said it was important to show unity with like-minded protesters across the country. Clinton took Massachusetts with 61 percent of the vote, compared to Trump's 33 percent.
“Now more than ever, when our current president elect is trying to attack all our basic rights — even the right to peacefully assemble — it’s more important for us to exercise those rights,” said Jenny O., a performance artist and mother who would not give her last name.
Renaldo Pearson, a Harvard administrator and activist, acknowledged to the crowd that his allegiances in the presidential primary had been for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. But that was fight was long over, he added.
“This is not about Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders,” he said through a megaphone. “It’s about democracy.”
Pearson told the crowd that he once participated in a march from Philadelphia to Washington to “call attention to money in politics.” The core issues, he said, are voter suppression and the need for campaign reform.
Activists at the Mass. Statehouse broke into song during anti-Trump rally on day electors vote pic.twitter.com/enM5FEYyAA— Kristin Toussaint (@kristindakota) December 19, 2016