Sitting in a cafe a block from the Capitol building in Sacramento just after 11am on Dec. 19, Vinz Koller anxiously monitors Electoral College votes on the East Coast. He’s contemplating committing a crime in a few hours, by voting against the will of the people in the state of California with his vote in the Electoral College.
The staunch partisan and outgoing chair of the Monterey County Democratic Party supported Hillary Clinton’s campaign. But, in a last-ditch effort to block the presumptive President-elect Donald Trump from ascending to the White House, Koller has fashioned himself as a “Hamilton Elector.”
The goal, spurred by Texas Republican and elector Christopher Suprun, is to get 37 electors for Trump in red states to cast their ballot for someone else, thereby blocking the 270 electoral votes needed to get the presidency. If that were to happen, the president would be decided on Jan. 6 by the U.S. House of Representatives, which would choose from the top three Electoral College vote getters.
The night after Bernie Sanders watched the Golden State Warriors come from behind in Oakland to take out the Oklahoma City Thunder in game seven, he came to the Central Coast in an attempt to pull off a surprising result himself.
While addressing a crowd of 7,800 people in front of Colton Hall in Monterey on May 31, Sanders displayed a Warriors cap and asked the crowd, “Is this the right hat?”
In a speech that lasted more than an hour, the independent senator from Vermont stuck to the main talking points of his campaign: Break up Wall Street banks deemed “too big to fail,” create Medicare for all, make public colleges and universities tuition-free and take money out of politics.
In 2004-05, I was lucky enough to have been the Editor-in-Chief of the Vermont Cynic, the student newspaper at the University of Vermont. In that time I interviewed many politicians looking to court the college vote. Bernie Sanders was memorable in that he told me—straight up—he didn’t care for my questions about socialism, third-party candidates and the popular Vermont Progressive Party. His main—ultimately failing—goal was to make sure George W. Bush didn’t see a second term in the White House.
Vermont Cynic: How important is this year’s election, and why should college students to be active participants?
Bernie Sanders: This election is the most important election in American history, or at least modern American history. It is especially important for young people and my campaign is trying to get as many people involved in the political process as is possible.