I will be sending the following an a personalized email to individual electors today. I was concerned that blogging this would compromise the nonpartisan nature of this blog (and of my academic role), but this issue is just too important. Feel free to share any thoughts from any viewpoint, as always.
Dear Ohio Elector:
I am a law professor who teaches torts, speech torts, privacy, and insurance at Ohio Northern Law School. Personally, I am politically moderate with libertarian tendencies. I tend to vote Democrat, but not exclusively, and I try to maintain as politically neutral and academic a classroom environment as possible. I believe that all students should feel empowered to express their viewpoints in class, and I believe that academia, especially some academic settings, should do more both to maintain academic distance and neutrality and to encourage the expression of conservative viewpoints that sometimes get lost. Although I have strong priors about how best to analyze and interpret the law, especially in free speech cases, I remain committed to the academic values of open-minded, searching inquiry and tolerance to other views.
Because of my commitment to being, in my professional life, as nonpartisan as possible, and because I am deeply committed to our democracy on principle, I reflected for a long time before writing this letter. I am asking you to honor your obligation as an elector and vote for anyone except Donald Trump. I have students and friends who voted for Trump, and I respect their vote and their views. However, Donald Trump has proven, between the election and now, that he is unfit for office in a way that transcends partisan politics. If that were not the case, I would not be writing you today.
In my view, the most alarming actions Donald Trump has taken involve major threats to the structure of our democracy. Donald Trump uses his power and position to threaten the media, vital to maintaining the transparency that allows the citizens to judge their government. Donald Trump misinforms citizens about their rights, tweeting that he wants to strip citizens of citizenship for expressing core free speech rights like burning a flag in protest. Donald Trump leverages his economic position to curry favor with foreign diplomats in ways that will likely violate the Constitution if his behavior continues while in office. Donald Trump refuses security briefings, preferring willful ignorance to informed decision-making.
Donald Trump has become the enemy of what makes America actually great. He does not care about First Amendment rights because he does not care about the truth. He is an affront to both the democratic process and the individual rights that exist in tension with that process. Our nation was founded upon both political engagement of an informed electorate and checks, such as your role as an elector, on unadvised and improper expressions of political will.
I implore you to use your role in the way it was intended – to save our democracy from someone utterly uninformed, unrepentant, and unfit for office. Even setting aside the fact that that foreign enemies may have polluted this election, there are more than enough reasons for you to vote your conscience here. Republicans will control all three branches of government. This alarms me less than many, because I believe politics should be pendular. But, there is no reason for someone like Donald Trump, who represents values of neither party and who actively scorns the truth and the mechanisms we have for producing truth, to be at the helm of our great nation.
Thank you for your consideration,