Protesters stage last-ditch effort to dump Trump ahead of Electoral College vote

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BOSTON — Hours ahead of the time the Bay State’s Electoral College members are due to cast their ballots for Democrat Hillary Clinton, hundreds of protesters rallied outside of the State House, urging electors in other states not to cast their vote for Republican Donald Trump.

Hoisting signs and hollering chants like “this is what Democracy looks like,” the protesters filled the steps in front of the State House at around 9 a.m. Monday. Elizabeth Weinbloom, an organizer for the group Democracy Spring — the coalition sponsoring the rally  — said the reason for rallying in a blue state like Massachusetts is to show support for electors in other states who might be having second thoughts about Trump.

“I just have this vision in my mind of like a room full of electors and the first one like timidly changes his vote for not Trump and all the others fall behind him thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m not alone, I’m not the only one who thinks this is the right thing’,” said Weinbloom. “This is the moment to do that, like, ‘I am Spartacus’ moment, and just everyone stand up and say no to this.”

Massachusetts’s 11 presidential electors are scheduled to cast their votes inside the State House for Clinton at 3 p.m. Monday.

Weinbloom noted that the Electoral College was created to stop the potential for foreign interference in American elections and cited recent news reports indicating that intelligence agencies believe Russia had a hand in propping up Trump during the election.

“This is the opportunity to stop fascist authoritarianism, and a puppet government in the United States — this is why the Electoral College was created,” Weinbloom said. “It is here to stop demagoguery, to stop a president who is vastly unqualified, and, specifically — according to Federalist Paper number 68 and Alexander Hamilton — the Electoral College was created to stop the potential for foreign interference in American elections.”

In Federalist Paper No. 68, Hamilton argued that outside interference from other nations could have an adverse effect on the country’s election process, citing a “desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils.”

Mary Sweeney of Lynn, who distributed pink signs emblazoned with quotes from Hamilton to fellow protesters, called the current situation with Trump now on the verge of ascending to the Oval Office “global peril.”

Asked what will happen should electors vote to finalize Trump’s win, Sweeney said the president-elect “will not last.”

“He will either leave or he will be impeached, because, he does not recognize limits or boundaries of authority,” Sweeney added. “He thinks that he is the CEO and that he runs everything, he has no clue about the Constitution, about the three branches of government.”

Sweeney added that Trump “thinks he can replace Supreme Court judges” and may elect to resign from the post “if he can’t get what he wants.”

“There’s always the unexpected — and if there’s anything we’ve learned this year it’s to expect the unexpected,” she said.

Weinbloom, when asked about the same prospect, had a succinct message for electors.

“History has its eyes on you guys.”

More sights and sounds from Monday’s protest: