Electoral College, Deus Ex Machina?

Want to know why it is so hard to believe the Electoral College will save us from Donald Trump? Read on.

Missouri has ten electors who will—one week from today—really vote for president of the United States (your vote on November 8 was ostensibly for these electors) as part of the ridiculous scheme dreamed up by democracy-distrusting white men in the 18th century, our Founders. One of those electors is a former auto mechanic-turned-beekeeper from St. Louis County named Tim Dreste. Here is what Politico had to say about him:

Tim Dreste was convicted of racketeering in 1999 for inciting violence against abortion providers, the result of his decades-long dalliance with an extremist fringe of the anti-abortion movement. He largely faded into obscurity since, though his name came up in 2012 when he was connected to then-Senate candidate Todd Akin.

Mr. Dreste, the article notes, has a tactical reason for not wanting to openly renounce his violent past: “I’d rather have my enemies afraid,” he said. There is only one place in Missouri where a woman can fully exercise her reproductive rights guaranteed by the Constitution. It’s in St. Louis, very close to where Mr. Dreste lives. He explained his thinking:

I’m a man of actions. You see my actions. Are there any dead abortionists in St. Louis? No there are not. I was a trained United States Marine. If I wanted that to happen, I don’t think I could be stopped. If they think that’s going to happen and they decide not to come into work one day because they see me out front, well OK.

Dreste, according to The Riverfront Times, was first radicalized as a domestic terrorist in 1985, when Missouri Right to Life screened a propaganda film called “Silent Scream” at Dreste’s small church. Here’s a short clip of the former captain of a local militia, 1st Missouri Volunteers, in action, courtesy of Right Wing Watch:

If anyone believes such a man, who unbelievably is a member of the Electoral College, is going to jeopardize Trump’s chances of becoming president by becoming a “faithless elector,” then hear this: besides clinging to past terroristic threats, his guiding principle today is, as Politico reported, “I’m out to defeat Hillary Clinton, and we only have one means of doing that.”

In any case, for those of you in Missouri’s 7th Congressional District who are clinging to the hope that the Electoral College will save us from Donald Trump on December 19, you can take some time and try to convince the elector from our district to vote against the president-elect. The elector’s name is Cherry Warren and he is from Cassville. He is the Presiding Commissioner of Barry County, which gave Donald Trump 78 percent of the vote. Yes, 78 percent.

The good news is that Mr. Warren told the local paper that he will “be representing all of southwest Missouri.” The bad news is this:

I have gotten several phone calls and emails, and I think the people I represent in southwest Missouri spoke loudly their wishes, and I won’t disappoint.

So, as you can see, Mr. Warren does not really represent all of the people of southwest Missouri. Just Trump voters.

SONY DSCMissouri is one of 20 states whose electors are not bound to vote for the winner of the popular vote in the state. Thus, you may be able to convince Mr. Warren that he should vote for the winner of the national popular vote—Clinton is up almost 3 million now and leads 48.2% to 46.2%. Or you may be able to convince him that the Russians intervening in the election on the side of Trump, along with Trump begging them to do more on his behalf, is disqualifying. Or you may be able to convince him that Donald Trump will totally corrupt the presidency and jeopardize our national security with his business conflicts. Or you may be able to convince Mr. Warren that Trump may get us all killed.

Whatever reason you employ to try to change his mind, the official contact information I found is the following Barry County listing:


I also found a local address and phone number for Cherry M. Warren:

4721 Farm Road 2165
Exeter, Mo. 
(417) 835-3235

Besides Dreste and Warren, here is a list of the other electors in Missouri:

  • Jan DeWeese (2nd)
  • Hector Maldonado (3rd)
  • Sherry Kuttenkuler (4th)
  • Casey Crawford (5th)
  • Tom Brown (6th)
  • Scott Clark (8th)
  • Al Rotskoff
  • Susie Johnson

I, for one, don’t think contacting these people will change anything. But I believe I owe it to my children and my granddaughter to at least try. So, for what it’s worth, here is an email I sent to Mr. Warren at the addresses listed above:

Dear Mr. Warren,

I write as a citizen of southwest Missouri. I did not vote for Donald Trump. But even if I had voted for him, I would be very disturbed by what we have learned about him since November 8th. Not only has he refused to accept intelligence reports that our adversaries the Russians interfered with our presidential election, he has openly defended the Russians and denigrated those intelligence agencies designed to help protect our nation from foreign threats. He has also refused to be briefed on a regular basis on those threats posed to our country. Added to all that troubling behavior is the fact that Mr. Trump will not disclose his business interests around the world, some in hostile lands. This exposes us, as Americans, to the real possibility that our president will act in ways inconsistent with out national interests, either for his own financial benefit or to avoid the exposure of some potentially damaging business connections and other information unknown to us. 

For these reasons and more, I implore you to use the vote the Founders entrusted to you and vote for someone other than Donald J. Trump on November 19. The Electoral College, if it is to have any redeeming value for our Republic, must act to prevent this obvious threat to our democracy and our national well-being. It will take several courageous electors to make this happen and I am hoping you will be one of them. Your country, as well as posterity, will thank you.


Duane Graham
Joplin, Mo.

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  1. middlechildwoman

     /  December 12, 2016

    Well, I just sent my own email to Cherry (who does that?……name their son Cherry). It may not make a difference but I feel better!


    • I totally agree. It is hypocritical of us who are disturbed by what we see to complain about it and do absolutely nothing when there is something we can do, no matter how small it is and how ineffective it turns out to be. I have almost no doubt Mr. Warren will gladly cast his vote for Trump for the simple reason he probably agrees with him on many issues and he is under little pressure around these parts to go against the public will. But at least he will know some of us expected him to take his job as a member of the Electoral College seriously and not just vote along party lines. Trump lost the election under any other democratic system we have in this country except the one we have for the presidency. And if that system is supposed to be in place to save us from a Trump-like figure (as Hamilton argued), then it can only do so if electors like Mr. Warren feel some sense of obligation to live up to the alleged purpose of the Electoral College. And if he doesn’t feel that sense of obligation himself, he needs people like us to help him feel it. That admittedly long-shot attempt is really all we can do.


  2. Duane and middlechildwoman, I applaud your actions and agree that these steps, however small, and whatever effect they have, are what all of us can and should do right now. I live in California. I have lived in ten states, having started in Oklahoma. Since CA is voting for Ms. Clinton, and I doubt that OK would pay any attention to a letter from me, I can only watch and applaud your actions. If you think of anything I could do, please post and let me know.


    • Michael,

      I understand your situation. I would suggest that you also could write Mr. Warren, expressing your desire that he take his job as a member of the Electoral College seriously enough to consider not voting for Donald Trump. You can also write other members of the College around the country in less “red” states, hoping against hope some will listen. That’s all I can think of at this time to do. It ain’t much, but as middlechildwoman said, it does make one feel a little better–and that is something.