The first call came within 48 hours of the election.
The tone was polite and complimentary, congratulating the chairman of the Pinellas County Republican executive committee on Donald Trump's victory in this market. Nick DiCeglie figured it was a perfunctory attaboy from the national party.
Soon, the caller veered into a discussion about an Electoral College member in Texas who was making noise about not casting his vote for Trump. So DiCeglie, who is an elector too, now assumed the call was meant to be a strategic heads-up.
Finally, the caller suggested it was okay for DiCeglie to vote his conscience when electoral ballots are cast on Dec. 19. And this was the first inkling DiCeglie had about his oncoming hell.
As if on cue, the emails started that afternoon.
"I thought, 'Oh, boy, here we go,' '' DiCeglie said Monday.
He's since gotten letters and postcards sent to his home. Calls have come on his business and cell phones. And the emails — more than 2,000 of them, he now estimates — have come at all hours.
All are of the same variety:
Keep Trump out of the White House.
DiCeglie is certainly not alone. Electors across the country have been hearing from anti-Trump forces in increasing numbers. One website, Flip the 37, has advocated a quixotic letter-writing campaign to persuade 37 of Trump's 306 electoral voters to write in any other name.
The theory is that by getting Trump under the necessary 270 votes, the election will be turned over to the GOP-controlled House of Representatives who can elect a Republican alternative candidate.
You might call this democracy in action — if you believe democracy is a petulant child holding its breath until getting a sugar cookie. With sprinkles.
Seriously, this movement is either sad or foolish, and I'm not ruling out the possibility that it might be both.
We had an election, and 128 million people voted. So, it's not like Trump won by accident.
Yet, the letter writers seem to have two common complaints:
1. Trump is unfit for the office.
(Yeah, but about 63,000,000 of your neighbors disagree.)
2. Hillary Clinton won the popular vote.
(Sorry, but election rules have been in place for centuries.)
If you want to propose a constitutional amendment to change the Electoral College process for future elections, be my guest. And if you want to hold Trump accountable for the many, many lies he has already told — and presumably will continue to tell — then I'll stand right beside you.
But recasting a valid election is a nonstarter.
If Democrats or Libertarians or Green Party members want a dialogue with Trump supporters going forward, they might want to start by listening to their concerns instead of lecturing to them.
While there have been reports of Electoral College members receiving insults or threats, DiCeglie says the emails he's gotten have been mostly cordial. That is, the emails he's bothered to read.
"This is the beauty that is America. If you want to take the time to try to change the world, the system allows for that,'' he said. "It gives folks from the opposite side an opportunity to speak.
"I don't take it personally, although some of them don't seem to understand the process of a presidential election, and I don't have the time to give them a third-grade history lesson.''