In an attempt to reverse the electoral process that has so far been in favor of president-elect Joe Biden, President Donald Trump has resorted to subverting the votes of people in the battleground states of Michigan, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Wisconsin, which have a total of 62 votes in the Electoral College. It’s more than enough for Trump to win the election if all four states’ electoral votes go to Trump. To win the election, the winning candidate has to have at least 270 electoral votes. Currently, the electoral votes are divided between Biden (306) and Trump (232). And that’s probably what’s motivating Trump to pursue his voter fraud allegation in those four states. All he needs is 36 electoral votes to shift to him to win. The four states’ electoral votes are distributed as follows: Michigan (16), Pennsylvania (20), Georgia (16), and Wisconsin (10). If Trump wins in three of these states, he’d run away with the election.
The problem is Georgia is the only one of these states with a Republican governor, Brian Kemp. So Trump called Kemp and tried to convince him to overturn the 16 electoral votes to go to Trump. But Kemp refused to do so. Then four Republican state senators drafted a petition seeking an emergency special session because of the “systemic failures” in the election system and to allow the Republican-controlled Legislature to “take back the power to appoint electors.”
It was then that Kemp told state lawmakers that any attempt to award Georgia’s 16 electoral votes to Trump after he lost the November election would be unconstitutional, which shot down calls for a special legislative session to pick GOP electors. “This is not an option under state or federal law,” Kemp said.
“The statute is clear. The legislature can only direct an alternative method for choosing presidential electors if the election was not able to be held on the date set by federal law.”
Having failed in Georgia, Trump reached out twice to Republican Pennsylvania House Speaker Bryan Cutler to see what might be possible for Trump to do about the state’s presidential vote.
A person briefed on the matter told that Trump pressed for the state’s legislature to replace the electors for President-elect Joe Biden with those loyal to Trump. But it was denied by Cutler’s spokesperson. However, Cutler and other top Republican lawmakers have said that, legally, the state legislature has no legal power to override the will of the voters and select a slate of presidential electors. Besides, the state has already certified its election.
Trump also pressured Michigan lawmakers to appoint 16 Electoral College voters to vote for Trump despite hiss loss by more than 154,000 votes. Michigan lawmakers have received calls from the Trump campaign. They said that they were asked to overrule the election result and appoint electors for Trump, citing unproven voter fraud allegations.
Meanwhile, Federal judges in Michigan and Georgia denied Republican efforts to undo the certification of Biden as the winner in the presidential election. In the Michigan case, allegations of fraud were based on “nothing but speculation and conjecture.”
Supreme Court ruling
And in a surprise ruling by the Supreme Court, a bid by Pennsylvania Republicans to nullify Biden’s victory in Pennsylvania was dealt another blow to Trump’s long-shot legal effort to overturn the elections in the courts.
The Supreme Court order, which was unsigned was a one-line denial and without notes of dissent, which means that the ruling was unanimous. The justices’ move represents the latest in a lengthy string of defeats for Trump and his allies amid their increasingly implausible legal campaign, which is largely premised on unsupported claims that the election results are invalid due to widespread fraud.
The following day, Texas entered the legal imbroglio by filing a lawsuit in the Supreme Court against Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin claiming that their electors should not be allowed to cast their votes in part because those states unconstitutionally changed their voting procedures during the pandemic to allow for increased mail-in ballots. Biden won on all four states.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) has alleged that the new voting processes in the battleground states skewed the presidential election results and asked the Supreme Court to delay the December 14 deadline for the Electoral College to make Biden’s victory official. “Their failure to abide by the rule of law casts a dark shadow of doubt over the outcome of the entire election,” Paxton said in a statement. “We now ask that the Supreme Court step in to correct this egregious error.”
Seventeen Republican Attorney Generals submitted a brief supporting Texas Attorney General Paxton’s lawsuit to reverse Biden’s projected win in the Electoral College. Trump also filed a motion to intervene and become a plaintiff in the case “in his personal capacity” as a presidential candidate.
After Trump asked to intervene in the case, 17 other officials and lawmakers filed their own briefs supporting the four battleground states. They argued that Paxton’s lawsuit does not belong in the Supreme Court. Also, 126 U.S. House of Representative Republicans led by Mike Johnson of Louisiana also filed a brief backing Trump like the rats of Hamelin who followed the Pied Piper to their death.
“The Constitution does not make this Court the multidistrict litigation panel for trials of presidential election disputes,” the brief said. Paxton’s case makes “a mockery of federalism and separation of powers,” their brief said.
The four swing-state defendants responded by urging the Supreme Court to reject Paxton’s lawsuit, saying the case has no factual or legal grounds and offers “bogus” claims.
“What Texas is doing in this proceeding is to ask this court to reconsider a mass of baseless claims about problems with the election that have already been considered, and rejected, by this court and other courts,” Josh Shapiro, Pennsylvania’s Democratic attorney general, wrote in a filing to the nine justices.
These happened after all 50 states have submitted their election certifications, which show that Biden won 306 electoral votes, just like what was originally tallied two weeks before by the media networks.
Trump has pushed for legislatures in battleground states whose popular elections were won by Biden to overrule their citizens, and to appoint a slate of electors for Trump to the Electoral College.
End of the road?
On December 11, the Supreme Court decided on Paxton’s lawsuit. The high court dismissed the lawsuit without hearing the case. It issued an unsigned order without any dissent, saying the complaint was denied “for lack of standing.”
Although two justices, Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas, issued a separate statement saying the court shouldn’t summarily block the types of lawsuits Texas brought. However, they’re three short of the five votes needed to force the court to hear the case. They’re probably expecting Trump’s appointees – Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett – to support them. But they were silent and didn’t offer any opinion.
Trump was confident that the six conservative justices would support him. In a tweet before the vote, Trump said, “If the Supreme Court shows Great Wisdom and Courage, the American People will win perhaps the most important case in history and our Electoral Process will be respected again!” Indeed, the Supreme Court showed Great Wisdom and Courage, it voted 9-0 to reject Trump’s bid to overturn the election.
Finally, Trump got his day in court, which he had sought thinking that the conservatives on the high court would back him up. Sorry Donald. They may be conservative but they know when a case is baseless and without merit.
Is this the end of Trump’s attempt to subvert the electoral process? I hope so. But knowing how he operates, he’ll never give up. He has gone this far — more than 50 failed cases, two of which were unanimous Supreme Court rulings against him – Trump will find other means to challenge the Biden-Harris victory.
Heck, he might even listen to his supporters who are demanding that he stage a coup so that he can remain in office. Last Saturday, the leader of the Proud Boys, and extremist white supremacist group, toured the White House, which makes one wonder: What’s Trump’s next move?