As Election Day approaches, more articles warning of Trumpian chaos need exposure to blunt whatever pseudo-strongman shenanigans might emerge facilitated by 50,000 GOP “poll watchers”, among others. The Tom Rogers and Tim Wirth op-ed below while schematic, does warn that bureaucratic methods and disinformation will guide the attempt by Trump to steal the election.
Over-simplifying, it’s points shaving by throwing the final determination into a Congress whose upper chamber is still controlled by a GOP and who also controls the majority of state delegations in the House, making for example California have the same number of votes as Alaska.
It is not inconceivable that Trump could attempt to hold onto office by simply refusing to leave and invoking some form of martial law under an Attorney General Bill Barr–backed interpretation of emergency presidential powers; however, this seems to many too extreme to be a believable scenario. That said, no one at this point should think that Trump creating post-election chaos based on an enormous increase in mail-in ballots is anything but very likely. Moreover, no one should think that a court is simply going to rule that Trump’s actions are out of bounds and his claims of a fraudulent election are unfounded.
The long process of counting votes plays into Trump’s hands by giving him more time to sow doubt about results and claim election fraud. In addition, and central to our concerns, in each of the nine swing states, both houses of the state legislature are Republican. As Trump spins a narrative that the election was “stolen,” he can pressure Republican legislators to put forward contested slates of Electoral College electors, thus creating further chaos and confusion.
If this occurs, there are two likely legal results of the Trump “nullify the election” propaganda campaign:
(1) The Supreme Court could potentially disqualify electors on the basis that their state’s results are too unclear to certify before the December 14 statutory deadline when the Electoral College must meet, thereby throwing the entire election to the U.S. House of Representatives for resolution, as set out in the 12th Amendment to the Constitution; or
(2) the Supreme Court might point to the Electoral Count Act of 1887, which states that the House and Senate together will decide which Electoral College electors are to be legally recognized, thus requiring Congress to decide which Electoral College slate in each of the contested states to certify.
However, there is a far more fail-safe approach to preventing election theft, and it involves citizen action between now and Election Day. If we reach the final days of the election and confusion still reigns, the final decision will be made by either a majority vote in the House and Senate or by votes of each individual state delegation in the House.
The critical math is this: If the Democrats can win a net increase of five Senate seats, as well as flip one congressional seat in each of Pennsylvania, Florida and Montana, thus ensuring Democratic majorities in just over half the House delegations, the Democrats can prevail over any attempt to undo the election results through subverting the Electoral College outcome.
There have been other close, complicated US elections determined by less-democratic or less-representative means. The recent ones have been GOP-involved. 2020 may be no different. Let’s hope not by GOTV.
Democrats didn’t hold out for more funding for USPS back in March when the crashing stock market gave them serious leverage over the first COVID-19 relief package. And even if that funding was secured, there’s no way to stop a Trump crony from sabotaging mail delivery right before the election. Don’t forget, the consequences of losing for the president and his allies could be prosecution for their corruption. If they win, they keep the power to persecute their opponents and continue sucking up the spoils of hollowing out our government.
Trump has proved he’s much better at crushing democracy than our institutions are at preserving it. And this compulsion to believe that he’s a self-destructive fool who’s finally losing it this time has real costs.
PLAN YOUR VOTE: A new guide from @NBCNews helps you know deadlines to vote, eligibility to vote by mail and more, based on the rules of your state. https://t.co/Grs0QbCMAx #PlanYourVote pic.twitter.com/zjv4y903wr
— Ali Velshi (@AliVelshi) August 19, 2020
And then there’s unhingery
It’s never a real Twitter Trending. It’s Twitter Executive’s Choice. Only negative on Republican voices, especially mine!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 20, 2020
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.