Things seems to have quietened down a bit since the US General Services Administration performed its task of ascertaining the apparent President elect and released funds for the Biden transition team.
I think things will heat up again over the next couple of weeks to the deadline of December 8 for resolving who are the electors from each State that form an electoral college to choose a President and Vice-President on December 14.
Oddly this very recent judgment of 25 November from the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) could be relevant:
Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn v. Cuomo (20A87)
It is an interim order cancelling health regulations that were held to restrict religious establishments more than necessary.
As the Chief Justice (dissenting) pointed out, there was no need for an injunction since the restrictions were not currently in force and the issues would be tried by the lower courts in mid-December.
But the injunction was issued anyway, just after the apparent President elect was ascertained, and just before the disputed elections are about to reach SCOTUS. I think there is a connection, explained below.
The word “apparent” has two meanings:
- clearly visible or understood; obvious.
- seeming real or true, but not necessarily so.
Things have quietened down because many people agree in the first sense.
I think things will heat up very soon because the actual reality is the second sense.
As explained in Notes 48 (and 49), Trump’s strategy is to keep disputing postal votes until the December 8 deadline so that Biden has less than 270 electoral college votes. With some help from Republican State legislatures and governors as well as Vice-President Pence presiding in the joint session counting the votes, this could end up throwing the election to the House of Representatives voting by State delegations. If Republicans still have a majority of representatives in 26 States then Trump wins.
See also the links in comments to Notes 48 and also the complex legal details:
But unless Biden gets a big enough landslide for the result to be clear without postal votes on November 3, it looks like there will be a protracted battle.
It seems unlikely that the fight would be just among lawyers.
I wrote on October 12, before the US election day:
If there is a big enough landslide on the election night so that subsequent postal votes would not affect the outcome, then legal battles in swing states will be pointless.
Likewise if Democrats win a majority of seats from a majority of States in the House (including smaller Republican States that they don’t usually win).
Likewise if Democrats win a majority in the Senate.
All three are possible.
But if none occur there will certainly be drama from election eve to December 8.
That lays the basis for Trump to retain leadership of a large right wing party loudly convinced that the election was stolen by the corrupt liberal elite.
Even if the drama ends with the Electoral College votes on December 8. That will still result in consolidation of a far right mass based party in the USA.
Worse if it doesn’t end there but only in Congress or the Supreme Court.
I don’t see any likelihood of Trumpists being able to retain office in the face of what is clearly a majority of both the people and the establishment hostile to them.
But the “stab in the back” legend has a powerful appeal on the right and we will still be stuck with a weak inept ruling class and no left wing opposition.
As it turns out none of those 3 possibilities of avoiding the current situation occurred. The Biden landslide that would settle it on or near election night did not occur. The Democrats did not win the Senate and they actually lost seats in the House as well as losing one more State governor.
Democrats were resigned to defeat until the covid-19 pandemic. With Trump presiding over a quarter of a million unnecessary deaths he should have gone down in flames. But they managed to stuff it up.
So I do still expect drama until at least December 8 and I still expect consolidation of a mass right wing party in the USA.
My guess is the likelihood of Trump retaining office has been significantly diminished by the fact that Democrats voted early in large enough numbers to avoid it looking as though Trump actually won on election night. But it certainly did not look like Trump lost until a lot later when postal votes were counted. So lots of Trump supporters will believe the well prepared and slick campaign insisting that he won. Not as many as if it looked like he won on the night, but still a lot. Certainly enough to continue to dominate Republican primaries and consolidate a mass right wing party.
This video from the future “Trump TV network”, ONN competing with Fox news gives insight into the way things look to them:
One America News – Chanel Rion on “Dominion-izing the vote”
If you don’t watch it, don’t pretend to yourself that you understand what is going on.
Lots more at:
On the other hand the likelihood of Trump retaining office may have been significantly increased by the sheer extremism of the mass media’s response to their fear about the success of that campaign.
Instead of attempting to actually counter the campaign, they have, as usual, come out like spokespeople for a banana republic dictatorship denouncing an opposition candidate for having dared to dispute the integrity of a rigged election.
Nothing could be less reassuring than the unanimous bleating that there is “nothing to see here” and repetition that any allegations are “baseless” with “no evidence” etc. It is just a reminder that the same people spent the last four years insisting that the President of the United States was a Kremlin stooge who should be removed because the election was manipulated by the Russians.
Here’s the results of Rasmussen polls on the effectiveness of the bleating:
Sixty-one percent (61%) of Republicans say it’s Very Likely the Democrats stole the election, but just as many Democrats (61%) say it’s Not At All Likely. Among unaffiliateds, 29% feel it’s a stolen election; 45% do not.
Just two weeks before this year’s Election Day, 94% said their vote would be correctly recorded and counted, with 73% who said it was Very Likely. Following the election, those findings fell to 71%and 47% respectively.
ONN does not have the reach of the anti-Trump media (now also including Fox news). Credit for convincing a majority of voters that the election was rigged must go to the anti-Trump media.
I don’t think the conspiracy theories about voting machines are likely to be the focus of either the imminent legal battles at SCOTUS or what actually convinces many people about whether the election was rigged. Conspiracy theories are more a distraction to assist the media to continue not thinking while their heads just keep on exploding.
Some of the court documents with the actual “baseless” allegations and the “non-existant” evidence can be found at links buried in the news releases at above web site.
Lots of it is pretty weak.
But there is evidence that observers were prevented from observing. If that occurred enough to have enabled rigging sufficient votes to affect the outcome in any State, the results from that State should be cancelled. It isn’t necessary to prove whether or how many votes were affected. It is sufficient to establish that observers were excluded. Excluding obserers is pretty much the definition of a fake election.
It should be a very simple matter of evidence. Detailed audit trails are maintained to account for who had custody of each ballot paper and who observed at each stage of the process of counting them. How on earth would anybody be persuaded to take the results seriously if that were not enforced?
If the observers were not allowed to observe then the election was not held according to law and has to be cancelled.
It isn’t the integrity of polling officials and people vouching for them that ensures a fair count. The ONLY thing that ever can is the fact that they are being watched.
But the judgments attempting to avoid a trial and evidence on this simple issue are dynamite.
Here’s the best bit from p34 of a 37 page Pennsylvania judgment:
“None of these allegations (or the others in this section) claim that the Trump
Campaign’s watchers were treated differently than the Biden campaign’s watchers.
Simply alleging that poll watchers did not have access or were denied access to
some areas does not plausibly plead unequal treatment. Without actually alleging
that one group was treated differently than another, Plaintiffs’ first argument falls
I can think of 3 justices of the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) who might be persuaded that the casual workers and election officials in Democratic run cities like Philadelphia and Detroit could be trusted to count votes accurately when there are no observers watching them. But they would be able to argue a lot more convincingly than by triumphantly pointing out that both Republican and Democrat observers were equally excluded from watching the Democrats count the votes!
My guess is the substance of a less spectacularly stupid argument would be that Republican observers were not excluded. They insisted on trying to approach poll workers closer than 6 feet of and were not permitted to do so because of health regulations. But they could have still done their job from 6 feet away, just as the Democrat observers who complied did.
But I can think of 5 justices who are unlikely to find that convincing. They could argue that there have been many months in which arrangements could have been made for Personal Protective Equipment routinely used by health workers during the covid-19 pandemic and close up TV cameras could also be provided etc. So BOTH health requirements AND the requirements for monitored counting of votes in a valid election could be achieved.
Not making those arrangements might have been honest incompetence, but it does void the election.
See the case cited earlier.
The media are carrying on as though the result of disputes could be civil war.
Since the Dred Scott case, SCOTUS has tended to avoid judgements that ultimately encourage civil war.
But there is no such problem now. There will be some “civil unrest” but neither side will go to war.
Of course, if it was a revolutionary communist party that would have won an election if it had not been rigged, one could rely on a bourgeois court not to “interfere”.
But it simply isn’t true that courts don’t care about whether elections are rigged between bourgeois parties.
Courts frequently do “interfere” because not doing so would undermine a fundamental source of stability for bourgeois rule. Without the regular opportunity to replace one set of misrepresentatives of the people by another, an awful lot of brute force would be required to maintain “law and order”. They would rather rule by peaceful means.
The following details actually matter. That is why they are not being discussed much.
Here is a list of the “battleground” States, disputed by Trump, with the number of electoral college votes apprently won by Biden followed by three letters representing the party affiliation (Democrat/Republican) of the State Governor, Lower House and Upper House followed by the full name of the State. Listed in order of importance (number of electoral college votes).
As far as I know, no other results are disputed by either side and there are no other States where the affiliation of the components of the State Government could affect the final outcome.
PA 20 DRR Pennsylvania
GA 16 RRR Georgia
MI 16 DRR Michigan
WI 10 DRR Wisconsin
AZ 11 RRR Arizona
Biden is apparantly the President elect, with a majority of 306 to 232 including the above 79. The total number of electors is 538 which makes 269 each a tie and the smallest possible majority 270 to 268.
There is no reason to think that SCOTUS would even consider assigning the electors apparently won by Biden to Trump instead.
There are many ways to change the apparent outcome while visibly letting it emerge from the political process.
All they need to do is cancel some of the current results and leave it to the political mechanisms of the legislative branch to sort out the consequences as clearly specified in the Constitutions and laws of the States and of the USA. See previous articles for the various permutations that could arise, in no way predetermined by the simple decision that certain elections had not been conducted according to law.
Unless there is an actual majority of at least 270 votes in the electoral college the President is chosen by the House of Representatives voting in State delegations rather than as individuals. Republicans hold a majority of seats in a majority of States. The Vice Presidet gets chosen by the Senate. In that situation the likely outcome is Trump and Pence. However a small number of Republicans in “Purple States” could switch the vote of their delegation to Biden, in which case the outcome could be Biden with Vice President Pence or perhaps Biden with Vice President Trump or whatever Republican the Senate chooses.
Note: If both Georgia Senate elections are won by Democrats on January 5 they still don’t have a majority for choosing the new Vice President on January 6 since Pence still has the casting vote. However there could also be switches from Republican Senators.
If all 6 battleground results were cancelled by SCOTUS and not replaced, Trump might apparently be President elect. Trump would still only have 232 but Biden would only have 227 remaining, which is even less.
If even the smallest of those States was not cancelled, the extra 6 votes from Nevada would put Biden ahead with 233 votes against 232 for Trump.
But I think that is irrelevant. Whether or not the proper interpretation of majority is based on 270 out of the total number of expected electors, or a majority among those actually counted on January 6 it is highly unlikely that none would be replaced.
There is explicit provision for the State legislatures to choose the electors for their State if they have not been chosen by the people in time for the December 8 deadline.
All the battlegrounds except Nevada have Republican legislatures and would choose Trump electors.
I don’t think there ever was any reason to imagine that any State legislature might attempt to change the electoral process after election day.
But if Nevada was the first State cancelled, could the Democrat State Governor restrain himself from convening the two houses of the Democrat legislature to fill the vacancies with the same Biden electors that were chosen by the people?
They might be stupid enough to do so. It is hard to think of any trap they have not enthusiastically jumped into.
Either way, if the people of any State would not be represented because SCOTUS has voided the elections it would be surprising if the legislature of that State did not act quickly to exercise their plenary power spelled out in the US Constitution to fill the vacancies in the electoral college. Apart from Nevada, in each of the other 5 battleground States both houses are Republican.
Just PA, MI and any one of the others would exceed the 38 needed to make Trump the apparent President elect by 270 to 268.
But there isn’t any need for that. Surprises do happen. The electoral college votes are certified by State governors. In MI, PA and WI the State governor is a Democrat. They might have a veto or they might just be too outraged or the legislature might not decide to fill the vacancies.
But it simply does not matter. If neither candidate gets more than 270 votes the election goes to the House of Representatives voting by State delegations. Not determined by SCOTUS at all and exactly as spelled out in the Constitution.
Could end up Trump. Might not. Many other permutations. Lots of sound and fury signifying nothing. Ideal breeding ground for a mass based right wing party.