The scene was set months ago. Trump would cry foul, win or lose. If he lost the election, he would not concede. He would launch dozens of lawsuits aimed at halting the vote after Election Day. He would ask electors to vote directly for him in the event that he lost the popular vote in critical swing states — all on the basis of unsubstantiated voter fraud. Most of those lawsuits have already failed miserably in court.
The chaos that this cloak and dagger routine has thrust upon the American people is immense. Just after Election Day, protestors took to the streets to demand Trump’s concession. In Downtown Chicago, hundreds gathered to say in one unified voice: count every vote. Similar crowds could be found in Washington, Los Angeles, New York City, and Portland.
The protests have made little difference.
Trump’s supporters still believe wholeheartedly that the election was stolen from him — that upwards of a million votes were cast by dead people (Trump said the same thing after the 2016 election, even though he won), or that votes for him were thrown out by the hundreds of thousands.
Yesterday, an appellate court made an especially strong rebuke of Trump’s lawsuits: “Free, fair elections are the lifeblood of our democracy. Charges of unfairness are serious. But calling an election unfair does not make it so. Charges require specific allegations and then proof. We have neither here.”
That was Judge Stephanos Bibas, referring to the fact that while Trump has consistently and constantly said that election fraud has run rampant, he’s failed to provide a shred of evidence to support the claim. His own lawyers haven’t had it easy.
But Trump doesn’t care if there’s a legal basis for his arguments. He doesn’t care what the truth is. All votes must be certified by specific deadlines in the states (many of which have already passed), and then nationally certified on December 14th. If he can delay the certification beyond that date, he could cause yet more chaos.
Right now, his lawsuits will likely be headed to the Supreme Court, where he hopes the three judges he nominated for service will rule in his favor. That seems exceedingly unlikely. But even if they ruled in his favor, it’s difficult to see what difference it would make. Trump is suing to prevent Pennsylvania from certifying the vote in Biden’s favor. But preventing that certification doesn’t mean that Biden automatically loses. The Republican-controlled legislature has already said matter of factly that it would not subvert the will of the majority of the voters — and that means sending a set of electors to vote for Biden in January.
Trump’s lawyers (and Fox commentators) have suggested that the “judicial machinery” has covered up his victory in Pennsylvania. But the judges in question were all nominated by Republican presidents.
Trump’s lawsuit said that state officials should not have tried to certify the “results of an invalid and constitutionally infirm election process before this case can be heard on its merits.”