June 2, 2023

electors and faithful justices

IMMEDIATE RELEASE 10 December 2020WASHINGTON MERRY-GO-ROUNDToday’s Events in Historical PerspectiveAmerica’s Longest-Running Column Founded 1932Faithless electors and faithful justicesBy Douglas Cohn and Eleanor Clift          WASHINGTON – Faithless to whom, faithful to whom? President Donald Trump has tried nearly every means available – short of a military coup – to hang on to power, so, it is difficult to believe he remains a true believer in himself and his lost cause. After losing 50 or so election-based lawsuits – including a rebuke from the U.S. Supreme Court – and after state after all state has confirmed their election results, and after Republican governors and other officials have stood by the results that show former Vice President Joe Biden won, Trump is about to receive several additional shocks.          When the Electoral College meets on Monday, December 14, Trump is assuming a sufficient number of electors pledged to Biden will turn faithless and vote for him. More likely, potential defectors will defect from Trump, realizing that his baseless rants are undermining the Constitution and potentially inciting violence.          After tallying the numbers, and before faithless electors turn faithless, 306 electors are pledged to Biden and 232 are pledged to Trump. The faithless could turn this victory into a larger victory or even an implausible but possible landslide, delivering a message even Trump could not ignore.           Meanwhile, most Republicans leaders say they’re just waiting for this process to play out before coming out and admitting the patriotic obvious: Biden won the election fair and square and he will be the next president.          The next shock will come from the Supreme Court, when it once again, firmly and finally tosses out Trump’s latest Hail Mary, a lawsuit filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, claiming four other states – Arizona, Michigan, Georgia, and Wisconsin – should be compelled to overturn 20 million votes over changes made to their voting laws that allowed, for example, widespread mail-in voting. But every reputable legal analyst says there is no chance the Supreme Court will seriously consider it. It is unconstitutional on its face – states have no standing to sue other states over their election laws. One analyst even called it a press release masquerading as a lawsuit.          Even so, on Thursday Trump welcomed Paxton to the White House along with 17 attorneys general from Republican states to commemorate this hopeless, unpatriotic lawsuit.          Keep in mind, this is a conservative Court with three of its members – Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett – appointed to their lifetime seats by Trump. So, it’s no surprise that Trump and his allies appealed directly to the Supreme Court, and Trump openly appealed to the justices to support him. Without naming names, he said, “let's see if they have the courage to do what everybody in this country knows is right.” It is virtually certain they will have the courage to do the opposite.          After the Electoral College and Supreme Court render their verdicts, more Republican officials will belatedly peel away from Trump’s Lost Cause. However, Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., the man who could have but did not put an end to all this nonsense has even now failed to acknowledge Biden as the next president. But with the pandemic raging, the economy sputtering, and the president behaving like a mad man, perhaps the double whammy from the Electoral College and the Supreme Court will persuade him to make the phone call he should have made weeks ago to congratulate Biden, a former Senate colleague and someone he will have to work with to confront these crises. Either that or he will find himself adhering to a cause that no longer exists.           Douglas Cohn’s latest books are World War 4: Nine Scenarios (endorsed by seven flag officers) and The President’s First Year: The Only School for Presidents Is the Presidency.          Twitter:  @douglas_cohn          © 2020 U.S. News Syndicate, Inc.          Distributed by U.S. News Syndicate, Inc.          END WASHINGTON MERRY-GO-ROUND


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