Donald Trump and his allies have plunged into alarming and uncharted territory. What they are doing now is not just contesting the recount of the presidential elections, but trying to subvert the process using the power of the White House. With the judicial process practically exhausted, and Joe Biden’s victory in Georgia certified this Friday afternoon, Trump orchestrates a pressure campaign to persuade the Republican authorities of the states he lost to reverse the will to vote. An unprecedented attempt to force a manipulation of the system.
In an absolutely unusual initiative, this Friday the president summoned a delegation of state legislators from Michigan to a meeting at the White House, a state in which Joe Biden won the elections. The idea, according to sources cited by various media, was directly to pressure Republican legislators who have the majority in a state with a Democratic governor to subvert the outcome of the elections. The thing ended in a new failure for Trump. Republican lawmakers in the state of Michigan said after the meeting that they were not aware of “any information that could change the outcome of the Michigan elections,” according to NBC. They will follow, they said, “the normal process” in certifying the votes.
In another twist of a script no less surreal, this Friday at noon Georgia certified Biden’s victory in the State, only to later rectify attributing the announcement to an employee having rushed to send the statement. Towards five in the afternoon, the authorities were certifying, now, the result: after re-counting five million votes by hand, the largest recount in the history of the country, it has been confirmed that president-elect Joe Biden prevailed in that territory by more than 12,000 votes, a variation of 0.0099% compared to the first count.
With the confirmation of Georgia, the possibility of contesting the results of November 3 disappears for Trump. Practically discarded because the mathematical route, the White House launched a new phase in its strategy of delegitimizing the election. That of directly pressuring legislators to subvert the elections. An offensive of unprecedented audacity, whose chances of success are as slim as the potential damage to democracy is colossal.
The States vote for the president through a list of electors that meet in the Electoral College and that represents the citizen vote. According to the result, Biden has a total of 306 of those voters and Trump, 232. Trump seems to bet on the idea that the results are not certified and that it is the Legislature that presents its own list. You’ve partly gotten the first step already, when two Republican members of the Michigan results certification board refused to sign the results. Trump personally called at least one of them.
In other words, Trump appears to be exploring the possibility of Republican Michigan lawmakers subverting the vote of their citizens and introducing voters to vote for him. Although it is a very difficult theory to put into practice, since these lists have to pass the filter of the governors and the House of Representatives, it is an unprecedented attack on the electoral process by the president of the United States.
Altering the result in Michigan would not be enough for Trump to proclaim himself president. He would need to pressure at least two other states to also turn their backs on their voters and support him. The two most logical candidates would be Georgia and Arizona, both with Republican governors and legislatures. But the possibility that the authorities of three states decide to bypass the sense of the vote of their citizens, and that Congress tolerate it, seems remote.
It happens that the Republican commanders, to date, attend the show without question. Only a few regular rebels, like senator and former presidential candidate Mitt Romney, have publicly denounced the authoritarian drift. “Having failed to build even a plausible case of fraud or conspiracy in any court, the President now resorts to open pressure on state and local officials to subvert the will of the people and reverse the election. It is difficult to imagine a worse and more undemocratic action by an active president of the United States ”, he defended.
Trump has little time to complete this offensive. The deadline to resolve any disputes over the voters’ lists is Dec. 8, and most of the states that Trump would need to wrest from Biden must certify their votes early next week. The Electoral College will meet on December 14 to elect Joe Biden President of the United States. Biden will take office on January 20.
“I am convinced that you know you have not won,” President-elect Biden said Thursday. “What he is doing is intolerable,” he added, lamenting “the harmful messages they are sending to the rest of the world about how democracy works.”
Another maneuver that can influence the process would be for the Trump campaign to request a third manual recount, before next Tuesday, which would force a re-scan of all ballots. Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, in a wild press conference Thursday, said they are preparing to file lawsuits in Georgia and other states, without explaining what they would be based on. He spoke of “massive fraud”, without evidence, and accused the Democrats of “stealing the elections from the American people”, despite the fact that, when he appeared in court days before, under oath, he expressly said that he was not there to denounce any fraud .
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