Sunday, December 13, 2020


Tomorrow, Electoral College electors will meet in the fifty states and D.C. to cast their ballots; 306 are expected to vote for Joe Biden and 232 for Donald Trump. On January 6, the House and Senate will come together for a ceremony confirming the Electoral College vote. We know that one House member, Mo Brooks of Alabama, plans to challenge the results. By law, his challenge or challenges -- the challenges are state by state -- must be debated if a member of the Senate signs on.

Nicholas Fandos and Michael Schmidt of The New York Times believe -- preposterously -- that this session of Congress could determine how Republican voters think about the election in the future.
The fight promises to shape how Mr. Trump’s base views the election for years to come....

If even one Republican senator backed the [Brooks] effort, it could ensure that the partisan cloud hanging over the election would darken Mr. Biden’s presidency for years to come. If none did, it could send a definitive message to the country that despite Mr. Trump’s bluster, the party trusted the results of the electoral process and was finally ready to recognize Mr. Biden as the rightful winner.
Do Fandos and Schmidt seriously believe that GOP voters will just shrug and say "Well, I guess the election was fair after all" if no senator joins in this effort? That's absurd. These people are too far gone.

(How far gone? Politico reports that Republicans in downballot races all over America are insisting that they lost as a result of fraud, even when they lost in deeply Democratic states or districts, sometimes by 70 points or more. These losers are suing rather than conceding. The whole party is nuts.)

And do Fandos and Schmidt believe that the concurrence of a Republican senator actually makes this effort legitimate? That "a partisan cloud" will be "hanging" over Biden's presidency if a crazy Republican senator joins a crazy Republican House member?

Of course there will be a Senate challenger. There'll probably be more than one. Fandos and Schmidt tell us that there are two senators talking about it:
No Republican senator has yet stepped forward to say he or she will back such an effort, though a handful of reliable allies of Mr. Trump, including Senators Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Rand Paul of Kentucky, have signaled they would be open to doing so.
They'll do it -- and they won't be alone. Nor will Brooks. If 126 Republican members of the House signed on to a brief backing that Texas lawsuit, nearly as many are sure to sign on to this effort.

The effort will fail in the House, because it's Democratic, but the majority of Republicans will probably vote to reject the electors. It will fail in the Senate because Republicans Romney, Toomey, Murkowski, Collins, and Sasse will join with the Democrats to form a majority of the whole Senate -- but I assume the majority of Republicans will also reject the electors.

Fandos and Schmidt expect us to shed a tear for Mike Pence:
... the looming battle on Jan. 6 is likely to culminate in a messy and deeply divisive spectacle that could thrust Vice President Mike Pence into the excruciating position of having to declare once and for all that Mr. Trump has indeed lost the election....

The dilemma is particularly acute for Mr. Pence, who is eyeing his own presidential run in 2024. As president of the Senate, he has the constitutionally-designated task of opening and tallying envelopes sent from all 50 states and announcing their electoral results.

But given Mr. Trump’s penchant for testing every law and norm in Washington, he could insist that Mr. Pence refuse to play that role. And either way, it will call for a final performance of the delicate dance Mr. Pence has performed for past four years, trying to maintain Mr. Trump’s confidence while adhering to the law.
If you saw Fahrenheit 9/11, you'll recall the early scene, from January 2001, in which many House members of color expressed their support for challenging the Florida electors, while also expressing frustration that no senator would join them.

In the end, Vice President Gore announced his own defeat, in ceremonial language that's been used for more than a century.

The whole number of the electors appointed to vote for president of the United States is 538, of which a majority is 270. George W. Bush of the state of Texas has received for president of the United States 271 votes. Al Gore of the state of Tennessee has received 266 votes.

The state of the vote for vice president of the United States, as delivered to the president of the Senate, is as follows. The whole number of the electors appointed to vote for vice president of the United States is 538, of which a majority is 270. Dick Cheney of the state of Wyoming has received for vice president of the United States 271 votes. Joe Lieberman of the state of Connecticut has received 266 votes.

This announcement of the state of the vote by the president of the Senate shall be deemed a sufficient declaration of the persons elected president and vice president of the United States, each for the term beginning on the 20th day of January, 2001, and shall be entered, together with a list of the votes, on the journals of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

May God bless our new president and our new vice president, and may God bless the United States of America.
I think Pence will read the numbers, confirm that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have won the votes of 306 electors, but dispense with the traditional language and make a speech saying that this is not over. He'll thread the needle, saying Biden and Harris have won, pending further legal appeals.

He has to do that, otherwise his political career will end that day. He won't allow that to happen.

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