WTF, Trump? : The Super Weird Aftermath of the 2020 Presidential Election
Today is November 14, 2020. It's eleven days after Election Day, and seven days after the Associated Press called the election for Joe Biden. And yes, it was a close election. According to some articles I've read, Biden beat Trump by about three percent. But it's not another Bush v. Gore situation. And Trump still refuses to concede.
Bush v. Gore was a super weird lawsuit that was decided by the Supreme Court to stop Florida from counting votes in the presidential election in the year 2000. This lawsuit made George W. Bush the winner of the election and the 43rd president of the United States.
The lawsuit was filed because the state of Florida was the only one of three states that were still counting votes over a month after Election Day. Florida has 25 electoral votes, and neither candidate could win the election without those 25 votes.
But the voting in Florida was a mess. Some parts of Florida were using ballots that required voters to punch a hole all the way through them in order for their vote to be recorded. You know how when you use a three hole punch, sometimes the hole doesn't get punched all the way through, and you're left with this little round piece of paper that is still clinging to the sheet of paper you were trying to punch a hole in? The ballots in Florida were kind of like that, except instead of just being a frustratingly inaccurate piece of office equipment, they were throwing a monkey wrench in democracy.
For over a month. More than a month had passed since Election Day, and we still didn't know who had won. You thought it was hard to wait for four days. Can you imagine waiting more than a month?
In Florida, Bush was ahead by about 500 votes, and Gore demanded a recount. Bush filed a lawsuit to stop the recount, and the Supreme Court agreed to make Florida stop. And because Bush had that tiny lead, he won all 25 of Florida's electoral votes, and became our president.
The 2020 presidential election is not the same. Trump is behind in five states, not one. And he is behind Biden by at least tens of thousands of votes in each state, not 500. And, thank the election gods, there is no crazy hole punch problem in this election like there was in 2000.
So what is the problem? Trump just doesn't want to admit that he lost fair and square. Yes, he has filed ten lawsuits to challenge the election results, but all of them have been tossed out. I know Trump keeps saying that there was widespread election fraud, but the sad truth is that his lawyers don't have any evidence to back that claim up. Because there isn't any.
Trump's lawsuits challenging the election results fall into three categories. 1. He claimed that people voted in states where they did not live. 2. He wanted mail in ballots to not be counted. 3. He said that his poll watchers weren't allowed to be close enough to the poll workers who were counting the ballots.
So, 1. The people whose votes he was challenging turned out to be people in the military who voted in the state where they lived, while they were temporarily stationed somewhere else. 2. Trump wanted courts to stop states from counting mail in ballots because some states, like Pennsylvania, were allowing votes to be counted in this election if the ballots were received up to three days after Election Day. Pennsylvania's Supreme Court said that because so many more people were voting by mail because of the pandemic, they agreed to give people three extra days to get their ballot in. Trump was asking that the ballots that were received after Election Day be thrown out. And courts have said no, dude. We're not going to throw away people's ballots. That's just un-American.
Oh, and the poll watchers? There is no evidence to suggest that any of Trump's poll watchers were kept any farther away from the people counting the votes than Biden's poll watchers.
But even if he won his lawsuits, and succeeded at getting all of the contested votes tossed out, he would still not have enough votes to win the election. So why is he still fighting?
According to his niece, Mary Trump, Donald is unwilling to admit he lost the election because his father, Fred Trump, raised Donald to believe that he must win at all costs, and never admit defeat, because admitting defeat is a sign of weakness.
Veteran election law attorney Kenneth Gross thinks Trump is filing the lawsuits as a way of grieving his loss. Gross said, “There are all these stages of grief — anger, denial, bargaining etc. — and it seems to me he’s experiencing all of them simultaneously instead of linearly, except for acceptance. Keeping multiple balls in the air that we know are not going to land in a good place could be partially to assuage his psychological issues of getting over the loss of this and giving his fans some thin reed of hope. But they’re being misled.”
Gross also said the lawsuits are so groundless that the lawyers are more likely to be sanctioned for pursuing them than to succeed in court. 'Cause here's the thing: despite what people may think of lawyers, we're expected to tell the truth when we go to court, and we can get in big trouble if we lie.
And there's another theory that's floating around, and it involves the electoral college. So when we the people vote on Election Day, we are really voting for electors who will represent us in the Electoral College when they vote on December 14th. And right now, most states have picked electors who will vote for Biden, because most voters picked Biden on Election Day. But Trump might be hoping to pressure state legislatures where Republicans have a majority to pick pro-Trump electors and send them to the Electoral College instead, thus ignoring the popular vote.
If that sounds crazy to you, that's because it is. And yes, it would be unconstitutional. In Article II, Section 1, paragraph 2, it says, "Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors". That means that each state has the freedom to choose the way they pick people to represent their state in the Electoral College. All 5o states have chosen to pick their electors on Election Day, through the popular vote. They don't get to suddenly pick another way just because one candidate lost, because in Article II, Section 1, paragraph 4, it says, "The Congress may determine the Time of chusing the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States." And Congress did this, in 3 United States Code, Section 1, where they chose the first Tuesday in November as Election Day.
But even if a state legislature tried to send pro-Trump electors to the Electoral College instead of the pro-Biden electors, they would not be able to do it. Because in 1932, there was a Supreme Court case called Smiley v. Holm that said that a state legislature was understood to include the governor of that state, because a governor has veto power when state legislatures try to pass laws. Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan all have governors who are Democrats. And none of those Democratic governors would allow their state legislature to pull these kind of shenanigans.
But here's the bottom line: I'm really not sure what to expect next from Trump. He's nothing if not full of surprises. I just hope that this all ends soon, and we can just have a peaceful transition of power, like we always do after a presidential election. But if Trump keeps fighting, and there is more to report, I will let you know.