by Tyler Durden Sat, 11/14/2020 – 17:35
As Joe Biden tentatively plans his transition to presidential office, national obsession revolves around incumbent President Donald Trump’s audacious attempts to remain in the White House.
Backed by almost all Republicans – the exceptions being a handful of moderates, contrarians, and some who bear major personal grudges against him – Trump has refused to accept that Biden won and has not conceded. Legal challenges are in process. The state of Georgia, and probably other states with close votes, will conduct laborious recounts. The Justice Department and Senate Judiciary Committee have opened investigations. Evidence of possible voter fraud and other irregularities continue to percolate, even while rumours, generally based on “anonymous sources” that may not prove terribly reliable, suggest that Trump’s team, and possibly even Trump himself, are doubtful of a favourable outcome.
Critical government departments and agencies, including some dealing with national security, are refusing to facilitate Biden’s transition. Just days after Trump’s proclaimed loss, and in an unusual move for a president expected to leave office only ten weeks hence, he replaced much of the leadership of the US Defence Department with loyalists and is similarly expected to purge the leadership of the intelligence agencies and other important bodies whose current leaders no longer enjoy his confidence.
Legal challenges on a range of relevant issues will almost certainly continue until at least 14 December, when the decisive Electoral College will meet to cast the final votes that will determine the winner of the election. That constitutional body, which is designed to balance brut majority rule with America’s federal system, comprises electors chosen by each state in numbers equal to the state’s number of legislators in Congress: two Senators per state plus a variable number of Representatives proportional to state population size. Each elector in fact casts two votes: one for president and one for vice president, even though in practice presidential and vice-presidential candidates appear together as “running mates” on a campaign “ticket” that voters nominally chose in one ballot.
Debate rages about whether the various recounts and lawsuits can overturn a sufficient number of votes to matter. Trump is expected to continue legal filings aimed at disqualifying enough ballots to reverse the results in several crucial states where he is projected to lose. The maximalist anti-Trump position holds that little or no movement is warranted or even possible on the scale the president would need to overturn the projected results, and that he is deluding himself and embarrassing the country by refusing to acknowledge Biden’s victory.
Some left-wing commentators have tried to coax Trump into conceding with misplaced appeals to the sanctity of American democracy and practical suggestions that accepting defeat graciously now might enable Trump to stage a comeback in 2024 or at least save the Republican Senate majority, which depends on winning at least one of two runoff elections in Georgia.
The pro-Trump position suggests that claimed legal violations, either in invalid ballots or procedural errors, could disqualify hundreds of thousands of votes and award the president a second term. The most steadfast partisans of this view, including the entire Republican Congressional leadership and party apparatus, hold that conceding before these matters are settled would betray American democracy, imperil the integrity of the electoral system, and possibly create a situation in which Republicans could be barred from ever again winning the presidency. They look with hope to the federal judiciary, much of which was appointed by Trump, and especially to the Supreme Court, which has a six-to-three Republican supermajority of Justices, half of whom Trump appointed.