Trump’s Litigation Has Failed. Will He Attempt a Nuclear Option in the Electoral College?

The electoral college is the final hurdle in ending the Trump Presidency.

By King Lars

Trump’s legal effort is in disarray with a crushing blow after losing a federal appeal in his fight to overturn election certification in Pennsylvania. 

This comes just a day after the Trump campaign distanced itself from attorney Sidney Powell, an advocate for increasingly scrupulous and baseless claims of fraud in the presidential election, despite tacit support for Powell in the past. 

Powell has previously been seen at press conferences along with Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani, and even the president listed Powell as a part of his “truly great team” in a tweet nearly a week ago. However, after Powell made comments that American voting machines are linked to late Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, it seemed that even the Trump team had had enough. 

Despite its legal shortcomings, the Trump team continues on, attempting to ferment political upset and maintain the presidency for the incumbent. 

The Trump campaign is doing this by going after the heart of the American election system. 

American elections are largely undemocratic by design. No, not in the same way that Putin or Xi Jinping, where the oligarch simply places the crown upon their own head. 

Instead of direct democratic representation, the American presidential election is decided by one final body: the Electoral College, an often contested mechanism of the American republic. 

In most cases, the Electoral College quietly operates in the shadows, acting in the will of the people within a given state. 

However, the current electoral free-for-all in which we find ourselves has complicated matters and placed greater scrutiny on the process. Trump backers are campaigning for the electorates in Republican states to be given to Trump instead of Biden, no matter how the race in each state was certified. 

Defecting electors is not uncommon in the United States. You only have to look back to 2016, when five electors voted for Trump despite Clinton carrying their state and two others cast their vote for Clinton under the same circumstances. Since then, new laws have been put in place in order to make it harder for electors to go rogue. 

Some election experts are concerned about the possibility of rogue legislators and the erosion of trust in the electoral system. 

This is because Trump has hired a legal team with the sole purpose to contest the certification in close states where Biden came out the victor in the election: namely Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, and Pennsylvania. The idea is that the Trump team will take the fight to the state legislatures and create utter chaos, putting state certification up for grabs. 

Unlike Bush v. Gore back in 2000, Trump has to accomplish a hail mary pass where multiple states are unable to certify the election due to the uncertainty of who actually received the higher number of votes. This failsafe could only be accomplished in close cooperation with Republication state legislators, but the entire process would leave Trump open to collateral litigation from state governors and legislatures. 

If the votes are thrown into question, Trump has a path to victory through the 12th amendment, which allows for a contingent election held by house delegations, which sway largely Republican. 

No GOP representatives are on record for having shown support for overhauling the election in their respective states. However, Michigan House Speaker, Lee Chatfield, recently proclaimed that there is a “constitutional crisis” on the horizon as canvassers meet to discuss certification of the state’s election. 

One thing we all learned in 2020 is that anything can happen. No matter how unlikely, even the media has come around to admitting that there is a path to a second term for Trump, who will certainly be the last to admit he lost. 

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