Do not be fooled. This is NOT just a PR scheme meant to make Pres. Trump look bad and extract money from the Administration in negotiations over COVID-19 relief legislation. This is one part of a multi-faceted plan to disrupt the Presidential election process that the Democrat party will use — if Joe Biden loses — to attempt to deny Donald Trump the ability to claim victory and begin a second Presidential term.
There are significant factions of the Democrat party coalition that will stop at almost nothing to deny Pres. Trump a second term regardless of the outcome of the election. There is a growing minority in the Democrat party for whom the very idea that Pres. Trump could be elected to a second term would be conclusive evidence that the democratic republic form of Government is outmoded and must be done away with. Donald Trump’s re-election would validate their demand to alter the nature of the federal government and our system of elections to ensure that someone like him could never be elected again – much less re-elected by a “tyranny of the minority” through the Electoral College.
The Democrats learned in 2018 — mainly in California – that changing the mechanics of the election process can produce significant benefits to Democrat candidates. When the party infrastructure is prepared to do whatever it takes to win, making such changes becomes another election tactic. California legalized “ballot harvesting” which is a practice that allows 3rd parties to pick up absentee ballots from voters and deliver those ballots the post office for mailing, or directly to an appropriate elections office. California Democrats used paid contractors and campaign volunteers to repeatedly contact registered democrats who had requested absentee ballots by knocking on their door and offering to deliver their ballots for them. The proof of the effectiveness of “vote harvesting” turned up on election day when Democrats running for Congress in GOP districts and “purple” districts won a series of very close elections on the strength of absentee voting to take over seats that no Democrat had won in several election cycles.
In several states “ballot harvesting” is illegal under state law. How are the Democrats confronting this issue? One of the terms they are demanding in the COVID-19 relief package is a federal law prohibiting states from banning “ballot harvesting”.
More perniciously, they want to expand the practice “ballot harvesting” by pushing “vote-by-mail” elections. Literally hundreds of millions of ballots would be sent far and wide, with no control over the way those ballots are completed and returned to the state election officials other than the fact they would come back via the US Postal Service. Some states – all one-party states controlled by Democrats — have already adopted the practice, and others are adopting it ahead of the November election. Democrats are using the cover of the pandemic to claim it is too dangerous to force people to vote in person at a polling place. But with mail-in ballots, there are no safeguards to assure that the person who received the ballot, cast the ballot, and returned the ballot is the person named on the ballot or whether that person is even entitled to vote.
The key factor for the Democrats is the chaos they can cause in the aftermath of election day if Pres. Trump seems to have won a second term. The timeliness and completeness of the vote count in “vote-by-mail” states will subject to controversy and litigation.
I fully expect the last line of defense — if Pres. Trump looks likely to be re-elected — to be a refusal by Democrat state officials to certify the state vote count ahead of the statutorily prescribed day for the meeting of electors of the Electoral College. The goal would be to deprive Pres. Trump of electors from enough states to keep him from accumulating the 270 electoral votes needed to be re-elected. The mechanics of the electoral college and the provisions of the Twelfth Amendment are critical here.
There are 538 electoral votes. To win the Presidency, a candidate must receive a majority of 538 — so 270 is the magic number. This requirement exists regardless of the number of electoral votes actually cast. If no candidate receives 270 electoral votes, the Twelfth Amendment controls how the election shall be determined.
The date for the meeting of the Electoral College is set by statute — it is the first Monday after the second Wednesday of December. This year that date is December 14, 2020. For the Electors to vote on that day, the Electors must be named. The only way the Electors can be named is for the results of the election in the state to be certified as final and official.
But there will be no national standards for a “vote by mail” election on questions such as “What is the last day for voting?” “Must the ballot be received on or before election day, or is a post-mark sufficient?” “What about validly cast ballots that are mishandled by the Post Office?” “What if mail delivery between the post office and elections office is disrupted or sabotaged in areas that tend to vote heavily for one party or the other?” “What kind of security will there be to prevent bags of ballots from being stolen and destroyed?”
What would happen if one or more states fail to certify the results and name Electors prior to December 14, 2020, and as a result, neither candidate receives 270 Electoral Votes by the Electoral College?
Three times in our history it has happened that no candidate required the necessary number of Electoral Votes to win the Presidency. The Twelfth Amendment was adopted to resolve this problem.
Pursuant to the Twelfth Amendment, the election for President shall be decided by the House of Representatives, and the election for Vice President shall be decided by the Senate.
The vote in the House is by state delegation, with each state getting only 1 vote. The vote in the Senate is done with each Senator getting a vote. It takes 26 state votes to be named President in the House, and 51 votes to be named Vice-President by the Senate. The composition of the House and Senate are made up of the NEW members voted in during the same election. The House and Senate are sworn in on January 4, 2021. The meet on January 6, 2021, to count the Electoral Votes. If neither candidate wins 270 votes, they proceed to voting according to the Twelfth Amendment. Currently, after big Democrat gains in 2018, the GOP controls 26 delegations and the Democrats control 23, with two delegations evenly divided. What those numbers will be after election day is anyone’s guess.
That brings into play another key feature of the Twelfth Amendment process, where Nancy Pelosi having the Speaker’s gavel becomes important — the requirement that there be a “quorum” as defined by the Amendment. That requirement is that there must be present a House member or members from two-thirds of the states for there to be a vote taken. If 14 states were unrepresented in the House on January 6, 2021, no election for President could be conducted. As Speaker, if Pelosi feared a quorum was present and Republicans controlled 26 house delegations — enough to re-elect Pres. Trump — she could adjourn the House before a quorum was determined to be present.
The rules for the Senate selection of the Vice-President are less complicated. But they still require a quorum of two-thirds of all Senators in order to proceed to a vote, and a majority of the whole Senate — 51 votes — to elect a Vice-President. Given the current partisan make-up of the Senate, and what it might be following the election, both parties could prevent a vote by having its members not appear in order to deny a quorum.
In the event that a Vice-President is chosen, but the House does not conduct a contingent election to pick a President by March 4, the Vice-President shall serve in the President’s place until the House does vote.
I believe this has been game-planned out by the Democrats. If Pres. Trump is set to prevail in a House election — which would be necessary as a result of chaos caused by the “vote-by-mail” election — then Nancy Pelosi could forestall the House election by keeping the House adjourned.
If the Democrats control the Senate, and the Republicans refused to appear to constitute a quorum to vote for Vice-President, that would make Nancy Pelosi acting-President on January 20, 2021, with both the offices of President and Vice-President vacant. The Democrats would be happy with that outcome.
If the Republicans control the Senate, I suspect the Democrats would agree to a vote of the Senate that would make Mike Pence Vice-President, on the condition that Pres. Trump agree to withdraw and that Pence serves as President for the remainder of the term. This would deny Pres. Trump his second term, and that is the over-riding consideration for Democrats.
This is why the chaos of a “vote-by-mail” election is attractive to the Democrats. It improves their chances of winning the vote outright by playing into practices they are willing to employ to maximize counted ballots — including illegitimate ballots. But even if they lose it provides them a path to a contested outcome in Congress that might give them leverage — with GOP Senate cooperation — to drive Donald Trump from office.
Crazy? Let’s check back on January 6, 2021.