Thanks for responding to the clickbait headline. SPOILER ALERT: No, Trump’s presidency is not going to end today.
This election season has been a cornucopia of sore-loser-ness from all parts of the political spectrum. Perhaps none have been more entertaining than the contortions a lunatic fringe of the electorate has engaged in to try to overturn the results of November 8. There were the recounts in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin with Hillary Clinton and the Democrats using the stalking horse of Jill Stein’s Green Party as cover. (And there was Jill Stein shamelessly grifting to use the recount as a fundraising device for her party.) Then there was the “faithless elector” madness which sort of succeeded. It cost Trump two votes… and Hillary four. Now we are on to the next big thing.
Congress meets today to in joint session to validate the vote of the Electoral College. Federal law allows for electoral votes to be challenged:
Under federal law an objection to a state’s Electoral votes may be made to the President of the Senate during Congress’s counting of Electoral votes in January. The objection must be made in writing and signed by at least one Senator and one member of the House of Representatives. Both the Senate and the House of Representatives debate the objection separately. Debate is limited to two hours. After the debate, both the Senate and the House of Representatives rejoin and both must agree to reject the votes.
In January 2005, Ohio’s 20 Electoral votes were challenged. After debate, the Senate and the House failed to agree to reject the votes. Ohio’s 20 Electoral votes for President Bush and Vice President Cheney were counted.
A shadowy group called “Americans Take Action” is now pushing an effort to have Congress reject at least fifty GOP electors as ineligible:
More than 50 Electoral College members who voted for Donald Trump were ineligible to serve as presidential electors because they did not live in the congressional districts they represented or held elective office in states legally barring dual officeholders.
That stunning finding is among the conclusions of an extensive 1,000-plus page legal briefing prepared by a bipartisan nationwide legal team for members of Congress who are being urged to object to certifying the 2016 Electoral College results on Friday.
“Trump’s ascension to the presidency is completely illegitimate,” said Ryan Clayton of Americans Take Action, who is promoting the effort. “It’s not just Russians hacking our democracy. It’s not just voter suppression at unprecedented levels. It is also [that] there are Republicans illegally casting ballots in the Electoral College, and in a sufficient number that the results of the Electoral College proceedings are illegitimate as well.”
“Republicans like to talk all the time about people voting illegally,” Clayton continued. “We have a list of a bunch of Republicans that allegedly voted illegally in the Electoral College. Pam Bondi is the attorney general of the state of Florida and the Florida Constitution says that you cannot hold two offices. And she holds the office of Attorney General and she holds the office of federal elector in the Electoral College. That is a violation of the law. That is a violation of the Constitution. And the vote that she cast in this election is illegal.”
This could provide for some interesting theater. If the objections are made to individual electors rather than to state votes, then, as I read the law, we could be looking at 100 hours of debate on the subject before the inevitable ending.
Several House Democrats are weighing a formal challenge to Donald Trump’s election on Friday, when Congress meets in joint session to certify Trump’s Electoral College victory.
Reps. Ed Perlmutter of Colorado, Bobby Scott of Virginia, Rep. John Conyers of Michigan and Jamie Raskin of Maryland are among a group of Democrats eyeing challenges.
Either way, there’s effectively no chance the protests will alter the actual election outcome, given Republican control of Congress. Instead, the effort could give Democrats a new venue to protest Trump’s victory. And if the Democrats can secure a senator’s support, the challenges could delay the certification of Trump’s victory for hours while the House and Senate separately debate the merits of each protested electoral college vote.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, speaking to reporters outside the House chamber, said she’s undecided so far on the Electoral College challenge.
“We’ll see,” she said. “I’m just hearing about this now.”
“We’ve been through this before,” she added, “with Florida and Gore.”
Asked about any brewing challenges to the vote, a chuckling Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn said, “It’s a way for some people to have fun.” He declined to comment further.
This tepid support indicates that the protest might fizzle, but we should probably expect at least one challenge so the Democrats can send out “WE ARE FIGHTING” fundraising emails.