Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Trump's Gambit to the Presidency

Executive Summary: PA certifies on Nov. 23rd, which should end any doubt. SCOTUS appeals follow, which should fail. Trump is left only with a nuclear option at that point.... which, while unlikely, does leave him a path to the Presidency.


Have you asked yourself, "What do they think they are doing?!"   If there is any path open to the presidency, you can expect that he will pursue it to the end.  While I do not believe that any of these paths will be productive, I do expect that he will go down these roads in any event.

1)    Local lawsuits to overturn votes in his favor prior to state certification;

2)    SCOTUS appeals to overturn results, after certification;

3)    Appeals directly to Republican State Legislatures to appoint electors contrary to their state's certification, after losing before SCOTUS.

All 3 of those options would need to be concluded prior to Dec 8, as the electors must submit their votes by Dec 9.  

State Certification Dates

As of Nov. 10, the Trump administration's GSA office is refusing to sign a statement of Ascertainment. The formal statement recognizes the apparent results of an election and allows the peaceful transfer of power to have a leisurely period of preparation.  There is no legal mandate for the GSA to ascertain, and in Gore/Bush it did not do so until after the final ruling of the SCOTUS.

Key to the GSA's legitimate delay are the individual certification dates of the many states.  Prior to a state's certification of its own results, and the resultant naming of electors, the GSA can theoretically determine that there is not an absolutely clear victor.  Once certification occurs, it is nearly impossible to overturn it or ignore it.

Here are all the states' certification dates, but I include here for you the most contested states.  These are their real deadlines.  Again, as in the main election, Biden needs 3 or 4 of these to win.

State                           Winner                    Date                                Who Certifies (Party)

Georgia                        Biden                    11/20/2020                        Sec. of State (R)

Michigan                     Biden                    11/23/2020                        State Board of Canvassers (split)

Pennsylvania               Biden                    11/23/2020                        Secretary of the Commonwealth (D)

North Carolina            Trump                    11/24/2020                        State Board of Elections (D)

Arizona                        Biden                    11/30/2020                        Sec. of State (D)

Nevada                        Biden                    12/01/2020                        NV supreme ct & Sec of State (R)

Wisconsin                    Biden                    12/01/2020                        Chair of Elections Commission (split)

Just for fun, assuming that all of the current outcomes hold up, here is the actual timeline of certification and the Electoral College vote tallies to win 270.  Sadly, the deadlines lead all the way up to the Constitutional deadline.  Basically, whenever CA certifies, Biden will be the certified President-Elect.

Date "prior to"State(s)BidenTrump
Swing States
Nov 5DE30
Nov 10LA, SD, OK,318
Nov 10VT, VA1918
Nov 11SC, WY,1930
Nov 13MS1936
Nov 17FL1965
Nov 18MA3065
Nov 18AR,3075
Nov 20ND, GA4678Georgia
Nov 23KY, ME, MI, PA, UT8593Pennsylvania
Nov 24DC, IN, MN, NM, NC, OH103137North Carolina
Nov 25AK, AL,103149
Nov 30AZ, CO, MN, NE, IA124162Arizona
Dec 1KS, NV, WI140168Nevada
Dec 3CT, OR, WA, TX, WV166211
Dec 4IL186211
Dec 7NY215211
Dec 11CA294221
No DateHI298221
No DateNH302221
No DateRI306221
No DateTN306232

SCOTUS Challenges

These would have to be done prior to Dec. 8, if they hope to have a last minute victory in the Supreme Court, as all electors must vote in the Electoral college by December 9, 2020 after which there is nothing anyone can do, even the SCOTUS.  SCOTUS was very concerned in 2000 that the State certification be respected. Barring widespread systemic manipulation, it is hard to see them overturning any certified result.

The Final Gambit:  Competing Electors.

Should the Trump lawsuits and challenges fail to overturn the elections prior to certification, I fully expect that they will lobby the state legislatures to appoint Republican electors to represent their states.  This will also fail, as the local elected officials would be overturning the outcome of their own constituents. But if they choose to do it...

Ultimately the Trump game is aimed at sowing enough doubt about fraud to convince the Republican held State Legislatures in PA, AZ and GA to appoint a second slate of electors.  This is a devastating blow to electoral legitimacy, but could be brutally effective.  Here's why.

If there are two sets of electors for any given state, the NEW Congress would vote by state delegations which electors to accept. At this point, Republicans would win in both houses of Congress and Trump/Pence would be re-elected.  If the Democrats win both seats in the Senate, current VP Pence would cast the deciding vote and he would elect himself VP.  

If the Senate and the House do not agree on the slates, it would certainly go to the Supreme Court, which would probably accept the slate appointed by state legislatures (my guess), and Trump would be re-elected President.  

Should SCOTUS leave it in Congresses' hands, those states that are deadlocked would lose their EC votes. Assuming that this would entail PA, GA, and AZ, that is 47 votes taken away from Biden.  The EC would stand at 258-232, with neither candidate achieving a majority of 270. The congress would then vote, by state delegations, and President Trump and VP Pence would again be elected President/VP of the United States.

In all scenarios with competing electors from those three states, Trump is re-elected.

That is Trump's best hope.  It is not impossible, but the outcomes for the country are virtually unthinkable.

1 comment:

  1. As the NYT’s called it, this would be a “macabre triple Lindy.” God bless Rodney Dangerfield.