Trump’s Futile Challenges

Breakfast with Bwana

By Anil Madan

Donald Trump’s first interview today Sunday, November 29th, with Fox News talk show host Maria Bartiromo was an incoherent rambling mess. In the past, I have written about the incoherent coherence of Donald Trump — if you pay attention, through the incomplete sentences, you get the gist of what he is trying to say.

President Donald Trump and the Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo. Photo – Fox News

Today, with Bartiromo shamelessly egging him on, we saw yet another example of how Trump talks to himself, and repeats and repeats as if trying to convince himself, whatever narrative of the moment he has sold or is trying to sell, to himself.

His conspiracy theories starting with birtherism directed at Obama, or the anticipatory notion that mail-in balloting is inherently fraudulent, or today’s pronouncement that there is “no way” that Biden got 80 million votes absent fraud, all require that sort of self-convincing prattle.

Today, the main thrust of his comments was that the election was fraudulent. His proof, if it can be called proof, is simply the aforementioned claim that there is “no way” that Biden got 80 million votes. If there was a thread of logic here, it is that Biden could not have gotten more votes from Blacks than Obama got.

The irony here is that Trump sees nothing amiss about the fact that he got 74 million votes, 11 million more this time than in 2016 even though he allowed that his campaign had hoped to get 68-69 million. In other words, a bigger voter turnout should have produced a bonanza for Trump but not made much of a difference to Biden who couldn’t have done this without fraud.

This conclusory notion, a suspicious whiff of fraud in the air, is the best case that Trump and his campaign have put forth. A second-best argument is that the swing states either improperly allowed mail-in voting and all such votes should be set aside, or that based on allegations of irregularities — mostly imaginary — the courts should throw out the votes and let the legislature select the electors who will cast the decisive vote for the state. In states with Republican-controlled legislatures, this tactic is designed to swing the election to Trump.

These baseless arguments and tactics bordering on the frivolous, will not work. Already, case after case has been dismissed by courts in many states. There are two principal reasons why these tactics will not work.

Yesterday the Pennsylvania Supreme Court dismissed with prejudice (meaning it is the end of the case) a suit brought by a Republican legislator and others trying to overturn the election in that state. Justice Wecht wrote a concurring opinion that explains why both theories will fail.

First, he noted that it is well-settled that to annul an election “requires proof of fraud or other unlawful practices of such magnitude and so interwoven with the casting and counting of the votes as to obviously deprive the election returns of all validity.”

Second, “there is no basis in law by which the courts may grant Petitioners’ request to ignore the results of an election and recommit the choice to the General Assembly to substitute its preferred slate of electors for the one chosen by a majority of Pennsylvania’s voters. The United States Constitution’s Presidential Electors Clause commands that ‘each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress.

“Conspicuously absent from the Election Code are any mechanisms by which to circumvent these procedures so as to permit the General Assembly to substitute its preferred slate of electors for that ‘elected by the qualified electors of the Commonwealth.’”

Justice Wecht pointed out that any such attempt would require a new law. But the United States Congress has declared that each State’s method “for its final determination of any controversy or contest concerning the appointment of all or any of the electors of such State must have been established by laws enacted prior to the day fixed for the appointment of the electors” — i.e., before November 3, 2020. Accordingly, to persist in seeking to overturn the result of any election by legislative putsch is a fool’s errand — and an arguably unconstitutional one at that.

He concluded by stating: “It is not our role to lend legitimacy to such transparent and untimely efforts to subvert the will of Pennsylvania voters.13 Courts should not decide elections when the will of the voters is clear.”

The Trump campaign had also joined in a suit brought in federal court in Pennsylvania. In that case, Judge Brann, a Republican-sponsored judicial nominee and a member of the right-wing Federalist Society, dismissed the case (here too with prejudice) because it lacked merit. The judge noted that “this Court has been presented with strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations, unpled in the operative complaint and unsupported by evidence.”

On appeal to the federal court of appeals, the Trump campaign found its case summarily dismissed. Of significant note was this statement by the court: “lawyer Rudolph Giuliani stressed, the Campaign “doesn’t plead fraud. This is not a fraud case.”

Another problem addressed by Judge Brann is that the Trump campaign and various Republican challengers are trying to get the courts to discard the votes of millions of Americans. Their arguments relate to alleged procedural irregularities but they have no evidence that votes were fraudulent or do not express the preferences of 154 million voters who chose either Biden or Trump. Where some Republican voters allege that their votes were not counted, they don’t seek to have their votes included in the total count, but rather to deprive others of the value of their votes.

In short, concededly without evidence of fraud, and relying on procedural gimmicks, Trump has no chance.

* * *

A Modern-Day Hazardous Crossing The Delaware

Joe Biden likes to say that he is from the sticks — Middle-Class Joe, so to speak — an image difficult for a politician who wears a suit and tie every day to sustain. And that’s been going on since 1973 when he was elected to the Senate. Since then he has, of course, been Vice President, and now President-elect.

But when Joe crossed the River Styx, a tributary of the Sticks-on-the-Boondocks on the road to perdition, it seems that he apparently didn’t manage to soak entirely, his foot. And we have a modern-day Achilles’ heel.

Greek mythology tells us that Paris shot Achilles in the heel with an arrow. Joe has intemperately meddled with Fate and threatened to revisit an encounter with Paris and the Climate Accords. We know not whether Pocahontas Warren, poised with bow and arrow, is just quivering to take a shot.

Will we then see a Kamala-Pocahontas duo, an Indian fest, dot plus feather, with a bit of BLM thrown in for good measure?

Joe has recently crossed into Delaware, presumably from Washington, D.C. This evokes memories of George Washington crossing the Delaware. George went on to Trenton for an encounter with the Hessians.

Joe goes into the presidency limping.

A fitting metaphor for America.


* * *

Joe Biden leaving the Delaware Humane Association with his German shepherd, Major. Photo – AP

WILMINGTON, DEL. — President-elect Joe Biden fractured his foot while playing with one of his dogs, according to his doctor.

Biden suffered the injury on Saturday and visited an orthopedist at Delaware Orthopaedic Specialists in Newark, Delaware, for an examination Sunday afternoon, his office said. A subsequent CT scan “confirmed hairline (small) fractures of President-elect Biden’s lateral and intermediate cuneiform bones, which are in the mid-foot,” according to a statement from his doctor, Kevin O’Connor.

“It is anticipated that he will likely require a walking boot for several weeks,” O’Conner added.

Reporters covering the president-elect were not afforded the opportunity to see Biden enter the doctor’s office, despite multiple requests. Leaving the doctor’s office to head to an imaging center for his CT scan, Biden was visibly limping, though he walked without a crutch or other aid.

Biden was under examination more than two hours after arriving at the office Sunday afternoon.

Biden suffered the injury playing with Major, one of the Bidens’ two dogs. They adopted Major in 2018, and acquired their first dog, Champ, after the 2008 election. The Bidens have said they’ll be bringing their dogs to the White House and also plan to get a cat. (Associated Press)

* Published in print edition on 1 December 2020

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