Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Trump's End Game - By Mark Landsbaum

The good news is it’s still entirely possible for Donald Trump to be reelected. The bad news is that it is likely to come down to the RINOs.

Joe Biden, in his cough-punctuated speech Monday night, declared victory and enumerated all the ways that he defeated Donald Trump – seven million more votes, a “landslide” in Electoral College votes coupled with Trump’s zero batting average in every courtroom to hear his case so far.

But there is now also a hugely encouraging fact: on Monday Trump won his most significant battle yet when seven swing states sent pro-Trump electors to Washington. Now, someone must decide whether to accept the Biden slate of electors for those states, which also were sent on Monday, or the Trump slates.

Millions of Americans are persuaded there was widespread systemic fraud and corruption in the 2020 vote. But, a number of courts have seen heaps of evidence, affidavits etc. Yet, they've taken zero action favorable to Trump.

That’s because the electoral system, as devised, makes it impossible to effectively challenge voting fraud. No court can process sufficiently and fairly all the evidence, claims and counterclaims, testimony, etc. in the time between election day and the day electors are chosen. It takes about half the available time just to research and pull together cases and file them. Cases this complicated take months, even years to be resolved in courts.

No court was about to overturn a national election based on what are essentially only allegations in a lawsuit without testing their veracity in a full-blown trial with the accused allowed to present their case, and both sides engaging in cross examination, discovery and other requisite legal niceties to determine whether the allegations hold water. That just wasn’t ever going to happen. Certainly not by Dec. 14 when Electoral College electors were sent to Washington. 

Trump’s team has known this all along. If so, things probably are advancing pretty much according to Trump’s plan.

Democrats always have been aware of how unlikely it is for a court to hand Trump early victory. No doubt they made their shenanigans as complicated as possible to ensure that a quick court challenge would be even less likely to succeed, as challenges dragged out beyond deadlines. Remember how Gore v. Bush ended? The clock ran out. The court cases didn’t.

Not all deadlines are absolute, although the next two seem pretty hard and fast: Jan. 6 when Congress convenes to tally the Electoral College votes to declare a winner, and on Jan. 20 to swear in a president. Should Biden emerge from Jan. 6 as president-elect, Jan. 20 is likely a done deal.

If so, don’t expect justice for any of the criminal electioneering unearthed by the Trump team. Politicians, being politicians, won’t seek justice after the fact because they don’t profit from it. Don’t expect even people identified as voting more than once to be charged with a crime, or any computer or software companies to be convicted of anything. That’s because there’s nothing for politicians to gain. They will move on. Back to politics as usual, and what they do best, self-promotion and self-protection.

The only hope now -- and it is as good, if not better, than any hope since voting ended -- lies in the alternate electors for Trump sent Monday by seven states. The Democrat-controlled House of Representatives is sure to ignore the Trump alternate electors, so Trump can’t win at this stage. But the Republican-controlled Senate also will consider electors, and if they choose Trump’s over Biden’s, it’s a standoff: the House for electing Biden, the Senate for electing Trump.

The rules for choosing between competing electors are vague. Congress may choose not to count states with two sets of electors, which automatically means neither candidate reaches the necessary 270 electoral votes. This is never-before-traveled terrain.

The resulting deadlock would make Congress unable to announce a winner.

Then the matter will go, per the Constitution, exclusively to the House of Representatives, where each state will get only one vote and where Republican states outnumber Democratic states. Voila! Trump is reelected.

This is where the multiple lawsuits and their voluminous affidavits and experts’ declarations pay off.

The alternate pro-Trump electors in seven swing states are the fruit of all the lawsuits. The lawsuits allowed all the charges of fraud to be aired and the public -- and elected officials -- to learn just how badly Democrats behaved.

Anything filed in court is privileged, which protects the plaintiffs. Without lawsuits, accusing anyone of fraud would have been very risky, and probably gotten Trump's people sued for libel. What his campaign would be shy to say outside of court became protected speech when said in lawsuits.

This means the court shuffle has been a dance for show, not for immediate results. All the players know what's been going on. They've each played out their scripts for the public's benefit. For Republicans the lawsuit flurry got their case aired and launched other investigations to reveal even more crimes to provide ammo to pull the trigger on what really matters: Congress tallying Electoral College votes and the final House of Representative vote, one per state.

I suspect all along this been the Trump team’s intention. They aren’t stupid. They knew the courts weren’t going to overturn a national election a mere five weeks after voting. Not even in one state. Not even a blatantly crooked state.

What's really been going on is they have made their "case" in the court of public opinion, which is the one that carries real weight with politicians, even with SCOTUS.

It's worked pretty well. Half the nation is persuaded the election was rigged. That wouldn't have happened with just mainstream press coverage and no lawsuits. In a real sense, power still lies with the people. We're about to find out how much power.

Will evidence, filed affidavits and expert testimony from all the lawsuits and the news coverage they generated be influential enough to nudge the Senate to recognize Trump’s electors in the disputed states? We'll see. Should whatever happens end up before SCOTUS, we'll also see how the court of public opinion influences the robed guys and gals.

Coughing Joe’s declarations aside, no one is president-elect until at least Jan. 6 when electors are tallied in Congress.

Here’s the rub. It is likely to come down to the RINOs. Should Sen. Mitt Romney abandon the Republican cause and take enough RINOs with him, Trump can fail by his alternative electors not getting enough votes in the Senate. If so, the #NeverTrumpers will have the final say.

Mark Landsbaum is a Christian retired journalist, former investigative reporter, editorial writer and columnist. He also is a husband, father, grandfather and Dodgers fan. He can be reached at