November 6, 2020 - Friday
White House Hangs in the Ballots
November 6, 2020
If you want to feel better about the election, here's an idea: turn off the news! We've become so conditioned to listen to the media in situations like this, thinking only they can update maps and color in states. But here's the reality: No one -- not even Fox News's Decision Desk -- can change the fact that there are actual processes and laws in place that will settle this election. Not Pennsylvania's anti-Trump secretary of state. Not the exploding heads at CNN. Not even the uncertified statewide counts. As much as we want instant results, our Founders understood that there needed to be a system that could withstand the kind of political divisions we have today. Thankfully, despite the media's insistence that they call the shots, that's not how it works. There is a process for close and uncertain elections, and we need to let the process work.
Of course, in the meantime, Mark Levin said, the press will keep trashing the president for challenging any statewide irregularities. "'This Trump, he's a dictator,'" liberals tell the American people. The reality is, "Trump's trying to uphold the federal Constitution. Trump's trying to [protect] these state statutes -- not the state supreme courts, not the state boards of elections. Trump and his people are trying to uphold the rule of law." Because once the rule of law is gone, you can kiss fair and free elections goodbye.
And that's exactly what the far-Left wants. It's why, months before the election, billionaire George Soros started plotting a sophisticated campaign to subvert the election process. The plan, outlined in a paper by the Transition Integrity Project he funds, hinged on dragging out the ballot counting long enough for liberals on the ground to manipulate the vote totals they needed to win key states. Is that happening? There's no way for us to know. What we do know is that the strategy involved multiple states and an infusion of "insecure" (mail-in) votes. They talked about going to court to weaken local election rules (check), public misinformation campaigns if Trump was ahead (check), and ramped-up social media censorship (check). It's called "war-gaming," the New York Times explained. Except "the game" was to keep Trump from being reelected on November 3rd.
I'm not suggesting we subscribe to a conspiracy theory about liberals stealing the election. What I am saying is that there are radical forces out there who will do whatever it takes to stop Donald Trump from winning a second term. Maybe there isn't widespread fraud taking place, but there are enough anomalies to warrant questions being ask and answers being attained. Take the success Republicans had on Tuesday in the state legislatures, for example. In one of the most unreported storylines of 2020, conservatives had a huge night locally. Despite outspending Republicans three-to-two on statehouse races, Democrats didn't pick up control of a single legislature (so far, only Arizona is too close to call). That means that Republicans kept their historic lead of controlling 29 state legislatures to the Democrats' 18.
In other words, Republicans had banner wins in the House, possibly the Senate, and the states -- but the president of the same party didn't? Something doesn't add up. That's what the White House and other conservatives want to get to the bottom of. Even House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) agreed that all of these indicators point to a different outcome than we're seeing on the electoral map. "Republicans will not back down" on defending this election's integrity, he vowed.
That's great, you're thinking, but what happens now? Well, there are several scenarios. On the Left, the goal is to keep driving this narrative that any of Trump's reasonable complaints are his attempt to steal the election. On social media and the news outlets, Americans are going to be bombarded with the message that this president has no legitimate claim to victory. It's the slow creep of misinformation -- or, on platforms like Twitter -- the outright silencing of information (like we're seeing with the shutdown of Stop the Steal).
On the president's side, the legal fight marches on. In the crosshairs, David Horowitz explains, are "a mix of illegal administrative actions taken by Democrat administrations in the key states and [lower courts] overriding long-standing state election laws." No state official should be allowed to just waltz in and change the way elections are handled -- pandemic or not. That's what creates the kind of chaos we're seeing right now. In too many places, Democrats just flat-out rewrote the laws on late voting, ballot harvesting, and even voter verification.
But the states could have their revenge. What most Americans don't realize is that when they go to the polls, they aren't voting for Joe Biden or Donald Trump. They're voting for state electors who cast the final ballots for president and vice president. (In some states, those electors' names are even listed next to the candidates.) It's their 538 votes that make up the Electoral College. On December 14th, they'll meet for a formal vote -- and 270 of them will decide the presidency. Now, some states force those electors to cast their ballot based on which candidate won their state. In others, there's no such rule, and electors can choose -- although they rarely do -- to vote for a different candidate. In 2016, 10 electors broke with their states -- but it wasn't enough to change the outcome of the election. This time, 10 electors could be more than enough to alter the result.
In that case, the road to the White House would run right through the state legislatures. They -- not the secretary of state or governor or board of elections -- have the final say in who their electors are, based on the U.S. Constitution. And if the Republican legislatures believe there's evidence of fraud or other extenuating circumstances, they could, as Horowitz warns, "reclaim their authority over the Electoral College and rectify the [corruption] that has upended our election process."
Or, say on December 14th that neither candidate gets to the magic 270. In that instance, the House elects the president, and the Senate elects the vice president. That's happened twice in American history, once in 1825 and once in 1837. The 50 state delegations in the House and the individual members of the Senate becomes the determining factor. So let's look again at what happened on Tuesday night. If everything holds, we'll have 25 Republican states, 21 Democratic states, and four ties (which don't count here) deciding who's president -- which, if party lines hold, would favor Donald Trump. In the Senate, if the Republicans hold their leads, America would have 52 Republican states deciding the next vice president.
No wonder the Left is trying to rush this process through. Any scenario that pushes the outcome into mid-December makes a Biden presidency more uncertain. In 2000, we took our time, Tucker Carlson insisted. Americans waited 36 days for a winner to Bush v. Gore. It was painful, he reminded everyone, but in the end it was worth it. "Our system works," he urged. "It has worked before." So it's time for the media to stop shaming Donald Trump, censoring information from the states, and declaring premature winners. Back then, "almost everyone in the media was a partisan Democrat. But... they understood that preserving the public's faith in the system... was more important than getting Al Gore or anyone else into the White House."
That's changed, and Donald Trump knows it. This time around, the Republican in the race doesn't have the media's support for a fair resolution -- he has their scorn. In not 36 days, but three, commentators have demanded everything from Trump's concession to his arrest. They are no longer allies in the pursuit of democracy -- but enemies. Trump will fight, because he doesn't fear them. And because he knows that this is more about protecting our country and its processes than it is about protecting his job. If the American people throw in the towel early, it will be as much their fault as the Left's that the social trust is broken. Because at the end of the day, we don't all have to want Donald Trump to win -- but we should all hope the rule of law does.
Tony Perkins's Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC Action senior writers.