The Supreme Court announced yesterday that it had rejected a request to hear a case challenging the election results in Pennsylvania. By not hearing the case, the Court was saying that they saw no merit and that the lower court ruling (whose majority opinion was written by a Trump appointed judge) was sound.
The last time an electoral case went to the Supreme Court was in 2000. So maybe it’s worth reviewing how we got here, in the roughly one month since election day.
Trump has claimed that he lost because of massive fraud and that, in reality, he won by several hundred thousand votes. He claimed fraud in the swing states of Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan and Wisconsin cost him the election.
The Trump campaign challenged the results in the states that he lost in several ways and on several fronts. The legal and other challenges have come fast and furious since election day, so let’s review a summary of the significant ones:
- In areas of Michigan and Wisconsin, the Trump campaign asked for recounts in parts of the state where Biden performed very well, in heavily Democratic areas. After the recounts, the result didn’t change and, in the case of Wisconsin, Biden gained just over 100 more votes.
- In Georgia, after alleging computer software fraud, the Secretary of State there (who was personally endorsed by President Trump) ordered a recount of the entire state, by hand, to ensure there would be no computer issues. After the hand recount, the result didn’t change.
- After the recounts, the Trump campaign and campaign allies filed numerous lawsuits across several state courts, which have jurisdiction over election laws. To date, the Trump campaign has had thirty-three lawsuits thrown out after judicial review.
- In Wisconsin, for example, the Trump campaign filed a lawsuit, not alleging fraud, but asking the court to throw out the vote and to direct the Republican controlled legislature to appoint the electors for that state. The judge called the request ‘bizarre’, said that he had no jurisdiction to throw out a whole election and rejected the suit.
- After losing at the state level, the Trump campaign filed a lawsuit in the federal courts alleging that Pennsylvania violated their authority in setting the rules for the election in that state. The lawsuit was thrown out, after the judge chastised Trump’s legal team for its poor work. Subsequently, long time Trump ally and former US Attorney and Governor Chris Christie called Trump’s team’s legal arguments a ‘national embarrassment’.
- Trump’s legal team then appealed that ruling, to the 3rd Circuit Appeal Court where all the judges were appointed by Republicans and one by Trump himself. The appeals court decided unanimously against Trump. In the majority opinion, written by Trump appointed judge Stephanos Bilbas, the court said “…calling an election unfair does not make it so. Charges require specific allegations and then proof. We have neither here. The campaign’s claims have no merit…And it never (even) claims fraud or that votes were cast by illegal voters.”
- Trump’s legal team did not agree with the appellate court, even when led by a Trump appointee. So they claimed a victory, saying they could now go to the Supreme Court where they were confident of victory and where Trump has appointed three of the nine members. As noted above, the Supreme Court yesterday declined to hear the appeal, indicating that the case was without merit and the lower court ruling would stand.
- Recounts and court challenges failed, so Trump tried to find a way to overturn Biden’s victory. He personally called the Republican Speaker of the Pennsylvania House to see if he could find a way to change Pennsylvania’s outcome. The Speaker said there was nothing he could do.
- Trump personally called the Republican Governor of Georgia and asked if there was a way to change the outcome in Georgia. The Governor said there was nothing he could do.
- Trump invited every Republican member of the Michigan legislature to the White House and asked them if there was a way to change the outcome in Michigan. The Michigan House held hearing, at which one witness for the Trump campaign was so bizarre that even Rudy Guiliani, Trump’s lawyer, told her to ‘shush’ in the middle of her testimony and then apologized saying that he had only met her two days before.
Yet, even after all of that, Trump still says that the election was ‘rigged’ and that he really won.
So, he believes that Democrats rigged the election against him (but they did a really poor job because Republicans at national and state levels did much better than expected and made gains against Democrats). In addition to Democrats conspiring to corrupt democracy and the election, the following people obviously now have to be part of the conspiracy, too:
- Trump’s own director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure and Security Agency (CISA), Christopher Krebs, who said that the election was secure and free of serious fraud or error.
- Trump’s own Attorney General, William Barr, who said that after a Justice Dept. investigation they found no evidence of widespread fraud or anything that would overturn the results of the election.
- Trump’s own longtime personal advisor Chris Christie, who called Trump’s legal team a ‘national embarrassment’
- Thirty-four state and federal judges, including Trump’s appointed judge for the Appeals Court of the 3rd circuit.
- The nine justices of the Supreme Court, three of whom were appointed by Trump.
- Trump’s personally endorsed Georgia Secretary of State
- The Republican Governor of Georgia
- The Republican Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives
- The Republican members of the Michigan House
- The Republican members of the Wisconsin House and Senate
That’s a pretty incredible list. The conspiracy includes literally hundreds of Republicans, a number of which were personally hired or appointed by Trump himself. Yet somehow they flipped from working for Trump to plotting the overthrow of democracy with ‘the resistance’. And even more incredible is the fact that none of them, not one, let it leak that they had joined the conspiracy.
You know, you may call Thinking Man crazy, but I just can’t believe all of this until I run it past Elvis and JFK next time I meet them for lunch of ‘nanner sandwiches at Graceland. Or maybe for something this big, and which must obviously be highly classified, we may move the lunch location to Area 51.
Seriously, if Trump actually believes that all this is part of a big conspiracy that rigged the election, then he clearly is mentally unfit. At a minimum, he is clinically paranoid and likely much more. After all, as the saying goes “If you think the whole world is crazy, then maybe it isn’t the whole world.”
Thinking Man’s bet is that he is using all this to set himself up for something in the future. After all, he’s an entertainer and reality TV personality. Is this a way to generate ‘buzz’ so he has a built in audience when he buys a TV station or hosts a radio show? Or is it a way to raise money for a political action committee that will employ Ivanka and Donald, Jr. at a very high salary? Time will tell. But, no…no way, he actually believes all those are part of ‘the conspiracy’. After all, wouldn’t the military have found their spaceships by now if they were?