Trump Doesn’t Have a Path to Victory Through the Courts

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Pennsylvania Voter

I sincerely hope this will be the last column I have to write about a Wackadoodle litigation brought up by Donald Trump. When all the votes are counted, Trump will likely lose the electoral college in the race for president. His attempts to overturn that outcome in court are also likely to fail.

I know people are still not sure about the outcome. We as a nation have been repeatedly abused by Trump and his lawlessness. Trump appears to have a supernatural ability to speak lies and turn them into reality, either through raw political power or through legal action. His early declarations of victory can lead to PTSD in people who remember all of the other times he got away with breaking laws or norms.

But this time it won’t work. Trump’s path to victory on electoral college required him to hold almost all of the states he won in 2016, and while the race remains tight and uncertain, he doesn’t seem to be doing it. As of this writing, several Wisconsin and Michigan news outlets have called for Joe Biden and the Second Congressional District in Nebraska. These are all areas that Trump won in 2016. If Biden sticks to Nevada (which Hillary Clinton won in 2016 but was not called up to Biden) and Arizona wins (where he leads but the votes are still counted), that’s the ball game. Biden would get 270 votes and the electoral college victory.

Even if Biden loses one of those states, Pennsylvania and Georgia, two other states Trump won in 2016, still count the ballots. The Biden campaign is “confident” about Pennsylvania, and Georgia could still turn to the Democrats. It’s difficult for Trump to add up the math.

In response, the Trump campaign has turned to the courts. It has filed a lawsuit in Michigan and vowed to request a recount in Wisconsin. A lawsuit has been filed in Georgia to “separate” valid postal ballot papers received after election day from ballots received on election day. Pennsylvania has already voluntarily decided to do so, but Trump has threatened to file a lawsuit there too. Frankly, any state that counts votes that Trump believes won’t help him is being threatened with a lawsuit. Conversely, no lawsuits have been filed in Arizona and Nevada, two states where continued counting of late-arriving ballots appears to be helping Trump.

Trump himself has promised to go straight to the Supreme Court – which he cannot do as these lawsuits begin and need to be appealed in the lower courts. In theory, it is possible that one of them could find their way to court, and because Trump and Mitch McConnell stacked it with Conservative judges, and because those judges were eager to restrict early voting in the run-up to the election. People are concerned that it will step in and knock the results over. I myself have spent most of the weeks since Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death worrying that Amy Coney Barrett would hand the presidency back to Trump.

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