GOP state legislators ask Congress to reject PA's electoral votes while Trump campaign sues to invalidate GA results

I can’t even imagine what would have to happen in an election to get a court to order a do-over.

But whatever it is, it didn’t happen on November 3.

The safe harbor deadline for the electoral college is four days away. It’s Hail Mary time for the Trump campaign as they attempt to score the electoral equivalent of about five touchdowns in the final five minutes of play.

If they think they’ve identified votes that were illegally cast, prove it to a court and maybe they’ll be excluded. Failing that, this is just another excuse to continue the fantastically lucrative grift the Trump campaign is running by pursuing “legal challenges” and to make the country more embittered, paranoid, and contemptuous of its institutions. Which I’m sure Trump believes we deserve, as punishment for not having handed him a second term.

He or people aligned with him also lost court cases today in Minnesota, Michigan, and Nevada. A choice bit from the Nevada opinion:

The Michigan ruling had a choice bit too noting another instance of bad lawyering on the president’s behalf. If you want relief from a court, you can’t wait around for weeks to submit your filing while events play out:

We’re still waiting on SCOTUS to decide what to do about the campaign’s lawsuit in Pennsylvania, which the Third Circuit dismissed with barely concealed contempt. Pennsylvania’s Republican state legislators knows what the outcome in the Supreme Court is all but certain to be, which is why they’re moving beyond lawsuits and asking Congress to … not count their state’s electoral votes on January 6 when they meet to formally record the vote of the electoral college.

Note how slippery some of the language there is, complaining that the governor “sought” a waiver of the deadline for mail-in ballots. You may remember that that issue, whether a ballot that arrives after polls close on Election Day should count, is already being litigated. Those votes were segregated early by election officials from the rest of the ballots cast in the state and ended up being immaterial to Biden’s final margin. Even so, these people are asking Congress to effectively nullify the results of their state’s presidential election, disenfranchising seven million people.

Imagine if Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation agreed and persuaded Congress to do it. Logically, all 18 members of the House delegation should then have their own election victories tossed out since they were each elected via the same ballots on which voters made their choice for president. If the result of the presidential race is so questionable due to procedural departures that it requires ignoring the results, the results of the House races are necessarily questionable too and should be similarly ignored.

Bear in mind too that Pennsylvania is worth 20 electoral votes, not nearly enough to actually deny Biden the presidency. How likely is it, do you suppose, that the state’s own congressional representatives will infuriate their constituents by seeking to have their electoral votes excluded from the final presidential tally *knowing* that that won’t even stop Biden from being declared the winner? How often do politicians give the finger to their own voters for no productive reason whatsoever?

All this repulsive letter amounts to is another loyalty oath to Trump. He’s desperate to see some last-minute effort to try to stop Biden from taking office, which means his fans are desperate, which means the Republican state legislators who answer to those same fans have a strong reason to pander. And it’s a freebie for them to do so inasmuch as Biden voters aren’t taking any of this particularly seriously. Trump’s legal team keeps losing in court, state officials keep certifying results, the formal presidential transition process has even begun at the White House. It’s all noise. And because it is, Democrats won’t make much of a fuss over a letter like this being written, fully expecting that Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation will throw it in the trash.

That’s what makes it a freebie. The Republican lawmakers who signed it also know that it’ll be thrown in the trash. If you can earn some cheap goodwill with the president and his fans by signing a letter pleading with Congress to please nullify our state’s electoral votes!, knowing that it won’t actually happen, why wouldn’t you?

The only reason not to do so is if you have a civic conscience and think it’s bad for the country to mainstream ideas like Congress meddling with the election, but the trash that populates our governing class cares nothing for that.

As I was writing this post, a new legal challenge by Trump allies to invalidate the results in Wisconsin has been tossed by the state supreme court. This legal effort is good theater for rank-and-file Republicans, keeping hope alive, but at the White House everyone knows the writing’s on the wall:

One source familiar with the situation said Trump’s refusal to accept defeat has unnerved some staffers who worry the President is tarnishing his own legacy and, more critically, eroding voters’ faith in US elections. Others have said they understood the odds were high that they’d need to find new jobs soon, and they prepared to make career moves regardless of how the President reacted to defeat.

A separate senior administration official described a “toxic” work environment among the dwindling number of West Wing staffers. While the Trump White House was never the model of a functional workplace, the lack of direction and sense of defeat during Trump’s lame duck period has sharpened divides among staffers facing the prospect of potential unemployment…

“I think people are moving on because they have families or livelihoods to support,” the official said.

“That, and the place is becoming more toxic by the day … people turning on each other, trying to settle scores while they can,” the official added.

In lieu of an exit question, read this statement issued today by the Republican speaker of the state house in Arizona in response to Rudy Giuliani’s and Jenna Ellis’s allegations of fraud. “[T]he Trump team made claims that the election was tainted by fraud but presented only theories, not proof,” noted Rusty Bowers. “It would violate [my] oath, the basic principles of republican government, and the rule of law if we attempted to nullify the people’s vote based on unsupported theories of fraud.” Hope he’s ready for the death threats.