Lou Dobbs: There's still a mathematical possibility that Congress will make Trump president

Via Mediaite, what happened to Fox Business? On Fox News you’ll occasionally get reality checks from Trumpist hosts like Tucker Carlson, who famously questioned Sidney Powell’s evidence of fraud, and Laura Ingraham, who warned viewers that Trump’s election challenges were highly unlikely to prevail.

Fox Business is basically “Newsmax After Dark.” It’s almost a novelty channel — OAN-style fantasias delivered by nationally famous hosts.

Dobbs’s speculation about Congress maybe possibly conceivably handing Trump a second term on January 6 wasn’t even the most dubious thing on the network today. This was:

https://twitter.com/FirenzeMike/status/1338971066627190788

Maria Bartiromo was once one of the most respected financial TV reporters in America. Now she does Pink-Lady-style “news” bulletins for Trump. Wha’ happened?

Watch 90 seconds or so from this clip, then read on.

Here’s a local news story about the Wisconsin court ruling that he mentions. The Wisconsin Supreme Court decided that COVID-19 stay-at-home orders didn’t qualify as “indefinite confinement” for purposes of voting absentee under Wisconsin law, which means that anyone who cited them as grounds for voting by mail could have their ballot challenged. That would be quite a bombshell if the entire election had come down to Wisconsin, but it didn’t. As it is:

The majority decision stated if voters falsely claimed they were indefinitely confined “their ballots would not count.” But the court did not give license to throw out large numbers of ballots without making determinations about the status of each individual voter, as Trump has sought in his separate lawsuit.

Ascertaining whether each individual voter in a poll of 200,000+ was validly or invalidly “indefinitely confined” when they voted would be an expensive and time-consuming process for Team Trump. And given the state supreme court’s willingness to bar other Trump claims on grounds of laches, there’s no guarantee that the result would be overturned even if Trump could prove that a meaningful number of absentee votes were improper. The court might ask the same question it asked in yesterday’s ruling against the president: Why wasn’t this challenge brought before Election Day, or during the primary, before people relied on the state’s voting procedures to cast their ballots?

The really goofy part, though, comes when Dobbs claims that “seven states have chosen a slate of electors for both Joe Biden and President Trump.” That’s false as false can be, as I explained in this post yesterday. The Republican “alternate electors” who got together yesterday to cast symbolic ballots for Trump weren’t acting under color of any state authority. They were the people chosen by their state party before the election who would have cast the state’s electoral votes for Trump *if* Trump had won the state on election night. But he didn’t, so they have no official power to do anything.

The scenario Dobbs mentions in which Congress has to choose between competing slates of electors was discussed before the election, when doomsayers imagined Biden winning a state like Michigan narrowly. In Michigan the governor is a Democrat and the state legislature is controlled by Republicans; potentially the governor could have certified Biden’s win but the state legislature could have disputed it and formally designated Trump the winner. In that case there would be competing slates of Michigan electors, one Democratic and one Republican, but with the imprimatur of a branch of Michigan’s government.

But that didn’t happen. No legislature in any state won by Biden recognized Trump as the true winner. So when Dobbs says that seven states chose electors for Biden and Trump, what he should be saying is “electors in seven states voted for Biden and then groups of unauthorized Republican randos got together and symbolically voted for Trump.” When he says there’s a mathematical possibility that that might lead Congress to hand the election to Trump, he means it in the sense that one in a quintillion is technically a mathematical possibility.

And remember, Congress won’t even consider rejecting the electoral college results from a state unless at least one senator objects to them. Will there be even one?

No Senate Republicans indicated during the call that they are currently planning to object.

“Not that I heard,” said Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), asked if anyone indicated that they would object during the call.

Sen. John Barrasso (Wyo.), the No. 3 GOP senator, added that he hasn’t “heard of any” GOP senator willing to object next month.

“I think that there was encouragement on the phone for us to accept the result, as much as it’s not what we, you know, would have envisioned for the next four years, and to try to do what’s best for American people, which is to look forward,” said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) said about the call.

Even if someone objects and a floor vote is held on whether to accept a disputed state’s electoral college results, does anyone doubt that there’ll be three Republican crossover votes in favor of accepting them? Romney, Collins, Murkowski — that’s all you’d need. Sasse would probably join too, maybe more. I think Dobbs knows all this and is just teeing up a predictable rant for the evening of January 6 about Senate Republicans being sellouts and traitors for not trying to stage a de facto coup right there in the chamber by blocking Biden’s victory on false pretenses. But I don’t know anymore. Fox Business is a strange place.