We gave the Decision Desk HQ its own post, so it’s fair to give the Trump campaign its own thread in response. Team Trump fired back over the call of Pennsylvania for Joe Biden, saying that the conclusion was premature for that state as well as the election in general. Spokesman Matt Morgan released a statement insisting that the legal process for challenging preliminary results will be fully explored, and that they want to make sure that every legal vote is counted — and every illegal vote is not (formatted for easier readability):
This election is not over. The false projection of Joe Biden as the winner is based on results in four states that are far from final. Georgia is headed for a recount, where we are confident we will find ballots improperly harvested, and where President Trump will ultimately prevail.
There were many irregularities in Pennsylvania, including having election officials prevent our volunteer legal observers from having meaningful access to vote counting locations. We prevailed in court on our challenge, but were deprived of valuable time and denied the transparency we are entitled to under state law. In Nevada, there appear to be thousands of individuals who improperly cast mail ballots.
Finally, the President is on course to win Arizona outright, despite the irresponsible and erroneous ‘calling’ of the state for Biden by Fox News and the Associated Press. Biden is relying on these states for his phony claim on the White House, but once the election is final, President Trump will be re-elected.
Ivanka Trump put it more succinctly:
Every legally cast vote should be counted. Every illegally cast vote should not. This should not be controversial.
This is not a partisan statement — free and fair elections are the foundation of our democracy. 🇺🇸
— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) November 6, 2020
Indeed, which is why the process this time around has been so problematic. As we are discovering, ad-hoc voting systems for national elections are a bad idea. We could easily have accommodated COVID-19 concerns through existing absentee balloting and early in-person voting, allowing states to use normal processes and deadlines to bolster confidence in our ability to achieve what Ivanka declares here.
Anyway, Team Trump is correct that it’s not over yet. They have procedural and then legal recourses to challenge results in states where those questionable processes resulted in narrow wins. We can expect them to fully explore those options, and Donald Trump being Donald Trump, to fully utilize them. However, history tells us that those rarely succeed in changing election results, so people should set their expectations accordingly.
Or is there something about this year that makes this the capper?
Actually, litigation leading to Trump remaining president after the media called it for Biden would be the most 2020 thing of all.
— Ashe Short (@AsheSchow) November 6, 2020
Just remember that states will have to produce their slate of electors by December 8 to meet the “safe harbor” protection for later challenges. They will have to have those slates ready by December 14 at the latest no matter what, or else those states won’t be able to participate in the Electoral College at all, as that is the date they meet to finalize the presidential and vice-presidential election. If enough states do not send electors so that no candidate gets 270 votes, then the House of Representatives has to elect the president. That vote goes by state delegations — and Republicans control more state delegations in the House than Democrats.
But that would take place in 2021, so it won’t be a 2020 thing after all.