Getting nowhere in court, the White House appears to be shifting to a political strategy based on blocking the certification of results and getting state legislatures to appoint Trump electors in states Trump lost. This is a profoundly undemocratic gambit that, if it were to enjoy any success, would precipitate a major constitutional crisis. The Constitution gives state legislatures the power to appoint electors, but it has been the norm for legislatures to appoint those electors on the basis of state elections for about 200 years. For any legislature to turn around now — solely because its party’s candidate lost and refuses to accept the result — and appoint electors in defiance of the public will would lack all legitimacy. It’d also be legally dubious, at best, to bypass state laws establishing elections as the mechanism for selecting presidential electors.
The most obvious way to prevent this travesty is for Republican state legislators to continue to reject it, the way almost all have done to this point. But they haven’t yet experienced a potential full-court press from Trump and his supporters (the Republican leaders of the Michigan state senate and house have been summoned to a White House meeting today). It’s also important for Republican senators to speak out against this effort and make it clear that they won’t stand for it when it comes time for Congress to consider electors. Finally, it’d be best of all if the president reconsidered going down this route.
He’s turning a narrow election defeat into a bid for infamy.