All of that is indeed good news, but I am quite concerned about what comes next. By the time President-elect Biden takes the oath of office, millions of people will wrongly believe he stole the election. At least 300 times since the election, Mr. Trump has gone straight to his followers on social media to declare the election rigged or stolen and to claim, despite all evidence to the contrary, himself as the real victor. Mr. Trump’s false claims will delegitimize a Biden presidency among his supporters. It should go without saying that a democracy requires the losers of an election to accept the results as legitimate and agree to fight another day; Republican leaders echoing Mr. Trump’s failure to support a peaceful transition of power undermine the foundation of our democracy. It’s not only the fact that we have had to say this, but that we keep having to repeat it, that shows the depths that we have reached.
Mr. Trump’s litigation strategy also will make things worse when it comes to voting rights. The common thread in his campaign’s postelection litigation connecting Trump allegations of people of color illegally voting in Democratic cities in swing states and corrupted voting machines is a lack of any evidence to support the claims. Many of the lawsuits have been laughed out of court for lack of evidence, voluntarily dismissed, or involve so few votes that they could not plausibly change the outcome. These unsuccessful lawsuits will nonetheless provide a false narrative to explain how it is that Mr. Biden declared victory and serve as a predicate for new restrictive voting laws in Republican states. They already provided a basis for the now-aborted attempt of Republican canvassing board members in Wayne County, Mich., to reject votes from Democratic-leaning Detroit, and could be the basis for a similar move by Republicans when the Michigan state canvassing board meets Monday.