President Trump’s defenders have pointed out many times, correctly, that he has every right to pursue legal challenges to election results in states he lost narrowly. Going to court is not staging a coup or plotting to destroy democracy, as some of Trump’s adversaries have charged. It is the way people, even the President of the United States, pursue claims in the American system. So even though many of the cases brought by Trump and his allies have been far-fetched, and he has lost nearly all of them, there was no great harm in bringing them.
But the time has come to end it. Monday is the day electors meet in the states to cast Electoral College votes for president. The states have already certified the results of their elections; the total is 306 electoral votes for Joe Biden and 232 for Trump. None of the president’s challenges has resulted in a change in any of those state totals, and he would need that to happen in not one, not two, but three states — say, Arizona, Georgia, and Pennsylvania — in order to win. Instead, Biden will win the presidency with 306 votes, unless a “faithless elector” or two makes his winning total slightly smaller. (Remember in 2016, when some desperate Democrats hoped droves of electors committed to Trump would abandon that commitment? It didn’t work.)