Trump campaign drops central claim in Pennsylvania lawsuit

Trump campaign drops central claim in Pennsylvania lawsuit

That banging sound you’re hearing this morning may wind up being the final nail being driven into the coffin of President Trump’s hopes for securing enough electoral votes to be declared the winner of the 2020 election. The Trump campaign has a number of lawsuits currently underway challenging the results in several swing states, but one of the biggest prizes he needed to secure was Pennsylvania. Given how the rest of the closely contested states played out, a failure to overturn the initial results in the Keystone State would leave him with no obvious path to victory, even if he takes Georgia and Nevada.

His prospects in Pennsylvania dimmed considerably last night when his legal team withdrew one of their key claims in the ongoing suit. The Trump campaign had challenged the legitimacy of nearly 700,000 votes that were allegedly processed without any Republican oversight. They have now withdrawn that claim, leaving only a far smaller number of ballots in question. (Associated Press)

President Donald Trump’s campaign is withdrawing a central part of its lawsuit seeking to stop the certification of the election results in Pennsylvania, where Democrat Joe Biden beat Trump to capture the state and help win the White House.

Ahead of a Tuesday hearing in the case, Trump’s campaign dropped the allegation that hundreds of thousands of mail-in and absentee ballots — 682,479, to be precise — were illegally processed without its representatives watching.

The campaign’s slimmed-down lawsuit, filed in federal court on Sunday, maintains the aim of blocking Pennsylvania from certifying a victory for Biden in the state, and it maintains its claim that Democratic voters were treated more favorably than Republican voters.

This is likely the straw that breaks the camel’s back, sorry to say. The current tally in Pennsylvania shows Joe Biden with a lead of roughly 69,000. If 700,000 ballots were tossed, it was clearly a mathematical possibility that the state could flip back to Trump. But that would require answering the question of how “bad” the ballots were. There hasn’t been any specific claim that the ballots were spoiled. Only that they were processed without GOP supervision. It’s tough to imagine the judge offering any remedy other than a recanvass of those specific ballots even if Trump’s team hadn’t withdrawn the claim.

At this point, the only ballots being challenged are the ones that were “fixed” after they were initially submitted with errors such as missing their internal envelopes or lacking a signature. Trump’s legal team is claiming that those “fixes” were only allowed in primarily Democratic counties and not the ones with Republican majorities.

There are a few problems with that argument. First of all, there’s no data showing how many ballots are involved. It’s not going to be anywhere near the other figure of 700,000, though. Second, all of those ballots were among the ones that were cast early and mailed in. Unless there’s some huge divergence from the other distribution patterns we’ve seen, those votes were probably cast mostly for Biden, but not entirely. Even if they were all tossed, Trump would lose votes as well. So even if the mail-in ballots went for Biden at a 2 to 1 clip, there would need to be well over 100,000 of them to flip the state for Trump.

And finally, there’s nothing in Pennsylvania state election law that forbids county Boards of Elections from allowing voters to fix an improperly completed ballot if it’s done in a timely manner. Of course, there’s nothing that mandates it either. As noted in the linked report, if the Trump team wanted to go after anyone, he should have sued the GOP leaning counties that didn’t offer his own voters the chance to repair their ballots.

At this point, it’s not at all certain that the judge in this case will even take up the question of the repaired ballots, given how the state’s election laws were crafted. Nor does it sound like a challenge that the President’s team would win on appeal. If that’s the case, Donald Trump is left hanging nearly 70,000 votes behind in Pennsylvania. And that would pretty much end the election of 2020 with Sleepy Joe Biden as the winner. I hate being the bearer or bad news on a Monday morning, but it’s pretty tough to put any lipstick on this pig. This news doesn’t look good for Trump at all.

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