The US election is not officially declared. At least two days after even to me, it was clear the result would be around 306-232, there is still some uncertainty. Here in Australia, all 5 free to air Television networks had at least one digital channel focus on the US election on election day. I will not say ‘unprecedented’, but that level of attention has never happened before. There has been as much focus on the US election in Australia as there normally is on an Australian Election. Days after the election, there is still extensive coverage on the vote count here in Australia. Love him or hate him, (and most people do one or the other) Trump certainly attracts attention. But what is Trump up to? He knew this was coming. The the possible next steps for Donald Trump:
- Does Trump Have a Plan to Win?
- Votes alone will not do it. (Arizona is Dem)
- Block the Peoples Vote
- Legal Challenges: Block Votes?
- Electoral College?
- Alternate Results?
- Decisive Role: Fox and Murdoch
- Refuse to leave?
- Fade Into Obscurity?
- (Updated: Nov 16, Dec 7th) Conclusion: Trump actually believes he won
Votes alone will not do it.
Biden will win Arizona. Checking just now, Biden leads by 60,000 votes. Examining each district in Arizona individually, it is real that there are more locations with votes to count who favour Trump those that follow Biden. But looking at percentage of the vote that remains, Trump will likely gain 13,000 votes of Biden from the precincts where he is leading, but Biden will claw back almost 7,700 from locations where he is leading. Trump may end up far closer on current trends her cannot get 20,000 closer, doubt about 60,000 closer. Of course, there may be factors I am not aware of such as the bulk of outstanding votes being from a military base or something.
Regardless, winning Arizona seems as close as Trump could get, and that is not only unlikely, but simply not enough anyway.
Legal Challenges: Block Votes?
So far, no legal action has any traction suggesting that there would be a creditably legal challenge preventing any state, from submitting their vote.
Nothing has changed since my previous look at what the numbers will be other than projections being more certain. Trump is behind in the college vote a projected count 306 to 232.
With the possible, (but extremely unlikely) exception of Georgia, recounts will not yield any overturning either.
That means Trump still needs to ‘filibuster’ at least 3 states from having an undisputed vote from their election college representatives presented by December 8th.
Trump knew he would be behind once postal votes were counted. Otherwise why all the protests about their legitimacy prior to the election? If Trump can block sufficient electoral college votes from being cast, then the election would be decided by congress, under a set of rules that could allow Trump to win.
So what about the electoral college? What is the electoral college, and how can the outcome be changed manipulating the electoral college?
The election on November 3 does not directly elect the president, but a group of people are ‘pledged’ to to cast their vote in the actual election of the president.
Might this ‘college’ not vote in reflection of the votes of the people?? Well….yes. That is possible. It has happened before. However the small number of college representatives who could possibly vote ‘faithlessly’ cannot be sufficient to change the result. What would also be needed, it to stop college votes being counted.
The electoral college is actual elected people, just like Senators and Congress, each vote puts a real person, either the one nominated by the Republicans or Democrats, into ‘office’ as a electoral college member. The resulting electoral college then cast their vote for president and vice president. But they are some faceless neutral public servants. In many states their names even appear on the voting forms, so votes know ‘I am voting for (electoral college person) and they are pledged to vote for (candidate name here). So for a majority Democrat electoral college to vote for Trump, the Democrat nominated members would need to break ranks. In the past, this could happen because the member rejected the presidential candidate of their own party. It has happened:
Notwithstanding this expectation, individual electors have sometimes not honored their commitment, voting for a different candidate or candidates than the ones to whom they were pledged. They are known as “faithless” or “unfaithful” electors. In fact, the balance of opinion by constitutional scholars is that, once electors have been chosen, they remain constitutionally free agents, able to vote for any candidate who meets the requirements for President and Vice President. Faithless electors have, however, been few in number (in the 20th century, there was one each in 1948, 1956, 1960, 1968, 1972, 1976, 1988, and 2000), and have never influenced the outcome of a presidential election.History
Well…in fact that is now history, there is an update on that…
In 2016, seven electors broke with their state on the presidential ballot and six did so on the vice presidential ballot.history.house.gov
Under this ruling, a state can compel members of the college to vote according to direction of the state. What is not clear, is could that allow a state legislature to force a Republican controlled state (such as Pennsylvania) to vote Republican?
Alternate Results, Congressional Challenge?
States could end up sending two sets of votes to congress! I have heard of scenarios where states can end up sending two sets of results to congress, but it needs more research. more to come?
There is also the faint possibility of a congressional challenge. This can take place in January when the result of the election are to be tabled before congress and the senate. A member of congress can, with a supporting senator, raise a challenge to results. It seems too many states need to be challenged, but technically it is possible to have a new twist as late as January.
Decisive Role: Fox and Murdoch.
Fox news has been a voice for some of the most extreme positions of Trump in the past. Whether Trump is actually leads or follows opinions voiced by Fox news may be questionable, but the fact that the two voices can each server to amplify the other seems unquestionable.
Fox has declared the election as won by Biden and has not, as far as I can see, given any support to claims of widescale election fraud.
At the moment Trump seems to be largely on his own. Their are a few republicans giving him support, but nothing that would encourage groups like the ‘Proud Boys’, to move from ‘stand back and stand by’ to ‘time to take action’.
Refuse to Leave?
Overall, none of the above possible outcomes appear to have any real chance of changing the election outcome. That it is time for Trump to leave the oval office.
There has been some suggestion Trump could effectively barricade himself in the Whitehouse and refuse to leave. That he could use the power of being president to remain in office. This scenario is not realistic, and those presidential powers will have expired.
Run? Fade Into Obscurity? or Trump 2.0?
One action of ‘lame duck’ presidents has been to issue pardons. Trump has stated in the past he should also be able to issue himself pardons. This may not be necessary, as the last thing Biden/Harris would need is Trump to become a martyr as a result of the new administration acting against Trump.
Trump has also said, potentially in jest, that he might leave America if he loses. Sometimes jest masks underlying truth. Trump could seem a far bigger fish in another, but smaller, pond moving forward.
Or could the be a Trump 2.0? Either a re-emergence of Donald J Trump, or one of his family?
(Update Nov 16, Dec7) Conclusion: Trump Believes he won
Despite it being clear from Trump’s comments prior to the election that he would lose the election once postal votes were counted, it seems Trump did not formulate a viable counter plan. All the comments about the election would be ‘rigged’ does not seem to have been linked to a viable plan to block having the election result being decided by the electoral college.
When I first wrote this post I suspected Trump knew he would lose once all votes were counted, and he had a plan to discredit these votes. I now feel I was wrong. Trump actually believed that these votes which would be mostly against him must actually be wrong, because how could real people vote against him?
The only explanation that fits all the facts, is that Donald Trump is not inventing lies in order to convince people. It is not all deceit as part of a plan. Trump is telling people what he actually believes!
The legal claims without the backing of real evidence reflect that Trump feels he is in the right despite the lack of evidence. Perhaps part of the appeal of Trump, is that Trump is actually genuine. Genuine in that no matter has wrong some of the things Trump says may be, they are at least his true beliefs.
There is no Trump masterplan, just a hope enough people will come to see things his way for what he sees as the truth to prevail.