What’s with the hubbub about tomorrow’s joint session of Congress? That’s where Vice President Mike Pence will preside, and Congress will validate President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College win. Here’s my take.
Our votes have been cast and counted in all states and the District of Columbia. In some cases, the votes were counted several times by local Republican and Democrat officials with no material change or findings of irregularity.
Then all states, Republican and Democrat alike, verified their vote tallies and certified the results.
Results were Donald Trump with 74,111,419 votes nationally (46.96%), the most ever received by a sitting U.S. president, and Joe Biden with 81,009,468 (51.33%), the most all time. Period.
This total, of course, is irrelevant as the presidential race is decided by the electoral process as outlined in our Constitution. There, each state is allocated one electoral vote for each member of Congress.
Typically, the candidate who wins the popular vote in each state receives all the state’s electoral votes, with exception of Nebraska and Maine, which allocate electoral votes based on the winner of congressional districts.
So, a candidate must win 270 electoral votes, or one more than half of the 538 electors. President-elect Biden has done so, 306-232, as the electoral votes have been cast.
All that remains is for the joint session of Congress to receive the votes tomorrow and then to inaugurate the new president on Jan. 20.
President Trump objected, however. He tweeted that it was statistically impossible for him to have lost the 2020 election while providing no evidence. He added, “Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there and be wild.”
His trade adviser and collaborator, Peter Navarro, asserted that election fraud had been found in enough states to swing the election to Donald Trump, again with no evidence showing this actually happened.
The problem is, of course, these are assertions by an interested party.
Trump’s presidential campaign filed 50-plus lawsuits before various federal judges, many of whom were Trump appointees, on these assertions. They all lost.
Even Trump’s Department of Justice, led by Bill Barr at the time, said it did not find evidence of widespread fraud in the election.
Now, some Trump allies insist on a debate in Congress over the same claims.
Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., was first to declare he would object to the results, meaning Congress must debate. He was joined by Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas; Ron Johnson, R-Wis.; James Lankford, R-Okla.; Steve Daines, R-Mont.; John Kennedy, R-La.; Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.; Mike Braun, R-Ind.; Cynthia Lummis R-Wy.; Roger Marshall R-Kan.; Bill Hagerty R-Tenn.; and Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala.
The senators said they will object to the certification of electors from “disputed states” unless Congress establishes a commission to examine those states’ elections in an “emergency 10-day audit.”
Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, said in a release, “More Americans participated in this election than ever before, and they made their choice. President Trump’s lawyers made their case before scores of courts; in every instance, they failed. The Justice Department found no evidence of irregularity sufficient to overturn the election. The Presidential Voter Fraud Commission disbanded without finding such evidence.”
Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., said he would vote to affirm the 2020 results. He wrote, “A fundamental, defining feature of a democratic republic is the right of the people to elect their own leaders. The effort by Sens. Hawley, Cruz, and others to overturn the ... election in swing states like Pennsylvania directly undermines this right.”
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said within hours after her Republican colleagues announcing plans to join the objection, “I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution ... and that is what I will do. ... The courts and state legislatures have all honored their duty to hear legal allegations and have found nothing to warrant overturning the results.”
So, what’s the hubbub? Much ado about nothing. It’s not statically possible to win when the other guy has more electoral votes. Why waste time? Why call for confrontation? Shouldn’t we focus on stopping the coronavirus?