'Hijacking the democracy': How Republicans could steal the election via the Electoral College

'Hijacking the democracy': How Republicans could steal the election via the Electoral College
Delegates to the Constitutional Convention had to invent an entire new form of government. Howard Chandler Christy/Architect of the Capitol

More than a week after the 2020 presidential election, President-elect Joe Biden's lead in the vote count continues to grow in key battleground states — and when all is said and done, the former vice president might end up with more than 300 electoral votes. Regardless, President Donald Trump is refusing to concede, making the bogus claim that he was robbed of a victory because of widespread voter fraud and vowing to keep fighting the election results in court. And reporters Margaret Talev and Glen Johnson, in an article published in Axios on November 11, describe a frightening scenario in which Republicans in individual states could try to steal the election by refusing to honor the vote count.

"In this long-shot scenario," the Axios journalists explain, "Trump and his team could try to block secretaries of state in contested states from certifying results. That could allow legislatures in those states to try to appoint new electors who favor Trump over Biden."

An attorney described by Talev and Johnson as someone "familiar with" the Electoral College process, told Axios, "It's basically hijacking the democracy. They've got nothing else. You'd be trying to deny Joe Biden 270 (electoral votes)."

Talev and Johnson note that "Biden's status as president-elect is rooted in media projections based on raw vote totals reported by individual states. Those totals don't become official, though, until states certify them. The Constitution prescribes that those official results will be used to apportion electors who officially pick the president."

Far-right AM talk radio host Mark Levin has drawn widespread condemnation for recommending that Republicans in individual states flat-out refuse to give Biden the states' electoral votes even if Biden won the state. On November 5, Levin tweeted:

Donald Trump, Jr. has been slammed by his critics for amplifying Levin's tweet, which indicates that the president's son is on board with Levin's idea for an authoritarian power grab.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is drawing criticism for saying, during a November 10 news conference, that there will be a "smooth transition to a second Trump Administration." The Trump loyalist told reporters, "When the process is complete, there's going to be electors selected. There's a process; the Constitution lays it out pretty clearly."

Election law expert Edward B. Foley discussed the possibility of a Republican Electoral College power grab in a November 6 op-ed for the Washington Post, writing, "This is a horrible idea, one that should be morally repugnant to every American. For a state legislature to reclaim this power after voters have already cast their own ballots would be an even more egregious intrusion into the democratic process."

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.