'Trump blew it': How bogus voter fraud claims in Michigan became a 'national embarrassment' for the GOP

'Trump blew it': How bogus voter fraud claims in Michigan became a 'national embarrassment' for the GOP
Photo via Screengrab.

On Monday, November 23, the Michigan Board of State Canvassers voted, 3-1, to certify President-elect Joe Biden's victory over President Donald Trump in that state — officially giving Biden Michigan's 16 electoral votes in the 2020 presidential election. Trump and his allies, making bogus voter fraud claims, have tried to overturn the election results in Michigan. And journalist Tim Alberta, in an article published by Politico on November 24, describes the legal battle with Team Trump waged in the midwestern Rust Belt state.

Alberta notes that one of the toughest obstacles that the Trump campaign encountered in Michigan after the election turned out to be Republican attorney Aaron Van Langevelde, a member of the Michigan Board of State Canvassers. Van Langevelde, despite being a Republican, had no interest in trying to help Trump steal the election — and he made it clear that he considered Biden president-elect and believed that he won Michigan fair and square.

Alberta explains, "After five years spent bullying the Republican Party into submission, President Donald Trump finally met his match in Aaron Van Langevelde." And despite being under pressure from fellow Republicans to delay the certification of Biden's victory in Michigan, Alberta notes, Van Langevelde did not cave in.

Van Langevelde made his position clear, declaring, on November 23, "We must not attempt to exercise power we simply don't have. As John Adams once said, 'We are a government of laws, not men.' This board needs to adhere to that principle here today. This board must do its part to uphold the rule of law and comply with our legal duty to certify this election."

That was the last thing the Trump campaign wanted to hear from Van Langevelde, who refused to go along with the Trump campaign's brazen power grab in his state.

Alberta notes, "Van Langevelde is a Republican. He works for Republicans in the state house. He gives legal guidance to advance Republican causes and win Republican campaigns. As a Republican, his mandate for Monday's hearing — handed down from the state party chair, the national party chair and the president himself — was straightforward. They wanted Michigan's board of canvassers to delay certification of Biden's victory. Never mind that Trump lost by more than 154,000 votes, or that results were already certified in all 83 counties."

The Michigan Board of State Canvassers consists of two Democrats and two Republicans. The other Republican is Norman Shinkle, who on November 23, abstained from the final vote — a move that Alberta describes as "a cowardly abdication of duty." But Van Langevelde, Alberta stresses, "stood on principle" during a "low point in his party's existence, with much of the GOP's leadership class pre-writing their own political epitaphs by empowering Trump to lay waste to the country's foundational democratic norms."

The fact that Trump's legal team tried to overturn Michigan's election results shows how little they value the United States' democratic traditions. And some Michigan Republicans are joining Van Langevelde in calling Trump out. One of them is Jason Cabel Roe, a Michigan-based Republican strategist.

Roe told Politico, "The unfortunate reality within the party today is that Trump retains a hold that is forcing party leaders to continue down the path of executing his fantasy of overturning the outcome — at their own expense. Frankly, continuing to humor him merely excuses his role in this. The election wasn't stolen, he blew it. Up until the final two weeks, he seemingly did everything possible to lose. Given how close it was, there is no one to blame but Trump."

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