2020 was a ‘dry run’ for MAGA Republicans to ‘steal the 2024 election’: conservative Bush-appointed judge

2020 was a ‘dry run’ for MAGA Republicans to ‘steal the 2024 election’: conservative Bush-appointed judge

Warnings that MAGA Republicans will steal the 2024 presidential election if given a chance have not only been coming from Democrats. Some non-MAGA conservatives are speaking out as well, including J. Michael Luttig — a George W. Bush appointee who spent 15 years as a federal U.S. Court of Appeals judge. In an op-ed published by CNN’s website on April 27, Luttig warns that MAGA efforts to steal the 2020 presidential election were merely a “dry run” for 2024.

“The Republicans’ mystifying claim, to this day, that (former President Donald) Trump did, or would have, received more votes than Joe Biden in 2020 were it not for actual voting fraud, is but the shiny object that Republicans have tauntingly and disingenuously dangled before the American public for almost a year and a half now to distract attention from their far more ambitious objective,” Luttig emphasizes. “That objective is not somehow to rescind the 2020 election, as they would have us believe. That’s constitutionally impossible. Trump and the Republicans’ far more ambitious objective is to execute successfully, in 2024, the very same plan they failed in executing in 2020 and to overturn the 2024 election if Trump or his anointed successor loses again in the next quadrennial contest. The last presidential election was a dry run for the next.”

Although Republicans have had their share of midterms red waves in post-1980s elections — including the red waves of 1994 and 2010 — Democrats have been outperforming them in the popular vote in presidential elections. Democrats have won the popular vote in seven of the United States’ last eight presidential elections; the exception was 2004, when incumbent President George W. Bush defeated Democratic nominee John Kerry in both the electoral vote and the popular vote.

But even if 2024’s Democratic presidential nominee legitimately wins the electoral vote, Luttig warns, MAGA Republicans have a game plan for overturning the election results.

“From long before Election Day 2020, Trump and Republicans planned to overturn the presidential election by exploiting the Electors and Elections Clauses of the Constitution, the Electoral College, the Electoral Count Act of 1877, and the 12th Amendment, if Trump lost the popular and Electoral College vote,” Luttig explains. “The cornerstone of the plan was to have the Supreme Court embrace the little known ‘independent state legislature’ doctrine, which, in turn, would pave the way for exploitation of the Electoral College process and the Electoral Count Act — and finally, for Vice President Mike Pence to reject enough swing state electoral votes to overturn the election using Pence’s ceremonial power under the 12th Amendment and award the presidency to Donald Trump.”

Luttig continues, “The independent state legislature doctrine says that, under the Elections and the Electors Clauses of the Constitution, state legislatures possess plenary and exclusive power over the conduct of federal presidential elections and the selection of state presidential electors. Not even a state supreme court, let alone other state elections officials, can alter the legislatively written election rules or interfere with the appointment of state electors by the legislatures, under this theory.”

According to Luttig, now is the time to take steps to prevent MAGA Republicans from stealing the 2024 election.

“Forewarned is to be forearmed,” Luttig advises. “Trump and the Republicans can only be stopped from stealing the 2024 election at this point if the Supreme Court rejects the independent state legislature doctrine — thus allowing state court enforcement of state constitutional limitations on legislatively enacted election rules and elector appointments — and Congress amends the Electoral Count Act to constrain Congress’ own power to reject state electoral votes and decide the presidency.”

Luttig’s CNN op-ed has caught the attention of The Bulwark’s Bill Kristol and other Never Trump conservatives:

Here are some more responses to Luttig’s op-ed:

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