Here’s a theory of what the Democrats’ last-ditch, do-or-die plan may be to stop Donald Trump. This is from my favorite pundit, my son, Hal. It’s Machiavellian, but that’s typical of the Democrats who, after all, have nothing else to do but scheme. As you may or may not know, on Friday, January 6th, Congress meets in joint session to ratify the electoral vote that took place in the states on December 19th. That’s the Democrats’ last chance to stop Donald Trump from becoming president, if you could call it a chance.
First, we had the run-up: the constant refrain that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by 3 million votes. Never mind that they were, in a sense, all in California, which she won by over 4 million votes. Nevermind that the Constitution mandates the winning candidate must win a majority of electoral votes in the states. The purpose of that is to make certain that every state has a say—otherwise, presidential candidates would only need to campaign in the most populous states, like New York and California, which also happen to be blue states.
Then, we had Jill Stein’s phony, but high-profile attempt to have recalls in WI, MI, and PA- three states that are usually blue, but this time went for Trump. The theory no doubt was if they could fish around enough, maybe they could come up with enough Democrat votes to turn all three, which would be just enough to push Trump’s electoral total below the necessary 270.
Stein made frequent use of the narrative that the Russians may have hacked the voting machines, backed up by fables of how it could’ve been done from her cohort: J. Alex Halderman, a professor of computer science.
That attempt failed miserably. Then it was the push to turn at least 37 electors, using petitions, threats, and videos of actors begging them not to vote for Trump. That failed except for a few faithless electors, notably three Democrat electors in Washington State who abandoned Hillary and voted for Colin Powell, a Republican.
Throughout this all, there’s been a constant harangue that the Russians were behind the uncomplimentary WikiLeaks disclosures of Hillary Clinton's campaign, with the implication that it was done to help Trump win. The evident mission of the tirade was to delegitimize Trump’s election win. The revelations that she was at least twice given debate questions in advance are an example of the kind of disclosures WikiLeaks released online.
That info, and other embarrassments were hacked from Podesta’s e-mail account by using a phishing e-mail. On January 5th, Director Clapper told a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing called by Senator John McCain—a relentless proponent of the Russian narrative— that the Russians also used disinformation and fake news, to affect our election. It’s an open question whether Putin’s alleged disinformation and fake news were more grievous than that of our own media. A more detailed report will be given to the president-elect on January 6th.
In a written report on the hearing, which Clapper’s office linked to, the only info specific to the election issue was this, which is hardly evidence: “We assess that only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized the recent election-focused data thefts and disclosures, based on the scope and sensitivity of the targets.”
Now for the plot. On January 6th, the procedure is as follows, according to Archives.gov:
The Vice President, as President of the Senate, is the presiding officer. Two tellers are appointed to open, present and record the votes of the States in alphabetical order. The President of the Senate announces the results of the vote and declares which persons, if any, have been elected President and Vice President of the United States.
The results are entered into the official journals of the House and Senate. The President of the Senate then calls for objections to be made. If any objections are registered, they must be submitted in writing and be signed by at least one member of the House and Senate. The House and Senate would withdraw to their respective chambers to consider the merits of any objections.
Now, it’s been reported that a number of House Democrats are thinking about launching objections. But, of course, they each must get a Senator to sign the objection.
It’s also been reported that Unite for America, the same group behind the unsuccessful drive to persuade electors to vote against Trump on Dec. 19, has a new scheme: “The group is now encouraging lawmakers to disqualify electors on technical grounds,” according to Politico. “Working with attorneys, the group identified 50 Republican electors who they say were ineligible to cast ballots, some because of residency requirements and others because of state-level restrictions on dual office-holders.”
Another website, Alternet said:
“That stunning finding is among the conclusions of an extensive 1,000-plus page legal briefing prepared by a bipartisan, nationwide legal team for members of Congress who are being urged to object to certifying the 2016 Electoral College results on Friday.”
If you’re wondering who’s paying for this initiative, it’s someone with deep pockets- that’s for sure. What is the goal of all this effort? Alternet says the goal is:
“That sufficient numbers of Republicans in Congress will not vote to ratify the Electoral College results, thus depriving Trump of the 270 Electoral College votes he needs to win the presidency. If that transpires, the House would then decide between the three top Electoral College vote-getters—Trump, Hillary Clinton, and Colin Powell.”
Colin Powell? Remember the three faithless electors in Washington State? They all voted for Colin Powell, a Republican who voted for Obama. The plan is to use weeks of ranting about the Russians to convince members of Congress to uphold the objections and members of the House to choose Colin Powell, who at least appears to be a Republican.
Unfortunately for the weavers of this web, since the GOP Congress is sure to reject these challenges, it’s not going to work. And, even if they uphold the rejections, it still won’t work. Mr. Trump will no longer have 304 electors; he’d only have 254. But the would-be Machiavellis neglected to read the Constitution, which says, in the 12th Amendment:
“The person having the greatest number of electoral votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed.”
If 50 electors are found to be improperly appointed, there would be only 488 appointed; Trump would have 254. That’s still a majority.