An Absurdly Easy Way For Democrats to Shut Down Trump’s Silly Coup Attempt

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Photo by Michael on Unsplash

Four days before Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election is officially certified by Congress in a ceremonial vote, there are at least 141 elected Republicans in that body who are still refusing to admit that Trump is out.

140 Republicans in the House of Representatives, plus Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri, have committed to formally objecting to the election results in a handful of battleground states won by Biden. It won’t make a difference to anything, except to waste about 12 hours of their colleagues’ time in pointless bickering.

In accordance with the Electoral Count Act of 1887, if at least one representative and one senator object to the slate of electors certified by any individual state, then both houses of Congress have to withdraw and debate for two hours. Then they each take a vote on accepting or rejecting the slate of electors. If both houses vote to reject the slate, those electors’ votes don’t get counted.

So the 141 Republicans are attempting to get at least 37 total electors rejected, so that Joe Biden’s electoral vote count falls below a simple majority of 270. After that, they would hope to have the election determined by the House of Representatives, in a unique arrangement where each state’s delegation gets a single vote. Since 26 state delegations have a Republican majority, these 141 Republicans (and most of Trump’s roughly 75 million voters from 2020) are thinking that the House would end up declaring Trump the winner.

The effort will fail, one hundred percent. It’s a useless waste of time, and the Republicans know it. The House of Representatives has a Democratic majority, so it won’t vote to reject any slates of electors won by Joe Biden. But a handful of Republican senators have also committed to opposing the coup attempt, so the Senate won’t be voting to reject any electors either.

Nevertheless, in a healthy working democracy, a thing like this shouldn’t happen. And Democrats are not powerless to stop it, despite what they’ve all assumed.

Here’s all they need to do. Have one Democratic representative and one Democratic senator threaten to object to all the slates of electors won by Trump, in all 25 states. In addition to the pointless 12 hours of debate Republicans plan to achieve by objecting to the results in six battleground states, the Democrats could add 50 more hours of pointless debate, before Biden’s win is certified anyway.

Not even Josh Hawley is crazy enough to choose willingly to sit through 62 hours of listening to his fellow gasbags doing their gasbag thing, on both sides of the aisle. He’ll give it up, and let the the certification go through on time.

If 25 states aren’t enough, the Democrats could object to all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia. There’s nothing in the Constitution or the Electoral Count Act that says lawmakers can’t object to votes won by their own party. So maybe the Republicans need to contemplate 102 hours of fruitless debate before they lose anyway.

If you’re thinking this would make an absolute mockery of our system of government, leaving a permanent stain on the proud American democratic experiment —

You are correct.

Congratulations, you just caught on.

And you got there ahead of at least 141 members of Congress, plus the President of the United States.

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