Courtesy of Salon:
Trump campaign officials and legal advisers are reportedly preparing to appoint their own state electors as a way to secure victory in a contested election, a move that would precipitate an unprecedented constitutional crisis.
The country will in all likelihood not know the outcome of the presidential election on Election Day. It is likely, given a raft of threatening public statements from President Trump, that he will reject unfavorable results.
The president is not directly elected by the people — the official votes are cast by electors on behalf of the voters in their states. Though states have historically chosen their electors by popular vote, the Constitution does not mandate that, saying only that a state shall appoint its electors “in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct.”
Every state has allowed its voters to make the call in every election since the late 1800s. But in 2000, the Supreme Court held in Bush v. Gore that the states “can take back the power to appoint electors.”
According to a Sept. 23 article in The Atlantic, campaign advisers to Trump, in conjunction with Republican state leaders, are preparing to test this theory. Sources in the Republican Party, at both state and national levels, say that the campaign is considering a plan to “bypass” the popular vote results and install its own electors in key battleground states where the legislatures are controlled by Republicans.
Republicans control both legislative bodies in the six closest battleground states: Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Of those six, both Arizona and Florida have Republican governors.
After the national election, the plan goes, the Trump campaign would cry foul about rampant fraud and demand that state legislators ignore the ballot tabulations and choose their electors directly. If the campaign can sustain doubt or confusion about the ballot count, legislators will feel more and more pressure to take up the responsibility before the Dec. 8 deadline when electors’ names are sent to Congress for verification.
The Atlantic reported that a Trump campaign legal adviser said this effort would be framed as protecting the will of the people.
Just in case you are thinking of discounting this as preposterous and unworkable let me remind you that this is just one more tactic in Trump’s “steal the election” toolbelt.
This is just one more arrow in a quiver that already contains voter suppression, voter intimidation, sabotage of the mail delivery system to impact mail-in ballots, and the stacking of the Supreme Court in preparation for a court battle to challenge the election outcome.
Every single one of these tactics is an admission by the Trump folks that he will lose the election, but that only matters if the election results are counted fairly, and that people accept them as legitimate.
This is not just another election, this is literally a battle for our democracy.