GP Insights

GP Insights # 441, 22 November 2020

The United States: Trump's strategy to block the election results suffer reversals in Georgia and Pe
D Suba Chandran

What happened?
On 21 November, a judge in Pennsylvania dismissed a lawsuit filed by the Trump team against voter fraud. According to the judge, the lawsuit had "strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations" and was "unsupported by evidence." Earlier, Rudy Giuliani, the personal attorney for President Trump had filed a lawsuit that the mail ballots had widespread voter fraud. The WSJ quoted the judge saying: "In the United States of America, this cannot justify the disenfranchisement of a single voter, let alone all the voters of its sixth most populated state." Pennsylvania would certify the election results on Monday; according to the existing tally, Biden would win 20 seats from the State.

On 20 November 2020, in Georgia, the election officials after a "methodical hand recount" reconfirmed the victory of Biden by 12,670 votes. The NYT quoted Georgia's secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, bluntly declared on Friday, "I live by the motto that numbers don't lie." This would mean, Biden would win 16 seats from the State. 
Also on 20 November 2020, according to another NYT report: a delegation of seven Michigan Republicans, who had met with Mr Trump at the White House at his request, said they had no information "that would change the outcome of the election in Michigan." According to the existing tally, Biden has won more than 50 per cent of the votes in Michigan, while Trump has only 47.89 per cent. Michigan would provide another 16 seats to Biden if the State has to certify the election results. 

What is the background?
First, the refusal to accept the US presidential election result by Donald Trump. Never before in the recent history of US presidential elections, there has been such a vulgar response to the final result. At the core, is Trump's refusal to accept the verdict, and his refusal to see the writing on the wall.

Second, the failure of legal options to delay the inevitable. The Trump campaign has filed a series of lawsuits alleging largescale voter fraud, especially in the postal ballots. While there have been a few cases of ballots not having the dates, there has been no large scale fraud, as the Trump campaign alleges. The courts, as has been the case in Pennsylvania, have been dismissing such lawsuits as having no credible evidence. As a result, the Trump campaign is running out of options, as it is unable to prove large scale voter fraud in the elections. Trump has asked his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani to represent these lawsuits; so far, he has no single legal case of success. 

Third, the pressure on the Republican party. The party has also been under pressure from Trump to take sides. The latest case is of the White House pressurizing the officials in Republican states to delay the inevitable, by not certifying.. The officials were invited to the White House, and a meeting was held during the week on the above. 

What does it mean?
First, Trump is threatening the very foundations of the electoral system in the US democracy. He is not only questioning the process legally but also inciting his supporters to undermine the election results by engaging in the street protests. Several election officials have been receiving threats from the Trump supporters.

Second, the standing of the Republican party and its role in safeguarding the electoral process and the sanctity of the Presidential election system. The party would face serious questions in the long run, for openly siding with Trump's strategies to undermine the American vote and the larger values.

Third, questions over the larger electoral process. There have been a few issues in the larger process through which the US elects its President. Trump has revealed the loopholes and areas where the process needs fixing. 

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