On Monday, President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Jenna Ellis predicted that legislatures in four key swing states would reverse their certifications of 2020 election results showing Democrat Joe Biden prevailing over Trump, exercising their authority to change the way electors in the Electoral College are apportioned and handing the president the election. This legislative approach represents another facet of the Trump team’s push to reverse the allegedly tainted results.
“We do have the parallel paths. We are continuing on in the judiciary and I do anticipate that we will get to the Supreme Court,” Ellis told Fox Business’s Charles Payne. The legislative approach represents an alternate path to the same result.
Ellis said she and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani have been “going to the state legislators and telling them that they actually have the constitutionally-delegated authority to make sure that they select their delegates in the manner that does not allow for corruption.”
“When all of these rules and laws in these states have been ignored, it’s actually their constitutional obligation, responsibility, and exclusive power to make sure that they take back their delegates and they don’t allow these false certifications to move forward,” the Trump lawyer argued.
Ellis predicted that the legislatures of Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Michigan would use their authority over determining Electoral College electors in order to reverse the fraud which Ellis argued was responsible for Biden’s margin in those states.
“So, we’re very confident that at least in Georgia, and hopefully also in Arizona, in Pennsylvania, and also in Michigan that these state legislatures will really take election integrity very seriously, they will reclaim their delegates before the 14th [the date on which electors will cast their votes in their separate states] and that they will then do their own election integrity independent investigation and then they will certify to the Electoral College the delegates that actually reflects the will of the people, not these false corrupt results,” the lawyer predicted.
Republicans hold a slight edge over Democrats in the Arizona House (31 seats to 29 seats), the Arizona Senate (17 seats to 13 seats). Republicans hold a much more sizable lead in the Georgia House (103 seats to 75 seats) and the Georgia Senate (35 seats to 21 seats). Republicans also hold more seats in the Pennsylvania House (113 seats to 90 seats) and the Pennsylvania Senate (28 seats to 21 seats). Republicans also control the Michigan House (58 seats to 52 seats) and the Michigan Senate (22 seats to 16 seats).
If these legislatures do indeed conclude that fraud is responsible for Biden’s victory and decide to award their electors to Trump, that would represent 63 electoral votes, flipping the election from 306 electoral votes for Biden and 232 for Trump to 295 electoral votes for Trump and 243 for Biden.
Despite the fact that Republicans hold majorities in these state legislatures, it is rather unlikely the states will take this course. It is theoretically possible for the Trump team to convince legislatures to flip their delegates, but the state legislatures have already passed long-established election laws that may preclude such a course. Furthermore, it will take an exceptionally large amount of evidence to convince these legislatures to follow such a drastic path.
Trump’s team and other organizations have highlighted disturbing irregularities, alleged violations of election law, and possible evidence of fraud that should give Americans pause about this election. Yet this legislative strategy is an extremely drastic step, and the Trump campaign will have to have surefire evidence to convince Americans that such a step is necessary. Legacy media outlets will still likely insist that the campaign’s claims are baseless.
If state legislatures were to carry out this plan without powerful evidence, many would see this reversal as a subversion of democracy.
This legislative strategy seems both desperate and potentially dangerous. Much as I’d like to see Trump get declared the winner, I care more about the legitimacy of America’s electoral system. It is one thing to highlight irregularities and potential episodes of fraud — such things need to be investigated thoroughly. It is entirely something else to demand state legislatures reverse the results of the election without clear evidence that the alleged fraud only cuts in one direction.
From what I’ve seen so far, this would be a terrible strategy with far more risk than reward. But it’s entirely possible Jenna Ellis knows something I don’t.
I also appreciated his last question… don’t miss that! ? pic.twitter.com/7UMAeUIb1V
— Jenna Ellis (@JennaEllisEsq) December 7, 2020
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.
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