It ain’t over, not quite, but the finish line for the 2020 presidential election is a few short strides away, and matters are looking grim for The Donald.
As of this morning, the count in the state of Georgia has flipped in favor of former Vice President Joe Biden, an astonishing feat of history. It’s a sliver of proof that the South, a huge brick in the GOP’s mighty red state wall, may be changing right along with everything else, thanks to the strength of grassroots organizing (and particularly the efforts of Stacey Abrams’s Fair Fight and other groups confronting racist voter suppression).
Trump pulled a mini-surge in Arizona over the last couple of days, but it appears to be falling short of knocking Biden out of the lead in that state. Biden also maintains a narrow lead in Nevada, while Trump holds a small lead in North Carolina.
Pennsylvania, however, is the ballgame. Before the Democrat-heavy mail-in vote was counted, Trump led in the Keystone State by as much as 700,000 votes. As the week wore on and those mailed votes were tabulated, that mighty lead melted to almost nothing. And at 8:52 am this morning, CNN reported that Pennsylvania had flipped to Biden by a count of more than 5,000 votes. That margin continues to grow by the hour, and at this point, it is only a matter of time.
The Electoral College (EC) count stands at 253 for Biden and 214 for Trump. Pennsylvania’s 20 EC votes are more than enough to push Biden over the top, with Georgia, Arizona and Nevada adding gravy to the potatoes.
We’re all still going to be here for a while. Trump has made it clear that he will not concede no matter the outcome — though it’s important to keep in mind there is no constitutional requirement for a concession to take place. He has insisted on peddling a stolen-election conspiracy theory too wild even for Twitter to stomach.
“I easily WIN the Presidency of the United States with LEGAL VOTES CAST,” Trump shriek-tweeted at 2:22 am. “The OBSERVERS were not allowed, in any way, shape, or form, to do their job and therefore, votes accepted during this period must be determined to be ILLEGAL VOTES. U.S. Supreme Court should decide!” Moments later, Twitter labeled the tweet as “misleading.”
Behind the sweaty walls of Trump’s campaign headquarters, all is chaos. “Senior White House and Trump campaign officials are complaining bitterly about poor internal communication, blaming colleagues, pondering what jobs they might try to get next year, and lashing out at their new enemy: Fox News,” reports Axios.
Recall: The Trump campaign is pissed at Fox for calling Arizona perhaps a shade too early, as if that call is the reason for the math behind all those mailed-in votes in Pennsylvania and Georgia. As for the legal recourse Trump is seeking in several states, well: “Some advisers are also skeptical that the campaign’s lawsuits will do anything to change the vote count,” reports USA Today.
“Skeptical” is a kind euphemism. These lawsuits are garbage on the wing, and anyone with a stitch of legal sense knows it. Ben Ginsburg, maybe the top GOP election lawyer, is the Darth Vader of politics in the courtroom. He was at the center of the Bush campaign’s ruthlessly successful 2000 Florida fight, represents the campaign PACs of the most powerful Republicans in Congress, and was until recently a partner at the powerhouse Washington, D.C., law firm Jones Day.
“It’s difficult to see the long-term winning strategy behind these lawsuits,” Ginsburg told Axios regarding Trump’s legal strategy. “To mix metaphors, it looks like throwing the kitchen sink at the wall and see what sticks.”
The “illegal” mailed-in votes arguments are belied by what went down in Ohio. All the other states counted the in-person votes first, making it seem as if Trump had this massive lead because more Democrats than Republicans voted by mail this time. In Ohio, they did the opposite and counted the mailed-in votes first. You may recall seeing Biden ahead in Ohio by more than 300,000 votes on Tuesday; it was positively surreal.
Soon enough, however, they got to the in-person votes, reality returned to the Buckeye State, and Trump won Ohio handily as expected. No one in the Biden camp complained, because they bothered to understand how the process was going to work this year.
It ain’t over, and the shouting/tantrum portion of this exercise will likely continue long after January 20, 2021, comes and goes. But math is math, and it seems farfetched to believe a Trump legal team comprised of Rudy Giuliani, Corey Lewandowski and the last three people Trump hasn’t fired yet have the horses to get it done in a courtroom. Ginsburg and the other legal heavies like James Baker are sitting this one out.
“What will Trump do now?” is the last, and most pressing question of the hour. Will he signal to his followers that the time for violence has come? Will they make that decision by themselves? On the other hand, will any Republicans finally stand up and shout Trump down if he refuses to accept the inevitable? Will Trump’s last act in office be the final obliteration of the Republican Party?
Trump has been flipping lit matches at an open cask of gunpowder for years now. The next one could drop in at any moment, which is why Joe Biden suddenly has a whole crowd of new, heavily armed friends in black suits with wires in their ears.
Yeah, no, not over yet. Not with this guy.