Biden Wins Electoral College Votes to Clinch Presidency, Incumbent Trump and Supporters Up the Ante as Election Drama Continues
The 538 United States electors expected to formally cement the victory of presidential election winners performed their duties across the US Monday, December 14. Of the 538 electoral votes cast, Democrat Joe Biden won 306 to President Donald Trump’s 232, formalizing Mr. Biden’s win as the 46th President of the United States. The vote that usually takes place in December of each presidential election cycle has not drawn as much attention and interest in the past, as it was the case this year.
US President, Donald Trump still contesting the outcome of the election (C) AP News
This is not without reason. Incumbent President Trump has thus far not conceded, and he does not appear to be planning to do so anytime soon. The President’s allies and supporters continue to multiply efforts to overturn the vote and tip it in favour of their candidate, despite over thirty defeats in as many legal actions brought before the courts in the country, at district, state levels and at the US Supreme Court.
During an appearance on Fox News Monday, Senior White House Adviser, Stephen Miller, speaking as a senior adviser to the Trump campaign, brushed off the idea that the Electoral College vote marked any kind of end to the process. He said, “The only date in the Constitution is Jan. 20. So, we have more than enough time to right the wrong of this fraudulent election result and certify Donald Trump as the winner of the election”.
Stephen Miller, Senior White House Adviser (C) Newsweek
Mr. Miller was not just talking. While he was on the media, there was action on the ground in some battleground states where the Trump Campaign believes efforts to stop Mr. Biden from getting to the White House could still gain traction. In the backdrop of that action, Mr. Miller said: “As we speak, today, an alternate slate of electors in the contested states is going to vote and we're going to send those results up to Congress,” adding that “This will ensure that all of our legal remedies remain open. That means that if we win these cases in the courts, that we can direct that the alternate state of electors be certified.”
Although nothing in the Constitution or state electoral processes in the United States allows for such an “alternate” slate of electors, Mr. Miller was not shy in raising the idea of state legislatures stepping in to overturn the results or of Congress interceding. He indicated that Trump supporters will act as “alternates” in Georgia, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, to submit their own, unofficial results. Of course, there are allies in the House of Representatives and the Senate waiting to challenge the certified results of the election on January 6, 2021.
Addressing the nation just hours after his electoral college victory, President-elect, Biden condemned the actions of President Trump and his allies in the Republican party for continuing to undermine US democracy. He called the election, “honest, free and fair,” referring to attacks on the election and election officials “simply unconscionable” and President Trump's attempts to overturn the election an “abuse of power”.
Mr. Biden noted further that “In America, politicians don't take power — the people grant it to them…The flame of democracy was lit in this nation a long time ago. And we now know that nothing, not even a pandemic — or an abuse of power — can extinguish that flame.
“In this battle for the soul of America, democracy prevailed…We the people voted. Faith in our institutions held. The integrity of our elections remains intact. And so, now it is time to turn the page. To unite. To heal”. He once more made clear he would be “…a president for all Americans…I will work just as hard for those of you who didn't vote for me as I will for those who did”
US Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell (C) KCCI.com
For the first time Tuesday, December 15, Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell acknowledged Mr. Biden as the President-elect, likely dashing the hopes of the President and his allies that Congress would pick the protest relay on January 6. In a speech on the Senate floor, he said “Our country has, officially, a president-elect and a vice-president-elect…I want to congratulate President-elect Joe Biden. The president-elect is no stranger to the Senate. He’s devoted himself to public service for many years”.
The Trump Campaign’s prolonged protest of the outcome of the November 3 vote has not been without consequences on the future of the Republican party. Voices have risen from within the ranks of the party to condemn what has been widely seen as anti-democratic practices. Besides well-known figures like Senator Mitt Romney of Utah who have serially condemned the actions, Michigan Republican Rep. Paul Mitchell has pushed the threshold further by outrightly disaffiliating from the GOP (Good Old Party).
Michigan Republican Rep. Paul Mitchell (C) Politico
In an exclusive interview with CNN Monday, Rep. Paul Mitchell expressed his disgust and disappointment with President Donald Trump's efforts to overturn the results of the election. He said the conduct led him to request that the Clerk of the House change his party affiliation to “independent,” and to notify Republican Party leaders in a letter that he was withdrawing his “engagement and association with the Republican Party at both the national and state level”.
“This party has to stand up for democracy first, for our Constitution first, and not political considerations,” Rep. Mitchell told CNN. This statement reflects the content of the letter the elected official served the Clerk of the House, indicating his desire to henceforth operate and vote as an independent.
“I agree that there have been some disconcerting aspects to this election. With more than 155 million people voting, both administrative errors and even some fraudulent voting likely occurred. Steps must be taken, by each state, to audit election results, validate ballots and process and report findings to ensure that every legal vote counts. Michigan clearly needs to do that, not just Wayne County. However, the president and his legal team have failed to provide substantive evidence of fraud or administrative failure on a scale large enough to impact the outcome of the election.
Any candidate, including the president, is entitled to request recounts and pursue legal challenges they believe are appropriate if they possess evidence of wrongdoing. President Trump has undertaken or supported both of these options. Recounts have failed to significantly alter the vote outcome in any state and dozens of court cases have been summarily dismissed in both state and federal courts across our nation,” the letter reads in part.
Rep. Mitchell pushes further stating, “It is unacceptable for political candidates to treat our election system as though we are a third- world nation and incite distrust of something so basic as the sanctity of our vote. Further, it is unacceptable for the president to attack the Supreme Court of the United States because its judges, both liberal and conservative, did not rule with his side or that “the Court failed him.” It was our Founding Fathers' objective to insulate the Supreme Court from such blatant political motivations”.
The Representative also turned his ire to his colleagues of the Republican Party whom he considers did not stand up for the country and for the constitution.
“If Republican leaders collectively sit back and tolerate unfounded conspiracy theories and “stop the steal” rallies without speaking out for our electoral process, which the Department of Homeland Security said was “the most secure in American history,” our nation will be damaged. I have spoken out clearly and forcefully in opposition to these messages. However, with the leadership of the Republican Party and our Republican Conference in the House actively participating in at least some of those efforts, I fear long-term harm to our democracy,” he warned.
The backlash of this prolonged election protest is already being felt in Georgia as supporters of the President have been calling for a GOP boycott, chiding the Republican candidates there, for not standing up all the way to support the incumbent, but are actively working to “maintain their jobs”. Flyers and other social media messages have been circulated all over the place urging the president’s supporters to skip the January 5, 2021 senate election run-off.
Calls for violence have also been circulating on social media, warning people to get adequate supplies and “second amendment” equipment in readiness for the unknown.