Check out the website: : =   Political Note #326 House Members who could elect a President

Len’s Letters #31 Answering Bill Maher.  If Trump refuses to leave?

General Election 2020 for President and Vice President of the United States of America

Bill Maher keeps asking politicians:  What will you do if Trump refuses to leave?  Every Democrat he asks gives the same ineffective answer: Win by a lot. Post-debate polls suggest that Biden-Harris will win by a lot.  What do you do if the Democrats win by a lot and Trump refuses to leave?

Donald Trump really wants to remain in office.  (1) He likes the power. He likes the attention.  He likes to tweet. He likes the sense that he is “the greatest”.   (2) He makes money in office. We’ve seen with his tax returns that most of the money he currently makes is from being President.  Furthermore, he has a lot of debt coming due.  (3) He doesn’t want to go to jail.  He must know that some of what he has done could be criminal.  He will be much more vulnerable to criminal charges out of office, than in.  Furthermore, statutes of limitations may run out while he is in office.

Donald Trump will attempt to stay if he has a legal justification or if he can create a justification.  His reasoning might be nonsense.  We have to fight the nonsense.  We need to make it impossible for Trump to stay.

We need a Plan B and, maybe, a Plan C.   “Win by a lot.” Is an insufficient answer even with Trump ill. We have to proceed as if Trump will be healthy enough to keep on going.

If there is a plan for dealing with Trump refusing to leave, we don’t see it.  Trump has two ways to gain the presidency. (1)  Get an absolute majority (270 votes) in the Electoral College. (2) If no one gets a majority in the Electoral College, the House of Representatives, voting by delegation, chooses the President.

The typical way to win the presidency is to win a majority of the popular vote and to win a majority of the popular vote in enough individual states and the right individual states to gain an absolute majority of 270 Electors in the Electoral College.  The 538 electors could fail to achieve an absolute majority of 270 if there were a 269-vote tie or if one or more Electors’ votes or slates of Electors’ votes are rejected at the mandatory joint session of the newly elected Congress that counts the votes.  A third party winning in some states, which could prevent any candidate from getting an absolute majority, is not in play this year.  As we have learned, a majority of the national popular vote means nothing.

Win by a lot is part of an answer, but not the only part.  Win the Senate and have enough delegations in the House to control the outcome are all part of the answer.

A common worry that builds on Trump’s frequent claim that absentee ballot voting is fraudulent (Remember – the Ninth Congressional District 2018 election in North Carolina was voided because of Republican fraudulent manipulation of absentee ballots) is that on the morning of November 4, Trump will find himself ahead in the votes required for an Electoral College win.  He will declare himself a winner and prohibit any further ballot counting.  (Remember – the Supreme Court declared GW Bush the winner in Florida and, therefore, the general election winner, prohibiting any further ballot recounts).

How can we ensure that all the ballots will be counted?  Ballot counting is a state responsibility.  Democratic governors can probably ensure that ballots continue to be counted in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. In Ohio, the Republican governor might be more committed to a full count than to winning unfairly.  If n nothing else, these governors can exercise some control because they must certify the electoral college votes.   We can expect that Arizona or Florida or Georgia will stop counting if the President says they should stop.

Preventing ballots from being counted should be treated as one of the most serious of crimes.  Preventing ballots from being counted can be seen as sedition, an attempt to overthrow the government.  If local prosecutors or state Attorneys General won’t step in to enforce state sedition laws, we should look to US Attorneys.  And if US Attorneys won’t step in to enforce federal laws against sedition or the overthrow of the government, we have to look for other solutions.

If state governors, local prosecutors or state Attorneys General or US Attorneys succeed in ensuring that ballots are counted, it is likely that Biden-Harris will win in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Nevada (to name a few battleground states).  If all the votes in Arizona, Florida, and maybe even Georgia were to be counted Biden-Harris would probably win in those states, too.   If there is a chance that a different outcome for these states would change the national election, state legislatures in those places may change how the Electoral College slate from their state is chosen. (Remember, the Florida legislature was giving serious thought to having the state legislature or the state senate choose the Electors from their state before the US Supreme Court made that no longer necessary.)

If Republican legislatures in states where the Democratic ticket is winning change the rules, as the Florida legislature was contemplating in 2000, this, too, is an effort to overthrow the government.  If local prosecutors or state Attorneys General won’t step in to enforce state sedition laws and US Attorneys won’t step in to enforce federal sedition laws to insist ballots are counted, they are unlikely to stop state legislative action.

The next place to look is Congress. Winning by a landslide may not be necessary. Winning the Senate will be necessary.  Winning the Senate and the House by enough to win on crucial, difficult votes will be necessary.

At 1:00pm on January 6, 2021 the newly elected Congress will meet in joint session to count the Electoral College ballots.  The counting is done by state in alphabetical order. Because of count stopping and legislatively appointed slates, it appears that Trump-Pence will be reelected.  Imagine Arizona.  Trump-Pence was ahead the morning of November 4.  The counting of absentee ballots had begun and it appeared that Biden-Harris could win.  Counting stopped because the Arizona state legislature met and changed its rules regarding the Electoral College.  The Electoral College slate would be chosen by the state Senate which was still in Republican hands.  In the Joint Session of Congress, Nancy Pelosi on behalf of Democrats objects to including the Arizona slate in the Electoral College count – presaging what would happen with the Florida and Georgia count.  Without Arizona, Florida, and Georgia Trump-Pence would not have the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the presidency.

As required, the joint session separates into the two separate legislative bodies.  Both the Senate and the House affirm the objections.  The slates submitted by Arizona, Florida, and Georgia do not count in the Electoral College totals.  If either the House or the Senate had not affirmed the objections, these slates would have been counted.  The Democrats winning a majority of the Senate makes it possible to affirm the objections.

Without 270 Electoral College votes for any candidate, the House of Representatives, voting as state delegations, would elect the President of the United States.  In the 116th Congress, the outgoing Congress, Republicans control state 26 delegations, Democrats 23, and one delegation is tied. Winning certain House races is crucial.  For instance, assume only three delegation changes. Democrats win the Alaska Congressional seat from the Republicans, the Montana Congressional seat from the Republicans, and Pennsylvania’s 10th District seat (Pennsylvania is the state where the delegation is now tied),  Democrats would have 26 delegations and Republicans would have 24.  There are many other possibilities.  There is even the possibility of a 25-25 tie.  (I hate to say this, but I have no idea how that would be resolved except through political negotiations which, if not resolved by January 20, Donald Trump’s term of office ends and  the Speaker of the House becomes President.) \ Democrats could well have a majority of the delegations in the House to select Joe Biden as President (See Political Note #326 of  A Democratic majority in the Senate would select Kamala Harris as Vice President.

Would Donald Trump leave?  He would be escorted out, I’m confident, by the Secret Service if the Biden-Harris ticket were elected by the Electoral College or by the House and the Senate.  (The Secret Service are men and women who remember their colleagues being trapped inside a car with Covid-19 contagious Donald Trump so he could waive at admirers.) Make no assumptions, though.  Remember the riot-like atmosphere as Republicans attempted to disrupt ballot counting in Florida in 2000. The opportunity for mischief is much greater in 2020.

The US Military leadership has been clear. It will have nothing to do with the election or its results.  After the Constitutional procedures have ensured that the Biden-Harris ticket should take office, would the US military allow ICE or the Border Patrol to keep Donald Trump as President? Would we?

One protective bit for the election:  Georgetown University Law School “has created fact sheets for all 50 states explaining the laws barring unauthorized private militia groups and what to do if groups of armed individuals are near a polling place or voter registration drives.  They urge people to share this information with their networks.  I am sharing the link: