Republicans are playing with fire. And we all risk getting burned

By The Guardian

The party is challenging the outcome of the election without any proof of fraud. Their degradation of democracy will reverberate for years to comeImagine raiding Versailles with a herd of bulls. You probably won’t make it past the gates, and you certainly won’t wind up King of France, but you would irreparably trample the gardens and might well erode the foundation. That’s more or less how I view Donald Trump’s current assault on the election.Let’s begin with the obvious: Joe Biden will become the 46th president of the United States on 20 January 2021. As Benjamin Wittes recently explained, “It is exceedingly difficult to steal an election in the United States.” I encourage interested readers to look through his analysis, which I believe is spot on. I’ll quickly sum up the legal arguments.Trump’s lawsuits will not award him the presidency. To win, Mr Trump must prove systemic fraud, with illegal votes in the tens of thousands. There is no evidence of that so far, and evidence of widespread fraud is unlikely to arise in an election that Trump’s own Department of Homeland Security just labeled “the most secure in American history”. His lawsuits are, as one commentator aptly put it, “too absurd to be even dignified as frivolous”. As of this writing, he is 0-12 in court, a batting average that would shame even a little league baseball player.His lawsuits are also mathematically useless. He has focused on 2,000 ballots in Michigan where, at the time of this writing, Biden leads by 148,645 votes. He’s challenging a whopping 180 ballots in Arizona, a state recently called for Biden with a lead of 11,434. Georgia’s short-lived lawsuit sought to shave 53 ballots off a 14,057-vote lead. Elsewhere, the math is much the same.Nor will any recounts move the needle. The largest recount swing in history – Florida’s 2000 recount – changed only 1,247 votes. Recounts currently under way in Wisconsin and Georgia should look more like Wisconsin’s 2016 recount, where the margin shifted by 571 votes. Neither number even approaches Biden’s margins.More far-fetched scenarios are, well, far-fetched. State and local election officials, who do not report to Trump, are on track to certify Biden’s electors in the next few weeks. State legislatures are understandably reluctant to bypass their own constituents by certifying Republican electors, which would in any case be ineffectual and might well be unconstitutional. And the possibility of Trump …read more

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