Republican lawmakers from Michigan were summoned to the White House on Friday as defeated US President Donald Trump continued efforts to subvert results of the Presidential elections amid continued deadlock over transfer of power to incoming President-elect Joe Biden.
State lawmakers are being told to defy the popular mandate that the Joe Biden-Kamala Harris ticket won and award Michigan’s 16 electoral votes to Trump on the grounds the election was tainted, a contention Trump’s team has been unable to prove in court.
Similar efforts are underway in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin to steal their 20+10 electoral votes already won by Biden, to deprive him of the Presidency.
The Presidential election has been called for Biden by a 306-232 margin, and denying him 46 electoral votes through political and legal subterfuge could keep Trump in the White House for a second term even though he lost both the popular vote (by six million votes) and the electoral college.
Many political analysts and commentators are sounding alarm over what they see as a coup. “The legal ‘challenges to the election are toast. Realizing the courts are a lost cause, Trump is now trying to convince elected officials to overturn the will of the voters. This is a political coup that is the definition of anti-democracy,” Daniel Goldman, a former Congressional counsel warned.
Full-fledged editorials are now appearing in US newspapers and international dailies referring to an unfolding coup. There is also alarm over some of the more ardent Trump aides urging his followers to “retake the country” — words seen as a call to arms to militant groups.
While some Republicans are resisting Trump’s effort to subvert the election results, the defeated President has threatened to have them “primaried” (defeated in inner party elections), referring to then as “RINOs” — Republican in name only.
“We have great support on the Election Hoax!…Romney has lost his mind since 2016… The great @FoxNews daytime ratings CRASH will only get worse!” the US President, now seen as deranged by some critics, tweeted on Friday morning, lashing out at even conservative lawmakers and his formerly beloved cable news channel which is also expressing skepticism about his claims and his tactics.
Senator Mitt Romney is among the few GOP lawmakers who have had the nerve to stand up to Trump, who still commands majority support among Republicans, many of them wedded to his nativist outlook seen as a thin cover for white primacy.
“Having failed to make even a plausible case of widespread fraud or conspiracy before any court of law, the President has now resorted to overt pressure on state and local officials to subvert the will of the people and overturn the election,” Romney said on Thursday.
Trump attorneys have now lost some 30 cases in courts even as they continue to make outlandish allegations they either don’t present in court or withdraw before judges. In a bizarre 100-minute “press conference” on Thursday broadcast only on conspiracy-filled right wing media, Trump’s lawyers Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani claimed that Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez (who died in 2013) was part of a group of communists tied to China to help rig the election in Joe Biden’s favor.
While late night humorists feasted on the comical sight of hair dye dripping down the cheeks of a profusely sweating Giuliani at the wild conspiracy conference, many commentators are alarmed over the denigration of the US electoral process and political system, and are warning about American credibility diminishing across the world. “If this had happened in any other country…” is a frequent refrain in the US media now.
The Trump team’s tactics of subverting the election results is being played out in disturbing detail in Michigan, where his lawyers are attempting to invalidate votes in Wayne County, which includes black-majority Detroit, and which went to Biden by more than 90 per cent. After casting doubts on the validity of votes, Trump is putting direct pressure on local Republican officials not to certify the results that show Biden as the winner, while asking the state’s GOP lawmakers to award all electoral votes to him.
On Thursday, Trump telephoned two local Republican officials in Michigan who had initially declined to certify the results, resulting in a stalemate with their two Democratic counterparts ready to certify the results in favor of Biden as per the electoral mandate.
The Republicans reversed course and agreed to certify the results following pressure from agitated voters who felt their votes were being invalidated, but then changed their mind again after Trump called them, alleging they had buckled in the face of threats to their lives. Moderate Republicans who are standing up to the defeated President are also reporting threats from Trump-supporting extremists. ( TOI )