That of Saturday night, in a federal court in Pennsylvania, was something more than a new defeat that Donald Trump already collects in his crusade to reverse the elections that made him, on November 3, a president of a single mandate. The failure of the argument that the judge compared to “Frankenstein’s monster” practically exhausts the judicial process. And it has caused some Republican senators to break their silence and even speak of “national shame.” But the president, a little more alone every day, does not give up in his unusual endeavor.
For at least three reasons, the loss in Pennsylvania has a definite aftertaste. First, because of the blunt, if not humiliating tone used in the writing of his 37-page brief by federal judge Matthew Brann, registered as a Republican and former member of the very conservative Federalist Society. In order for him to even consider disenfranchising nearly seven million citizens, as the Trump campaign demanded, they should have come “armed with compelling legal arguments and factual evidence of rampant corruption.” Instead, the judge explains, the campaign produced only “warped legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations.” The lawyers, Brann adds, have made an argument that is “like Frankenstein’s monster.”
Second, because of the fact that Pennsylvania, where Biden won by 81,000 votes and is scheduled to certify his results this Monday, was something of the jackpot of the offense in court. The defeat in the State, added to those that the campaign has already suffered in Michigan, Georgia, Nevada, Arizona and Wisconsin, practically closes the judicial process to challenge the results of an election that Trump lost by six million votes. And third, because the defeat in Pennsylvania has prompted some strong Republicans to break an already deafening silence.
This is the case of Patrick Toomey, senator precisely from Pennsylvania, who said in a statement that President Trump “has exhausted all plausible legal options” and that the result of the challenge “confirms that Joe Biden won the 2020 elections.” Toomey congratulated President-elect Biden and asked Trump to accept the result and “help bring the country together.” Further still was Senator Chris Christie, also a Trump ally, who said it is time to begin the transition and that Trump’s team of lawyers, led by Rudy Giuliani, is “a national disgrace.” “They report fraud when they are out of court, but when they are inside they do not declare it or argue it,” he explained. “We cannot continue to act as if something happened that did not happen.”
But that is exactly what Donald Trump is doing. He said on Twitter that he will appeal the judge’s decision. And he asked state legislators, in the most explicit way he has formulated it to date, to have the “courage” to intervene and, betraying the sense of the vote of the citizens, place Trump supporters in the electoral college than the next December 14 must elect the next president. An unusual attempt to directly subvert the electoral result that, according to experts, has as little chance of succeeding as the judicial process that is already dying.
So far, Republican lawmakers in the states where Trump is centering his battle have shown little or no willingness to cooperate in that extraordinary assault on power. Neither in Arizona, nor in Georgia, nor in Pennsylvania itself, where the highest state legislators recalled that their role, according to the law, is not to decide who obtains the electoral votes of the State, but that “it is the popular vote that choose”.
Nor does the president abandon the third way, also doomed to failure: that of challenging the counts in states with adjusted results. They called for a third recount in Georgia on Saturday after a second ballot of five million votes, conducted by hand over an entire week, the largest manual recount in U.S. history, again certified Biden’s victory by Friday. 12,000 votes. But since the margin is still less than 0.5%, the loser has the right to request a third recount, and has done so. This will be done by scanning the votes that have already been counted by hand. Georgia law determines that the cost of the recount, particularly the fees for officials who have been counting votes non-stop since November 3, is borne not by the campaign requesting it but by the taxpayers.