On the morning of November 7th, after four tumultuous days of counting votes–a slow and arduous process thanks to the pandemic and restrictions forced by Republicans on mail-in counting–Vice President Joe Biden became President-Elect Joe Biden, securing the needed 270 electoral votes to send him to the White House as our 46th President of the United States.
It was a historic moment–people gathered in the streets of major cities across the country, dancing, cheering, screaming, music blaring, pots banging. The Trump presidency had finally come to an end.
But Trump sure doesn’t seem to think so. Throughout the counting process, President Donald Trump and everyone in his camp were quick to yell fire despite there being any evidence of one, claiming all the mail-in votes being counted were “illegal,” and spewing threats of taking their case all the way to the Supreme Court.
These claims of fraud spread like wildfire throughout his base as many of his supporters took to protest the results of the election at ballot counting centers and state capitals. Even days after the election was called, many top Republicans refused to acknowledge Biden’s win, stating that all the votes needed to be counted and the courts must decide.
At a press conference outside the Four Seasons Total Landscaping firm, in a parking lot between a dildo shop and a crematorium (yes, you read that right), Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani yelled at the cameras: “Come on, don’t be ridiculous. Networks don’t get to decide elections. Courts do.”
One thing is clear: Trump has no plans of conceding. His plan, it seems, is to pretend he won the election, no matter what anyone else says, and to act as though he will be serving four more years as President, even though the American people have already decided he will not. And though the results of the election are official, and in a couple (probably very long) months, Joe Biden will be sworn into office and this whole nightmare will finally be over, we have no reason to believe that Trump won’t act on his threats.
So let’s assume that Trump and his lawyers do end up taking the election results to court. What does this mean? And does he have any hope of pulling a win out through a legal battle?
I asked my friend Amanda Sweo, a law student at Willamette University, to weigh in. She immediately cited Rule 12(b)(6), which states “(b) Every defense to a claim for relief in any pleading must be asserted in the responsive pleading if one is required. But a party may assert the following defenses by motion: (6) failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.”
“So Trump is trying to bring forth claims that just don’t exist,” Sweo explained. “He has no valid claim of, let’s say, voter fraud, because none has been said to have happened. There just isn’t evidence.”
As much as anyone can claim that there has been voter fraud, Amanda is right. Thus far, there has been no actual evidence to prove that any fraud has occurred. Every claim so far has been baseless–simply conspiracy theories rather than anything that can be held up in court. Even if Giuliani thinks differently, anyone who knows a little bit about law can figure that out.
So despite his threats, despite his unwillingness to concede, and despite the unprecedented refusal of the Republican party to accept the results of a fair election, there’s no changing the fact that on January 20th, Joe Biden will become President of the United States. And even then, if Trump refuses to accept defeat, as a representative for Biden’s campaign Andrew Bates said, “The United States government is perfectly capable of escorting trespassers out of the White House.” Let’s just hope Trump doesn’t fuck too much up until then. — Bren Swogger
Photo: Screenshot of a C-Span broadcast of Rudy Giuliani’s Four Seasons Total Landscaping press conference (from The Independent)