He'd need a majority in Congress. He doesn't have one.
Donald Trump said this weekend that he plans to continue his quixotic attempt to overturn his 2020 election defeat. But with the Electoral College set to officially elect Joe Biden on Monday, that will likely prove impossible.
Speaking to Fox News on Sunday, Trump said that a Supreme Court defeat and more than 50 other unsuccessful court challenges to last month's results would not be the end of his fight to steal the election.
"No, it's not over. We keep going and we're going to continue to go forward. We have numerous local cases,” he claimed, falsely stating that he won "big" in Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin — three of the five states that flipped from Trump to Biden this year.
And on Saturday, he tweeted, "WE HAVE JUST BEGUN TO FIGHT!!!"
But the clock is not on Trump's side.
On Monday, 538 electors will gather in their state capitols and the District of Columbia to officially cast their votes. According to the November election results, 306 of these electors are pledged to Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, and 232 to Trump and Vice President Mike Pence — a margin Trump described as a "landslide" in 2016.
Under the Constitution's framework, the electors' sealed votes will be delivered to Congress within the next nine days and counted by the House and Senate on Jan. 6.
Once the electors cast their votes, Trump will really have only one legal avenue left — finding lawmakers willing to challenge that count.
Should at least one senator and one representative sign a written objection to a state's electoral vote count, the House and Senate would immediately debate the challenge's merits for two hours in their respective chambers. After this discussion, the chambers would vote on whether to accept the votes as submitted. If majorities in both chambers agreed with the objections, those electors' votes would be set aside — otherwise, they'd be counted.
Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) told the New York Times this week that he plans to attempt such an objection. No senator has publicly committed yet to joining his efforts.
But even if Brooks and someone in the Senate do sign such a statement, Democrats will hold a majority of House seats and at least 48 Senate seats. While many Republican senators refused to acknowledge Biden's victory, enough have that Trump would not be able to get a majority in that chamber either.
In 2000 and 2016, a few House Democrats objected to George W. Bush and Donald Trump electors — but their efforts failed when no senator joined them in the move.
In 2004, then-Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-OH) and then-Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) similarly objected to the Ohio presidential results. Republican leaders denounced the move as an endorsement of a baseless conspiracy theory like something on "The X-Files." After the required two-hour debates, the objections were quickly rejected by a bipartisan supermajority.
Trump is free to continue to file court challenges to the results for as long as he wishes — but at this point, they will do nothing to change the fact that Biden and Harris will be inaugurated in 37 days.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.