Donald Trump's coup is failing, but that doesn't mean he will stop trying

 It is no secret that Donald Trump - who spent most of his pre-election time sowing doubts about mail-in voting - has been spending all of post-election loss time attempting a coup, albeit in a disorganized, childish, comical way. Trump has been spreading patent falsehoods about voter fraud, backed up by bizzaroworld press conferences headed up by a completely unhinged Rudy Giuliani while his claims continue to collapse in federal and state courts for lack of evidence.

This weekend appeared to have started on a relatively sour note for Donald Trump and his dithering coup attempt. Over his and his supporters' loud objections, the Republican Secretary of State and Republican Governor of Georgia certified, on Friday, the first presidential election for a Democrat since 1992. Biden won the state by about 12,000 votes after a hand recount and a risk-limiting audit performed by the Secretary of State. The Maricopa County, Arizona Board of Supervisors - composed of 4 Republicans and just 1 Democrat - unanimously certified Biden's win in the state's largest county. Biden is the first Democrat to win Arizona since 1996.

Finally, a partisan attempt by two Republicans on the county canvassing Board in Michigan's Wayne County (which includes Detroit) to hold up the county's certification failed in spectacular fashion after spontaneous outrage from community members at the transparent attempt to deprive Black Michiganders of their voice made the Republicans on the canvassing Board think better of it. Wayne County certified its results unanimously on Tuesday night. And although the same Republican members invented a 'retraction' of their votes after the certification was already transmitted to the Secretary of State, they actually cannot legally do so.

As a last ditch attempt, Donald Trump summoned Michigan Republicans - including the Speaker of the Michigan House and the Majority Leader of the Michigan State Senate - to the White House to try to prevail on them to invalidate the popular vote and appoint Trump electors to the Electoral College by a fiat from the Legislature instead, not realizing that it is actually a legal impossibility, and not just in Michigan. The Michigan lawmakers released a statement after their meeting with the White House that basically amounted to "we are not touching that sh*t."

But just because he is being exposed as the sorest of losers doesn't mean that Donald Trump, in the two months he has left in office, will not continue his coup, and failing that, sabotage and engulf everything in his way to set up a disaster for the incoming Biden administration to have to face.

Go back to Michigan, for example. Now that all 83 of Michigan's counties have certified their election results and the State Board of Canvassers are set to meet to formally certify the statewide results on Monday, RNC Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel and Michigan GOP Chair Laura Cox have joined their state's defeated Senate candidate in urging the state board to postpone the certification. Cox and McDaniel say they want the state to perform an audit prior to the results being certified, despite the fact that no credible claim of fraud has been upheld in any court and despite the fact - as the Michigan's Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson explained - that an audit cannot begin until after the certification under Michigan law.

Trump and his allies continue to file frivolous claims seeking to block certification in other states as well, including in Pennsylvania, another site of his humiliating loss, and they have asked for a partial recount in Wisconsin.

All of this is geared toward delaying certification in the states, as I noted in a column shortly before the election, and every indication is that they are destined to fail, as the Biden campaign's public legal briefing made clear on Friday.

Joe Biden will be sworn in as President on January 20 and Kamala Harris as Vice President, but Trump is convincing a section of Americans that the election of Biden and Harris is illegitimate, while his administration is blocking the transition process in an unprecedented fashion. The end result will very likely be a weakened democracy and hundreds of thousands of preventable deaths as the Biden team is left out of coronavirus vaccination strategy right now. 

Donald Trump knows that once out of office, he will have to reckon with the law, and the instruments of the presidency will no longer protect him. So he is trying to achieve martyrdom among his violent cult, which he hopes will protect him from the consequences of his actions by scaring prosecutors of what might happen if he is made to face the music. Donald Trump also knows that he cannot stay in office, and he is palpably angry at the country that turned him out. His wrath is now concentrated on punishing America for dumping him.

These are perilous times.




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