How real is the danger of a Trump coup?

How real is the danger that Republican state governments could set aside the results of the Presidential vote and simply appoint Trump electors?

The President is chosen by members of the Electoral College, and although the Electors are chosen by the voters in all states, this is not a Constitutional requirement.  The Constitution states  that “each state shall appoint, in such manner as the legislature shall direct, a number of electors, equal to the whole number of senators and representatives to which the state may be entitled in the Congress……”

Theoretically, any state could change its election law between now and Nov. 3 so as to allow the state legislature to name the electors.  Such a law would have to be passed by both houses of a state legislature and signed by the governor.

Of the states in which the outcome is in doubt, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin have Democratic governors and Republican legislatures.  The governor would be sure to veto any bill changing the election law.

Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, New Hampshire, Ohio and Texas have Republican governors and legislatures both.  But how likely is it that the governor and legislators, who all have to stand for re-election, would openly thwart the expressed will of a majority of the voters?

Anything is possible, I guess.  You never know what people are capable of.

But I’d be more worried about the Postal Service not delivering all the mailed ballots on time, a declaration of a winner before all the ballots are counted, throwing ballots out for arbitrary and trivial reasons, etc., than this particular scenario.

LINKS

Could Republicans ignore the popular vote and choose their own pro-Trump electors? by Sam Levine for The Guardian.

Sanders issues stark warning on Trump and calls for election commission by David Smith for The Guatdian.

The Election That Could Break America by Jason Kottke for kottke.org. [Added Later]

Poorly Protected Postal Workers Are Catching COVID-19 by the Thousands.  It’s One More Threat to Voting by Mail by Maryam Jameel and Ryan McCarthy for ProPublica. [Added Later]

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3 Responses to “How real is the danger of a Trump coup?”

  1. whungerford Says:

    The larger problem I see is the number of us who seem not committed to fair elections, who would overthrow democracy for short-term political gain.

    Like

  2. Fred (Au Natural) Says:

    There are 32 states that require their electors to follow their state’s popular vote. This would have to factor into Trump’s decision to try such a strategy. Such states include battleground states as well as solidly red and blue states.

    https://lawandcrime.com/high-profile/our-complete-list-of-states-with-laws-that-bind-votes-of-presidential-electors/

    I suppose the National Popular Vote initiative would have resolved the issue but the are 74 electoral voters short. Ironic that the bill is currently active in states with 75 electoral votes. It is very unlikely to pass all those legislatures, let alone before the electoral college votes on 1-6-2021.

    Any kind of power play depends entirely on the public voting in a cooperative Congress. The House still controls the purse strings and will be solidly Democrat. The Senate may shift Democrat or it may not. Various “battleground” state governments may shift control.

    The whole thing may come down to voter turnout. Traditionally – but not always – high turnout favors Democrats and low turnouts favor Republicans. There is always a plurality – if not a majority – of people who could vote but do not. We are lucky to see a 55% turnout of registered voters but if you included people who could have registered but did not, the nonvoting public is the majority in most presidential elections and an overwhelming majority in all other elections.

    If a candidate can make inroads into the apathetic voter bloc they will win. Unfortunately most candidates focus on their base and the true believers in the hope that their base is slightly bigger than their opponents. To do this means more polarization which further drives the apathy in the middle.

    Liked by 1 person

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