As President Trump’s lead over Joe Biden continued to fall Thursday, Fox News host Mark Levin suggested that if Trump ends up losing in key battleground states, Republican-led legislatures there should overturn the will of the voters and choose a slate of electors that would keep him in the White House.
REMINDER TO THE REPUBLICAN STATE LEGISLATURES, YOU HAVE THE FINAL SAY OVER THE CHOOSING OF ELECTORS, NOT ANY BOARD OF ELECTIONS, SECRETARY OF STATE, GOVERNOR, OR EVEN COURT. YOU HAVE THE FINAL SAY -- ARTICLE II OF THE FED CONSTITUTION. SO, GET READY TO DO YOUR CONSTITUTIONAL DUTY
— Mark R. Levin (@marklevinshow) November 5, 2020
The president’s son Donald Jr. quickly retweeted Levin, as did Republican National Committee spokeswoman Elizabeth Harrington, both of whom have been quick to claim that Democrats are trying to “steal” the election by actually counting all the votes.
Levin’s all-caps entreaty to Republican state lawmakers seemed to typify a growing frustration among Trump’s most ardent supporters, including the president himself, who also hit the caps-lock key earlier in the day to demand state officials do something that would not have won him the election.
STOP THE COUNT!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 5, 2020
His son meanwhile called out the “total lack of action from virtually all of the ‘2024 hopefuls’” in defending the president. Then Trump Jr. made an even more brazen suggestion, calling for “total war over this election.”
The best thing for America’s future is for @realDonaldTrump to go to total war over this election to expose all of the fraud, cheating, dead/no longer in state voters, that has been going on for far too long.
It’s time to clean up this mess & stop looking like a banana republic!
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) November 5, 2020
Fox News Business host Lou Dobbs also grew testy on Thursday when interviewing former Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell, wondering aloud why more Trump allies weren’t stepping forward to help their president. “Where the hell are Mitch McConnell? Where is the Republican Party?” Dobbs demanded to know. “Where is Rona McDaniel? Why isn’t the Republican Party en masse demanding the Department of Justice move in here? It’s been absent for the entire process.”
Things got significantly more tense pic.twitter.com/uJurHgxinW
— Jason Campbell (@JasonSCampbell) November 5, 2020
Not all Republicans have been quietly waiting for all the ballots to be counted. Some, like GOP activist and lobbyist Matt Schlapp, issued threats of their own.
Dear GOP Republicans: if you ever want to be featured @cpac or grow this movement get out now and defend the counting of every compliant ballot w full transparency. We need every one of you #AmericaVsSocialism
— Matt Schlapp (@mschlapp) November 5, 2020
Republicans control the legislatures in Georgia and Pennsylvania, two states where a Biden win could secure his victory in the election. But the idea that the legislators could overturn the vote of the citizens is, to say the least, controversial.
According to the Campaign Legal Center, it is also illegal to do so after Election Day.
“Americans should rest assured that a state legislature’s post-Election Day substitution of its own preferences would violate federal law,” Erin Chlopak, the CLC’s director of campaign finance strategy, wrote in a blog post on the group’s website. “While the Constitution delegates to each state’s legislature the power to direct the manner for appointing its slate of electors for president, it gives Congress the power ‘to determine the time of choosing Electors.’”
Chlopak noted, however, that Levin’s idea could have been implemented if it had been raised earlier.
“For well over a century, the laws in every state have provided for their state’s electors to be chosen through a popular election,” she wrote. “Although state legislatures could theoretically amend their laws to provide for legislative appointment of presidential electors if they acted before Election Day, it would violate a federal statute and the Constitution to do so after the Nov. 3 date set by Congress.”
But Levin’s plan to keep Trump from losing to Biden is also hitting resistance from the Republican state lawmakers Levin had envisioned carrying it out.
For anyone wondering: spokesperson for Pennsylvania Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman reiterated just now that the Republican controlled state legislature will NOT move to appoint electors to override popular vote, despite concerns about PA electoral process.
— Ryan W Briggs (@rw_briggs) November 5, 2020
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