MI and GA Continue to Thwart Trump

Some Republicans are doing their jobs.

Source: The White House

Despite the real problems that I discussed in my previous post with Trump’s ongoing attempts to subvert democracy, the good news is that despite the moral cowardice of his co-partisans in Congress, state-level Republicans are doing their jobs.

Via WaPo: Trump suffers twin defeats in his effort to overturn Biden’s victory in key states.

First, the results of Trump’s thoroughly inappropriate attempt to influence legislators from Michigan:

Michigan Republicans declar[ed] after a White House meeting that they had learned nothing to warrant reversing the outcome in their state.

“We will follow the law and follow the normal process regarding Michigan’s electors, just as we have said throughout this election,” Michigan Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R) and Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield (R) said in a joint statement issued late Friday.

I will admit, my preference would have been for these individuals to have turned down the invitation and state, publicly, that such a meeting was inappropriate. But at least they have continually stated that they will follow the law.

“We have not yet been made aware of any information that would change the outcome of the election in Michigan,” Shirkey and Chatfield said in their joint statement.

“Michigan’s certification process should be a deliberate process free from threats and intimidation,” they added. “Allegations of fraudulent behavior should be taken seriously, thoroughly investigated, and if proven, prosecuted to the full extent of the law. And the candidates who win the most votes win elections and Michigan’s electoral votes. These are simple truths that should provide confidence in our elections.”

Second, in regards to Georgia:

in Georgia, Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger certified Biden’s roughly 12,000-vote win, and Gov. Brian Kemp, also a Republican, signed the certification, leaving little chance for a delay of the seating of Biden’s electors there. Trump can still request a recount in the state, but Raffensperger — who has resisted pressure from Trump’s allies to support their claims of irregularities in the vote — has said he does not expect such an exercise to change the outcome.

“As secretary of state, I believe that the numbers that we have presented today are correct,” he said in a statement Friday. “The numbers reflect the verdict of the people, not a decision by the secretary of state’s office or of courts or of either campaign.”

The exceedingly good news in both of these cases is that elected Republican officials, when put in the position of using their offices to subvert the election, are not doing so. Instead, the Republican-controlled Michigan legislature is on track to behave as the law dictates. And, in Georgia, the Republican Secretary of State and Republican Governor have done their jobs.

Thus far any actual critical governing function has been performed as it should be regardless of partisanship.

Although, several other actions, such as the GSA official who will not release transition funds or the attempt by the two Wayne County Canvassers to change their vote, show some erosion in this arena, but in noncritical ways.

None of this lets the Republican Party off the hook for playing along and contributing to, Trump’s subversion. Their combination of silence in some areas and repeating of Trump’s talking points in others is truly inexcusable (and I mean that very precisely).

In other words, the fact that some members of the party are doing their jobs does not take away the damage being done by others in the party who are unwilling to step up to a microphone and tell simple truths about the current occupant of the White House’s behavior.

In fact, the party held a press conference at its national headquarters this week to present a series of wild and unsubstantiated claims, thus endorsing Trump’s nonsense rather blatantly.

The good news remains the process appears to be working, but the bad news is that one of our two major parties continues to subvert public trust on those processses.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2020, Democratic Theory, Donald Trump, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Jay L Gischer says:

    After considering what the GSA head at the time (in a Democratic administration) did in 2000 (He didn’t sign off until the SCOTUS decision), I think it would be inappropriate for the GSA head to sign off in advance of at least vote certification and clarification of any recall situation, given that there has been no concession. I find it ridiculous that there isn’t a concession. When enough states have certified that puts Biden over 270, then she should sign off.

    I am very pleased with the statement made by Shirkey and Chatfield. I would say much the same in a similar situation.

  2. Sleeping Dog says:

    Showing once again that the more moving parts in a system the more difficult it is to game, even when erstwhile partisans control the levers of power that the would-be autocrat needs.

  3. @Jay L Gischer: While I disagree with your assessment of the GSA’s lack of action, I will say that it isn’t an unreasonable position.

    I would argue that 2000 was quite different, as there was actual doubt about who would win Florida, and therefore the election. There was a legitimate legal process being undertaken to assess a very closely divided election.

    There is no such drama or process here and no doubt about the outcome. Holding off on signing off makes no sense in this context.

  4. gVOR08 says:

    Michigan Republicans declar[ed] after a White House meeting that they had learned nothing to warrant reversing the outcome in their state.

    “More convincing information might warrant us breaking the law.” is a deal short of what I would hope for. But MI is supposed to certify Monday. It’s unclear what happens if they don’t. Until certification or close of business Monday, whichever comes first, I’ll hope they’re just trying to weasel word their way past the base.

  5. Erik says:

    the attempt by the two Wayne County Canvassers to change their vote, show some erosion in this arena, but in noncritical ways.

    I find myself wondering if this failure tí stick to their original position by the canvassers is an accident that will not be repeated. What happens if, next time, the canvassers are put in place specifically to refuse to certify an election that does not go the “right” way? I do not want to spin out doomsday scenarios, however, so perhaps this is too far fetched to consider, or perhaps this is exactly the sort of systemic loophole we need to both consider and close before the next election

  6. @Erik: It is my understanding, which may be mistaken, that even if they had failed to certify that the state still could have done so, hence I see their actions, even the original ones, as “noncritical” (but, hardly unimportant). If my understanding of the consequences of a deadlock at the county level is incorrect, I will have to reassess my position on the criticality of it all.

  7. Joe says:

    I understand why you would have preferred for the Michigan legislators to turn down the meeting, but I actually think their behavior was pretty reasonable, even though the invitation was outrageous. In short, the President asked to meet with them (also the President of their party). When the President asks to meet with you, you pretty much go. Then they said they would follow the law. (And I’m just gonna say, I think gVOR08 is way over reading their statement to find a nefarious undertone – if Trump had shown them convincing evidence that the vote was, in fact, inverted, they probably would have responded.) What they never did was say they thought Trump was right or wrong or otherwise put their thumb on any scale. They just said they learned nothing that would merit anything other than letting the process play out according to the law and standard procedures. They didn’t huff or gloat. They just did their duty. Period. End of sentence. They could have done many worse things.

  8. Erik says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: yes, it is my understanding as well that the state would have stepped in. I guess I’m thinking more along the lines of the Swiss cheese system failure model (the one where there are several layers of failure protection but the failure still happens when the holes in the slices of cheese line up). An intentional plan to break the current canvass model would be like removing a slice of cheese from the block and making it easier to achieve failure. So I’m thinking about it as fixing the system in a way that keeps the slice in place

  9. Mr. Prosser says:

    I can’t say I totally trust Shirkey and Chatfield. When they say they’ll follow the law well, which law? A law that allows replacing electors or allowing electors to vote as they see fit? Saying the weasel wording is for their base and not a weasel wording to work up some skullduggery doesn’t look at the possibilities IMHO. Can’t wait without anxiety for Monday and hope the vote is certified

  10. @Mr. Prosser: To be clear, I don’t totally trust them, either.

    But the law in the existing one that deals with allocation of electors in Michigan–Act 116 of 1954.

    The only way that they could not accept the Biden electors is to change the law, which isn’t going to happen for a host of reasons.

  11. Mikey says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    After considering what the GSA head at the time (in a Democratic administration) did in 2000 (He didn’t sign off until the SCOTUS decision)

    What’s happening today is absolutely nothing like 2000. Then, there was an actual legitimate question about who had been elected. Today there is NO QUESTION WHATSOEVER THAT BIDEN IS THE ASSUMED PRESIDENT-ELECT, which is the black-letter-law condition for Murphy to authorize the GSA’s piece of the transition process.

    She has no leg to stand on. None. Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada. She, like so many other Republicans, is wiping her ass with the oath she swore when she took her job. She serves Trump, full stop.


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