The election is upon us. People are voting the way the should have been voting every election of their lives but didn’t, so that’s a good thing. There’s nothing left really to do but sit back, root for your guy, and wait for the results. Wrong.
What needs our immediate attention, Republican and Democrat, anyone who is a real America and loves this country, is that strange lame-duck period between the end of the voting and the inauguration. As a better writer than I once wrote, “There lies the rub.”
Why that period at all? Remember, “back in the day” travel that today might take an hour, could easily take a week. There was no electricity, no less electrical communication devices. The Fed Ex of those days was the Pony Express. Riders rode at break neck speed to the next station where the message or package was handed off to a fresh rider and horse. This was repeated ’til it got where it was going, which on occasion, due to weather, robbers, hostile Native Americans, or the horse dropping dead, never got to where it was going.
It took a while for ballots to be delivered to counting houses and results delivered to state houses, for electors to saddle up and get to the capital. None of this was ever much of a problem because Americans trusted the system and rarely throughout history was there any major issue to arise during this period. That is until now. We have never had a candidate or a party openly suggest that the election itself was rigged and the results could be challenged. Therefore there was never much need to see if that could happen. Suddenly like crocuses after winter scholars begin to poke their heads up and say, “It’s unlikely but there are levers that could be pushed that could hold up certficiation of the results and even wipe away the whole election process and throw the determination to the Congress or the Courts.
Let’s us count the ways. First there is the Electoral College. Born of a day when the founders still remembered first hand execution of leaders at the hands of democratic mobs, is it still what we want given what can happen in an election, winning the popular vote and losing the electoral vote. There were also the big state/small state politics involved.
Then there’s the president spending a year undermining the election process with “if I lose, it’s rigged, if I don’t it isn’t” themes.
The potential importance of Judge Barret ascending to the high court cannot be overstated. There’s this super important statement in the Constitution that all powers not expressly given to the Federal governmnet are reserved to the states. Enveloped in that statement is election law. There could be a dozen or more legal challenges that would have to wend their ways through the states courts and finally to “The Supremes.” As a super strict constructionist Barret could in effect choose the next president of these United States.
And there are more, like polling place intimidation. The Democrats have several football teams worth of lawyers preparing for all eventualities. They won’t roll over and play “I give up” the way the Gore team did. We could see all kinds of things rarely if ever seen in America, more common to Banana Republics and Third World nations. Like what, you ask? If Biden wins the popular vote and the electoral vote we could see either the Secret Service or the military politely, and then maybe not so politely invited to leave or be escorted from the White House. I don’t think we’ll see furniture on the lawn, but you get the picture.
Such an action would undoubtedly bring serious disturbances in the streets. If Trump’s victory is a squeaker, one could see the same trek through the courts as if Biden’s victories were squeakers, just different lawyers. A Supreme Court Decision and then violent disturbances in the streets just with different demonstraters.
If it weren’t so serious it would be funny. I can see Winnie the Pooh sighing, “Oh my!” But it isn’t funny. The irony is that our revered constitution could well be the problem–at least from my perspective.
Like the Bermuda Triangle, the inexorable pull of the election is impossible to avoid. So here as another angle. Let’s say a universal prayer that we and these United States of America make it to January’s inauguration. I’m too depressed even to plug my book… I’ll be back next week assuming my arms aren’t tied behind my back in a straight jacket.