Trump lawsuits make no traction as inauguration day moves closer

by Aero Cavalier / Staff Reporter

Image of a tweet from Donald Trump following the 2020 election. Photo courtesy of @realDonaldTrump via

On Nov. 7, President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris were announced winners of the 2020 presidential election. This historical election makes sitting president, Donald Trump, the first incumbent to lose his reelection since George H. W. Bush in 1996.

President Trump declared the results of the election fraudulent, proposing lawsuits and demanding recounts across the United States. He also falsely declared himself the winner of several Biden-leading states and of the entire election, which was quickly debunked by Twitter’s fact-checkers.

“I think Trump’s actions will change American democracy in that he’s created an environment where the validity of elections can be questioned solely on the basis of the results not being in your favor,” said Kaitlyn Greenholt, a senior majoring in political science. “He has continuously pushed the idea that feelings matter more than facts, and that ideology has been echoed by his supporters.”

Trump is the first presidential nominee to demand a recount of votes since the 2000 presidential election, where President George W. Bush and democratic nominee Al Gore fought over Florida. The court sided with Bush and allowed a manual recount of all legal votes, eventually leading to Bush’s win.

However, the attorneys of the Bush v. Gore case have both come out in support of Biden’s 2020 win. In the 2000 election, Florida had only a 500 vote difference between candidates, but in Trump’s lawsuits, the discrepancy is between 10,000 to 145,000 in favor of Biden.

“The premise of these lawsuits is absurd,” said Dr. David Faris, the program director of political science at Roosevelt University. “The Trump campaign is seeking to have millions of voters retroactively disenfranchised based on hearsay and fabrication. They have zero chance of succeeding on their own terms.”

In an opinion piece published by Washington Post, Bush and Gore’s respective attorneys write, “We still don’t completely agree about how the Supreme Court ruled, but we completely agree that nothing in that case — or in the Supreme Court’s decision — supports the challenges now being thrown about in an attempt to undermine President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.”

So far, four of the states Trump filed lawsuits in have dropped the cases: Georgia, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. All of the states cited lack of evidence in their claims and therefore could not be moved forward in court.

“Judges look like they are restraining themselves from simply tossing the whole lot of them out of court. The cases do not have merit,” said Faris.

President Trump is still refusing to formally concede and is delaying the transition of information and presidential powers.

“I don’t think he will [concede], at least not in a way where he admits the results weren’t rigged,” said Sophia Gallo, a junior majoring in sociology. “I know there have already been some difficulties with the transition and information being held from Biden so I can imagine it will be one of the more tricky transitions, unfortunately.”

“The only way Trump gets more electoral votes than Biden is if GOP state legislatures break their own states’ laws by submitting alternate slates of electors, if the GOP Senate then counts those slates instead of the legitimate ones, and the Supreme Court sides with Republicans in the aftermath,” said Faris.

Trump leaving a rally in Tulsa after disappointing turnout. Photo courtesy of ABC News

As of Dec. 4, Trump has lost six court cases, even though some of the judges are his own appointees. He has still refused to concede despite the Associated Press officially confirming president-elect Biden’s win. The U.S. has passed the Safe Harbor deadline which cements President-Elect Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20.

Two states had issued formal recounts of votes to no real success for President Trump. Georgia completed a recount on Nov. 19, decreasing Trump’s margin of loss by 500 votes. Georgia had a total of 5 million presidential ballots. Wisconsin also completed a recount in two counties, Dane and Milwaukee, which increased the number of votes for President-Elect Biden. The Wisconsin recount cost Trump’s campaign $3 million that they had to pay upfront.

Cases currently pending are:

  • Donald J. Trump for President v. Bucks County Board of Elections in Pennsylvania, where Trump’s legal team is proposing throwing out over 2,000 votes.
  • Jesse Law et al v. Judith Whitmer et al in Nevada, where Trump is hoping to be declared the winner of Nevada, worth 6 electoral college votes.
  • Donald J. Trump et al v. Anthony S. Evers et al in Wisconsin, where Trump is hoping over 200 thousand mail-in ballots will be thrown out.
  • Trump v. The Wisconsin Election Commission et al, where Trump is asking for the state election to be declared unconstitutional.

Trump has yet to concede and still falsely claims he won the election, despite facts saying otherwise. This poses concern for people regarding what this could mean for American democracy.

“I don’t think Trump will concede, and he definitely isn’t working to make the transition smooth,” said Greenholt. “By not conceding, Trump doesn’t have to admit to losing. He can move forward under the guise that it was rigged, and that he only lost because of ‘fraud.’ He won’t admit defeat because he hates being a loser more than anything else.”

Others feel as though Trump’s response will bear little weight after Jan. 20. 

“I don’t think Trump’s response will change our democracy unless he were to literally not leave office and try to forcibly stay in power, to which we’d be entering a fascist state,” said Gallo. “I guess we’ll have to see how far he takes it in order to know if there will be political consequences.”

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