Partisan ruling in Wisconsin keeps Trump’s longshot odds to overturn the Presidential Election alive

November 23, 2020
Madison, WI

Sizable demonstrations have erupted in Milwaukee, Madison and Green Bay after the Wisconsin state Supreme Court delivered a shocking ruling in favor of the Republican state legislature effectively overturning the Badger state’s Presidential election results. By suing Wisconsin’s General Accountability Board, the Republicans were able to stop the certification of the election for long enough to get a case before the Wisconsin state Supreme Court. Once in front of the notoriously partisan court, the Republicans successfully argued for the dismissal of 129,000 ballots on the basis the voters had not confirmed their address prior to casting their ballot. 

The Court was scheduled to hear the case on the ballots in question in August but left the case on the docket seemingly for this purpose. In their legally convoluted ruling, the court's action has effectively wiped away the Democrats victory and given Wisconsin's ten Electoral College votes to Trump. This brings the Electoral College to a score of 324-214 and provides Donald Trump a lifeline in his longshot effort to remain in office. Naturally, President Trump is crowing about what this means for the viability of his ongoing fight to remain in office. 

In the determinative state of Pennsylvania, the state Supreme Court validated Governor Wolf’s request to certify the election citing no legal merit for the Republicans’ demand for a recount. The Democrats erupted in celebration across the nation as Joe Biden finally delivered his victory speech - despite Trump's continued lack of a concession. Just after the jubilant speech wrapped up, Jay Sekelow announced he obtained a stay of Pennsylvania's state Supreme Court order pending briefings with the nation’s highest court. Chief Justice John Roberts, who initially stated he sees no legal footing for the Supreme Court to get involved, has reluctantly accepted to hear Trump’s case on the understanding the polarized nation will never be satisfied without the imprint of the Supreme Court.

There have been no small battles in this Presidential Election. It seems like Trump has scored another big victory by forcing his case before the Supreme Court. The briefings will be filed by November 25th, then the Court will break for the Thanksgiving recess. Trump has steamrolled several recount deadlines and in his latest motion he will prolong the election well into December. Although Trump has succeeded in bringing the Pennsylvania recount case to the highest court, his expectation of a partisan ruling may not be fulfilled. Chief Justice Roberts’ curt attitude in his statements regarding the case has led most pundits to believe he remains seriously skeptical of the merits of the case and appears uncomfortable putting the court's legitimacy on the line. Trump assumed he could count on a partisan vote in his favor, but it looks like the President may have overestimated the court’s loyalty to the party and himself.

The recounts in Georgia and Florida have stalled in several rounds of litigation. The Republicans are clawing through the state Justice Departments using every legal strategy at their disposal. The delay has caused destabilization in the densely populated communities of both states - not unlike the social powder keg that just erupted in Wisconsin. Governor Ron DeSantis and Governor Brian Kemp have been meekly binding themselves to the “rule of law” in service of the recount despite the social volatility of enabling the election to continue. 

Joe Biden and his team have maintained composure in response to the stunning reversal in Wisconsin and development in Pennsylvania. Democrats are continuing to refer to him as President-elect Biden. To use a baseball metaphor, Team Biden is up 4-0 in the bottom of the 9th and they just let up one run; if the Biden team were an actual baseball team in this exact scenario, they would have a 96.67% chance of winning. Cabinet vetting is well underway. Elizabeth Warren is a near certainty to be named Attorney General - a choice Democratic strategist James Carville looked upon favorably. New Jersey Senator Cory Booker is poised to be the Secretary of State; his collaborative history with Kamala Harris in the Senate certainly played a factor in his choice as the top American diplomat. After a tumultuous economic year, the Biden administration is looking for a business-friendly candidate to head the Treasury Department. JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon and Michael Bloomberg are two names hovering the rumor mill. Overall, the cabinet looks refreshingly diverse. 

Urban centers have seen large scale rallies in favor of Joe Biden. Stacey Abrams has become a visible spokesperson in the Democratic legal effort in Georgia and beyond. Abrams has been a popular feature on nearly every network and has spared no time criticizing Trump, Jay Sekelow, and her nemesis Governor Brian Kemp. She has intimated that she expects a large-scale peaceful march on the state capital in Atlanta is being organized in the coming days. 

The equal and opposite reaction from the right has led Trump supporters to descend on the contested state capitals - some of them heavily armed. Republicans seem to be preparing to turn the country into a literal battlefield in defense of the 45th President. A man was seriously injured when an AR-15 discharged outside the Wisconsin State House shortly after the ruling was issued; the shooting was later deemed accidental as the man was shot by a fellow Trump supporter. 

Meanwhile, Democratic supporters are definitively winning the social media battle. Most of Pennsylvania’s current and former politicians have vocalized support for Governor Wolf and his effort to certify Biden’s victory. Pennsylvania native Taylor Swift galvanized her 134 million Instagram followers to make their support for Biden known in a post. Tik Tok is flooded with videos of users miming the words to Joe Biden’s victory speech. Laura Ingraham has characterized the national surge in progressive digital trends as a self-serving action perpetuated by leftist social media companies. 

In Congress, the recount in the Montana Senate race between Democrat Steve Bullock and Republican Steve Daines is headed to appellate court. Daines is seeking to have several thousand ballots thrown out on the grounds that voter intent is impossible to ascertain due to misspellings, illegibility or signature validation failures. It's unclear whether there are enough ballots in question to flip the election into a Daines victory. Also in Georgia, the Loeffler-Warnock runoff election is scheduled for January 25th, which means if Bullock is sworn in on January 3rd, the Democrats will have a 50-49 majority for the final three weeks of Trump’s term. 

Reversal by recount has only occurred three times in state-wide elections over the last twenty years. Of those three, the greatest swing was 440 votes in the 2008 Minnesota Senate race with Al Franken. President Trump faces deficits of approximately 10,000 in Georgia, 12,000 in Florida and 75,000 in Pennsylvania. Donald Trump is certainly not an election historian nor a mathematician, but Mitch McConnell is aware of the long odds of multiple successful recount bids of this magnitude. The exact strategy of the GOP remains murky with obfuscation and delay being the primary end results they seem to be after. Pundits are in agreement the GOP does not expect to see a tabulation error correct the outcome, rather they are hoping to see results delayed, ballots destroyed and voters betrayed in a naked attempt to hold onto power and/or delegitimize their opponents.

The reversal in Wisconsin, delays in Florida and Georgia and advancement to the Supreme Court in Pennsylvania has created an alarming amount of momentum for the incumbent. If Trump can scoop up victories by technicality or court ruling in all three states, he will remain in office, reversing what appears by all numeric measures a presidential victory for Joe Biden. Right now all eyes are on Pennsylvania and the surprising Supreme Court case. If Trump can secure a favorable ruling, the election battle will continue, if not, it’s game over.