The Atlantic reported Wednesday that Republicans are investigating contingency plans in which Republican-held legislatures would appoint members of the Electoral College if their states’ voting results were still in doubt weeks after Election Day.
Barton Gellman wrote: “According to sources in the Republican Party at the state and national levels, the Trump campaign is discussing contingency plans to bypass election results and appoint loyal electors in battleground states where Republicans hold the legislative majority.”
Gellman provided a sinister spin: “With a justification based on claims of rampant fraud, Trump would ask state legislators to set aside the popular vote and exercise their power to choose a slate of electors directly.”
Hollywood celebrities expressed their alarm, warning that the Atlantic article proves Trump plans to become a “dictator”:
I don’t think the country realizes how close we are to being the doorstep of Authoritarian rule. If this happens, the grand experiment is over. The Republic ends. This is evil. This is madness. This is unconstitutional. This is fucking insane. https://t.co/gDm5EfTRzs
— Josh Gad (@joshgad) September 23, 2020
More cheating by Trump. Did it ever occur to his supporters that if you have to cheat this badly, it’s because you are doing such a terrible job? No, because when trump supporters read something they don’t like, it’s “fake news.” https://t.co/wCfQJLXk3E
— Chelsea Handler (@chelseahandler) September 23, 2020
“Bypass election results” doesn’t feel like a great slogan. https://t.co/uz1nsRMLGU
— Mike Birbiglia (@birbigs) September 23, 2020
We told you he is a Dictator. If you want a free country, a country that is ruled by the Constitution you must vote for Biden. https://t.co/vHg1GEBrlL
— Patricia Arquette (@PattyArquette) September 23, 2020
But in every case, it is the Trump campaign that is pushing for votes to be counted as soon as possible, and Democrats who are pushing for longer deadlines for the submission and counting of mail-in ballots, as well as relaxed standards for ballots.
Moreover, Gellman acknowledged that the alleged Republican effort is entirely constitutional. Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution says: “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress.”
Therefore, if Democrats try to use an uncertain popular vote to throw the election in doubt — and with Joe Biden’s campaign openly boasting that it has recruited at least 600 lawyers to fight over the count — Republicans can short-circuit that effort.
It would be extremely unlikely for Republican-held legislatures to appoint electors in states where Democrats had won the popular vote in a legitimate manner. However, if voter fraud or legal challenges hold up the result, it is not implausible that Republican-held state legislatures would find their own way to ensure that the state’s Electoral College votes would be cast.
The Electoral College vote is scheduled for December 14. If no candidate achieves a majority, the election will go to the House of Representatives, where each state will receive one vote. Republicans are a majority in 26 of 50 state delegations.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.
Jerome Hudson contributed to this article.