Here’s More of Trump’s Scheme to End Democracy

Thanks to the new Woodward-Costa book, a memo has emerged detailing a “January 6 scenario” intended to hand the election to Trump. This scenario was proposed to Mike Pence in an oval office meeting with Trump on January 4, it says here. Written by John Eastman, a lawyer on Trump’s legal team, the memo proposed that Mike Pence could toss out the Electoral College votes from the Seven Disputed States (Arizona et al.),, which would have given Trump 232 E.C. votes and Biden 222. If Democrats object, the memo continues, throw out all the E.C. votes and have the election settled by the House. Each state gets one vote, which no doubt would have given the election to Trump. (That’s a very simplified explanation; the memo provides more details.) According to Woodward/Costa, Trump urged Pence to go ahead with what the memo proposed.

I’m not lawyer, but wouldn’t that be sedition, on its face?

A fellow named Ned Foley explains in great detail on the Election Law Blog that this would not have worked, or at least it would not have worked legally and constitutionally. This assumes everyone agrees on what’s “legal” and “constitutional,” which is assuming a lot, IMO.

Among other things, this episode has revealed serious ambiguities in the Electoral Count Act of 1887, which is cited by Eastman copiously in the memo. Eastman points to some of the ambiguities to decide the ECA is unconstitutional, which is a leap according to Ned Foley, but Foley urges that the ECA be tightened up anyway.

Greg Sargent wrote,

In a great new draft paper, election law scholar Richard L. Hasen warns that we face “serious risk” of “election subversion” or an “actual stolen election.” Hasen discusses reforms that could avert such scenarios, which will also be the topic of a conference on Friday.

In the last election, no GOP legislature appointed rogue electors, a majority of Congress voted to uphold Biden’s electors, and Pence ultimately backed away from the plot. But some GOP legislators did consider this scheme, around 150 congressional Republicans did vote to subvert Biden’s electors, and Pence did explore the outer limits of what he might do for Trump.

And if the GOP controls the House and Senate on Jan. 6, 2025, Congress can simply count rogue electors sent by a given state, or refuse to count the rightful ones. If Republicans control just the House, Congress might deadlock, prompting a contingent election in the House decided by state delegations, and the Republican would win.

Indeed, as Hasen notes, the scheme getting even this far shows we are vulnerable to a future “respectable bloodless coup,” one “dependent upon technical legal arguments overcoming valid election results.” This, plus the fact that some Republican candidates are now campaigning on a vow to subvert future losses, requires cutting off these pathways.

Reforms include putting more conditions on congress critters objecting to electors so that they can’t do it for frivolous reasons. We also need to tighten up definisions of “failed elections.” A hurricane wiping out polling places on election day would qualify, whining by the losing candidate would not.

But of course, any election reform depends on reforming the filibuster rules first. So we’re probably screwed.

Mike Pence and Nancy Pelosi, January 6, 2021.

6 thoughts on “Here’s More of Trump’s Scheme to End Democracy

  1. As truly terrible as tRUMP was as POTUS, and as a human being, I learned a few things from it (not him:  it).

    What tRUMP taught me, was how truly fragile our democracy is.

    I'm not, and never have been, naive to the point where I saw perfection everywhere I looked in America.  In my family, my Father and I were the realists.  The rest of the family, having come from Soviet Russia, tended to look at America as the ideal – an example of perfection.

    Ask any Indigenous Americans, and any minorities, what they think of when it comes to America, and I guarantee you no one mentions ideals, or perfection.

    Another thing tRUMP taught me was how much our political system was based on "gentlemen's-agreements."  

    And now all I see are opportunities for RepubliKKKlans to break unspoken/unwritten rules/laws/agreements.

    If there is no rock-solid law, the RepubliKKKlans will look to cheat.

    Hell, even if there are rock-solid laws, they'll still try to cheat.

    As a matter of fact, the RepubliKKKlans have demonstrated that they'll cheat at any an every opportunity.

    What bags of scum they've devolved into.

    I believe even more strongly than I did a few years ago, that a civil war is very likely. 

    A HOT civil war.

    We've been in a cold civil war since Lee surrendered.

    And the South has been at war with progress since about that same time.

  2. What's with Lindsey Graham? He goes back and forth like a ping pong ball in his interactions and relationship with Trump. One minute he wants to nestle in Trump's crouch and the next he's denouncing Trump as a stupid liar who can't be trusted. Is that normal behavior? Or am I missing something? I just don't understand the emotional fluctuations that Lindsey is exhibiting toward Trump.

     Does anybody got a clue about what's going on there?

    • Seems like a clear example of what I've been saying for a while: that the old Bog Money GOP never liked Trump, but chose to tolerate him to get the 2017 round of Tax Cuts for the Rich and to stack the SC.  Now, with Trump's influence finally starting to fade (as shown by the Mob's response – boos – to his tepid & belated support for vax), Graham feels safe starting to distance himself from Trump.  Look for more of this from other GOP stalwarts across the next year.  They want "their" Party back – they bought it fair & square.  They've been careful to be slow & subtle about it, to avoid alienating Trump's Mob, but it looks like that phase is about over.

      I've noticed that it's become very common for rightists to slam Biden & all Democrats as "socialist" and even "communist".  At first, I found this slightly amusing, because it's just such obvious BS.  But now I'm afraid that this is just the Old Money GOP strategy: to double down on the ideological part of the Crazy stuff, demonizing Democrats to make sure that the disaffected "White Working Class" doesn't get tempted by actual improvements in living conditions.  GOP can afford to lose some Trump voters, as long as they don't switch to voting Blue… and as long as Trump doesn't start a new Party.  IMO, they now believe that Trump won't/can't do that.  Trump is still focused on taking over the GOP, and probably won't recognize that he's failing until it's too late.

      All this reinforces what I've been saying for years: Trump is just a symptom; the GOP is the real threat to our country & Life On Earth.

      • "…demonizing Democrats to make sure that the disaffected "White Working Class" doesn't get tempted by actual improvements in living conditions."

        The rePuke Party owners do not have to fear the working classes getting tempted by actual improvements in living conditions.  The smaller infrastructure bill may or may not get passed and there is not much in there to tempt the working classes.  The corporately owned Dems (many more than just sEnema and Manshit) will scuttle anything more than minimal tax increases for the 1/10th of 1%ers while insisting that everything has to be paid for.  IF there is a 2nd infrastructure package, it will be small and won't have much to tempt the working classes.

        As for other things that would please the working classes, look no further than Medicare being allowed to negotiate prices with the pharmaceutical industry.  That FAILED in the Energy and Commerce Committee with Kathleen Rice of New York, Scott Peters of California, and Kurt Schrader of Oregon (all Democrats) voting against it.  That is the house committee that AOC wanted to be on and to which PayGo Pelosi made sure no progressives were on.

        IF the Democrats keep control of the House and Senate next year, it will be because the rePuknican Party has overplayed its culture wars and not because of anything of great value to the working classes that is passed by the Democrats.

        It received little notice by the media, but about 2 months ago legislation was passed and signed into law to address 'Competitiveness with China'.  That was passed with easily in the house and 69-30 in the senate.  That was for $250B spending over 5 years.  Naturally, it was 'bipartisan' because all of the money is going to corporations.


  3. The revelations about Dominions voting systems appears to be those which impose the most fear among Republicans.  That they were well aware it was a lie from the inception, and continued to damage the company's reputation and threaten (by terrorist proxies) it's employees resulted in damages of over a billion dollars.  Many could be ruled liable and assessed damages by the court system.

    Recent evidence supports that high officials were well aware claims against everyone from Dominion to Argentina and George Soros were bunk, yet the propagation of these damaging lies continued.  

    The best way to effect change in many Republicans is via the pocketbook.  Other forms of argumentation appear much less persuasive. 

    Woodward and Costas' Peril  is making quite a splash.  They appeared on The Late Show with Colbert last night.  Yes it seems the Republicans have devolved into a party of corruption.  

    They are now out preaching the austerity gospel, after the Trump was allowed to pilfer the national coffers for four years.  Their  blatant hypocrisy of these Republicans is stunning.  Of course we all know they totally approve of deficit spending which does not go to our commonwealth, which to them reads wealth bestowed on those who are way too common.  Only when you paint spending with the defense brush do they approve.  Not to defend democracy, it seems, but to defend their greed and power.  


  4. Why is this making headlines today? This was being discussed as their plan like 3 years ago among progressive sources. I personally think the GOP listens in to get ideas.

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