Trump’s deceptive effort to reverse 2020 results in Wisconsin, explained

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Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (right) has carefully, if unwittingly, summed up almost every aspect of Donald Trump’s post-2020 campaign effort to somehow return to the power.

“He would like us to do something different in Wisconsin,” Vos said of Trump, explaining a phone call the former president made to him last week. “I explained that it is not authorized by the Constitution. He has a different opinion and he posted the tweet. (This was actually an article on Truth Social, but we’ll get to that.)

Vos’s summary makes it clear that he has now joined former Vice President Mike Pence and a battery of other officials across the country: Trump wanted them to do something they didn’t have the power to do. do – and so Trump publicly disparaged them.

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The situation in Wisconsin, however, is a little more complicated than Trump’s other ongoing efforts to somehow reverse the results of an election that saw President Biden serve as president for 18 months. It stems from a recent decision by the elected Supreme Court of the state that Trump allies are now touting as having invalidated the results of the presidential election in that state.

It doesn’t and it couldn’t, and, as Vos notes, it should be obvious to even the most Trump-friendly observers.

In early 2020, as the coronavirus began to kill thousands nationwide, the Wisconsin Elections Commission released a rule allowing counties to use ballot boxes to collect ballots. The intention, as with changes in other states, was to make it easier to vote without having to crowd into a small polling place and potentially risk infection.

The national effort to increase absentee or early voting has quickly become a centerpiece of Trump’s claims about potential voter fraud. Trailing in the polls, he resurrected his 2016-era claims that only fraud would lose him the election, but with a new twist centered on early voting. His rhetoric helped fuel a partisan split in how people voted in the November 2020 general election — a split that ended up helping his efforts to vote by mail, with votes often counting slower, as suspect.

In recent months, the use of drop boxes to collect ballots has come under intense scrutiny, largely due to a thoroughly debunked film by Dinesh D’Souza alleging a rampant but not detected involving thousands of people to collect and submit ballots through drop boxes. Associated Press reports make it clear that there is no evidence of significant fraud committed through the use of drop boxes. But D’Souza’s film, carefully crafted to argue that the election was stolen from Trump, spawned a drop-box-driven cottage industry.

In Wisconsin, according to D’Souza’s film, 14,000 “illegal votes” were cast in drop boxes. Except that, as lawmakers pointed out during a March hearing in the state, even if D’Souza’s conspiracy theory were true (which isn’t supported by any evidence), those ballots would have been legally cast, as the collection and submission of ballots was not prohibited. at the time. This hearing focused on testimony from True the Vote, the group that provided D’Souza with the data for his film, and the group’s leader, Catherine Engelbrecht. They said they are not alleging the ballots were illegal, just that “the process was abused.”

Enter the State Supreme Court. Two Wisconsin voters sued the Wisconsin Elections Commission, alleging that the commission had no right to authorize the use of drop boxes and that it harmed them. The conservative majority of the Supreme Court agreed.

“[T]thousands of votes were cast via this illegal method, thereby directly harming Wisconsin voters,” his notice read. “The illegality of these drop boxes weakens people’s belief that the election produced an outcome reflecting their will.”

It’s a remarkable claim, certainly, suggesting that because drop boxes were allowed and normal Wisconsin voters used them to vote, confidence in the election results was damaged. This drop in confidence, of course, stems from the robust after-the-fact effort to label dropbox voting suspicious or fraud-prone, which the evidence simply does not support.

The court’s decision landed amid an already active effort in Wisconsin to somehow overturn the 2020 election results — results that, again, weren’t significantly tainted. (Even the 14,000-vote number entirely invented by D’Souza is less than Biden’s margin of victory in the state.) That’s partly because of a Republican-backed “investigation” into the election. (led by a conservative former member of the state Supreme Court). !) which attempted to undermine confidence in the results. His report, published earlier this year, mainly alleged that the results were affected by efforts to increase turnout, a bizarre reason to try to dismiss the way those voters voted. While the report did not call for a “decertification” of the state’s results, the former judge leading the effort, Michael Gableman, did. (Gableman was found guilty of contempt in June for failing to turn over required documents related to his investigation.)

So once the Supreme Court decision came down, there was a rapid push to declare a much larger victory on Trump’s opponents. This included Trump trying to persuade Assembly Speaker Vos to decertify the election, just as he tried to persuade Pence to block voter lists submitted on Jan. 6, 2021. And when Vos refused to do so — again once, because he had no power to do so – Trump bashed him on social media.

“Looks like Chairman Robin Vos, a longtime professional RINO” – that is, Republican in name only – “always seeking to protect his flank, will do nothing about the astonishing decision of the Supreme Court of Wisconsin loudly declaring that the uncontrollable ‘unlock’ ballot boxes in the state are ILLEGAL,” he said. wrote on Social Truth. He added that Democrats “want to sincerely thank Robin, and all of his fellow RINOs, for letting them get away with ‘murder.’ ”

It’s worth considering the logic here. If the Supreme Court were to declare tomorrow that voting at polling places was for some reason unconstitutional, would Trump (or anyone else!) argue that votes cast by this method in 2020 should not count? Would the natural response be to recalculate the election results to exclude those votes? Or would there be an acknowledgment that most or all of those voters would have simply voted some other way? This is to put aside the assertion that it is strange to denounce illegal behavior when the illegality has only been asserted after the fact. If the purchase of alcohol became illegal tomorrow, the 21st Amendment repealed, would that mean that everyone who drank since 1933 was engaged in criminal activity?

The thing about Vos is that he’s sympathetic to Trump’s position. It is him who hired gableman in the first place ! But even if he wanted to do what Trump is asking, he can’t.

Even if Wisconsin for some reason decided to change the 2020 results, so what? Biden would not only have enough electoral votes to have won, but he is still president. There is no mechanism other than impeachment or the 25th Amendment to remove him from office. Neither will happen.

After Vos revealed Trump’s recent call in which the former president continued to insist on this surreal scenario, Trump once again used his bespoke social media platform to make a political threat.

“So what is President Robin Vos doing about the Supreme Court of Greater Wisconsin ruling declaring hundreds of thousands of Drop Box votes illegal? This is not the time for him to hide, but the time to act! he wrote. “I don’t know his opponent in the next Primary, but I’m sure he’ll be fine if Speaker Vos doesn’t move enthusiastically.”

It’s never Trump’s fault. His loss was not his fault, it was a fraud. That all electoral votes certifying his loss were counted on January 6, 2021 was not Trump’s fault; it was at Pence. And Trump’s failure to get Vos to do something Vos can’t do is not his fault. In a way, it is Vos.

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