Donald Trump expanded his coup attempt yet again with two calls trying to get the speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives to overturn the will of the voters. “’I’m hearing about all these issues in Philadelphia, and these issues with your law,’” a spokesman for Bryan Cutler reported Trump saying. “‘What can we do to fix it?’”
The spokesman denied Trump pressuring Cutler, but come on, now. Cutler is not the first state lawmaker Trump has tried to get to overturn election results after dozens of lawsuits failed to undo his loss. He previously summoned Republican leaders in the Michigan legislature to the White House and called Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp in an attempt to get him to replace the state’s electors—attacking Kemp when the pressure failed.
“Cutler made it very clear what power the legislature has and does not have,” his spokesman said, and the legislature does not have the power to do what Trump wants. Cutler did, however, join a group of 64 Republican Pennsylvania legislators calling on the state’s congressional delegation to reject its electors. Republican Sen. Pat Toomey has said he “will not be objecting” to President-elect Joe Biden’s win of Pennsylvania’s 20 electors.
December 8 should end this phase of Trump’s coup attempt, because it’s Safe Harbor Day. That means that, by law, Congress is required to accept the results of states that have certified their results by this day. That gives Biden the win that he earned at the ballot box, despite Trump’s barrage of lawsuits and pressure on state officials to overturn results.
Trump’s coup attempt is failing. That doesn’t mean things are okay. America’s democratic institutions are shuddering, straining at the seams, showing their weaknesses and breaking points, but holding. Barely. A few Republicans have genuinely pushed back on his pressure, while others have tried to slither along between the lines of, on the one hand, actually breaking the law and, on the other, suggesting it sure would be nice if someone else overturned this election. Meanwhile millions of Trump’s supporters have been fooled into believing that the election was stolen from him, setting the stage for more years of dysfunction and violence.
But on December 14, electors will officially cast their votes. On January 6, Congress will—not without conflict and challenge—count those votes. And on January 20, Joe Biden will be inaugurated.