Can it happen here?
Tuesday, Nov. 3: Election day. Several national news media and television networks call the presidential election for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris over Donald Trump and Mike Pence. Trump immediately begins a campaign of lawsuits and speeches challenging the results and claiming extensive fraud without any substantial proof. Most of the lawsuits are quickly thrown out of the lower courts.
Monday, Nov. 30: Biden and Harris receive the final states’ certification and are declared winners of the national election by more than 6 million votes and are scheduled to be sworn in on Jan. 20, 2021.
Monday, Dec. 7: President Trump, via Twitter, summons all 538 electors to meet with him on Thursday, Dec. 10, at the White House. Of that total, 337 show up from their home states on the appointed day and time and meet with the president. He makes an impassioned two-hour plea for their electoral votes, giving myriad reasons why his second term is crucial to the country. He also explains that he is going to place $1 million for each of the attendees into an escrow account to cover their “travel expenses,” to be paid immediately after his and Pence’s inauguration.
Monday, Dec. 14: The Electoral College meets virtually from the electors’ home states as scheduled and casts 298 electoral votes for Trump and Pence and 240 for Biden and Harris, thus making the Republicans the winners of the 2020 election to be sworn in on Jan. 20. Naturally, these 298 “faithless electors” are severely condemned around the world, but it is not clear what can be done about this monumental breach of faith. Each state has its own way of dealing with such scofflaws and whether or not the electoral vote can be nullified is anybody’s guess. The Democrats quickly prepare a lawsuit to be presented to the U.S. Supreme Court. The court agrees to hear the case after the first of the year on Monday, Jan. 11, just 16 days before the inauguration.
Monday, Jan. 11: The Supreme Court hears the arguments presented by Democratic attorneys.
Friday, Jan. 15: Five days before the inauguration, Justice Clarence Thomas, writing for the heavily conservative majority, states that, lacking any precedent, the court is reluctant to overturn a vote by the Electoral College and therefore that decision stands.
The faithless electors will eventually face punishment in their home states.
Wednesday, Jan. 20: Trump and Pence are sworn in as president and vice president, respectively.