The Trump-Pence Regime Continues to Try and Steal the Election

A “Legal” Strategy Consistent with their Fascist Politics, Program and Mobilization



Letter from a reader:

In recently reading Refuse Fascism’s slogans that the fascist Trump/Pence regime is still trying to steal the election, I was struck by the truth of this statement—even while we do not fully know how Trump and the fascist forces, such as the core Christian fascists, are assessing their various options and strategy. Especially in light of Biden’s Electoral College victory being called by major news outlets, including Fox News, there is both unity and struggle in their ranks.

Here to help readers, I briefly lay out some key features of their “legal” strategy and options as of this moment, the dangers and what is to be done. I use the word “legal” in quotes to indicate that were this to be a “normal” election where the votes are counted and that determines who will be elected—there would be little basis for this strategy to get anywhere. But this seems to be consistent with the fascists’ overall strategy and goals to “pervert” the election, de-legitimize the results among their social base, and ultimately even possibly steal it in an outright “coup.” These outcomes are clearly not certain, or even most likely, but given their moves, quite possible, dangers to be aware of, and most importantly, thwarted and prevented! Through mass, sustained, nonviolent resistance with the demand that this regime be ousted, Trump/Pence Out Now!

First and foremost, Trump repeatedly claimed through the last months of the campaign that “the only way we can lose is if the election is rigged,” laying the basis and framework for public opinion among his fascist social base. So ergo, the logic goes: now that major news media have declared Biden the winner, based on the actual counting of the votes, the election must have been “rigged.” His attorney general Bill Barr, a stone-cold Christian fascist, has also repeatedly gone on record saying mail-in ballots are susceptible to fraud. Trump in the wake of the election has repeatedly claimed he “won,” that there was massive “fraud,” and he is going to contest the elections in the courts, pending actual official certifications and confirmations.1

This is the context of fascist public opinion within which the initial “legal-political” strategy is unfolding. On Saturday, right after the announcement that Joe Biden won the Electoral College, Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, alleged that the electoral system in Philadelphia—crucial to Biden’s victory—was riddled with fraud, and threatened a “massive nationwide lawsuit” that Giuliani claimed “could be to set aside an election.”

And this was not just “crazy Rudy.” Trump himself insists that he is the legal winner, that “This election is not over,” and “Legal proceedings are just now beginning!” David Bossie, head of Trump’s election legal team, said on Friday, “We’re going to fight for every single legal vote, and we’re going to make sure we fight for those illegal votes to be thrown out.” House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy tweeted they would “not back down from this battle.” Donald Trump Jr. tweeted on Thursday that his father should “go to total war over this election.” As we go to press, no major Republican leader has “defected” from this to call on Trump to concede the election to Biden, except for Mitt Romney and George W. Bush, both not supporters of Trump.

Using Lawsuits to De-Legitimize and Spread the Lie of a “Stolen Election”

The Trump forces have filed over a dozen lawsuits in battleground states since the election. But as the New York Times notes, “none ... appeared to be gaining any traction in the courts.” And the reason for that is that either they have no evidence to back up their claims of fraud, or the issues they are raising would affect tiny numbers of ballots, not nearly enough to influence the election.

For instance, in Nevada the GOP claimed in federal court that the automated signature verification system for mail-in ballots was defective, had led to “over 3,000 instances of ineligible individuals casting ballots,” and should not be used. But they only had evidence of a single voter who was told when she went to vote that she had already cast a mail-in ballot. This was quickly rejected by the court. (For more detail on election court cases, go here and here.)

The most significant case was filed in federal court before the election, objecting to a Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling that mail-in ballots postmarked by 7 pm Election Day should be counted if they arrived by Friday night. This was twice appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which declined to hear it, but several of the fascist justices indicated they would likely review it after the election, and the Court ordered those “late” ballots to be “segregated” from the rest and not included in the count (Pennsylvania complied). Since there is now a 6-3 right-wing majority on the Court, the GOP may win this case, but there are only about 3,000 ballots in the contested category, and Biden is ahead by more than 43,000 votes, even without the “segregated” ballots.

A lot of people may conclude from this that the Republican legal effort is going nowhere and unlikely to succeed. But that is missing the point: These particular cases may not succeed, but through an avalanche of such cases and claims, the fascist allegation that the election was “stolen” from them, and that Trump is the legitimate winner may well gain traction, creating a fog of confusion, uncertainty, and doubt about the veracity and legitimacy of the outcome. It whips up millions of Trump’s fanatical followers—some of whom are disoriented by a defeat they believed was impossible—and reactivate them as shock troops for Trump. Bill Stepian—Trump’s campaign manager—said in a message to supporters, “Just be at the ready at a moment’s notice. We may need your help and support on the ground, waving the flag and yelling the president’s name...” [Emphasis added.] And we know what that looks like from previous experience with the MAGA-thugs, like the Proud Boys who were told by Trump to “stand by” during the first presidential debate.

As the Times put it: “Mr. Trump and his surrogates seemed less focused on substantive legal arguments that could hold up in court than on bolstering the president’s political narrativeunsupported by the facts, that he was somehow being robbed of a second term.” [Emphasis added.]

How Trump Could Potentially Flip the Election

But if these court cases themselves may not be able to flip the election, what is the plan to do that—what battle plan are these Trump followers supposed to “support”?

The U.S. election system is incredibly complicated, governed by 50 different state laws, the U.S. Constitution, countless court precedents, carried out by thousands of counties... and all of this subject to interpretation and debate. Which means there are plenty of loopholes big enough to drive an election-stealing truck through, if you have enough momentum behind it. (“Momentum” in this case means a whipped up social base in the streets, some armed, and fascists embedded in the courts, congress, state legislatures, governorships, and fascist media, ready to wield their power with flagrant disregard for democratic norms—and the truth!). Among the “legal” strategies currently being openly advocated by fascist forces are:

  • Appointing pro-Trump electors in states that voted for Biden: Right-wing radio host Mark Levin tweeted on November 5: “Reminder to the Republican state legislatures, you have the final say over the choosing of electors, not any board of elections, secretary of state, governor or even court.” Donald Trump Jr. retweeted it the same day, and the following day Trump ally Steve Bannon argued the same point.

    There is some debate over whether this would be constitutional, but if it ended up in the U.S. Supreme Court, given the Christian fascist majority, there may well be a high chance that the fascist majority would back Trump. Most of the battleground states that Trump lost have Republi-fascist legislatures. Think they wouldn’t do something that blatantly anti-democratic? Where have you been for the last 20 years?

  • Recounts: In states where Biden has a relatively small lead (so far, Georgia, Nevada, and Wisconsin), recounts are being called for. Although typically recounts result in changes in a few hundred votes at most—and Trump is behind by between 10,000 and 34,000 in these states—America in 2020 is not “typical.” Already poll workers in Las Vegas and Phoenix need police escorts to their cars due to the threat of armed Trump supporters outside. Imagine recounts under conditions where the fascists were in the streets in the thousands... and relying for their safety on cops and sheriff’s deputies that are often Trump fanatics themselves.

    Currently, Biden has 279 electoral votes (some states are still undecided). If he lost Wisconsin’s 10 votes in a recount, that could produce a tie with Trump, in which case the winner would be selected by the U.S. House of Representatives. The vote in the House would be by state delegations—New York’s 27 representatives would cast one vote for New York, and Utah’s four representatives would have one vote, and so on. More state delegations are controlled by Republicans, so in this situation Trump could likely win.

  • “Investigations” of fraud: According to the New York Times, “In Wisconsin, Robin Vos, the speaker of the State Assembly, directed a legislative committee to ‘use its investigatory powers’” to conduct a review of the election, again raising the specter of voter fraud without offering specific evidence. In Pennsylvania, the two top Republicans in the legislature called on Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, to conduct ‘an immediate audit’ of the election.” In addition, the pro-Trump “True the Vote” organization has initiated “a $1 million ‘Whistleblower Defense Fund’ to ‘incentivize’ witnesses to step forward with charges of malfeasance.” Let us repeat, a million dollars to “incentivize witnesses”!

    “Investigations” like this are aimed at justifying and building public support for interventions by fascist-controlled institutions—state legislatures, the Senate, the courts, etc.—and to provide legal cover, however thin, for overturning the election.

  • Intervention by Attorney General Barr and the Department of Justice (DOJ): The DOJ could do its own bogus “investigation” of election “fraud,” and then (according to Barton Gellman, an expert in executive power) “write a legal document that orders the federal government to treat Trump as president-elect.” Gelman adds that “Trump could try to issue an executive order to the same effect. Whether government agencies would go along with orders like that, which are ordinarily binding but would be transparently unlawful now, remains to be seen.”

    Barr has come under intense pressure from Trump allies to come to his rescue. On Thursday, Eric Trump tweeted “I truly hope the @FBI/@DOJ engages immediately.” On November 8, Giuliani claimed on Fox News that they were questioning 450,000 ballots in Philadelphia—host Maria Bartiromo responded “Where is Bill Barr on this ... where is the DOJ”. The New York Times reports, “Newt Gingrich, echoed the president’s son on Fox News, calling for the jailing of poll workers and more involvement from Attorney General William P. Barr.” A correspondent for Newsmax (Trump-media) tweeted: “It’s time to put Bill Barr’s face on the back of milk cartons and ask his neighbors how long he’s been missing.” Fascist Texas congressman Louie Gohmert chimed in: “Where’s @TheJusticeDept???”

Take This Seriously and Take Action to Prevent It

As Bob Avakian stated on August 1 in his historic statement, ON THE IMMEDIATE CRITICAL SITUATION, THE URGENT NEED TO DRIVE OUT THE FASCIST TRUMP/PENCE REGIME, VOTING IN THIS ELECTION, AND THE FUNDAMENTAL NEED FOR REVOLUTION, a Biden victory in the elections “would create far better conditions for continuing to wage the struggle against everything represented by the Trump/Pence regime and all the oppression and injustices of this system, and would be a great gift to the people of the world.” This is very positive.

But as we said in The Crossroads We Face and the Struggle to Drive Out the Fascist Regime; Some Points of Orientation for This Juncture, “for all those who want to see an end to the nightmare of the Trump/Pence regime, there is a struggle to be waged, of mass nonviolent protests that continue until this regime is ousted! This is what is needed! The fascists must NOT be allowed to dominate the “public square” and public discourse. Combined with the fascist domination of the courts and some key state legislatures that already exists, that could be deadly. The coalition of the decent cannot now retire from the field of political battle—instead, we must pull together, organize and show up to follow through on and complete the main job before us: driving out this fascist regime.”


1. By federal statute, the electors in each state meet on “the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December”—which this year is December 14—to cast their votes. Then on January 6, the House and Senate meet jointly for a formal count of the votes. Although most people believe that these votes must automatically match the popular vote in each state, in reality there are many legal ways to attempt to get around this.  [back]

Read the short version of this article here

Rudy Giuliani at the November 7 Press Conference in Philadelphia.

Trump’s is using the legal arena to spread the lie of a “stolen election,” backed up with armed MAGA forces in the street. Bill Stepian, Trump’s campaign manager, told Trump supporters: “Just be at the ready at a moment’s notice. We may need your help and support on the ground, waving the flag and yelling the president’s name...” Armed Trump supporters outside Pennsylvania State Capitol, November 7. (Photo: AP)

Trump and Attorney General William Barr



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