General Question

crazyguy's avatar

Do you think Trump's legal actions are harming our democracy?

Asked by crazyguy (1441points) 6 days ago

The election was held more than two weeks ago. The media called the election in Biden’s favor about two weeks ago. However, state-certified results are still pending from almost all the states.

In the meantime, Trump’s legal team has been busy questioning the validity of the ballots and the counting process in many states. CNN and other mainstream media have, on many occasions, complained that Trump’s legal maneuverings are hurting democracy in the US.

By way of comparison, in 2000, “According to a report by The New York Times, 680 of the accepted overseas ballots were received after the legal deadline, lacked required postmarks or a witness signature or address, or were unsigned or undated, cast after election day, from unregistered voters or voters not requesting ballots, or double-counted.[47])”

Isn’t that similar to many of Trump’s complaints?

So my question is twofold:

1. Do you think Trump is hurting US democracy?
2. If so, how exactly is what his legal team is doing different from what was done by Gore’s legal team in 2000?

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68 Answers

Inspired_2write's avatar

I heard that the Official count declared is exactly 20 days “after the Election date”..so that will be November 23 or 24th.
That is the Electoral practice / process adhered to for many years.
Trump has to give the Officials the time to do this and soon it will be finished.
From there it is Official counts declared and legal.

Dutchess_III's avatar

nah. It’s all been decided. Judges threw out the stupid motions. It’s done.

Pandora's avatar

Yes. There are different circumstances between 2000 and now. For one. The post office wasn’t kneecapped before the elections to slow down mail-in ballots. Also, there wasn’t a pandemic that slowed things down further. But there is also this which explains why it’s not the same. Also in some states, Trump said stop counting and in others they wanted them to count. And now that they still ended up losing in the ones he wanted them to continue, he is now calling foul. It doesn’t matter to Trump’s people if they counted or not. Trump had planned on contesting any results long before the elections. It’s why he told republicans to vote in person and not by mail. He wanted to contest democrat votes. At least 3 weeks out he had his lawyers ready to contest votes despite his own security people saying this has been the most secure election ever. I guess he knew that meant his people couldn’t interfere in the elections and so he had the real possibility of losing this time.

Zaku's avatar

1. Yes.
2. See @Pandora ‘s answer above.

Also, it’s different in that Al Gore did not:

* behave as if there were a conspiracy by the other party to defraud and steal the election,

* have his entire family send out multiple spam emails every day to every email address they had, including ones titled “OFFICIAL MESSAGE FROM PRESIDENT TRUMP AND VICE PRESIDENT PENCE”, “I WAS ROBBED”, “YOU deserve a FAIR election”, “VOTER FRAUD”, “The media is LYING”, falsely claiming the election was rigged by the Democratic Party, that the people actually re-elected him but that he’s being robbed (and then deceptively asking for money to “defend the election” even though the money would go to repaying his campaign debts and taken as a political party donation).

* set about to cause chaos, see if he could start a war with Iran, refuse to cooperate with his opponent in terms of sharing information, etc etc…

Gore also didn’t send out email with content such as:

“The silent Fake News media is truly the Enemy of the People! They are ignoring the Radical Left ANTIFA SCUM assaulting Trump supporters, who are proudly (and peacefully!) showing support for their favorite President.

However, this doesn’t come as any surprise – this is what Biden’s America would look like.

The Left HATES YOU, Peter. They want to keep you DOWN and keep you SILENT because they are afraid of YOU and everything you stand for.”

crazyguy's avatar

@Inspired_2write Each state has a deadline by which the election results must be certified – see
https://ballotpedia.org/How_and_when_are_election_results_finalized%3F_(2020)

As of today, 15 states have missed their deadline. The remaining 35 have not.

Legal action and recounts can delay these deadlines.

However, my question is: do the legal actions hurt our democracy?

Lightlyseared's avatar

Harming? No. Harmed! The damage is already done. The US is the laughing stock of the world.

Irukandji's avatar

The legal actions themselves aren’t hurting democracy. It’s how the campaign is framing their challenges that is harmful. Asking for recounts or other checks is one thing. Declaring—in advance and without evidence—that the election is rigged is something else entirely.

crazyguy's avatar

@Dutchess_III I do not think you are right. But, hey, you are the duchess; you can believe whatever you want to.

@Pandora

1.“The post office wasn’t kneecapped before the elections to slow down mail-in ballots.” That news is so out-of-date that I will not bother to respond.

2. “there wasn’t a pandemic that slowed things down further.” What does that have to do with my question?

3. Did you either reading https://ballotpedia.org/How_and_when_are_election_results_finalized%3F_(2020) which you called this?
If you had, you would have realized that the fact there are more states in contention now than in 2000, makes the odds worse for Trump, but does not invalidate his concerns.

4. “Also in some states, Trump said stop counting and in others they wanted them to count.” So what?

5. ” Trump had planned on contesting any results long before the elections.” And Biden had not? See
https://apnews.com/article/elections-joe-biden-campaigns-election-2020-virus-outbreak-abc9a144ca6314471a44fb9b87196bac

crazyguy's avatar

@Zaku Please do not make your answer so political! My question is in the legal realm.

I have already responded to Pandora.

Zaku's avatar

It’s not me making all that behavior political. You asked what the difference was, and whether Trump is hurting US democracy. That’s simply the answer.

Pandora's avatar

My answer answered your question. Now whether you liked my answer is another matter and I don’t care if you liked it or accepted it. I know, no matter what argument anyone gives you, you will willfully ignore it because like Trump it doesn’t fit your fantasy. So why do I answer. I don’t answer your questions for you. I answer them because I like dispelling delusional nonsense before it may possibly take root. I believe Trump could tell you that he is evil and greedy and bad for our Nation and you would claim Trump was brainwashed by the evil media to lie about himself.

Lightlyseared's avatar

@crazyguy 4. “Also in some states, Trump said stop counting and in others they wanted them to count.” So what?

So your suggesting that it doesn’t matter if the election is fair as long as Trump wins? Because that’s exactly what you just said.

Kind of makes the rest of your question a complete waste of time. don’t you think.?

LostInParadise's avatar

680 ballots spread over 50 states just does not make a whole lot of difference. And that is 680 votes out of several tens of thousands of overseas votes.

In the 2000 election, Gore was initially ahead in Florida, but the lead was small and the vote had to be recounted by state law. Gore made a legal challenge to the count. Trump, by contrast, has filed a large amount of legal challenges across several states. Most of them were dismissed due to insufficient evidence. Trump keeps saying that the mail-in ballots are fraudulent, without a smidgen of evidence. Unfortunately, many of his followers take him at his word, which does undermine democracy.

crazyguy's avatar

@Pandora Indulge me for just a moment. How exactly is “Also in some states, Trump said stop counting and in others they wanted them to count.” responsive to “Do you think Trump’s legal actions are harming our democracy?”?

@Lightlyseared First of all, Trump as President cannot direct States to count or not. What @Pandora was referring to was court actions and Trump tweets. A tweet saying “Stop counting” does not make the election unfair. So that is not what I said.

@LostInParadise So, what you are saying is (and please correct me if I am wrong) is that Trump should concede because “many of his followers take him at his word, which does undermine democracy.” Here is a definition of democracy: “a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives.” Therefore, because a guy is popular enough that his word is followed by millions, that “does undermine democracy”. Therefore he can serve democracy by shutting up!

LostInParadise's avatar

@crazyguy , Trump should concede because he does not have a plausible case. He should stop making unfounded claims that weaken the integrity of democracy.

Lightlyseared's avatar

@crazyguy if that’s what you meant I’m afraid you didn’t make it clear in your original statement. And unfortunately that makes it looks like you support fraud so trump wins.

crazyguy's avatar

@LostInParadise And CNN decides which claims are unfounded?

@Lightlyseared You kinda lost me.

LostInParadise's avatar

No, the courts decide, and they have thrown out nearly all claims so far due to lack of evidence.

crazyguy's avatar

@LostInParadise So Trump should decide preemptively and concede? Or should he air out his grievances, so when he does concede it will be an unfettered concession?

Inspired_2write's avatar

@crazyguy
Trump has a right to a legitimate complaint but not speculation.
There are legal ways to do this the right way “before” airing it publicly.
Which is unprofessional even for a President.
Trump could had followed the legal recourse ‘first” before making a public spectacle of the U.S. Politics to the whole world unethicality .

crazyguy's avatar

@Inspired_2write I agree. There needs to be more action in the courts and less before the cameras.

Zaku's avatar

There’s been a lot of action in the courts – lots of legal-malpractice-worthy lawsuits going down in flames, lawyers fleeing before they lose their licenses, etc.

Dutchess_III's avatar

More action in the courts? Judges are throwing election law suits out left and right.

Arizona, Georgia, Pennsyvania

crazyguy's avatar

@Dutchess_III @Zaku As long as we end up with an acceptable result, do we really want to tie the whole thing to a schedule, other than the hard deadline of December 14 spelled out in the Constitution?

Federal law has set 6 days before the Electoral College vote as the safe harbor deadline by which all disputes about electors shall be resolved. In 2000, the Supreme Court “wouldn’t allow an extension of the safe harbor deadline” which in that year was Dec 12. See

https://constitutioncenter.org/blog/the-constitution-and-contested-presidential-elections

In 2020, the safe harbor deadline is Dec 8. Therefore, as far as I can see, there is no harm done if the legal challenges are allowed to play out until December 8. The ‘transition’ is not impacted by the delay of a few weeks. Our founders were smart enough to allow plenty of time between Election Day and Inauguration Day.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Fine.
Whatever.
Biden is our next president no matter how desperately you want to convince us otherwise.

crazyguy's avatar

@Dutchess_III I have never attempted to do what you say. Am I disappointed? Yes. Do I think Biden is bad for the US. Yes. Do I think he won the election fairly? Heck, NO. Is there anything I can do about that? Heck, NO. So there, my dear.

Dutchess_III's avatar

It’s not complicated. Biden won the popular vote AND the Electoral college. Only a Trump supporter would call that voter fraud.

crazyguy's avatar

@Dutchess_III You have such a simplistic view of life that I almost envy you. BUT I have seen the world longer than you have and I realize it is a lot more complicated than you seem to think. For instance, just ponder on the following:

1. Is in-person voting less prone to manipulation than mail-in ballots?
2. Did Democrats favor mail-in voting? For instance did California and Nevada decide to send mail-in ballots to all registered voters, regardless of whether the addresses were confirmed or not, and regardless of whether the voter in question had any intent to vote?
3. If your answers to 1 and 2 are yes, then the third question: WHY?

Response moderated (Flame-Bait)
Dutchess_III's avatar

We’re about the same age so don’t get condensending @crazyguy.
I am also educated and trained to think critically.
It’s mindlessly reactive people who are damaging the country.

Response moderated (Personal Attack)
Zaku's avatar

@crazyguy I don’t think election counting should be rushed. But as far as I have read, I see no indication that there is any reason to expect any investigation or court case might come anywhere near meaningfully affecting the outcome.

The “harm done” is in having a POTUS, Senators, Congressmen and other officials going along with what seems transparently clearly to be obvious lies with no substance to them, which get attention and credence of the foolish and easily misled to believe that our election system is corrupt and that the constantly-lying (since before the first election) dangerous egomaniac spoiled man-child has been “robbed”. You seem to be an example of that harm. The US voting system has many many flaws, but this is not one of them, and discrediting the election system in ways that are not true, and spouting crazy and lazy lies, and everyone going along with those lies, all damages our nation and our society.

Not to mention the inciting of hatred, as seen in the emails I mentioned above that you found “political”.

seawulf575's avatar

If anything, I think Trump’s efforts are helping the democracy. There are some pretty intense questions about the validity of how this election was done. If the election was not done fairly, then our democracy was being harmed by those messing with it. By looking at, and hopefully fixing, the “irregularities” then going forward our elections should be more fair and more reliable. That is, after all, the heart of our democracy, isn’t it?

crazyguy's avatar

@seawulf575 You make a great point. I am of the firm opinion that the election ‘result’ will not be reversed. But I think any reasonable legal challenge needs to be heard and adjudicated. Here is a quote from a story this morning:

“Kemp also asked Raffensperger to do a sample audit to compare voters’ signatures on mail-in ballots but the secretary of state has said that’s impossible at this point because the ballots are separated from the outer security envelope during the counting process, according to CBS News.”

In my mind the critical difference between mail-in voting and in-person voting is the number of ways that mail-in ballots can be compromised. In fact, the only way to verify that the intended voter actually cast the mail-in ballot is by a signature match; and now we hear, auditing that process is impossible!

crazyguy's avatar

@Zaku By not admitting that mail-in ballots are easier to manipulate than in-person ballots (in theory, I have said they were), you have proved to me that you lack objectivity on this subject.

jca2's avatar

@crazyguy: It seems that everyone here lacks objectivity and is not half as intelligent as you are. You should start your own website. People here don’t measure up to your level.

Demosthenes's avatar

@crazyguy But I think any reasonable legal challenge needs to be heard and adjudicated

And will you accept the result of these legal challenges if the result is that the challenges are thrown out or discredited due to lack of evidence? You say you do not believe the election was fair; why is that? Because of “widespread voter fraud”? Where is the evidence of that? The claim that the election wasn’t fair was made before the results were even known. Trump claimed the 2016 election was rigged despite the fact that he won. These claims are not based on facts. These claims are made in hope that the facts will back them up, but that is not what is happening. So how do you come to the conclusion that Biden didn’t win fairly? If the legal challenges do not pan out and reveal that he did win fairly, will you accept his win?

I think it’s worth investigating any “irregularities” and potential cases of fraud in order to improve the voting system. That said, investigating these cases with the narrative that fraud flipped the election is ridiculous and dishonest. The fact is that Trump (and many of his supporters) will not accept any outcome other than a reversal of the election results.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Rudy Giuliani is making $2000 an hour 24/7 that’s $1.4 million a month. Don’t you think Rudy will continue to throw things on the wall to see if they stick?

The rube with orange make-up isn’t smart enough to see Rudy is in it for the money.

seawulf575's avatar

@Demosthenes I get that you are onboard with the media narrative that fraud didn’t occur. But let’s play a thought game. Let’s say Biden is declared the winner. And let’s say a full blown investigation is started right now. And if that full blown investigation shows that massive voter fraud actually DID occur and actually DID throw the election to Biden, then what?

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@seawulf575 The Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny and Santa will all be at your front to to tell you were brilliant ! . . . “full blown investigation shows that massive voter fraud actually DID occur and actually DID throw the election to Biden”

Your hero lost and there is nothing but fright wingers running round saying “this could have happened and maybe this , . . . ” – - – - – No massive anything happened in the Election but massive imaginations of make believe after the Election.

Demosthenes's avatar

@seawulf575 I’m on board with the reality that there is so far no evidence to support the massive scale of fraud Trump and his supporters are alleging. I’m on board with the fact that a number of lawsuits put forth by the Trump administration have been thrown out and that results have been affirmed in Georgia and Michigan.

Re. the thought experiment: All fraudulent votes should be discarded. If the number of discarded fraudulent votes is enough to flip the election, then Trump should be re-sworn in on January 20th. The chances of this happening are next to nil, but fraudulent votes should never count.

seawulf575's avatar

@Demosthenes And if it happens after January 20th?

Zaku's avatar

@crazyguy ” By not admitting that mail-in ballots are easier to manipulate than in-person ballots (in theory, I have said they were), you have proved to me that you lack objectivity on this subject.”
– It seems to me that your suggestions for how they were possible to manipulate did not in fact make very much sense when considered in more detail, as I invested a fair amount of time trying to explain to you above.

That you think despite that effort that you have “proved” that I lack objectivity… lowers my opinion of your judgement.

I do agree with the principle you and Seawulf mentioned, that the election process should be subject to great scrutiny and available to challenge in reasonable ways. But the challenges coming from Trump and those supporting him have been very clearly nonsense, immaterial, or themselves attempts at deception.

Meanwhile, today’s assault on reason and democracy from Trump in my morning email, read:

“From: Donald J. Trump
Subject: I concede NOTHING

I won the Election!

The Radical Left Democrats, working with their partner, the Fake News Media, are trying to STEAL this Election. We won’t let them.

Joe Biden only won in the eyes of the FAKE NEWS MEDIA. I concede NOTHING. We have a long way to go – this was a flawed ELECTION. ...”

I mention this to continue to answer your question. That is, this seems to me like blatant lying and attempting to undermine public confidence in the voting process based on nothing other than BS from his own imagination.” It’s not even trying to make sense or point to any actual weakness in the system. It just seems to be pandering to people who aren’t very knowledgeable or not very smart, or those who just wish it were true. Rather like a lot of the other nonsense he makes up and says as if it were true.

i.e. Trump continues to be a demonstration of the phenomenon where people with ego issues who don’t understand much, tend to not understand that others do understand some things, especially those who are dishonest, don’t understand that there are quite a few people who are honest and do understand things, and so they think they can get away with making BS up and lying that they “know” that what they want to be true, is true. Sadly, the US seems to have way too many people who have similar issues, and are willing to hear lying nonsense and not question it, as long as it comes from someone they think is “on their side”. Of course, in this case, he’s lying about that, too…

Demosthenes's avatar

@seawulf575 Then it’s coup time. Bolivia should serve as a good model. :)

jca2's avatar

Trump doesn’t have a leg to stand on. People who are defending him need to remember one thing, a major thing. He is desperate! Desperate times call for desperate measures. He is grasping for straws.

crazyguy's avatar

@Demosthenes Based on the fact that the signed envelopes have been permanently separated for the ballots, it will be impossible to prove anything. All we can do is recount over and over again the same possibly illegal ballots and end up with the same result. So what does that prove? Not a thing! So, since that is the most likely fraud, there is no way of confirming or rejecting the hypothesis. Therefore, we are doomed to constant challenges with no resolution!

crazyguy's avatar

@Demosthenes Fraudulent votes are (possibly) those. where the signature on the ballot outer envelope does not match the signature on the voter roll. However, since the envelope has been permanently separated from the ballot, there is no way to prove or disprove the hypothesis. Therefore, I think it is time to move on. BUT we have to modify election rules in certain ways to ensure the same situation does not ever repeat.

crazyguy's avatar

@Zaku I invested a fair amount of time trying to explain to you above.

So you are saying you tried on this thread to prove that mail-in ballots are no more susceptible to fraud as in-person ballots?

Well, I must have been asleep! Please, repeat your thinking.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@crazyguy You won’t be happy until Trump wins by 82 Million popular votes and has 400 Electoral votes !

Get a grip he lost !

zenvelo's avatar

So today Trump wants another recount in Georgia, which went through a full county by county audit by a REPUBLICAN official!

Give it up!

jca2's avatar

@zenvelo: I wonder what the rules are as far as how many times the same candidate or party can request a recount of the same thing?

crazyguy's avatar

@jca2 The first recount was triggered by the closeness of the result, not by Trump. After certification of the result, either candidate can request a recount if the result is close, as in this case.

Zaku's avatar

Here is another answer to this question, from Arizona Republican congressman Jim Kolbe:

“Failure to concede an election when the outcome is certain and beyond doubt undermines the very foundation of our democracy — the public confidence that elections decide who will guide the country or the state or the city,” Kolbe observed. “Pointless disputes over fictional ‘fraud’ only fuels disinformation, increases distrust in our constitutional form of government, and weakens trust in their leaders and the very process of holding elections.”

crazyguy's avatar

@Zaku With all due respect, I disagree with you and Kolbe. Conceding an election is fine, but, generally conceding an election kills all inquiries into the election.

Do we really want that, especially with a very important election coming up in just a few weeks?

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@crazyguy It’s over, the fat lady has sung !

Trump doesn’t like democracy, so he will all he can to act like a dictator. And continue to trash the US.

He’ll leave office kicking and a screaming (or will disappear to Ukraine or some country that won’t extradite him back to US).

seawulf575's avatar

Another aspect of Trump’s legal actions that I have noticed involves the judges that are negating the claims of mail in ballots that weren’t filled out properly on the basis of not wanting to disenfranchise people that voted. But that statement disenfranchises the millions that voted for Trump.

zenvelo's avatar

@seawulf575 ”...that statement disenfranchises the millions that voted for Trump.

Please explain that logic: how could counting someone’s ballot disenfranchise someone else? One person;s vote does not “count” more than another’s.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
seawulf575's avatar

@zenvelo If the thousands and thousands of votes that weren’t filled out correctly are not challenged and allowed to be acceptable by the courts, that tells those of us that take their voting seriously that it really doesn’t matter. Any old crap will do. And there are millions of voters out there that see that the rules don’t matter…that you could create thousands of votes if you like and the courts will allow them to fly. Because, apparently, if they say the ballots are not valid, they will step on someone’s toes.

LostInParadise's avatar

The main problem is that some voters did not use the secondary envelope. That second envelope is for the benefit of the voter, to keep their vote private. Not keeping your vote secret is no reason for it not to count.

zenvelo's avatar

@seawulf575 But no one is trying to create thousands of votes if you like except some Proud Boys! And no court is going to admit manufactured votes! People voted and you don’t like the way they voted and want to throw out their ballot.

That is un-American!

seawulf575's avatar

@zenvelo But there were thousands of votes that weren’t filled out correctly. I know the ballots I saw had very exact rules for filling out the ballot and/or the envelope. They have these rules to avoid fraud. Not filled out correctly is invalid. Invalid is invalid.

jca2's avatar

@seawulf575: Were there rules in writing that stated “if your ballot is not filled out correctly, your vote will not count?” and “if your ballot is not placed in the envelope correctly, your vote will not count?” I’m not being facetious, I’m seriously asking, because if what you say is true and correct, it should have been in writing, from each Board of Elections and written on each ballot. If what you say is not true and correct, and is just your theory, then it would not be in writing and the votes should definitely count.

seawulf575's avatar

@jca2 I can’t answer for all states since they differ from state to state. I know in my state it was very clearly spelled out in writing. There were even instructions for proper filling out of the ballot that included the warning that it could be invalidated if the instructions weren’t followed.

jca2's avatar

@seawulf575: If you have any experience with contracts, you know that “could be” and “will be” are two very different things.

seawulf575's avatar

@jca2 And you are making my point for me. You are willing to allow irregularities which will disenfranchise millions of voters.

jca2's avatar

@seawulf575: If 78 year old Tillie Mae from Mississippi casts her vote and forgets to put it in the second envelope, her vote should not count? And there was nothing stating “failure to put this ballot in the second envelope will mean your vote will not be counted?”

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