Electoral college votes today to preserve democracy in America
Electoral College ballots are cast in Pennsylvania in 2016. | AP

President-elect Joe Biden will address the nation tonight on the results of the Electoral College’s vote certification.

In normal times, the vote by the Electoral College, making the election results official, passes with little or no notice. It is an automatic process free of any controversy.

This year, however, it occurs after weeks of unprecedented attempts by Donald Trump and the Republican Party as a whole trying, with countless court cases, to overturn the election and have Trump, the loser, declared the winner.

Never in American history has there been such a brazen attack on democracy that seeks to throw out the votes of millions of Americans.

White supremacist Proud Boys, supporters of President Donald Trump, at a rally at Freedom Plaza on Saturday in Washington. That night, they attacked several Black churches. | AP

The Electoral College members will convene this afternoon in statehouses from coast to coast where they are expected to officially affirm the victory of the Biden-Harris ticket. Biden’s speech to the nation tonight will occur in Delaware at 8 p.m. eastern time.

The Electoral College gatherings today take on historic importance precisely because Trump and GOP attacks on the election have included not just court cases and violent attacks on election officials and protesters but also brazen attempts to cajole state legislative bodies to appoint rogue electors who would vote not for the people’s choice in their states but for Trump instead.

The GOP, now a full-fledged anti-democratic party, has also pushed outlandish conspiracy theories out through both mass and social media in its attempt to overturn the election.

Further Reading:

The Republican Party has morphed into an entirely anti-democratic institution

The Electoral College meetings will begin between noon and 2 p.m. and are open to the public or streamed online.

Expect right-wing supporters of Trump and dangerous armed groups like the Proud Boys to turn out at state capitols to try to intimidate the electors. Most states have put plans in place to provide electors with protective police escorts. The GOP’s attack on democracy has created a disgraceful spectacle that has shocked people all over the world.

This weekend, Trump supporters who rallied in the nation’s capital attacked and even set fires at several historic Black churches, reflecting the almost total transformation of the GOP into a fascist-like, anti-democratic political party.

Republicans will continue their sabotage of the election after the votes today and after the Biden speech. They have their sights trained on Jan. 6 when the Congress is slated to officially count the Electoral College vote.

Under our flawed constitutional system, the Congress, technically, can decide not to accept those votes if either the House or the GOP-dominated Senate refuses to do so. Such an event would cause a constitutional crisis, throwing the election back to the states. Even when, at the end of that process, Biden likely prevails and is inaugurated, his inauguration would occur under horrific circumstances where huge sections of the population refuse to accept the legitimacy of his presidency—the real goal here of a Republican Party determined to rule at any cost. There is already talk of Trump and supportive Republicans holding a counter-inauguration event featuring the outgoing president as the lead speaker.

Biden is expected tonight to try to calm the waters stirred up so badly by the GOP. He is expected to emphasize how today’s Electoral College vote shows the strength and resilience of democracy in the United States.

While the electors casting ballots today will cement his victory and help put the seal on Trump’s defeat, the existence of the Electoral College itself is an undemocratic holdover from the past that is due for abolition.

From its beginning, the Electoral College was premised on limiting the power of the people to directly choose the president and was marred by the slavery era’s “three-fifths compromise” which denied the full humanity of Black people in the United States. It has long been an instrument of conservative and reactionary power.

The Electoral College remains a threat to democracy to this day and very easily could have given the presidency to the popular vote loser again this year—for the third time in two decades. If Trump had scored even just 0.7 percentage points more in each state, he still would have lost the popular vote by a landslide, but he would have tied in the Electoral College, thus throwing the selection of the president to Congress.

It didn’t happen, but the Electoral College remains a threat for future elections.

As for now, 62% percent of Americans believe that the election is “over and settled” and that it is “time to move on” to other issues, according to a CBS News poll released Sunday.

Although it will essentially finalize Trump’s defeat today, the Electoral College itself remains a threat to democracy. | AP

That majority stands in stark contrast to the 82% of Trump supporters polled who do not see President-elect Joe Biden as the legitimate victor, indicating support for Trump’s unfounded claims that the election was stolen from him. Some 75% of Trump supporters think Republicans should “try to keep Trump in power.” Trump and the Republicans have inflicted the damage on democracy they hoped for by destroying the confidence of millions in our democratic election system.

There is no evidence of fraud in the election results, including the key swing states in which Trump has alleged corruption.

The polls are reflective of a huge section of the country being influenced by racism, the stock and trade of the Trump administration, and the effects of right-wing media, which has caused millions to believe things that are factually incorrect.

One of the aims of the Republicans in continuing the battle against the results of a free and fair election is the stirring up of their base for the Georgia Senate runoffs, where polls show Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock could defeat Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, giving Dems control over the Senate.

The GOP is counting on its riled-up right-wing base to turn out and prevent that from happening.

Progressive forces all over the country must support the drive to defeat the Georgia Republicans. By electing Biden and Harris, we have won the first big battle in the war to save democracy. By defeating Perdue and Loeffler, we will win the second battle.

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CONTRIBUTOR

John Wojcik
John Wojcik

John Wojcik is Editor-in-Chief of People's World. He joined the staff as Labor Editor in May 2007 after working as a union meat cutter in northern New Jersey. There, he served as a shop steward, as a member of a UFCW contract negotiating committee, and as an activist in the union's campaign to win public support for Wal-Mart workers. In the 1970s and '80s he was a political action reporter for the Daily World, this newspaper's predecessor, and was active in electoral politics in Brooklyn, New York.

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