Turning and Tuning in the Widening Gyre

Politico, ‘A grand scheme’: Trump’s election defiance consumes GOP: Many party officials are suggesting to the rank and file that the election was stolen or that the outcome stands to be reversed.

The cancer on our democracy is metastasizing. The assertion that Trump is legally entitled to his day in court—which is true, as far as it goes—is progressively transmogrifying into the claim that the election was rigged, regardless of what courts and election officials may say.

Rick Hasen, Trump Needs Three Consecutive Hail Mary Passes:

The state of play can be described as follows: Biden appears very likely to win 306 Electoral College votes, 36 more than he needs for the presidency. This is a comfortable lead. Recounts in even the closest states, where the candidates are 10,000 to 20,000 votes apart, are extremely unlikely to change the election results; the most recent Wisconsin recount, in 2016, shifted the result by 571 votes. And nothing in those closest states indicates the kind of systemic failure that could lead to a more dramatic reversal.

Washington Post, Biden and Democrats push back against Trump and Republicans’ recalcitrance over election results

In a piece headlined The corrupt bargain between Trump and Republicans is about to unravel, Greg Sargent offers a reasonably sanguine and reasonably persuasive view:

President Trump needs Republicans to help him validate his big lie that the votes of millions of Americans are illegitimate and that the election is being stolen from him. Meanwhile, Republicans need Trump to keep his voters energized for two big Senate runoffs in Georgia.

This has created a Faustian bargain of sorts: Republicans keep feeding the illusion that the outcome of the presidential race remains in doubt by refusing to say Trump should concede. And Trump keeps screaming that the outcome is fraudulent, which he may or may not actually believe, but either way, it has utility to Republicans because it keeps his voters in a fury.

But at the core of this bargain is a fatal flaw, one rooted in iron facts about the law and the calendar: Republicans cannot sustain this illusion for much longer. Which hints at longer-term truths about the current situation and how it might ultimately wind down.The flaw in this bargain is evident in the fact that Trump is reportedly angry at Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Republicans for not doing quite enough to keep that illusion alive. …

So what happens when the Trump campaign loses more lawsuits and it becomes increasingly evident that there’s no path left? Trump will grow angrier, and his demands that Republicans remain in the fight will grow more unhinged.

But the illusion cannot be maintained forever. And the calendar is unforgiving. All the key states where Trump is still fighting — including Arizona, Georgia and Pennsylvania — are supposed to certify their results by the end of this month.