The U.S. Electoral College on Monday put an end to the controversy that has followed the presidential election by voting to cement president-elect, Joe Biden’s victory.
U.S. states electors are required by law to vote for president and vice president on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December.
Joe Biden needed 270 out of the 538 electoral votes to clinch the White House, and he got more than that following wins in battleground states of Nevada, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Michigan and Wisconsin.
A total of 306 votes were cast in favor of Biden while the incumbent Donald Trump got 232. Biden reached the mark after securing all California’s 55 votes, where he won 63% of the total votes cast against Trump’s 34%.
The formalization of Biden’s victory through electoral votes has severely dented Trump and GOP members’ chances to overturn the election result.
Trump and his allies have been pushing conspiracy theories to back up their claims that the election was rigged. The Trump campaign has filed more than 50 lawsuits challenging the outcome of the election. Without evidence to back up his claims, most of the lawsuits have been withdrawn or thrown out by the courts including the two filed with the Supreme Court.
Last week, Texas, with the support of 17 other states, 100 GOP members and president Trump filed a lawsuit with the Supreme Court seeking to flip the election result in Trump’s favor. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton asked the court to block electors from voting in the Electoral College, but the Supreme Court rejected the bid.
The move by Trump and his supporters to overturn the election result, based on his spurious claims, has been widely condemned, even by some members of the Republican Party.
However, Trump’s “stop the steal” mantra has garnered momentum since the end of the election, with his supporters taken to the streets to protest the “rigged election”, and sometimes threatened electoral officials.
Along party lines, Democrats have condemned Trump’s refusal to accept defeat and his push to change the will of American voters, saying it will undermine the country’s democracy. While Republicans are divided into three: those who support Trump, those who sit on the fence, and those who condemn his after-election actions.
“A sitting president undermining our political process & questioning the legality of the voices of countless Americans without evidence is not only dangerous and wrong, it undermines the very foundation this nation was built upon. Every American should have his or her vote counted,” GOP Rep. Will Turd wrote.
Biden took a swipe at Trump while delivering his victory speech after his victory was affirmed by the Electoral College.
“Today, the members of the Electoral College cast their votes for president and vice president. And once again, the rule of law, our Constitution, and the will of the people have prevailed. Our democracy-pushed, tested, and threatened-proved to be resilient, true, and strong.
“In America, politicians don’t take power-the people grant it to them. The flame of democracy was lit in this nation a long time ago. And we now know that nothing – not even a pandemic or an abuse of power – can extinguish that flame,” he said.
Following the formalization of the electoral votes, many of Trump’s supporters are beginning to backtrack, calling on the president to accept defeat for the interest of American democracy.
U.S. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConell and his top deputies are urging other Republican senators not to join any House Republicans who are still objecting the presidential election results, when Congress meets on Jan. 6 to ratify the decision of the Electoral College.
Several House republicans, led by Congressman Mo Brooks, have been courting Trump-aligned senators to challenge the outcome of the electoral votes in the five battleground states.
Only one senator and a member of the House would have to sign the formal challenge to force each house to hold a separate two-hour debate before voting to uphold or discard the election results.
In case the Congress votes to discard election results in the five states, it will reduce the number of electoral votes for both Trump and Biden below 270. And if that happens, the House of Representatives will vote for a president by delegation from the state Congress.
But it will not get to that as no senator has stepped up to sign Brook’s challenge to the election result.
The insistence of pro-Trump Republicans to overturn the outcome of the election is gradually tearing the Republican Party apart. On Tuesday, Rep. Paul Mitchell disaffiliated from the Republican Party, citing Trump’s reaction to the election result, which he described as “unacceptable.”
“It is unacceptable for political candidates to treat our election system as though we are a third-world nation and incite distrust of something so basic as the sanctity of our vote. Further, it is unacceptable for the president to attack the Supreme Court of the United States because its judges, both liberal and conservative, did not rule with his side or that “the Court failed him.” It was our Founding Fathers’ objective to insulate the Supreme Court from such blatant political motivations,” he said in a statement.
Trump and his supporters’ final attempt to stop the five states from formalizing the electoral votes was thrown out by the Supreme Court, leaving many who had upheld the election fraud conspiracy theories to back down.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, a known Trump ally who had hesitated to acknowledge Biden as the U.S. president elect, on Tuesday congratulated him, amplifying the number of world leaders who have congratulated Biden.
With almost every option exhausted, and his throng of supporters gradually tuning down, Trump seems to be left with a choice he doesn’t want to make – conceding defeat.