In November, Donald Trump became the first president in American history to try to maintain the power that voters gave to another person during a national election.
The plot did not unfold in a dramatic scene. Instead, Trump lured Republicans to commit a series of coercive acts on his behalf under the false banner of non-existent electoral “fraud” – the attempted robbery disguised as a security measure.
It may have worked. Many Republicans were either actively or quietly. These included national figures known as Rudy Giuliani, Newt Gingrich, Lindsey Graham and many other Republican senators.
But to succeed, Trump’s plot depended not only on the top Republicans he dominates, but also on the cooperation of hundreds of state and local officials. Over three crucial weeks in November, some of these officials made individual decisions that could have led to the conspiracy, while others frustrated him.
Here is an incomplete list of some of the lesser-known Republican friends and enemies of US democracy that emerged in the historic battle of November 2020 over their fate.
To remain in power, Trump needed to prevent states from certifying the results of their November 3 polls or convincing Republican lawmakers to try to reject states’ results. Trump’s main targets included officials in Michigan and Pennsylvania. He found some accomplices ready.
A former Michigan state senator who refused to certify the state result despite independent certifications from all 83 Michigan counties and no evidence of fraud to cast doubt on Biden’s victory with 154,000 votes in the state. Shinkle said he thinks the outcome in Detroit with a black majority “needs to be analyzed.” A county official called Shinkle’s abstention “shocking and disgusting.”
Monica Palmer and William Hartmann
Republican canvassers in Wayne County, Michigan, who sought to reverse their certification of the election result after Trump made a call to Palmer. She demanded an audit of Detroit’s vote before certification of her result, defying the law. Later, she said she was unaware of the law.
Mike Shirkey and Lee Chatfield
Republican leaders of the Michigan Senate and House of Representatives who accepted an invitation to visit Trump at the White House while the president tried to stop the state from certifying Biden’s victory with 82,000 votes. In the Oval Office, Shirkey and Chatfield received a telephone instruction from Rudy Giuliani about false electoral fraud. They later lied and said the meeting with Trump was about economic relief from Covid-19. They were photographed drinking Dom Pérignon at the Trump hotel in Washington DC after the meeting.
A Republican member of the electoral council in the suburbs of Philadelphia who refused to certify Biden’s victory by 27 points in his county. “I believe that the US Supreme Court should review the scam that happened in Pennsylvania,” Gale said. The Trump campaign never presented any evidence of electoral fraud to the Pennsylvania courts, which rejected almost all Trump cases.
Keith Gould and Joyce Dombroski-Gebhardt
Republican members of the Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, electoral council were so committed to the fairy tale of Trump’s electoral fraud that they refused to certify the vote in a county that Trump won by 14 points. Three Democrats on the board voted more than they did to certify Trump’s victory in the county.
After an almost two-month absence from the White House meeting room, the press secretary appeared 17 days after the election to spread Trump’s lie about electoral fraud. “There are very real claims that the campaign is looking for,” she said. Separately, she lied about Trump’s meeting with Michigan lawmakers saying that “it was not a defense meeting, there will be no one from the campaign there – he routinely meets with lawmakers across the country.”
The Michigan native and Republican national committee chairman appeared at a news conference two days after the election and spread lies about “discrepancies” and “irregularities”, requiring an audit of Michigan’s vote prior to certification in defiance of state electoral law. Under his leadership, the Republican national party spread wild and conspiratorial claims that Trump had indeed won in a “landslide”. Most Republican voters now tell polls that they believe the election was fraudulent.
In front of the state and local authorities that refused to certify the results of the elections, were the republican authorities that certified the victory of Biden.
Never in American history has such action been interpreted as a matter of heroism – with election results always routinely certified, no matter who won, as the constitution would have it.
But in 2020, these employees had to resist a pressure campaign by Trump, which quoted many of them in tweets, leading to death threats against them and their families.
A Republican election commissioner in Philadelphia who faced Trump. Over the weekend after the election, Schmidt went to 60 Minutes and said that Trump’s allegations of fraud in Philadelphia were false.
“At the end of the day, we are counting the eligible votes cast by voters. The controversy surrounding this is something I don’t understand, ”said Schmidt. “Counting the votes cast on or before election day by qualified voters is not corruption. It is not cheating. It is democracy.
“Looking from the inside, everything looks very disturbed.”
Aaron Van Langevelde
Republican vice president of a state campaign council that voted to certify Biden’s victory in Michigan. Langevelde broke what would have been an impasse caused by Shinkle’s perfidy. “We have a duty to certify this election based on these results, that is very clear,” he said.
“We shouldn’t try to exercise a power that we simply don’t have,” continued Langevelde. “As John Adams once said, ‘We are a government of laws, not of men’. This council needs to adhere to that principle here today. This council must do its part to defend the rule of law and comply with our legal duty to certify this election. “
The former director of the cybersecurity and infrastructure agency, fired by Trump for challenging the president’s electoral fraud lies. Nine days after the election, Krebs’ agency issued a statement beginning with: “The November 3 election was the safest in American history.” Krebs was fired a week later, but continued to talk about electoral integrity. After a Trump campaign lawyer said Krebs should be “taken out at dawn and shot”, Krebs said he would sue.
A Republican official who oversaw the implementation of Georgia’s new voting system, Sterling delivered a passionate speech warning of death threats against election workers and saying that Trump is “inspiring people to commit possible acts of violence”.
Addressing Trump, Sterling said:
We are investigating, there is always a possibility, I understand. You have the right to go to court. What you don’t have the capacity to do – and you need to speak up and say it – is to stop inspiring people to commit acts of potential violence. Someone is going to get hurt, someone is going to get shot, someone is going to be killed and that’s not right. It’s not right.
The Republican Secretary of State in Georgia who faced Trump and insisted that Biden’s frustrated victory in the state was legitimate. “I am a conservative Republican. Yes, I wanted President Trump to win. But as Secretary of State, we have to do our job, ”said Raffensperger in an interview with the Guardian. “I will walk so well, in a straight line, with integrity. I think integrity still matters. “
In response, Trump said of Raffensperger: “He is an enemy of the people.”