Ross: Trust your legislature

Jan 12, 2022, 5:34 AM | Updated: 9:18 am
legislature, senate...
Hundreds gather at a rally at the Capitol building on April 19, 2020, in Olympia, Washington. (File photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)
(File photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)

I’m seeing stories alleging that supporters of former President Donald Trump are pushing to install loyalists on local county election boards who would only certify election returns if Trump, or someone he anoints, gets the most votes.

This is being called a slow-motion insurrection.

But it’s not.

Insurrections are violent. This is being done peacefully, and as far as I can tell, legally.

During our regular Tuesday interview, Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold explained the concept:

“There’s a theory that state legislatures — and I think only Samuel Alito on the Supreme Court has endorsed it, but nobody else really has at a higher level — but a lot of Republicans believe this that basically the Constitution gives all the power to choose electors to the state legislature. So even if you have an election, if the legislature, in its wisdom, decides that election was not proper, that’s just their opinion, they can throw it out and award the electors to whoever they want.”

The state legislators could “award the electors to whomever they want.”

So Trump supporters have targeted the bipartisan county canvassing boards and are trying to fill the Republican slots on these boards with loyalists – who, if their candidate loses, would seize upon the flimsiest allegation of fraud to reject the election results, potentially creating enough chaos that the state legislature would have to make the choice. And since most legislatures are currently Republican, the Republican would win the White House.

And if Republicans can do this legally, Democrats could too.

So what happens if the day comes when state legislatures end up picking the president?

I like to look on the bright side.

Even if WE no longer get to vote directly for president, at least we’ll get to vote for the representatives who we will then trust to make the choice for us. So they would have to dig through the voters pamphlet, they would have to research the candidates, they would have to empty all those campaign flyers into the recycling bin.

And I think we also have to agree that the whole election process would be more efficient. You wouldn’t need rallies, or debates. You wouldn’t even need attack ads! The candidates could just go from statehouse-to-statehouse promising federal appointments in exchange for votes.

But the best part of all: If the state legislatures elect the president, and the president turns out to be a screwball – instead of blaming each other – we’d know the names of every idiot who elected him.

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