Well, the votes have been counted, and the touch screen red and blue maps have been stashed back in John King’s garage for the next four years, but we’re still not quite sure who will be sworn in as president on January 20.
Make no mistake, Joe Biden won the election, and in any normal year, his opponent would have conceded by now.
But this is no normal year, and Biden’s opponent is certainly no normal president.
Right now, Trump is basically Leonardo DiCaprio in the "I’m not f–king leaving!" scene from The Wolf of Wall Street.
He seems to be under the impression that if he continues to declare himself the winner, the rest of the country will eventually start believing him.
That particular strategy probably won’t work on its own, but the sad thing is that Trump has other weapons in his arsenal which could prove far more effective.
For weeks now, we’ve been discussing long shot strategies Trump could use to essentially seize the Electoral College.
The downside for Trump is that most of them require large-scale cooperation from governors and members of state legislatures, few of whom seem to feel that level of loyalty to the president, and some of whom could face criminal charges as a result of doing his bidding.
But Trump is still president until Inauguration Day, and you can bet he’s exploring options that would enable him to act alone to change the outcome of the election.
And one such option would be halting the voter certification process.
As Snopes reports, even the Biden campaign admits that the results of the election will not be official until the certification process is completed.
“Joe Biden has NOT been certified as the winner of any states, let alone any highly contested states headed for mandatory recounts, or any states where our campaign has valid and legitimate legal challenges that could determine the ultimate victor,” reads a fundraising email sent out by Biden’s staff earlier this week.
The tallying of votes mostly takes place at the state level, with state legislatures granting this authority to a board of electors or an election official.
The timeline varies with each state, but in most cases, the unofficial vote is tallied on election night via a secretary of state’s website, and when one candidate’s lead begins to seem statistically insurmountable, journalists call the state in that candidate’s favor.
The results are not confirmed until December, but usually that’s something of a formality, as the official outcome matches the unofficial "call" in virtually 100 percent of cases.
The process of calling the election took longer than unusual this year due to the surge in mail-in ballots, but on November 7, numerous mainstream media outlets called the election for Biden, and in past years, this would have been the point at which his opponent conceded.
But again — abnormal year, abnormal opponent.
As a result, the certification process has taken on added importance.
And Trump has made no secret of his intention to interfere with the process.
Republican election officials in Michigan’s Wayne County have already refused to certify the results of the popular vote.
They cite claims of voter fraud as their reason for doing so, even though such claims remain entirely unsubstantiated.
A similar effort is underway in Arizona, and Trump supporters in Michigan and Nevada have filed lawsuits to stop the certification process in those states.
So if there’s enough manufactured outcry from the MAGA set, could Trump issue an executive order halting the certification process at a federal level?
Technically yes — but the results would be catastrophic.
“It would be the end of democracy as we know it,” University of Kentucky Law Professor Joshua Dougla recently told the Associated Press. “This is just not a thing that can happen.”
Obviously, Trump has demonstrated on numerous occasions that he cares not a whit about American democracy, but such an action would likely be met with stiff opposition from within his own party — and we can only hope that an ally-less Trump wouldn’t act quite so boldly.