Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Trevor Noah explains faithless electors and concession speeches

In Joe Biden is the apparent President-elect as Pennsylvania and Nevada called for him, I mentioned two scenarios in which Donald Trump could steal the election from Joe Biden, which I quoted in 'Last Week Tonight with John Oliver' examines the 2020 election results.
The real election is the Electoral College, which votes on December 14, 2020. That's followed by a joint session of the new Congress on January 6, 2021. Biden's and Harris's legal team will have to keep an eye on that to make sure there are no attempts to send a slate of electors who do not reflect their state's popular vote or defections by faithless electors. The good news is that competing slates of electors have not made a difference since the 1876 election and faithless electors haven't made a difference since 1836 and that was for Vice President, not President. Still, people are trying. When John Oliver told his viewers to expect an election month not just an election night, he was not kidding.
Trevor Noah talked about both of those scenarios in two segments of "If You Don’t Know, Now You Know" on "The Daily Show." I begin with last night's edition, Faithless Electors & Trump - If You Don’t Know, Now You Know.*

How can faithless electors hand Trump the presidency? Here’s what electors exactly are, how they came about, and the various loopholes that allow for faithless electors to vote against their state’s electorate.
I am not worried about Trump turning Biden electors. I think anyone the state Democratic parties have chosen as electors will vote for Biden, not for Trump. My worry is more about rival slates of electors. That scenario played a part in the 1876 election, which Trevor mentioned in last week's Presidential Concessions - If You Don’t Know, Now You Know.

A formal concession has been an important part of the peaceful transition of power for nearly 125 years, but not every presidential concession has gone smoothly.
I knew the rival slates of electors from southern states caused confusion that could have led to chaos and bloodshed, but I didn't know that the dispute wasn't resolved until two days before the inauguration, which was then on March 4th, not January 20th. A month and a half more of Trump? No thanks! As I wrote the day after the election was called for Biden and repeated yesterday, "I'm looking forward to not having to pay attention to Donald Trump again. I'll just have to wait until January 20, 2021 for that to be completely true." March 4, 2021 would be too long!

*Trevor doing his impression of Lin-Manuel Miranda as Alexander Hamilton reminds me that "Hamilton" won two People's Choice Awards, The Drama Movie of 2020 and Lin-Manuel Miranda as The Drama Movie Star of 2020. In addition, "Hamilton" earned three nominations in categories it didn't win, such as The Movie of 2020, won by "Bad Boys for Life," The Male Movie Star of 2020, won by Will Smith for "Bad Boys for Life," and The Soundtrack Song of 2020, won by "Only The Young" by Taylor Swift from "Miss Americana." Congratulations to Miranda and the cast and crew of "Hamilton" on their first major entertainment awards. May they not be the last, as I expect the show will be nominated for many guild awards, possibly a Golden Globe or two, and multiple Emmy Awards. Unfortunately, the Motion Picture Academy ruled it ineligible for any Oscars. That will have to wait for an actual movie adaptation.

Consider this footnote to be my belated Sunday entertainment feature, which I skipped for America Recycles Day. To make up for it, I might have an early entertainment feature for the Critics' Choice Documentary Awards, followed by the rest of this year's Emmy winners and the shortlists for the 2019-2020 Golden Coffee Cups. Stay tuned.

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