That’s not to say this isn’t terrifying. Having one side of the political spectrum actively undermine the democracy to this extent is how nations crumble into madness, and similar audits are planned in other states that flipped to President Joe Biden. We should be very worried about the long-term effects this clown show is going to have on the future.
But for the sake of argument, let’s say the Cyber Ninjas pull this off. In this very unlikely scenario that proves that somehow former president and current Florida man under criminal investigation Donald Trump actually did secretly carry the day in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin and their work was certified by their own state governments, what would happen then?
Joe Biden would be the president.
Put bluntly, the United States has no constitutional solution for a fraudulent election. This is something I had to constantly explain to fellow leftists after 2016 when Trump was being investigated for colluding with Russia to hack the election. Even though it’s become crystal clear that at least people high up in his campaign did actively participate in the Russian interference, it doesn’t make a lick of difference. Once the president is sworn in, they have the job until they resign, die, or are removed by the Senate. Nothing Trump ever did, no matter how unconstitutional, would have made Hillary Clinton president in his place.
In fact, this scenario has already happened in American history. In 1876, Republican Rutherford B. Hayes was running against Democrat Samuel Tilden, and the election was really close. Hayes won by a single Electoral College vote. Except, no, he didn’t really. Republicans in Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina all conspired to have massive amounts of votes for Tilden thrown out and in South Carolina’s case, have one district turn in 101 percent of eligible votes for Hayes. Meanwhile in Oregon, Democrats pulled their own dirty trick and booted a Republican elector on a flimsy premise. The deception was undone, securing the final vote to make Hayes president.
When it came to the certification of the votes, both parties realized they had grounds to make a stink and hold up the process. Instead, they passed the Compromise of 1877 which put the decision in the hands of a bipartisan panel also made up of five members of the Supreme Court. The panel ultimately sided with Hayes, though Tilden was good-humored about the whole thing.
“I can retire to public life with the consciousness that I shall receive from posterity the credit of having been elected to the highest position in the gift of the people, without any of the cares and responsibilities of the office.”
Back to the present, though. Constitutionally, there are only two methods of removing a president from office. The first is to vote them out, and the second is impeachment and conviction in the Senate. Congress added a third in the Twenty-Seconded Amendment when they limited the office to two terms after the long reign of Franklin Roosevelt.
If the last couple of years have taught us anything, it’s that a modern party is not going to remove its own president for even egregious, easily provable offenses. Trump survived the impeachment process despite putting his own party members’ lives in danger during the attempted insurrection. It’s hard to imagine the Democratic House or Senate doing more over whatever bullshit the Cyber Ninjas throw up. Maybe that will change in 2022 after the midterms should the Republicans retake control, but for now it is a non-starter.
Put bluntly, the Founders expected Congress to check the president’s power and even anticipated that the election of the chief executive would mostly default to the House of Representatives rather than the public. Congress hasn’t taken that role seriously for presidents of their own party in my lifetime. All that is left is resignation under disgrace, and that prospect is unlikely.
Even if the most unlikely outlandish occurs and Biden is found guilty of a massive voter fraud scheme that lands him in jail (this will not happen), he would still be president. There is nothing constitutionally that would keep him from running the country from a cell, which is one of the reasons the Department of Justice doesn’t want to indict a siting president.
Here is where we see the Republican plan backfire in its saddest way. By assigning themselves the role of constant, mindless opposition regardless of facts or reason, they have crippled the very mechanisms that might work to their advantage. If a massive voter fraud scheme was uncovered, and Republicans had a reputation of honesty and integrity, I could see someone like Speaker Nancy Pelosi or Leader Chuck Schumer agreeing to impeachment. In an alternative dimension where truth and the future of the country matters more than whatever the hell Republicans are getting out of this madness, Congress would act to remove such a stain.
We don’t live in that dimension, though. We’re stuck here with the Cyber Ninjas and their nonsense. There is no amount of proof they could possibly produce that would undo the presidency of Biden and restore Trump. Doing that would require literally overthrowing the government, and thank God the QAnon people have so far proven remarkably bad at that.