Speed Reads

One last harrumph

The GOP has 1 last shot to contest Trump's loss — and a 'negative percent' chance of success

After all the drama of the 2020 election and its chaotic aftermath, "the Electoral College decisively confirmed Joe Biden on Monday as the nation's next president, ratifying his November victory in an authoritative state-by-state repudiation of President Donald Trump's refusal to concede he had lost," The Associated Press reports. The electors in 50 states and the District of Columbia delivered no surprises in awarding Biden 306 electoral votes and Trump 232, and no "faithless" electors tried to go rogue.

"The proceedings harked back to more typical presidential elections and stood in contrast with the unprecedented — though fruitless — six weeks of legal and procedural chaos triggered by Trump's refusal to accept his loss," The Washington Post reports. "The final procedural step before Biden is inaugurated will happen when a joint session of Congress convenes next month to tally states' electoral votes," and some Republicans are hoping that event will provide them one last chance to overturn Biden's decisive victory.

After Vice President Mike Pence reads the Electoral College tally to Congress on Jan. 6, one House member and one senator can challenge the results. This is "Trump's last gasp," Politico reports. Several House Republicans have said they plan to avail themselves of this opportunity, though no Senate Republican has signed on yet.

"If there is a joint House-Senate challenge, then lawmakers would debate the issue for two hours and then hold a vote," Politico congressional editor Ben Weyl explains. "At that point, we expect the House and Senate to reject any challenge to Biden's electoral votes. Democrats control the House and a few Senate Republicans have already said Biden won the presidency." The odds Trump's allies succeed, he said, "I really do think it's negative percent here." But it will force Republicans to pick sides, and that could get awkward.

Trying to challenge Biden's win in Congress "would be a bad mistake" and will be soundly defeated in the Senate, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) warned Monday. "There comes a time when you have to realize that, despite your best efforts, you've been unsuccessful, that's sort of the nature of these elections. You've got to have a winner. You've got to have a loser."