Editor’s Note: The following was compiled by Jani Allan from activist instructional material. The marching orders given to the left (by those who organize them) reveal advanced planning to deal with President Trump’s reaction to election fraud. This raises many questions: How did the organizers of the left know there would be so many election irregularities in advance? Why use threats of violence and unrest to resolve voting irregularities? Pay close attention to each of the items below. JRN
POST ELECTION TACTICS: THE COUNT
Compiled by Jani Allan
Donald Trump’s threat that he won’t accept the results of the election at face value means that the left must prepare for a protracted conflict after Election Day.
Zack Malitz Brandon Evans Becky Bond have authored a strategy to stop the coup.
The strategy outlined is aimed at “ordinary” people and Democratic elected officials.
Democratic elected officials can stop an attempted coup.
“We aren’t confident that Democratic officials at any level of government – from Joe Biden and the DNC to local election administrators – are prepared for this kind of conflict.”
In their narrative Trump is the protagonist of the coup. “Trump has open contempt for democracy and, so far, our laws and norms haven’t restrained him.”
Pleading with courts and Republican officials to do the right thing is akin to continuing to play a board game that the opposition has set on fire.
The thought of a disputed election is disturbing, even terrifying. It should be.
But we want to be clear: Don’t despair. We have the power to stop Trump from stealing the election. We can win this fight. We will thwart Trump’s autocratic ambitions.
Trump’s most dangerous weapon is paralysis induced by shock and chaos.
- millions of ordinary people must organize their communities,
- protest at an unprecedented scale
- execute a targeted strategy to win
- Democrats in swing states and Congress take determined action,
|NOV 3||Election Day: In a close election, we are unlikely to know which candidate won on election night.|
|DEC 8||The “Safe Harbor” Deadline: States must resolve disputes over which ballots to count and report final vote totals or risk their Electoral College votes not being counted by Congress.|
|DEC 14||Deadline for Governors to Report Election Results to Congress: In each state, the governor must send a “certificate of ascertainment” to Congress reporting which candidate won the state and which slate of electors has been appointed to the Electoral College. The Electoral College Meets: In each state, the winning candidate’s slate of pledged electors meet, cast their votes, and send a record of their votes to Congress.|
|JAN 3||Start of the 117th Congress: All newly elected or reelected senators and representatives are sworn in.|
|JAN 6||Congress Counts Electoral College Votes: Congress convenes in a joint session held in the House chambers to count Electoral College votes and choose the next president.|
|JAN 20||Inauguration Day: The newly-elected President is sworn in. If Congress hasn’t chosen a new president, the newly-elected Vice President is sworn in as the acting president. If Congress hasn’t chosen a new Vice President, the Speaker of the House is sworn in as the acting president.|
DECEMBER 8: DISRUPTING THE BALLOT COUNT
“The Florida Election should be called in favor of Rick Scott and Ron DeSantis in that large numbers of new ballots showed up out of nowhere, and many ballots are missing or forged. An honest vote count is no longer possible — ballots massively infected. Must go with Election Night!” – Donald Trump, November 12, 2018
“The only way they can take this election away from us is if this is a rigged election.” – Donald Trump, August 24, 2020
Trump is already accusing Democrats of rigging the election. He has repeatedly said that the only way he will lose is if Democrats commit massive voter fraud with mail-in ballots, and that he may not accept election results that show him losing to Biden because, he says, they will be fraudulent.
This is all a ridiculous conspiracy theory and a transparent attempt to undermine faith in the election, but if Trump convinces enough people that it’s true he will create an opening for Republican state legislatures to steal the election.
The key period during which Trump can undermine public faith in the integrity of the election is between Election Day and December 8 while the ballots are being counted.
The more chaos Trump can create while the ballots are being counted the more likely people are to believe that the results are fraudulent.
During the ballot count, Trump will have two goals. Achieving either one will help him cast doubt on Joe Biden’s victory:
First, create delays and prevent as many Democratic voters’ ballots from being counted before the December 8 deadline as possible. If he does this on a large enough scale, the partial count on December 8 may even show him ahead in some states that he actually lost to Biden.
Second, create a perception of chaos to delegitimize the election results.
- Launch an onslaught of legal and administrative challenges to disqualify mail-in ballots and demanding recounts.
- Convince election administrators in Republican-dominated counties to prematurely halt their ballot count.
- Order the Department of Justice, US Post Office, or other federal agencies to open investigations into election administrators, Democratic organizations, and elected officials. Trump may even order federal agents to halt ballot counts or seize ballots.
- Encourage his supporters to organize armed protests to intimidate election administrators or directly disrupt ballot counts.
- Declare martial law and deploy federal troops in response to protests.
Some of these actions are illegal, but it may not matter to Trump or to those who enable him.
What matters most in this period may not be how many ballots are counted, but public perception of the integrity of the election.
The specific trigger for a constitutional crisis is if, in a state that Biden wins, Trump’s electors – likely illegally appointed by the state legislature – meet, vote for Trump, and send a record of their votes to Congress.
|ACTION STEPS BETWEEN NOVEMBER 3 AND DECEMBER 14 For Democratic officials everywhere: —Biden must not concede: If Biden concedes, we all lose and millions of voters’ voices will never be heard. —Declare victory: Immediately declare that Biden will be the winner once all of the ballots are counted. Elected officials should also advocate for every vote to be counted but we must declare that Biden is the winner and that the final count will prove that. It is essential Trump not be allowed to entrench the narrative that he won while Biden and his allies wait for the process to play out. —Call out Republican fraud: Cry foul as soon as Trump or the Republicans attempt to disrupt the vote count and appoint fraudulent electors. Explain that what Trump and his allies are doing is an attempt to steal the election. —Protect ballots: Democrats must do everything to the limit including physically preventing right-wing militias from halting vote counting, and continuing any Republican-delayed vote counts after December 8th until they are complete. —Protect the First Amendment: Democrats must defend the rights of pro-democracy protesters in the streets This includes not prosecuting nonviolent protesters and/or bringing charges against federal agents who break local law by harming or kidnapping protestors. Join protests and make your presence known by alerting reporters and posting pictures and videos on your social media accounts. —Rally the public: Democrats must say clearly that this battle will be unlike anything we have seen in our lifetimes and that extraordinary measures may be required to prevent authoritarian rule. —Speak out against Republican election fraud: If Trump succeeds in preventing all of the ballots from being counted before the December 8 deadline and an incomplete vote count shows him leading Biden, Democrats must make it clear that Trump didn’t win and that he committed fraud. They must explain to the American people that committing fraud disqualifies him from winning, and that the only way to honor the will of the people is to appoint Biden electors even if a complete ballot count is no longer possible. For Democratic officials in swing states: —Count the ballots: Demand that the ballot count be completed even if it must continue after December 8 so that Congress can take the complete results of the election into consideration when deciding which slates of electors to count in January. —Governors: If it becomes impossible to complete a ballot count by December 8 or Republican legislators appoint their own slates of electors, governors must appoint a Biden slate of electors so that Congress has the option of giving the state’s electoral college votes to Biden. —State legislators: Use every procedural tactic available to stop Republicans from voting to appoint Trump electors. If it’s not possible to stop them, try to delay votes until the December 14 deadline has passed. If you can’t delay the vote past the deadline, shut down the chambers by assisting protesters in taking over the building. If you can’t stop the vote, boycott it to deny quorum or, at the very least, signal the vote isn’t legitimate. —Investigations: State and local authorities should open investigations into right-wing militias and illegal actions by Republicans to suppress the vote and prevent ballots from being counted. For people everywhere: —Protest: Don’t wait for advocacy groups, Biden’s campaign, or the Democratic Party to take the lead. Organize protests in your community immediately. Prepare yourself for the long haul: sustained, daily pressure will be required until Trump publicly concedes or leaves office —Organize: Connect with all groups you are part of – political, civic, professional, religious, work-based – and implore them to join you in public protest. We need participation by people from all walks of life if we want to demonstrate that the public will not tolerate Trump’s fraud. —Hold teach-ins / political education: Use this guide to educate others in the community about how the process works between November 3 and January 20, where the levers of power are, and how everyone can play a role in stopping Trump and Republicans from stealing the election. —Local elected officials: Urge your city and county governments to pass a resolution denouncing Trump and the Republicans for attempting to overturn the results of the election. We need local elected officials in every community in the country to express solidarity with protesters. —Congress: Urge your Representative and Senators to open investigations into Trump and the Republicans’ efforts to prevent every vote from being counted. —Law enforcement: Call your police chief, county sheriff, and local National Guard Bureau and urge them to protect protesters’ First Amendment rights. Specific things you can ask for include: protect protesters from right-wing militias and give them medical care if they’re injured; do not use chemical weapons (e.g., tear gas, pepper spray) rubber bullets, or crowd control measures intended to induce pain or discomfort; do not arrest nonviolent protesters; do not use surveillance technology to identify protest participants or to spy on organizers; and do not open investigations into protest leaders. —District Attorney / County Prosecutor: Your district attorney or county prosecutor decides who to charge with a crime, what to charge them with, what plea offers to make, and what sentence to seek. Prosecutors have the power to decline to prosecute any protester and to prosecute federal agents who break the law. Call them and urge them to do so. —Boards of Elections: Call your local board of elections and urge them to make a complete, impartial, and timely count of all ballots cast in the election. —Federal Courts: Call the federal district and circuit courts that serve your community, as well as the Supreme Court. Urge them to respect a fair and impartial process of counting ballots and not to intervene on Trump’s behalf. For people in contested swing states: —Your governor: If Republicans make it impossible to count every ballot or move to appoint illegitimate electors, call on your governor to honor the will of the people by sending a Biden slate of electors to Congress. —Your state legislators: Call your state legislators and tell them not to appoint fraudulent electors to the Electoral College. —Write to your local paper: Send a letter to the editor of your local paper calling for every ballot to be counted and denouncing Republican efforts to disrupt and delay the count. —Local government: Urge your city and county governments to pass a resolution calling for every ballot to be counted and denouncing Republican efforts to disrupt and delay the count. —Board of elections: Organize rallies at your local board of elections and call on election officials to count every ballot. If there is a process to do so, volunteer to help “cure ballots” which often involves collecting additional information from voters who were forced to vote provisionally or whose vote-by-mail ballots need additional verification. —Mayor and city council members: Ask your local elected officials to take their case to the local media, appearing on television, radio and in print declaring victory for Joe Biden and explain how Trump and Republicans are delaying the count in order to try and steal the election.|
The legitimacy of a democracy rests on the consent of the governed. If Trump and the Republicans try to destroy democracy and reorganize our government as an autocracy, our job is to withdraw that consent and shut the country down.
We have to make it clear that if Trump usurps the presidency, he won’t be able to govern or remain in office for long.
If, like Gore in 2000, the Democrats urge the public to stand down and wait for the legal process to play out, Trump will have the advantage. We can’t treat a Congressional fight over which Electoral College votes to count like a legitimate legal process – it’s a coup and we must act accordingly.
Democrats in Congress must use every constitutional, procedural, and political means necessary to delegitimize Trump’s attempt to usurp the presidency, up to and including voting in unison against any Republican effort to count Trump’s Electoral College votes, ordering the Sergeant at Arms remove Republicans from the House chamber, boycotting the Electoral College count, and staging protests inside of the Capitol to make it physically impossible for Congress to meet.
If the votes haven’t been counted by January 20, then Nancy Pelosi will be sworn in as the acting president. Throughout the fight, we must demand that Trump concede.
Defeating Trump will badly damage our democracy. But anything is preferable to allowing Trump to seize the presidency by force.
|ACTION STEPS ONCE THE FIGHT MOVES TO CONGRESS For Democrats in Congress: —Use procedural tactics to delay: Democrats have a wide variety of procedural maneuvers they can use to slow down Congressional proceedings, especially in the Senate. They should use every procedural tactic possible to shut down Congress. —Call a House recess and delay the count: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi should declare that the House is in recess and order the Sergeant at Arms to remove Mike Pence and members of the Senate from the chamber. The House should refuse to convene until Trump concedes. —Delay seating incoming senators: 35 Senate seats are up for election in 2020. Those senators will need to be seated before they can vote on a dispute over electors. Before the Senate seats those incoming senators, Democrats will briefly have a 35-30 majority. If Democrats don’t win a majority in the Senate in this election, Democrats should delay the seating of those senators until after the joint session to count Electoral College votes, ensuring that Democrats have a majority in the Senate during the Joint Session. —Organize and participate in mass civil disobedience at the Capitol: Lead the public in staging mass civil disobedience protests in the Capitol with the goal of making it impossible for Congress to meet or vote. —Deadlock is preferable to a Trump coup: If they can’t win a vote to give Biden the majority of Electoral College votes, Democrats’ goal should be to delay until House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is sworn in as acting president on January 20. They should then refuse to allow an Electoral College vote count until Trump concedes. For Democratic officials everywhere: —Biden must not concede: Once the fight moves to Congress, Biden should refuse to concede under any circumstances unless a complete and fair ballot count proves that Trump is the legitimate winner. —Refer to Trump as a would-be autocrat, not a candidate: Do not grant Trump legitimacy by referring to him as a candidate. If the fight moves to Congress, we are fending off a coup by Trump and his allies not settling a legitimate dispute over a presidential election. —Call on Republicans in Congress to vote against Trump: We will only need a handful of Republicans in the Senate to vote for democracy instead of Trump. —Publicly and vocally back any tactics Democrats in Congress must use: Democrats may have to use unprecedented procedural tactics to block Trump’s presidency and they will need public support. Your constituents look to you for leadership, especially in a crisis, and it’s your job to explain why Democrats are justified in taking extraordinary measures to prevent Trump from usurping the presidency. —Call on the military to remain neutral and reject illegal orders: Some people may call on the military to remove Trump from office. We should unequivocally oppose this and urge military leaders to remain neutral while civilians settle the outcome of the election and to reject illegal orders from Trump. For people everywhere: —Shut Down the Country: As the fight moves to Congress, we have to bring the country to a complete halt with massive protests, civil disobedience and strikes. We must remain in the streets and engage in mass civil disobedience until Trump is removed from the White House. —March on Congress and the White House: Those who can should go to Washington, D.C., to ensure there is a massive presence that Democrats and the media cannot ignore. —Back the Democrats in Congress: Protest alone isn’t sufficient. We need to use protests to support Congressional Democrats’ targeted strategy to prevent Trump from getting an Electoral College majority. We have to balance a general anti-Trump message with a focused message supporting the fight in Congress. —Pressure the Supreme Court to back Biden or remain neutral: Put public pressure on the Supreme Court to stay out of the fight in Congress unless it is to support Biden. The Supreme Court’s first duty is to the Constitution. In a fight with a would-be autocrat, no interpretation of the law that supports the autocrat’s ambitions is valid. —Trump must concede: Organize your community – your elected officials, local media, faith leaders, business owners, government officials, etc. – to call on Trump to concede.|
Conclusion: Defending Democracy
“[T]his may well be a street fight, not a legal battle; technocratic solutions, courts, and a reliance on elites observing norms are not the answer here … A show of numbers in the streets- and actions in the streets- may be decisive factors in determining what the public perceives as a just and legitimate outcome.” – The Transition Integrity Project, Preventing a Disrupted Presidential Election and Transition, August 3, 2020