FROM BRAD SMITH: As presidential electors vote today, a few thoughts:
1) it is not a “constitutional crisis” or an effort to “overturn the election” when a candidate challenges initial election results in court. Indeed, such challenges are part of the process, specifically provided for by law. The fact that some people think the challenges are weak on the merits is irrelevant. Al Gore did not concede defeat until well into December 2000, and even then he did not concede that he lost the election–only that George W. Bush had been “selected” president.
2) Polling in December 2016 showed that roughly half of Democrats believed–falsely and without evidence–that Russians had hacked American election tabulators and changed the results of the election.
3) The effort to get state legislatures to appoint slates of electors directly is similar to the effort, wildly popular among large segments of the Democratic Party in 2016, to convince electors to vote for a candidate who did not win their states and for whom they were not pledged–constitutionally permissible, politically catastrophic if successful, but with no chance of success;
4) In every Republican presidential win of the past 30 years–2000, 2004, and 2016–at least one Democratic House member has challenged the Electoral votes when they were counted in January.