A Rasmussen survey last month found that 61 percent of Republicans say Joe Biden did not win the election fairly. That number hasn’t changed much since early January, when 69 percent of GOP voters voiced the same concern. That 34 percent of all voters and 36 percent of independents agree with them is a strong signal that something went terribly amiss in the maelstrom of election cases.
The election is over. There has been an inauguration. So why did ABC’s George Stephanopoulos feel the need to berate a U.S. senator and his audience with the demand, “Can’t you just say the words: This election was not stolen?” Why must he shout, “There were 86 challenges filed by President Trump and his allies in court. All were dismissed!”
Perhaps, the answer lies in the details of those cases, as much in how they were adjudicated as in the final rulings.
Let’s start with some clarity: The list of more than 80 cases includes both the same cases that were appealed through various courts and many that had no direct tie to the president’s legal team or the Republican Party. In reality, there were 28 unique cases filed across the six contested states by President Trump or others on his behalf.
Twelve were filed in Pennsylvania, six in Georgia, and two or three in each of the other states. Of course, there was also the lawsuit filed by the state of Texas against the state of Pennsylvania that had the potential to change the outcome. So let’s call it 29.
To be sure, that is still a lot of cases. Yet to understand why there is still widespread unease with the election, would it not be better to stop demanding conformity and instead dig deeper to see what the courts told us in those cases, and what they did not? A review of them shows that, contrary to a common narrative, few were ever considered on the merits.
Death by Technicalities
First of all, we can recognize that many of the cases produced no useful information relative to election integrity. We learned nothing from a lawsuit dismissed by a state judge in Georgia (Boland v. Raffensperger) on the basis that the plaintiff had sued an “improper party” rather than hearing the merits of why the ballot rejection rate allegedly dropped from 1.53 percent in 2018 to 0.15 percent in the 2020 general election.