Tweets With Filing Fees

The Trump Campaign is filing a veritable blizzard of lawsuits in an effort to cling to power–or at least, convince Trump’s base that the election has been “stolen” from him. As one observer has characterized those lawsuits, 

Trump is dealing with state election officials the same way he deals with contractors he’s stiffed. Just scream BS accusations at them and sue the hell out of them and hope they relent. It’s not gonna work in this context [of state election law].

As a number of legal observers have pointed out, there is no discernible legal strategy to these suits, which range from fabricated to weird to just plain silly, as a description of one such suit illustrates:

The campaign alleged that a poll watcher saw 53 ballots separated out from a bin of other ballots and so that must have meant that they weren’t delivered on time to be counted by 7 PM Tuesday. But asked if he had any evidence—at all—that they weren’t delivered on time, he said he didn’t know. The campaign put up another poll watcher who said he had “questions” about the chain of custody of those 53 ballots. Did he have any evidence they arrived late? Nope. An elections official then testifiedthat those 53 ballots “were, in fact, received by GA’s Election Day deadline, saying they were handled separately because they didn’t show up on a manifest of absentee voters so they had to be checked.” And the case was dismissed after having wasted a lot of people’s time, including an election official in a state that right now has both a presidential and Senate race down to the wire.

ProPublica had a similar take–and also, the best comment on the “strategy.”

“A lawsuit without provable facts showing a statutory or constitutional violation is just a tweet with a filing fee,” said Justin Levitt, a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.

Levitt said judges by and large have ignored the noise of the race and the bluster of President Donald Trump’s Twitter feed. “They’ve actually demanded facts and haven’t been ruling on all-caps claims of fraud or suppression,” Levitt said. “They haven’t confused public relations with the predicate for litigation, and I would expect that to continue.”

One of my Facebook friends–a former reporter (from back in the days when our local pretend-newspaper had such things)–posted a really good summary as the counting continued on Friday morning:

Trump supporters and other Republicans, this is the time to show exactly how patriotic you are.

If the vote counting trends continue, Trump is going to lose.

There has been no real evidence of fraud. In fact, the same ballots with Biden votes showed votes for other Republicans down the ballot, for the House and Senate, where the GOP made gains. Republicans have watched every count. Republicans lead many of the vote counting operations and the states with close votes.
Evidence matters. And there’s none to indicate fraud. If some turns up, the courts will sort it out.

In the end, you have to accept the results as the will of the people. It’s democracy working. You don’t have to like the outcome. You can bitch and moan and complain about Biden for the next four years. That’s what I’ve been doing the last four. That, too, is democracy.

But a peaceful transition is one of the great hallmarks of our country. If we can’t do that, we’re nothing better than a banana republic.

Patriotism isn’t just about the Pledge of Allegiance or the national anthem. Patriotism isn’t just flag waving in the sun. It’s also about accepting that, in a democracy, sometimes the other side wins.

My only quibble with this excellent comment is that we really aren’t a democracy. Hillary Clinton won the 2016 popular vote by just under 3 million votes; as I type this, Joe Biden has garnered over four million more votes than Trump. In order to be a democracy or a democratic Republic, we really, really need to get rid of the Electoral College.


  1. In Canada, the voting rules for Federal elections are the same in every province and territory. We have an independent body that administers them and is responsible for maintaining the electoral districts (among many other duties). This body spends money to educate voters on the process, and helps them be registered. There are numerous polling locations and every person gets mail with their voter information including the locationof their polling place is, for example, which is always relatively close by. It typically takes under 30 minutes to vote even in a densely populated area. We use a parliamentary process whereby the leader of the party that wins the most seats is Prime Minister. We have more than two political parties, so working together is often necessary to create legislation. Also, our elections are SO MUCH shorter. There’s still room for improvement, of course, but at least it makes sense.

    Basically, the U.S. process looks insane to me.

    I agree that states should have some autonomy to make their own way forward, but there are areas where you would want there to be consistent laws and processes across the states. I find it difficult to accept that you guys don’t think elections are one of those areas.

    I imagine the creators of the system thought they were doing the best they could. But first drafts are unlikely to be best, and expecting otherwise is just demented. Why have you never fixed it? Is it really just some misguided notion that the founders were infallible so you must continue with whatever they determined? I guess it’s fortunate that you’ve at least amended some of the other worst things that are in those documents.

    And don’t get me started on health care…

  2. John H. Most of us here on this blog would agree with you on this subject. Our voting system is a big fat mess, and this did not come about recently.
    Things went off the rails early on in our history and was fixed in place after the Civil War. The concept of “state’s rights” divided us then and continues to do so today. I don’t believe Canada ever had this problem, but I might be wrong there.
    One thing is for sure, our inability to come to grips with such an obstacle to governance has restrained the United States from problem solving for decades, and it may yet destroy us.

  3. “The Trump Campaign is filing a veritable blizzard of lawsuits in an effort to cling to power–or at least, convince Trump’s base that the election has been “stolen” from him.”

    “In the end, you have to accept the results as the will of the people.”

    Thank you, Sheila, for pointing out the error in that statement regarding accepting the “will of the people” regarding the 2016 presidential election results. We are currently trying to escape from the true results of the “Republican” party appointed Electoral College members and which we may be forced to accept again. We can look for weeks of recounts; I lived in Florida during the 2000 Bush/Gore recount which local newspapers and TV newscasts reported the questionable purging of votes, both walk-in and mail-in. IF or when the last of the current vote counts is reported the Trump legal teams have 2 days to file for a recount. Even providing they meet the requirements for a recount; there is no time limit set for the action of recounting votes. Trump’s “Tweets With Filing Fees” will increase and slow down the action while their claims are investigated for validity. We can be looking at the possibility of no final result till after January 1st; there is no deadline on the election decision.

    The current total popular vote counts for Biden and Trump are frightening; they prove millions of American people support racism, bigotry, sexism, political patronage, nepotism and that they prefer a known sex offender, liar, con man and thief lead this country into unavoidable oblivion and escalating Covid-19 Pandemic case and death counts. And nuclear war looms closer and closer as this vote count drags on. As a nation; we are currently in a severely weakened condition, vulnerable to the enemy nations Trump has exposed our weaknesses to with little assurance of aid from our allies of many years he has enraged with his insults. Not even the Constitution provides a self-preservation response to survive our own government.

  4. By EIU’s definition, we are a flawed democracy and rank 25th in the world. The difference between full democracy and flawed democracy is listed below:

    “Full democracies are nations where civil liberties and fundamental political freedoms are not only respected but also reinforced by a political culture conducive to the thriving of democratic principles. These nations have a valid system of governmental checks and balances, an independent judiciary whose decisions are enforced, governments that function adequately, and diverse and independent media. These nations have only limited problems in democratic functioning.

    Flawed democracies are nations where elections are fair and free and basic civil liberties are honored but may have issues (e.g. media freedom infringement and minor suppression of political opposition and critics). These nations have significant faults in other democratic aspects, including underdeveloped political culture, low levels of participation in politics, and issues in the functioning of governance.”

  5. Imagine this: Trump succeeds in getting recounts, all of those recounted states have him coming out the winner, but all of those states also overturn other races down the ticket which secure control of both the House and Senate to the Democrats. In his hunger for continued attention, would he even care that he blew his own party (supposedly) out of the water so that his ego could be satisfied?
    Now imagine the healing that might begin in this country if Trump had the decency and honor to use the same words as Al Gore in 2000: “I accept the finality of the outcome in the Electoral College, and for the sake of our unity as a people and the strength of our democracy, I offer my concession.”

  6. How about a toast to the bureaucrats who are running the counting of ballots? Republican and Democratic state officials have just done their jobs.

  7. Watch for a final spasm of despotism as Trump’s goon squad tries to intimidate Republican state governments to pick electors that will vote for Trump, not the legal winner of the votes. Does anyone think Kavanaugh will say “no” to that action? Trump will just send him another case of beer.

    Yes, the vote counters are today’s heroes. The Republicans tried ever so hard to screw that up too, but those dedicated patriots are hanging tough and presenting a middle finger to the idiots still waving flags and screaming inanities.

  8. John H, some of what you lay out as Canadian voting practices used to be voting practices right here in River City—I mean Indianapolis.

    Prior to a general election (and perhaps primaries, I can’t recall), I would receive a postcard from the County Election Board with all pertinent voting information, including precinct number, voting location, etc. I had a voter registration card (which is now dog-eared and inked over with all the gerrymandered district changes) with the same information. My voting place was two blocks away (walking distance) at a neighborhood fire station (now shuttered due to “consolidation”).

    All this and kind, friendly election volunteers would remind this absent-minded voter how the system and machinery/technology works as I would sleep between elections.

    Only the kind, friendly election volunteers remain. With all the millions raised for partisan coffers, one would think a small amount could be set aside—one-half of one percent of a few hundred million would provide a budget of several million dollars—to actually inform and educate voters rather than attempt to bamboozle us with sleight of hand, gimmicks, horror stories and scare tactics.

    There’s a whole lotta work that can be done if we want an improved outcome (shh! Progress).

  9. I knew that if Biden won, Trump would not concede peacefully and honorably. His insanity and those of his sycophants and his adult children are now on full display. It’s as if they have a group delusional system like Westboro Baptist church. I have no doubt that if for any reason the SCOTUS had to vote on the election, that they would support the outcome of what the citizens voted for.

    John H I often wish we had a government with more than 2 parties which truly reflects the full spectrum from left to right ie socialist, libetarian Republican Democrat. Sadly, we do not. And yes, as a retired RN I am with you when you say “Don’t get me started on health care.”

    Hopefully I will soon be jumping up and down for joy because FINALLY Joe Biden is the president-elect.

  10. I will agree that the US voting system is in shambles. Having 2/3 of the people show up to vote is AMAZING for the US, but normal in most other countries. We make it hard to vote. People had to stand in line for hours. Rules are different for every state. This mishmash of rules somewhat enables this flurry of frivolous filings. It is time we put some federal rules in place, but I am pretty sure it is not going to happen since one parties unspoken goal (until Trump) for the last 50 years has been to make it harder to vote.
    Here is a good opinion piece on this subject:

    When the Republicans have only won the popular vote once in the last 30 years, it is also time to change the electoral college. From 1789 to 1800 it was working as designed. In 1800, Thomas Jefferson was running for President, and he realized that he might not win if the electoral vote if Virginia split by a percentage of support, so he introduced legislation in Virginia that said that once a candidate got a majority, all of the states votes would go to the wining candidate. All of the other states soon realized that to help their candidate win, they had to do the same thing. The next big “fix” came with the 1920 census. The US had been rapidly shifting from an agrarian to manufacturing economy and populations were moving out the rural (Republican areas) to the cities. The Republicans decided to slow that shift in representation down, in 1929 they capped congress at 435 members. Since then the number of people a congressman represents as more than tripled. But more importantly in a classic gerrymandering move is has packed more and more Democrats into single districts while giving outsized voices to rural voters.

    Here is also an interesting analysis via Heather Cox Richardson, of why people voted for Trump:
    “Pundits suggest that the two different political ideologies in America are about values and principles, but it actually seems that the primary difference between the two camps is between those who are living in a fictional world, created by generations of right-wing media, and those who are living in the real world, the so-called “reality-based community.””
    I also personally suspect that many people that occupy the Rightwing Blog Sphere also must not answer calls from pollsters, so that might explain some of the stark differences between the polls and reality.

    Yesterday it was disheartening to hear from two different regular commenters on yesterday’s blog posts, that as a Black person, the result of the election was no surprise. One of the clues for me should have been the strange post from “L” a few days ago that voting for Biden was voting for “President Kamala”. That right wing blog sphere was in full mysogenist racist mode implying you would be voting for a Black women for President. It seems that mysogeny and racism are still a bigger factors for a huge chunk of the population than I thought possible. Much more than I ever would have believed possible.

    So many problems. So little time, or political will to fix them…

  11. Republicans say they are the party of small government. We didn’t realize that meant one person as dictator… Trump.

  12. Popular Vote!

    One man or woman, one vote!

    All of this other flack is undemocratic.

    The minority should never hold sway over the majority. That being said, the majority should always be empathetic and compassionate about the minority.

    The old saying, “a rising tide lifts all boats” so, that’s where empathy and compassion comes in. Beliefs are just as important to most folks, or really all folks, as their life. So, when you try to push your belief system on someone of an opposite tack, you are really in essence trying to alter or snuff out some of their life. You will not, either side will not ever find common ground when it comes to that.

    That was the whole story of the parable concerning the good Samaritan. If the good Samaritan went by his specific belief system in order to render assistance to the man who was left for dead and robbed, the man would have died! Those who shared the injured man’s beliefs walked right by him!

    The Samaritans were despised by the Jews during that time, and, the Samaritan put his beliefs aside to help the injured Jew. He saved that man’s life even though people of his belief system hated Samaritans.

    That goes to show, the separation between religious beliefs and secular government needs to be strengthened, and, elections need to be decided by popular vote!

    If you go by another analogy, everyone, or most Christians at least, venerate Jesus Christ! Jesus Christ and his followers did a lot of preaching and teaching, Jesus Christ followers listened to him/Christ! But, what if, Christ apostles decided they didn’t care for some of Jesus Christ’s law edicts, what if they didn’t like taking care of the foreign resident or the orphans or the widows? What if they decided, they didn’t want to love their neighbor? What if they said they didn’t want to respect their enemy? What if they said they did not want to respect the superior authorities? What if they said they really didn’t want God’s love?

    Every single one of these above-mentioned are part of Christ’s edicts through parables and teachings. So if they went against them, they wouldn’t be Christian, because they would become antichrists!

    So, as we can see, these evangelicals who do not meticulously follow Christ’s teachings or basically go against all of his teachings, not listening to the secular authorities who are superior (Romans the 13th chapter) or helping those who are of a different belief system, or helping those and being empathetic and compassionate about helping those in need, then you’re not a Christian!

    Another reason why the connection between an individual and their religion should remain private. I do not care what religion a person is if they treat me fairly and with human dignity and respect. And they would feel the same I’m sure. So whatever private belief you have should remain that way.

    We will see what happens now that Joe Biden made 273!

  13. Yesterday I first saw the law professor’s “twitter with a filing fee” and I laughed aloud, something I haven’t been doing much with a taut body and dour outlook while waiting for the media to call the obvious , i.e., that we have a new president. I then tweeted that I had been a special or pro tem judge in many cases and that if a plaintiff sued a defendant for fraud without evidence I would dismiss his, her or its case and order costs and attorney’s fees to be paid to the defendant, remarking that lawsuits are serious matters.

    Trump has used the courts for various purposes other than his divorces and bankruptcies in thousands of instances as a private citizen and via his businesses. He has used or threatened to use the judicial system to enforce his supposed rights or shirk his responsibilities in a variety of fact situations, ranging from defamation to ADA enforcement to fraud etc.

    He has paid millions to his lawyers, and guess what? If we ever saw his tax returns (unless he lied to the IRS), we would doubtless find that he took such fee payments as deductions, meaning that, however indirectly, you and I helped him pay for such subterfuge (since we have to make up what such taxpayers do not pay), and I for one resent helping crooks line their pockets with even a penny of mine (e.g., I wonder if he wrote off the Stormy Daniels episode on his return under the entertainment section of business expenses – which qualify as “ordinary and necessary” under the code.

    As my fellow contributors are aware, I often write that the internal revenue code is in need of serious reform. Such possible outcomes as the foregoing are only one of many in need of reform, a reform that would also add additional personnel to the IRS for better auditing of returns of the rich. Studies have shown that additional costs from the addition of such auditing personnel are miniscule compared to the additional revenues gained. INTERRUPTION! The race has just been called for Biden! Hurrah! Reason returns to the Oval Office!

  14. Trump/Pence are acting just like they always have. Biden/Harris too.

    Voters acted democratically and said the majority of voters want to return to functional government from dramatic ineffective corrupt government.

    The system worked as designed. We are who we thought we always have been as a nation, one under construction with evolving processes to get us ever closer to an ideal (continuously adapting to the changing world) using what’s best to pursue that constant sense of purpose.

    We are far, far, far from anything close to the perfection that we need though.

  15. Even in South Carolina where our politicians drink Kool Aid by the barrel and Graham has contributed $500K to Trump’s legal defense fund, only one witless twit of a pol has dared to allege that there has been any vote fraud. He could be forgiven because in our state they don’t teach that there is a difference between assertions and evidence, and I believe that’s an optional class in our law schools. But we are somewhat mollified that our congressional delegate will be thawed from the abject state of fear that has frozen them from acting since before Gingrich was kicked out of his job. It’s not easy being a member of a cult when the cult leader gets to decide whether you keep your job.

    My wife just called to let me know that Biden has been declared the winner in PA. It appears that democracy has, for the time being, been saved. Steak and Brunello for dinner.

    Even Twitter crosses out Trump’s most anti-democratic claims.

  16. The Trumpet it seems is going to keep living in his own Fantasy Island. His only card left in the deck is to make accusations of fraud. I heard a comment yesterday from someone on TV that analyzed his lawsuits The Trumpet’s law suits appear to have been written by someone who does not understand the way legal proceedings work. They are and I paraphrase glittering generalities that have no factual basis.

    What should be alarming is given The Trumpet’s numerous character flaws the total and complete bungling and deliberate lies and mis-information concerning Corona, The Trumpet received so many votes.

    I turned on Fox News to get their reaction to the announcement that Biden has won PA. They seem to accept it. They did say from in front of the WH, The Trumpet as expected is going to fight this and is looking for some high powered lawyers to handle their “Legal” challenges.

    What would be nice is if Biden has decisive wins in NV and AZ to rum up the score.


    I went out on my front porch screaming, crying, yelling, YAY, we did it, we did it, just screaming in the middle of this Trump neighborhood. My hands hurt from clapping. It will be a loooong wait till January 20, 2021 at 12:00 noon but it is worth waiting for.

    God bless Joe and Kamala and keep them safe from the crazies; keep the peaceful celebrants safe from the crazies. Keep all of us safe during these last days of Trump’s reign of dictatorship; may it end without loss of life in our streets.

    Thank all of you who helped.

  18. BIDEN WINS!! HARRIS WINS!! THE UNITED STATES WINS!! Now we can spend the next years on this blog trying to hold off the Proud Boys from killing liberals. Trump will start his own network and become an even crazier Alex Jones. Stay tuned. Freedom of speech, of course…

  19. I am hoping to hear Pres. Biden announce something like, “I would be happy to entertain a move to abolish the EC.”
    I expect the Pres. can not “make” it happen, but he can use his bully pulpit to help move the conversation along. Of course, the Republicans can be expected to take issue with his urgings, but they have lost the right, as it were, to complain about playing hard ball!

  20. Be glad to help Lester ?

    I know you wouldn’t like the tax levies in Illinois here, lol!

    Washington State? Oregon? Northern California? I’ve got family in those areas. Knoxville tennessee? Maryville tennessee? You got a lot of family there also. I’d say Knoxville Tennessee is the most diverse City I’ve ever been in. Almost every other couple is mixed race.

  21. Gerald, Trump doesn’t pay his lawyers any more than he pays anybody else, so he’s probably not paying anything to them. Maybe the RNC is footing the bill for this fool’s errand. BTW, I read that Steve Bannon’s lawyers have quit after he recommended the beheading of Dr. Fauci.

  22. Lester, Canada?

    Been there done that!

    As I recall, all they tried to do when we were up there on a few occasions was take advantage, lol! Tried to rip us off on the exchange rate. Claiming the Canadian dollar was worth more than the American dollar. Or, getting lectured by locals when it would go to the restaurants.

    I like canada, but in my dealings with the folks there, I couldn’t handle the self-righteousness.

    You can get a good dose of the Canadian point of view in Myrtle Beach South carolina! There’s a huge contingency of Montreal Quebecians that live there. Quite interesting.

    Italy, and more precisely Sicily, that would be my country of choice!

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