Time and tide wait for no man, even if that man is the most powerful person on the planet. This proverb has been true since time immemorial, but maybe someone should tell Donald Trump. As the outgoing president’s team spams phones, inboxes, and commercial breaks pleading for donations to fight an unproven corrupt election, time has run out. As of midnight December 8th, Donald Trump has no Safe Harbor.
Safe Harbor, December 8th, is a milestone established in federal law for states to conclude any disputes over results. This date, which was established in an 1887 statute, is intended to prevent uncertainty about the presidential election winner. The most legitimately contested presidential election in modern American history, Bush v. Gore, came down to Safe Harbor. On December 8, 2000, The Supreme Court decided due to the looming deadline; a new manual recount couldn’t be completed in Florida. This ruling gave Florida’s electoral votes to George W. Bush and the presidency.
Litigation is the right of any candidate to ensure a fair election. Trump’s attempts to contest his loss falls short on many fronts. The most substantial obstacle is that before Safe Harbor, Trump and his allies lost 53 out of 54 lawsuits. Trump and his allies’ solitary win was shortening the time in Pennsylvania to cure certain mail ballots from 9 days to 6 days after the election. This time change did not affect the outcome of the 20 electoral votes allocated to Pennsylvania.
Trump’s allies have increasingly acknowledged their losing legal hand but have yet to tell the President of his defeat. Trump has largely turned his attention away from the legal process and has started a high-pressure campaign to force Republican allies in statehouses to ignore the electorate and bestow upon him their electoral votes and, in turn, the presidency. Since the outgoing administration has not won any substantive cases, appeals have been denied, and they do not have a case to present to the Supreme Court, time has truly expired.