North Carolina has just been declared for Trump. He is also almost certain to win Alaska whenever the Alaskans get around to counting the rest of their votes. Decision Desk puts the count at Biden 279 and Trump 229. The expected flurry of law suits has commenced.
Here are the states in play:
Not exactly a big blue wave.
In baseball there are some players who swing for the fences every time they are at bat. Great to have on your team, but usually inconsistent. For a manager, a guy who gets on base consistently is often more valuable. With the sorts of fairly small numbers which could flip states to Trump, while it is certainly entertaining to try and knock out 800,000 absentee ballots in PA, it is much more efficient to look for ways to pick off 50,000, or 5000 a few times. All the more so in Georgia and Arizona.
From a legal perspective, judges are far more likely to declare the votes of the dead invalid, than to adopt a statistics based argument that a bunch of ballots turned up at 4:00AM all marked for Joe shouldn’t count. There is room for the high concept stuff and it should certainly be argued; but there is every chance states will be decided by eliminating demonstrably illegal ballots from the count pretty much one by one.
There are four obvious categories of ballot to challenge: the dead, the non-resident, the non-citizen and the ineligible because of age. To do this requires a hand recount and an audit for eligibility. It is not a big ask and it is one which has already been granted in Georgia.
Legally, there is a big difference between asking a judge to invalidate a swath of ballots and asking that same judge to require a recount and audit. No judge wants to order the removal of hundreds, maybe thousands of ballots some of which may, in fact, be perfectly valid, on the basis that they arrived late or were counted unobserved. The burden of proof in those homerun style actions will be, rightly, enormous. But requiring that each ballot be scrutinized for eligibility will have a much lower burden of proof as the consequences will be much less broad. (And, yes it would be nice to take a look for more “glitches” in the software.)
The headline cases with Rudy and world class lawyering are great and I hope that they proceed simply because they will hold the rather nasty practices of big city Democratic machines up to scrutiny; but for Trump to win he needs 41 Electoral College votes.
Grinding out singles isn’t glamorous, but it wins ball games. Especially close ball games.