In 2020, the plan backfired. The judicial shellacking of Trump’s fact-free claims gave backbone to these other political actors to withstand Trump’s all-out assault on letting the voters decide whom they wanted in the White House for the next four years.AD
And yet, it is important to recognize how vulnerable the electoral system remains to this kind of authoritarian pressure. Different individuals inhabiting the same political offices, or perhaps even the same individuals faced with just slightly less clear-cut circumstances, could have produced the opposite outcome this year — and could do so four years from now.
This year is a reminder of just how dependent democracy is on the little-known individuals who actually administer the process for counting the votes. In Georgia, Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger emerged as the unexpected hero of upholding free and fair elections, asserting that “as an engineer,” he knows that “numbers don’t lie.”
Suppose, however, that Raffensperger had buckled under Trump’s attack and said that he did not trust his own state’s results? Even if the truth had been just the same, the public narrative over Georgia’s outcome might have played out far differently.