Three weeks ago, I and others in the election law field determined that Trump’s path to use lawsuits to overturn the results of the election was dead. The campaign had uncovered no significant fraud or irregularities and none of the states where Trump lost were close enough that a recount could plausibly change the results of the election. By one count, Trump has lost 46 of his lawsuits and won only one minor one, in PA.
But the lawsuits keep coming and coming. They make much more sense when one thinks of them as about grift and delegitimizing the upcoming Biden presidency.
As to grift: Trump is spending perhaps a few hundred thousand dollars on lawsuits (he hasn’t hired leading election lawyers) and spent about $3 million on a failed, partial recall in Wisconsin. But the campaign has brought in something like $200 million since the election. The lawsuits act as loss leader that brings people into the store to spend lots of money. As of now, 75% of the money raised does not go to for the litigation fight but is going to Trump’s new leadership PAC which he can use as a kind of personal slush fund. He’s going to be well situated to engage in some self-dealing through this fund thanks to the porous rules for leadership PACs.
As to delegitimization: As I was driving today, I saw a “Stop the Steal” protest on a freeway overpass with a couple of dozen demonstrators in Thousand Oaks, CA. The false message is getting through loud and clear to Trump’s most ardent supporters that Biden has stolen the election. No amount of evidence or loss of court cases will convince them otherwise. Indeed, the more they lose, the more it demonstrates a vast conspiracy. It’s disgusting and horrible and will have long term bad consequences for our democracy.
Trump is likely doing this for his ego to explain his loss to Joe Biden and for the grift.