Could Donald Trump's attempts to overturn the election backfire?


Donald Trump has made the presidential transition quite difficult for the Democrats,

promising to hold a 'wild' protest in Washington D.C. this week as he continues to deny that he lost the election.


With two days left before the US Congress meet to formalise the votes of the electoral college, Mr Trump has been doing everything in his power to overturn the election result.


In a normal election year, where the person who has been defeated concedes, the process on 6 January isn't anything to boast about. In fact, it is mainly a ceremonial process that passes without much notice.


However, the 2020 US election was far from normal and has left many spectators at the edge of their seats as they await the final hurdle of what has been a long-winded process.


The US Constitution requires one final step to formalise the results of a presidential election. In December, the electoral college voted in Joe Biden's favour putting him ahead of Trump 306-232. In the process, each state sends sealed certificates that have a record of who their electors voted for.


These are then passed onto both the US House of Representatives and Senate, who gather for a joint session at 1:00pm local time, and then they open those certificates one by one and count the results.


The reason this process is mainly ceremonial is because the US constitution does allow any member of Congress to stand up and object to a state's electoral college vote once it's announced by the teller.


This year, Alabama representative Mo Brooks, who is leading a group of Trump supporters to challenge the election results when they're counted by Congress, has said that Mr Trump is very supportive of their effort.


Republican senator Josh Hawley has confirmed he plans to object as well, despite authorities repeatedly confirming that there is no evidence of widespread fraud.


The last time something similar happened was when Congress met to tally the results of the 2004 presidential election between George W Bush and John Kerry.


Then-Senator Barbara Boxer stood alone on the Senate floor to object to President Bush's reelection victory in Ohio over Democrat John Kerry. This forced the House and Senate to vote for only the second time in a century on whether to reject a state's Electoral College votes.


Boxer said that the circumstances are totally different this year, when Trump and his allies are seeking to overturn a national election result, than when she joined with then-Ohio Democratic Republican Stephanie Tubbs Jones to object to Kerry's loss.


"Our intent was not to overturn the election in any way. Our intent was to focus on voter suppression in Ohio," she said.


Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has privately urged Senate Republicans to steer clear, stating that supporting Trump's push to dispute the electoral college vote would lead to a "terrible vote" for Republicans.


Nonetheless, if the objection goes ahead, the joint session will be suspended and will see both the House and the Senate go into separate sessions for no more than two hours to debate the objection.


Members are then likely to get just five minutes to speak in favour of or against the objection.


At the end of it all, there will be a simple majority vote in both chambers.


In reality, Trump's Republican allies do not stand a chance of changing the result and will only delay the inevitable affirmation of Biden as the Electoral College winner and the next president.


The joint session to count the Electoral College votes on 6 January will be led by vice president Mike Pence but it has raised questions about how he will handle being in the awkward position of affirming Biden's victory over his own presidential ticket.


This won't be the first time this has happened. Former vice president, Al Gore faced something similar in 2001 when he lost to Bush, despite the election coming down to a disputed recount in Florida. During that vote, House Democrats protested the Florida result, but no senator objected, and the effort died.


In 2017, the same thing happened when a group of House Democrats objected to Trump's win in several states, citing Russia's election interference and problems with voter suppression. No senators joined the House members and Biden, who was presiding over the session in his role as president of the Senate, gavelled down and dismissed the objections, confirming Trump as the winner.


Democrats still control the House of Representatives and will certainly vote down any objection on the day.


While the session may be filled with debate, it is unlikely to change the overall result and we're likely to see Biden officially confirmed as the 46th president.


If the process is completed as smoothly as possible, Biden will be inaugurated on 20 January.


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