President Donald Trump’s latest attempt to challenge the Georgia election results could move quickly — with potentially explosive results for the Republican Party and his last-ditch effort to remain in office.
Trump’s legal team is due in court Tuesday for a hearing in the case, which could culminate with an order from a Republican-appointed judge to overturn the state’s certified result, giving Trump another hope at a second term. Trump’s lawyers cite an array of concerns about the way the election was conducted in Georgia, including the use of mail-in ballots, but they are also asking the court to essentially order state officials to ignore the certified result and instead give Trump more votes.
The Republican Party could face an uphill battle if the judge rules in Trump’s favor — with an army of state and local officials making it all but certain that any attempt to go against the state’s certified result will be met with bitter resistance. If the judge rules against Trump, his legal team could appeal, but it’s unlikely that this case will affect the outcome of the election in the long-run.
At the same time, Trump’s latest gambit could have serious consequences for the future of his party. If Trump succeeds, Republicans may view what happened in Georgia as a vindication of Trump’s unfounded claims about election fraud, and could pour resources into future years to try to replicate the same result in other states. This could promote an atmosphere of distrust and weaken democratic norms in the process.
No matter what happens in this particular case, it’s increasingly clear that the Republican Party will be deeply divided over the issue of election integrity for years to come.