FARGO — North Dakota, thanks to Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, has disgraced itself by supporting a lawsuit that seeks to reject the votes of millions of votes in four battleground states and overturn the presidential election in favor of Donald Trump.
This is an outrageous affront to our democracy. It’s a political stunt with no chance of succeeding, but it will damage our democracy by contributing to efforts by Trump and his supporters to undermine faith in our elections.
The lawsuit North Dakota has no chance of being heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, which does not like to be drawn into disputes between states.
In a democracy, voters, not judges, choose their leaders. And the voters spoke loudly in support of President-elect Joe Biden over Trump. Biden got 7 million more votes than Trump. He also won 306 electoral votes, well above the 270 required to win the presidency.
The results of the presidential race now have been certified by all 50 states. This election is over and Trump lost, period, in a free and fair election.
Despite the outrageous claims of Trump and his lackeys, there has been absolutely no evidence of widespread fraud. Lawsuit after lawsuit filed by the Trump campaign has been tossed out of court.
Among Trump’s many courtroom losses, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously refused even to consider a lawsuit by his campaign seeking to allow the Republican-controlled Pennsylvania Legislature to block Biden’s victory in that battleground state.
Now comes the latest frivolous lawsuit, filed by Texas and joined by 17 other states with Republican attorneys general including North Dakota. The emergency lawsuit asks the Supreme Court to invalidate the ballots of millions of voters in Georgia, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.
In essence, states including North Dakota are going to court to tell other states how they should run their elections. Governors in the four states, in the midst of the worst public health crisis in a century, issued executive orders to accommodate mail-in voting.
Across the United States, almost half of the votes were mailed in during the November election, an unprecedented number spurred by the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump, who not surprisingly also supports the lawsuit filed by Texas, isn’t even trying to sustain the fiction of widespread election fraud. Now he blatantly advocates thwarting the will of the voters. In a tweet this week, Trump blared: #OVERTURN.
There is an effort to steal the presidential election, and Trump is its center.
That’s the dishonorable effort that Stenehjem has signed on to support. Stenehjem told reporters that his office has received “thousands” of calls in support of the Texas lawsuit. Even if true, that’s a ludicrous reason for joining a lawsuit that aims to drive a stake through the heart of our election process.
Stenehjem should be ashamed at the poor judgment he’s displayed, elevating rank partisan gamesmanship over the democratic process. He sounded oddly nonchalant in justifying his support of the lawsuit, which he acknowledged is a longshot. His office was careful, he said, to ensure that the brief didn’t take a stand on allegations of election fraud.
"The Supreme Court should look at the allegations, determine if there's any merit to them," he said. "And if not, they should dismiss the petition and finalize the matter once and for all."
The lawsuit no doubt will be dismissed. But, in the minds of millions of gullible voters, the matter won’t be finalized once and for all, thanks to tactics like the one Stenehjem lent his name to, and that of North Dakota.
This other view is the opinion of the editorial board of our sister publication, The Forum or Fargo-Moorhead.