Down Trump’s Rabbit Hole

Montana’s Attorney General Tim Fox has for years been considered a moderate Republican, but with the announcement that he and Governor-elect Greg Gianforte have joined the lawsuit filed by Texas’ attorney general challenging the election results in four other states, both men have fully gone down Donald Trump’s electoral rabbit hole of lunacy, hypocrisy and incredulity.

Ken Paxton, the Texas AG who is under FBI investigation for bribery and abuse of office, filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Supreme Court last week seeking to overturn Trump’s loss in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia and Wisconsin despite the fact that the results have been certified after numerous recounts.

Simply put, there has been no evidence of widespread election fraud and at least 55 other Trump lawsuits seeking to invalidate the election’s result have been summarily dismissed.

The Electoral College will voted Dec. 14, to finalize the results in which President-elect Joe Biden beat Trump by 307-232 electoral votes and more than 7 million popular votes.

Texas’ lawsuit has been widely rebuked by the states in question with Pennsylvania’s attorney general characterizing it as having “no basis in law or fact,” and rests on “a surreal alternate reality.” Michigan’s attorney general put it bluntly saying “the election in Michigan is over. Texas comes as a stranger to this matter and should not be heard here.” Wisconsin’s AG called it an “extraordinary intrusion into Wisconsin’s and the other defendant States’ elections, a task that the Constitution leaves to each State.”

It’s always prudent to “flip the coin” in public policy decisions and look at issues from a different point of view. In this case, Montanans should consider what it would be like to have another state, say California or New York, decide to file suit in the Supreme Court to overturn Montana’s election results because they didn’t like it that Trump won here. It’s well-known that Montanans value their individuality and even the thought that some other state gets to tell us our votes should be overturned would be met with intense opposition.

Montana’s election officials, like those in other states, take their jobs very seriously, follow the law, check the verification on mail-in and absentee ballots, and report the results accordingly. Likewise, the hundreds of thousands of Montanans who voted last month would be outraged to think some other state’s attorney general has any right whatsoever to interfere in our election — let alone trying to openly invalidate it.

Joining Fox, governor-elect Greg Gianforte signed an amicus brief with over a hundred Republican members of Congress to “prevent those states from casting their electoral votes on Monday.”

One must really wonder if Gianforte actually thinks allowing one state — or members of Congress — to interfere in the elections of other states is valid? Even Texas’ Republican Senator John Cornyn, formerly a member of Texas’ Supreme Court, rejected the challenge and told reporters: “I do not understand the legal theory. I don’t want other states having a chance to change Texas law based on a similar effort. If you can do it for the election, you can do it if somebody wanted to challenge, for example, Texas law on the Second Amendment.”

It behooves both Fox and Gianforte to consider the “unexpected consequences” of their foolish actions. While Fox is on his way out, Montanans are looking at four years of Gianforte as governor. We, and our beloved state, deserve considerably more prudence than either Fox or Gianforte have shown with this intrusive and doomed effort to overturn a national election at Trump’s behest.


George Ochenski is a columnist for the Daily Montanan, where this essay originally appeared.