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Unprecedented Election Drama Is Driven By Trump's False Claims


Despite repeated legal challenges and baseless attacks on their election integrity, all six of the states that President Trump had vowed to contest have now certified their results. NPR voting reporter Miles Parke's is here with us. Good morning.

MILES PARKS, BYLINE: Hey. Good morning.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So get us up to speed. How many states in total have now certified their results? And where are we in the process?

PARKS: So roughly 80% of states have now certified their results, with the rest set to do so over the next week. After that, the Electoral College electors will meet all over the country on December 14 to cast their ballots, and those will then go to Congress. I should say, it's clear - as it has been for the last couple of weeks - that Joe Biden will be the winner of this election. But Trump is still arguing otherwise, even as yesterday, his own attorney general said the Justice Department has uncovered no evidence of widespread fraud.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yeah, the Trump campaign strategy, of course, has been sort of part legal filings, part pressure campaign on local election officials - especially Republican officials, we should say. But it has not been going well.

PARKS: No, it hasn't. You know, we had that one high-profile case in Michigan where a couple of Republicans on a local board of canvassers did delay certification for just a few hours. But in many other cases, the campaign has actually been rebuked by local Republicans. You know, in Georgia yesterday, an official with the Republican secretary of state's office, Gabriel Sterling, called on other national-level Republicans to step up because the conspiracy theories that Trump has been spinning, he says, have led to threats against election officials across the country.


GABRIEL STERLING: It has to stop. This is elections. This is the backbone of democracy. And all of you who have not said a damn word are complicit in this.

PARKS: On the one hand, Trump's efforts here with the pressure campaign have not worked. The process is moving along. But it's also impossible not to notice just how surreal all of this is.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I mean, surreal is a good word. Just put it into context - how unprecedented is this? You know, on Monday, the White House seemed to be calling the governor of Arizona while he was certifying the results. That seems, you know, like nothing we've ever seen before.

PARKS: It isn't. You know, I talked to Amy Chan, who used to be the Republican-appointed state elections director in Arizona. I asked her, just frankly, if she ever got the sort of phone calls that Trump has been making to these state and local officials. She said absolutely not.

AMY CHAN: I was shocked to hear he did that. I mean, that to me is outrageous. If I were a staffer to President Trump and he indicated he was going to be personally calling somebody who was supposed to be certifying, you know, election results, I would tell him, no way, completely inappropriate.

PARKS: But there's still been no real indication that President Trump is coming around on this. He still tweeted or retweeted more than two dozen claims yesterday related to the election results.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Indeed he has. And I imagine this is going to have repercussions. I mean, what does this mean in the long and short term for voting in the United States?

PARKS: Well, in the short term, Republicans need people to vote in just a couple of weeks in Georgia if they want to control the Senate. Here's Trey Grayson, the former Republican secretary of state of Kentucky, on that.

TREY GRAYSON: What boggles my mind is the Senate is very much at stake, and Republicans are telling Georgia voters, your election was stolen from you in the presidential race, but come back out for this U.S. Senate race. I mean, like, it's crazy.

PARKS: In the longer term, what's worrisome is Grayson basically said this is a game plan now that other Republican candidates are going to emulate. It was brewing in the years before President Trump took office, and this sort of campaign, frankly, against election confidence is not magically going to go away whenever Trump does leave office.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: That's NPR's Miles Parks. Thank you very much.

PARKS: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Miles Parks is a reporter on NPR's Washington Desk. He covers voting and elections, and also reports on breaking news.