As messy and chaotic as Bush v. Gore was in 2000, the 2020 presidential election is shaping up to be even worse. President Donald Trump has refused to commit to accepting the election results if his Democratic opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, is victorious on Tuesday, November 3 — and Trump has an army of Republican attorneys ready to fight for him in swing states next month. Journalist Anita Kumar, in an article published in Politico on September 27, stresses that the team of lawyers that Trump’s campaign is employing for this election is enormous.
Kumar explains, “Dozens of lawyers from three major law firms have been hired. Thousands of volunteer attorneys and poll watchers across the country have been recruited. Republicans are preparing pre-written legal pleadings that can be hurried to the courthouse the day after the election, as wrangling begins over close results and a crush of mail-in ballots. Attorneys from non-battleground states — including California, New York and Illinois — are being dispatched to more competitive areas and trained on local election laws.”
The Trump campaign’s legal “strategy,” according to Kumar, is “mainly focused on the election process in the 17 key states the Trump campaign is targeting, like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan.”
“In total,” Kumar observes, “it means the Republican Party will have thousands of people on hand to shape every element of voting — both on Election Day and in the days after. It’s a massive undertaking — one the RNC calls its largest election-year legal effort ever. And it’s one that could determine the winner of the pandemic-beset 2020 election.”
Kumar recalls that in 2000, “the race between George W. Bush and Al Gore didn’t end until the Supreme Court weighed in more than a month later.” But in 2020, Kumar warns, election officials “expect a more chaotic aftermath.” And Democratic attorneys, Kumar emphasizes, are preparing for “battle” as well.
“Democrats have launched their own gargantuan effort, doubling their efforts since 2016,” Kumar notes. “They’ve amassed a team to educate voters, respond to charges of voter suppression and counter foreign interference and misinformation, according to the Biden campaign. The effort is being led by Dana Remus, Biden’s general counsel, and Bob Bauer, a former White House counsel during the Obama Administration who joined the campaign full-time this summer.”
The Democratic legal team, Kumar adds, also includes “former solicitors general Donald Verrilli and Walter Dellinger, as well as Marc Elias, a nationally recognized Democratic elections lawyer, according to the campaign. Former Attorney General Eric Holder also is involved.”
Countless Democrats — liberals and progressives as well as centrists — are warning that Republicans and the Trump campaign will be relentless in their voter suppression efforts, especially when it comes to people of color. And while Bush v. Gore was centered on the election results in Florida, the legal battles in the 2020 election might take place in multiple swing states, ranging from Pennsylvania to Arizona to North Carolina.
Michael Gwin, a spokesman for Biden’s campaign, told Politico, “The Biden campaign has assembled the biggest voter protection program in history to ensure the election runs smoothly and to combat any attempt by Donald Trump to create fear and confusion with our voting system, or interfere in the democratic process.”