Pence Has No Power

From Chris Christie on the day after the election, to Mitch McConnell just a few days ago, thousands of prominent Trump supporters have acknowledged President-elect Joe Biden’s victory over President Donald Trump. Trump’s lawsuits have largely failed in district courts, Sidney Powell’s claims of a large mountain of evidence being dropped has yet to come, and the Supreme Court has made it clear that they will not support baseless attacks on the election despite being a 6-3 conservative majority.

Despite the electoral college having voted - effectively cementing the victory for Biden - the legislative branch of the federal government still must make the process official on January sixth. Members of Congress can contest individual state electoral results, which then places both Congressional chambers into a two-hour session to debate the outcome; both chambers must agree on an error in the vote total, however. Given that we have a Democrat-controlled house, and a great number of Republican Senators in the GOP-controlled Senate have already expressed their disapproval of Trump’s crusade, nothing will come of this.

Now, the responsibility lies with Vice President Mike Pence, to serve his role as President of the United States Senate, and tally up the electoral votes. Whether Pence will follow through on this process peacefully, or will remain in steadfast support of Trump and drag out of the process, none can say for certain. Pence has tweeted twice since the election about his take on the situation - both tweets in favor of Trump’s frivolous legal fights. Despite the uncertainty of Pence’s direction, he does not possess the power to overturn the election results on his own.

Pence’s constitutional abilities in this predicament are limited; the 12th Amendment does not allow the Vice President to exercise powers which could dramatically affect the result. As such, his presiding over the electoral tally is largely a ceremonial process. Regardless of whether or not he continues to support Trump’s fight, any resistance made by Pence would simply be delaying the inevitable - the election has ended.