Minutes before the taping of Monday’s Late Show, the electoral college certified Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election, effectively ending Donald Trump’s longshot attempt to subvert America’s democratic process. “At this point, Joe Biden has won the election so many times, he’s our 46th president through 51st president,” joked Stephen Colbert. “After six agonizing weeks, the election is finally over. Stick a fork in the president, he’s done. Also, keep that fork handy because poking him in the butt might be the only way to get him out of the White House.”
The electoral college vote, usually an obscure constitutional formality under scrutiny this year due to the president’s unprecedented and broadly unsuccessful attempts to overturn the election, spells the end of “all the possible ways [Trump] could attempt to destroy our democracy”, said Colbert, “but that doesn’t mean his months-long assault hasn’t done some damage”.
Case in point: the heightened security and tension surrounding Monday’s electoral college vote, as fears of violence, whipped up by a president who still refuses to concede the election, led Michigan to close its capitol, Arizona to hold its meeting at an undisclosed location and Wisconsin to install a secret entrance to protect its electors. “This is crazy!” Colbert exclaimed. “These people aren’t politicians. They’re not even voters. They’re messengers of what the voters said.
“This is what the phrase ‘don’t shoot the messengers’ was literally invented for,” Colbert continued. “But thanks to the GOP, now that saying is, ‘Buy the messengers some bulletproof vests, and sneak him in through the back door because we are cuckoo bananas and we’ve got a lot of guns.’”
The electoral college vote, given its own election night-style special on CNN, should “all be just boring – everyone knows it’s going to happen”, Colbert added. “It’s not normally news at all. It’s like issuing death threats to paint for drying.”
On the Daily Show, Trevor Noah recapped another knockout blow to the Trump’s chances of subverting American democracy: on Saturday, the supreme court summarily declined to hear a long-shot lawsuit brought by the attorney general of Texas, and supported by 126 House Republicans, to invalidate the votes in key states such as Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.
The Electoral College confirms Biden’s victory, Stephen Miller calls for alternate electors to back Trump, and MAGA-heads riot in D.C. pic.twitter.com/c2oq3IyBRZ
— The Daily Show (@TheDailyShow) December 15, 2020
The rejection was “ice cold”, said Noah, “because not only did the supreme court not even hear Trump’s case, they announced to everyone that they weren’t going to hear it. Like, it’s bad enough when someone sends you straight to voicemail, but imagine if they then went around telling everyone that they did it.
“This is how far Republicans have gone since election day,” Noah later added. “You remember at first, they were like, ‘Hold on, hold on, we don’t know who will win the recounts, just let the process play out.’ Then they counted all the votes, and Republicans were like, ‘We don’t know who will win the legal challenges, just let the process play out.’ And now that the legal challenges are over, they’re like, ‘We don’t know who Congress will vote for, let the process play out.’
“Meanwhile, their supporters are out in the streets causing shit to go down,” he said, referring to an event over the weekend in which thousands of Trump supporters, including members of far-right extremist group the Proud Boys, marched in Washington and sparked violent clashes with police and counter-protesters.
“Based on how they’ve acted so far, don’t count on Republicans to put a stop to that,” Noah said. “It’s more likely that they’ll spend the next four years saying, ‘I know Joe Biden says he’s president, but there’s still violence in the streets and we don’t know who’s going to win that, so let the process play out.’”
And on Late Night, Seth Meyers also discussed the supreme court’s dismissal of the Texas lawsuit to invalidate millions of votes in other states. “The extreme conservatives, including three Trump appointees, didn’t want to be anywhere near this thing because it was too crazy,” he said. “They were happy to go with Trump to TP the principle’s house, but when he said, ‘Now should we go in and kill him?’ He had to know they were gonna back out.”
Despite the death-knell setback, Trump’s team continued to press on with new lines on overturning the election: on Fox & Friends, the White House adviser Stephen Miller called for state legislatures to demand their electors vote for Trump and spewed conspiracy theories about “thousands” of invalid votes from, among many categories, deceased voters.
“Of course Miller thinks there are dead voters because he is a dead voter,” Meyers retorted. “Technically, undead – he came into existence when a Charles Adams drawing was struck by lightning.
“To be clear, what he’s saying there is that Congress and state legislatures should step in and overturn an election in which 7 million more Americans voted for Biden than Trump,” said Meyers.
“These guys want to shred the legal votes of millions of Americans just because they disagree with the outcome,” he added. “If they succeed now or in the future, that is by definition the end of our democracy.”