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Electoral College will vote today, confirming Biden's U.S. presidential win


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Electoral College will vote today, confirming Biden's U.S. presidential win

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A constitutional ritual that is normally a little-noticed curiosity will Monday, turn into a symbol of the US political system's durability while under assault from a defeated President seeking to overturn a democratic election.

Electors from 50 states and the District of Columbia will gather across the country to cast their ballots, which will confirm Joe Biden as the rightful 46th president and California Sen. Kamala Harris as vice president.

A moment of historic resonance will activate safeguards stemming from the founders' fears nearly 250 years ago of a monarchical leader wielding unaccountable power to counter President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly spurned the fundamental principles of American democracy.

Earlier attempts by Trump to strong-arm local Republican lawmakers to produce delegations in swing states that would ignore the will of millions of voters and his election loss failed. So, ballots cast Monday will confirm Biden will surpass the 270 electoral votes needed for victory. 

The ballots will be transmitted to Washington, DC, to be tallied in Congress on January 6, when a building -- but almost certainly futile -- rear-guard by Republican lawmakers may expose a large rump of the party that has also turned against the democratic principles that underpin free and fair elections.

Despite the certainty of the constitutional choreography that will confirm Trump's loss, several rebukes from the Supreme Court and multiple court losses, he refuses to accept reality and put the country first by accepting defeat.

"It's not over ... we're going to continue to go forward," Trump told Fox News in an interview recorded Saturday, before tweeting on Sunday that the nation's top bench had "chickened out" by ruling Friday that Texas had no standing to file a case on his behalf.

Veteran Republican election lawyer Ben Ginsberg told CNN's Ana Cabrera on Sunday that the blunt Supreme Court dismissals of Trump's cases were "the briefest and most summary of dismissals possible. That is a signal in lawyer talk about 'don't waste our time with these theories that you are spouting out.' "

Biden to speak
After slates of electors formally selected by voters in the indirect presidential election system in November fulfill their duties on Monday, Biden plans to deliver a speech on the resilience of US democracy. It will be his latest effort to unite a fractured nation even as the outgoing President seeks to doom his legitimacy with baseless claims of vote fraud.

The process will confirm, yet again, that Biden will take office on January 20 at noon, ending Trump's one-term presidency -- a fact that some, but still clearly not all leading Republicans, agree is now inevitable.

A waning fantasy
Monday's events will test how long the fantasy of a second Trump term can endure.

The President's crusade to disenfranchise millions of voters who cast legal ballots against him is an appropriate coda for a presidency in which he has consistently destroyed democratic guardrails in order to pursue his own political goals.

His actions have also sharpened the dilemma of many of his fellow Republicans. A few, like Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, have spoken out strongly in favour of democratic principles.

But others have contributed to Trump's fraying of trust in US democracy by equivocating and refusing to refer to Biden as President-elect. Others like Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the second-ranking House Republican, are perpetuating Trump's fiction that he won the election.

"If you want to restore trust by millions of people who are still very frustrated and angry about what happened, that's why you've got to have the whole system play out," Scalise said on "Fox News Sunday."

"There will be a president sworn in on January 20, but let's let this legal process play itself out," the congressman said, despite the fact that the Supreme Court has twice shut down Republican legal gambits intended to overthrow the election.

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