Professor Jed Shugerman wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post that examines the ways legal challenges from President Trump might help legitimize President-Elect Joe Biden’s victory.
President Trump falsely claims that he won the 2020 presidential election and has begun legal action to challenge the results in several states — alleging voter fraud with no evidence. Americans should not worry about these suits. Indeed, we should welcome them.
The lawsuits may prove to be the best way to legitimize President-elect Joe Biden’s victory and draw to a close years of bogus complaints about voter fraud. The lack of merit in the legal complaints means they will be dead on arrival in the courts, and while the resounding rejection of Trump’s fantasies by judges will not persuade his fiercest loyalists, it will prevent conspiracy theories from spreading.
The claims have been fictional, but the conspiracy theories and visceral skepticism are social facts. Court cases won’t eliminate bad-faith doubts, but litigation may be the best way to overcome widespread skepticism of government officials, because it is transparent and readily scrutinized. It will be hard to blame unfavorable outcomes on a supposedly biased media, too, because court proceedings and judicial rulings can be read directly by the public.