A Republican former federal judge has penned an eye-opening op-ed in which he lays out the GOP's and former Republican President Donald Trump's plan to steal the 2024 presidential election.
Judge J. Michael Luttig, a staunch conservative appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit by Republican President George H.W. Bush, says the scheme all comes down to Trump's claims of fraud and the events of January 6.
Luttig explains 2020 was a failed "dry run" for what the GOP and Trump plan to do in 2024—overturn the election if Trump or his pick for President do not win.
And this time, they've got nearly all the pieces in place to succeed.
Luttig opened his op-ed with an observation all too many of us have nervously contemplated ourselves.
"Nearly a year and a half later, surprisingly few understand what January 6 was all about.
The true heart of the matter, Luttig says, is a little-known doctrine called the "independent state legislature," a part of the Elections and Electors Clauses of the Constitution, which grant state legislatures exclusive power over federal presidential elections.
Not even a state supreme court can have say over these issues according to this doctrine. But the federal Supreme Court could, were a case pertaining to these issues to end up before the court.
As Luttig explains, this was Trump and the GOP's plan for 2020—to claim pandemic-related changes to voting procedures violated the independent state legislature doctrine and have the resulting court cases land in the Supreme Court, where newly confirmed Justice Amy Coney Barrett would deliver favorable verdicts.
The gambit failed, however, in part because Coney Barrett was not yet sworn in, leading to 4-4 deadlock votes.
Such cases will meet entirely different circumstances in 2024, of course, because Coney Barrett is now officially on the bench. But even if the Court failed to deliver again, Trump's 2020 plan b is likely to succeed in 2024 as well.
Trump's team next moved to persuade certain states to empower alternate slates of electors to vote for Trump in the Electoral College instead of Democratic President Joe Biden, but they failed because state-level officials refused to cooperate.
But as Luttig explains, Republicans have since succeeded in electing a slew of Trump-aligned candidates in several key state positions directly impacting the operations of the 2024 election.
And with the 2022 midterms approaching, they are likely to gain Trump-aligned Republicans at the federal level as well, making more likely the success of Trump's third 2020 gambit—compelling Congress and then-Vice President Mike Pence to only count Trump-aligned votes at the January 6, 2021 certification of the Electoral College vote.
This failed because an insufficient number of Congress members were willing to follow the scheme and because Pence refused to comply, leading to the storming of the Capitol later that day.
Democratic Vice President Kamala Harris will preside over the certification in January of 2025, of course, but the Congress is likely to be far more Trump-friendly than 2021's.
So what can we do to safeguard the 2024 election?
Luttig explained our hope now rests in the present Congress acting before it's too late.
"Congress [must amend] the Electoral Count Act to constrain Congress' own power to reject state electoral votes and decide the presidency."
Luttig says this must be in tandem with federal legislation expressly limiting the Vice President's powers over elections to safeguard elections beyond 2024 as well.
On Twitter, many were sobered and alarmed by Luttig's explanation of the grave danger our democracy faces in 2024.
As we head toward the midterms and 2024, here's hoping our country takes Luttig's advice that "forewarned is to be forearmed."