While the Electoral College members officially voted Monday and completed Joe Biden’s win in the presidential election, a number of right-wing media outlets were busy promoting another maneuver: State Republican Parties putting up their own “elector” slates for President Donald Trump — in states that Biden actually won — which carry no legal weight.
“As we speak, today, an alternate slate of electors in the contested states is going to vote, and we're going to send those results up to Congress,” White House adviser Stephen Miller declared on Monday’s edition of Fox & Friends. “This will ensure that all of our legal remedies remain open.”
In addition to continued legal challenges, Miller also urged the Republican-led legislatures in the swing states, as well as Congress itself, to “do the right thing” — an odd way to describe the prospect of rejecting the Biden electors that were certified by those states’ popular votes.
Beyond the state parties, freelance groups are also getting in on the act, with The Arizona Republic reporting that a group of far-right “sovereign citizens of the Great State of Arizona” have submitted their own electoral slate to the National Archives. The newspaper presented this with a sensible headline: “Fake electors try to deliver Arizona's 11 votes for Trump.”
But while these pro-Trump electors in state won by Biden are fake, some voices in right-wing media are attempting to treat their efforts as a real story. Fox Business host Lou Dobbs, for example, gave a short headline story on them in his opening block on Monday.
The political stunt is also being avidly promoted at The Gateway Pundit, a perennially inaccurate right-wing website that has spread a variety of false claims and conspiracy theories about the election. The site has run multiple posts on this story, including a mid-afternoon headline declaring, “There Are Now Dueling Electors in Three States,” in a piece claiming that “The Electoral Count Act (ECA) of 1887 says each chamber of Congress will separately decide which slate of ‘dueling electors’ to accept.”
Right-wing podcaster C.J. Pearson not only promoted this stunt — he was also a participant, as one of the Republican “electors” in Georgia, having been one of the state Republican Party’s candidates for a Trump elector slate in November.
Just to say this again: Because these “alternate” elector slates do not carry any official certification by a state body, they are of no more significance to Congress than the sovereign citizen group in Arizona.
Pro-Trump actor Antonio Sabato Jr. also chimed in: “BREAKING: Nevada GOP electors cast ballot for Donald J Trump declaring him winner of 6 Electoral votes in NV.”
Right Side Broadcasting Network, which typically streams Trump rallies, also posted a series of tweets that made it seem like the “Nevada GOP electors” had some official significance.
It also broadcast a live stream on YouTube entitled “LIVE: BREAKING Nevada GOP ELECTORS CAST VOTES FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP!!” That received over 400,000 views.
Right-wing vlogger Tim Pool posted a video titled, “GOP Electors Cast DUELING Votes For Trump Challenging Biden's Win, But Democrats Say IT'S OVER.” As of now it has nearly 200,000 views.
YouTube host Steve Turley’s video, “BREAKING! Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Nevada Electors VOTE FOR TRUMP!!!” currently has over 130,000 views.
Far-right anti-Muslim blogger Pamela Geller ran the headline “PENNSYLVANIA JOINS GEORGIA AND NEVADA ELECTORS TO VOTE FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP,” further commenting in her post, “Biden is not legitimate.” On Twitter, Geller also exhorted her followers: “Tune out to enemedia - Trump will be inaugurated on January 20th.”
Geller also reacted to a video of state police blocking entry to the state Capitol for the Republican “elector” slate, while the duly-elected Democratic electors were already inside: “This is how Democrats goons 'govern' like bloody fascists.” (Just to be clear on this point, the Michigan Capitol was closed to the public on Monday due to “credible threats of violence” while the state’s proper electors met to cast their votes for Biden.)
Infowars, for its part, ran with a headline, “Dueling Electors Set Stage For Trump Victory.”