Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Axios on your phone

Get breaking news and scoops on the go with the Axios app.

Download for free.

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Trump supporter Dana Benson hangs a U.S. flag while demonstrating outside of a vote counting facility in Philadelphia. Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

As the weaknesses of President Trump's legal cases to overturn Joe Biden's win become clearer, Republicans are talking more about the Electoral College — hinting at an extreme last-chance way for Trump to cling to power.

What we're watching: In this long-shot scenario, Trump and his team could try to block secretaries of state in contested states from certifying results. That could allow legislatures in those states to try to appoint new electors who favor Trump over Biden.

  • "It's basically hijacking the democracy," one lawyer familiar with the process tells Axios. "They've got nothing else; you'd be trying to deny Joe Biden 270."
  • If Trump were to pursue this course, it likely would become apparent the week leading up to Thanksgiving, as states face deadlines to finalize election results.

Between the lines: Trump has not directly said he would pursue this strategy. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo each noted on Tuesday that the election results don't become official until electors cast their votes next month.

  • To date, Biden's status as president-elect is rooted in media projections based on raw vote totals reported by individual states.
  • Those totals don't become official, though, until states certify them. The Constitution prescribes that those official results will be used to apportion electors who officially pick the president.
  • “At some point here, we’ll find out finally who was certified (the winner) in each of these states, and the Electoral College will determine the winner and that person will be sworn in on January 20," McConnell said. "No reason for alarm.”
  • One Senate leadership aide said McConnell was not signaling an elector strategy and was simply noting that it's not uncommon for there to be litigation before the Electoral College results are complete.
  • Pompeo, who raised eyebrows with a line about how there would be a "smooth transition to a second Trump administration," independently raised the Electoral College during a State Department news conference. “When the process is complete, there’s going to be electors selected," he said. "There’s a process; the Constitution lays it out pretty clearly.”
  • The Trump campaign did not respond to requests for comment.

How it works: If a lawsuit successfully stops certification of results in a state, legislators there could step into the void and pick a pro-Trump slate of electors.

  • The lawyer, who requested anonymity to speak about the scenario, said Trump's team now appears to be trying to throw enough dirt at the process for counting late ballots to argue that accurate results can't be ascertained.
  • The next step could be to try to get federal or state courts to enjoin secretaries of state from certifying results.
  • Any move to provide an alternative slate of electors could force the first real test of the Electoral Count Act of 1887 and could land before the Supreme Court.
  • Among the key swing states, Arizona and Georgia have GOP governors and legislatures. Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin have Democratic governors but GOP legislatures.

"This is a horrible idea, one that should be morally repugnant to every American," elections law expert Edward B. Foley wrote recently in The Washington Post.

  • "For a state legislature to reclaim this power after voters have already cast their own ballots would be an even more egregious intrusion into the democratic process."

But, but, but: Even if the GOP was able to get injunctions, it would be an arduous legal process before legislatures could take the matter into their own hands.

  • "How many compliant judges are going to throw themselves on the ground in front of that train?" the lawyer said. "And how many legislatures are going to go along with it?" Instead, he said, Trump may try to "scare the living bejeezus out of everyone to gain leverage and then cut a deal for him and his family."

Go deeper

Young people want checks on Big Tech's power

Data: Generation Lab; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

The next generation of college-educated Americans thinks social media companies have too much power and influence on politics and need more government regulation, according to a new survey by Generation Lab for Axios.

Why it matters: The findings follow an election dominated by rampant disinformation about voting fraud on social media; companies' fraught efforts to stifle purveyors of disinformation including former President Trump; and a deadly Jan. 6 insurrection over the election organized largely online.

Most Senate Republicans join Rand Paul effort to dismiss Trump's 2nd impeachment trial

Photo: Joshua Roberts-Pool/Getty Images

Forty-five Senate Republicans, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, supported an effort to dismiss former President Trump's second impeachment trial.

Why it matters: The vote serves as a precursor to how senators will approach next month's impeachment trial, making it highly unlikely the Senate will vote to convict. The House impeached Trump for a second time for "incitement of insurrection" following events from Jan 6. when a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol.

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
2 mins ago - Sports

The NCAA's summer of change

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The college sports landscape has changed more this summer than at any other point in history, as the NCAA grapples with new rules and shifting power dynamics.

The state of play: When NCAA competition resumes this fall, everyone involved — from student-athletes and coaches, to universities and fans — will be entering a new world.