Election 2020 Trump

President Donald Trump speaks at the White House, Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020, in Washington.

On the phone last week, she sounded like a typical grandmother — full of sage of advice and unqualified love — until she suggested seppuku for everyone who said Joe Biden is now president-elect. They’re all communists who stole the election from President Donald Trump and need to die, she said before slamming down the receiver without giving her name.

Actually, grandma’s fundamental message has been repeated in dozens of emails, blog posts, and talk radio commentaries across Louisiana, even though there’s been no hint of election fraud in this state.

They hardly can be faulted given leadership’s acceptance of Trump’s refusal to concede and his legal challenges aimed at overturning the election results — alleging a widespread, multi-state Democratic conspiracy.

“What is happening now to President Trump is a disgrace,” the Louisiana Republican Party said in an email to members last week. “We refuse to let this election be swept under the rug and for President Trump to be robbed of his lawfully won second term.”

The Rev. Gene Mills, who heads the conservative Louisiana Family Forum, emailed his followers: “There is no such thing as ‘Office of the President-Elect,’ a phrase being used by Joe Biden’s campaign as a way of generating legitimacy while significant recounts and litigation are underway.”

And Louisiana’s Republican congressional delegation also weighed in on Trump’s behalf.

“There are still serious legal challenges that have been made, and until that process is resolved, the election is not final," U.S. House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-Jefferson, tweeted after the networks and Associated Press called the election for Biden.

But how serious are we talking?

Courts in Nevada, Michigan and elsewhere have thrown out the lawsuits, largely because no actual evidence of tampering has been presented. Trump dropped his lawsuit in Arizona on Friday.

The key legal battles — Trump forces have filed more than one lawsuit in Pennsylvania — are in the Keystone State, where Biden’s 50,000-vote lead and 20 electoral votes led the networks to declare him the winner after four days of ballot counting. U.S. District Judge Matthew Brann, of Williamsport, Penn., has scheduled hearings for Tuesday and Thursday on Trump’s request to block certification of the votes based on various claims about the processing of absentee mail ballots.

States have until Dec. 8 to resolve election disputes, including recounts and court challenges. Members of the Electoral College meet Dec. 14 to officially choose the next president. With support from the courts, Republican-majority legislatures could withhold the electoral votes presently directed toward Biden, thereby catapult Trump to a second term.

And, of course, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, or rather the Republican Attorneys General Association he chairs, has jumped into a challenge of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision, over the wishes of the Republican-majority General Assembly, to accept until Nov. 6 mail ballots postmarked Nov. 3. But RAGA only filed a friend of the court brief written by the Missouri attorney general, giving the U.S. Supreme Court their unsolicited opinion in a case in which they have no direct involvement. The brief talks about whether courts can change orders of state legislatures but offers no evidence of corruption in this election.

The New York Times called elections officials in every state last week asking if they suspected or had evidence of illegal voting. Officials said no.

The same is true in Louisiana, Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin said Thursday.

A few allegations have been made in Louisiana and Ardoin’s investigators are looking into them. But he has no inkling of a widespread conspiracy. Trump collected more Louisiana votes in the Nov. 3 election than any other politician since 1812 when this state joined the U.S.

All of which has fueled angry commentary from both sides. While national pundits opine about how all this may impact the future of the Republic, the atmosphere clearly has energized people, at least in Louisiana, to espouse opinions they may regret on second thought.

Ask Greg Tramontin, the founder and CEO of GoAuto, which sells auto insurance.

Caught up in the debate, Tramontin posted on his Facebook page disparaging remarks about President-elect Biden and used a slang term for prostitute to refer to Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, the first Black and first woman elected to the land’s second-highest office.

Horrified at his action a few days later, Tramontin issued an apology.

"I have to be honest that I was caught up in the deep political divide and the toxic rhetoric that this country has been living in for the past several years," Tramontin wrote in a statement. "My words were hurtful. I sincerely apologize. This is my wakeup call."


Email Mark Ballard at mballard@theadvocate.com.