On Tuesday evening, the two Republican members of the Board of Canvassers in Wayne County, Michigan, refused to certify the election results. To underscore the absolutely racist nature of their action, they then offered to certify all of the county—including heavily white suburbs—so long as they didn’t certify the 80% Black city of Detroit. Then, after over two hours in which community members on their Zoom meeting made it clear just how obvious and disgraceful this action was to everyone, Republicans Monica Palmer and William Hartmann eventually signed on and certified the election results.
Apparently, it wasn’t until the meeting ended that Palmer and Hartmann discovered that their attempted coup made them a hero to a party that has discarded all pretense of supporting representative government. That revelation came after they got a personal call from Donald Trump. So after refusing to certify the results, then certifying the results, the Republicans have taken the next obvious step … they’re trying to un-certify their certification.
The excuse that Palmer and Hartmann have used to paper over this reversal of their reversal is that when they signed onto the certification, they included a statement asking for an “audit” of the results. However, since then Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson has made it clear that doing unofficial recounts of counties that have already stamped their results is not a thing. So, say the two Republicans, they “rescind” their certification.
Minutes after they had actually agreed to certify the vote, Trump actually bragged about this assault on democracy in a tweet. And, as the Associated Press reports, Trump reached out to Palmer and Hartmann directly to “express gratitude for their support.” That conversation came right before the pair marched out on Wednesday morning to sign affidavits reversing their earlier certification.
Of course, Palmer and Hartmann knew that the audit was just something for them to scribble on the document as an excuse for why they wilted after being confronted with disgust over their attempt to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of Black voters for no reason. They also know that the reason Secretary of State Benson is now displaying her scorn over this requested audit is because the certified results have already been handed over to … Secretary of State Benson.
And just as doing ad-hoc recounts is not in the rules, neither is takesies backsies on certification. In short—they can’t do that. It’s over.
As The Washington Post reports, the work Trump’s team is doing in order to drown democracy requires a lot of work. Not only do they need the cooperation of open racists like Palmer and Hartmann, they also need to start winning cases in court. That is because their strategy requires throwing out from 9% to 24% of the vote across four states. In suits before judges right now, Trump is seeking to disenfranchise 2,474,000 voters so that he can keep on playing god-king.
It’s not going to work any better than the refuse-agree-renege effort in Michigan. But expect Palmer and Hartmann to join such stars of Trumpism as the McCloskeys for the next Trump rally. And they shouldn’t worry about the racism—Republicans are all over being ashamed about that. Just like they’ve stopped pretending to care about democracy.