If the center holds, US president Donald Trump's ongoing wrecking ball act on the legitimacy of the 2020 election comes with a sell-by date smack in the middle of his lame duck tenure: December 14.
Although Trump's use of the awesome power of the White House to question Joe Biden's election victory remains firmly in the category of a mighty sulk, it retains the razor-thin potential to become "menacing," legal experts are warning.
First up, December 8 is the deadline for resolving election disputes at the state level.
The people behind the 538-member electoral college math that sank Donald Trump in the US 2020 election must ink a decisive sign off on the final count by December 14 and then the US Congress counts it all up on January 6, 2021 in a joint session.
Biden won more than 270 votes
Although three states - North Carolina, Georgia and Arizona - are yet to be called, Biden has already won more than 270 electoral votes, the winning number. Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Nevada will all have certified results on the ready by November 30 or earlier. Georgia is in the thick of a hand recount.
January 6 will be the day when the current vice president announces the results and refers to Kamala Harris, America's first-ever Indian and Black American woman in the White House as "Madam Vice President."
Even if Trump continues to rail that "I won by a lot" and attack what he calls a "rigged" election, the December 14 and January 6 dates are the equivalent of documents signed in triplicate by both sides.
77 Million to 72 Million Votes
"No, it's not ultimately going to work, at least not if working is defined as allowing President Trump to maintain power in the face of expressed voter will," writes Benjamin Wittes, editor of Lawfare, in a November 11 blog titled "How Hard Is It to Overturn an American Election?"
Yet, Wittes cautions that things could spin out of control. One way that could begin to turn is if electors stonewall on certifying the results: "It would be, in other words, a very heavy lift. And Republicans would have to pull it off in at least two states in order to get Trump across the finish line."
As of Thursday morning, EST, more than 77 million Americans have voted for Biden, while Trump has the support of more than 72 million. Both these numbers have shattered all American election turnout records so far.
America's news networks called the election for Joe Biden at 11:30 am on November 7. Both Biden and Harris delivered their victory speeches the same night at Wilmington, Delaware.