“What Trump is doing is creating a road map to destabilization and chaos in future years,” said Trevor Potter, a Republican who served as chairman of the Federal Election Commission in the 1990s. “What he’s saying, explicitly, is if a party doesn’t like the election result they have the right to change it by gaming the system.”
Mr. Trump’s gambit, never realistic to begin with, appears to be growing more futile by the day: Georgia became the first contested state on Friday to certify its vote for Mr. Biden, and the president continues to draw losing rulings from judges who bluntly note his failure to present any evidence of significant fraud or irregularities. Some fellow Republicans have started breaking with him, including Senator Mitt Romney, a Trump critic, who said the president was seeking to “subvert the will of the people,” and Senator Marco Rubio, who has acknowledged Mr. Biden is the president-elect.
On Friday, Republican lawmakers in Michigan also made clear, after meeting with Mr. Trump at the White House, that they would allow the normal certification process to play out without interfering, a potentially important signal ahead of the certification decision by the state elections board on Monday.
But on Saturday, the national and Michigan state party chairs issued a statement calling on the canvassing board to delay certification beyond its Monday deadline, to conduct an audit.
If Mr. Shinkle and his fellow Republican on the state board, Aaron Van Langevelde, were to oppose certifying the results, the board would deadlock.
Democrats and election lawyers say the courts would almost certainly force the board to complete the certification process, well in time for the Electoral College deadline next month. And Gov. Gretchen Whitmer could replace the board members if they defy a court order. But they also agree a deadlocked vote would give Mr. Trump a new opportunity to cast doubt upon the legitimacy of the election system and Mr. Biden’s win, while also prolonging his own legally dubious and, so far, failing attempt to convince Republicans who control the Statehouse to send pro-Trump delegates to the Electoral College.