On January 6th, Vice President Mike Pence will preside over a joint session of Congress where the Electoral College votes will be read aloud for Congressional acknowledgement, further reinforcing President-elect Joe Biden's victory over outgoing President Donald Trump in the 2020 election.
At Trump's demand, an unignorable number of pro-Trump lawmakers will be objecting to the certified election results, falsely arguing that widespread irregularities have compromised faith in the election. The quixotic effort is almost certain to fail, but the erosion of faith in democracy among Trump's supporters based on his election lies could change the political landscape for decades to come.
The Trump playbook is already being carried out in the swing state of Pennsylvania, where the Republican-dominated legislature refused to seat Democratic State Senator Jim Brewster, despite the Secretary of the Commonwealth's certification the election.
Brewster narrowly won his reelection race to represent Pennsylvania's 45th district against Republican Nicole Ziccarelli by 69 votes.
Ziccarelli is currently litigating the results, arguing that the counting of ballots without a handwritten date on the outside of the envelope violated state election laws. Her case has lost in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court but is expected to be litigated through federal courts next.
At the Pennsylvania Senate swearing in on Tuesday, Senate Republicans put forth a motion to delay the seating of Senator Brewster. The motion was objected to by Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who was presiding over the ceremony, and Pennsylvania Republicans proceeded to revoke Fetterman's authority to preside over the Senate.
Fetterman initially refused, which led to dueling orders from him and the Republican replacement.
The Senate descended even further into chaos when the lawmakers voted not to seat Brewster.
Fetterman said after being escorted from the proceedings:
"This was a corruption of the fundamental democratic franchise in our state."
Observers across the nation tended to agree.
Many thought Trump's months-long smear campaign against election integrity led to the unprecedented situation.
It's unclear what happens next, but the seat for Pennsylvania's 45th District—which Brewster occupied for over a decade—remains empty for now.