The electors are voting. As of the latest count, Joe Biden has secured 302 electoral college votes, making him the next president. The electors in the key battlegrounds of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona and Nevada have all voted for Biden, in keeping with the popular-vote outcomes in those states.

So it’s probably not a surprise that Stephen Miller got this day started by claiming that there’s still a way for Trump to steal the election.

On “Fox & Friends,” Trump’s top immigration adviser said this:

We have more than enough time to right the wrong of this fraudulent election result and certify Donald Trump as the winner of the election.
As we speak, today, an alternate slate of electors in the contested states is going to vote, and we’re going to send those results up to Congress. This will ensure that all of our legal remedies remain open. That means that if we win these cases in the courts, that we can direct that the alternate slate of electors be certified.
The state legislatures in Georgia, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania can do the same. And likewise Congress has the opportunity as well to do the right thing.

This is nothing but a pile of steaming nonsense. The claims of fraud in these states have already been litigated in numerous courts, which have shot them down relentlessly. What’s more, the “safe harbor” deadline in federal law obliges Congress to count all the pro-Biden electors that were already certified by the states.

It’s true that a handful of GOP legislatures might try to send separate pro-Trump slates of electors to Congress, as Miller wants. Indeed, Georgia is voting on a separate slate. But it’s not clear how many will actually do this: In Michigan, state leaders reiterated that this will not happen.

But even if enough of them somehow did do this, it wouldn’t work. These are not valid electors: Such slates violate state laws requiring the electors to be chosen by the popular votes in their states. The pro-Trump electors are illegitimate.

Indeed, as Stephen I. Vladeck, a professor of law at the University of Texas, notes, this is a stunt: The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives would never agree to count them, and instead would count the rightful Biden electors. Without the House, it’s a doomed strategy.

And that’s not all: A handful of Republican senators (who have declared opposition to this profoundly corrupt effort and have acknowledged Biden as the winner) appear poised to join Democrats, meaning a majority would vote down any effort to challenge the Biden electors in the Senate as well. So Biden will prevail.

But all that aside, the reason Miller’s nonsense is worth noting is because it neatly exposes the fraudulence of one of the biggest claims that Miller and Trump have made for years. It’s the idea that their policies — such as sharp restrictions on immigration and pulling out of international agreements including the Paris climate accord — amounted to great blows on behalf of national sovereignty.

Miller has made claims like this constantly. In one such example, he insisted that a border wall was necessary because “it is fundamental and essential to the idea of sovereignty and national survival to have control over who enters and doesn’t enter the country.”

Leticia and her son crossed the Rio Grande seeking asylum from danger in Guatemala. Instead, they were torn apart by a policy designed to inflict trauma. (Jeremy Raff, Connie Chavez/The Washington Post)

This is a profound abuse of the term “sovereignty.” Putting aside the question of whether the Trump-Miller policy agenda was even necessary to secure “control” over who comes in and who does not, sovereignty is not synonymous with closed borders.

Sovereignty refers to the polity’s ability to decide how to run its own affairs, decisions that are made democratically. If, in an election run in accordance with our rules, the candidate who favors letting in more immigrants prevails, that does not dilute our sovereignty.

Similarly, if the candidate who favors rejoining international agreements such as the Paris accord prevails, that also does not dilute our sovereignty. Those are democratic decisions in which the American people opted to exercise a different form of control over the country’s affairs than the one Miller prefers. He can argue that such moves weaken our sovereignty, but that doesn’t make it so.

That, of course, is exactly what happened in the presidential election: Biden won, and he will relax immigration restrictions of various kinds and move to rejoin the Paris deal, among other things. That’s the choice the American people made in the course of managing their own affairs.

And that’s exactly what Miller wants to overturn. Miller’s feigned confidence about overturning the election is fraudulent, and it’s really time that the people still pushing this effort just went away already, after all they’ve done to poison our civic life. It’s an added bonus that this blithe effort to subvert the actual choice made by a majority of U.S. voters exposes in retrospect just how hollow Miller’s professed desire for strengthened “national sovereignty” really was.

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