Laramie County residents cast their vote Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, at the Laramie County Community College polling location amid a pandemic. (Michael Cummo/Wyoming Tribune Eagle/Wyoming News Exchange)

It has been 17 days since the presidential election. With basically all the votes counted, Joe Biden has a lead of 306-232 in the Electoral College (the exact same margin gained by President Donald Trump in 2016). In addition, Biden has a lead of nearly 5.9 million in the popular vote count, and his vote percentage of nearly 51% is the biggest share of the vote earned by any challenger since 1932, an even larger share than Ronald Reagan’s in 1980. And while President Trump impressively garnered over 73 million votes, Biden received over 79 million votes, the most in history. Biden won.

And yet, as I write this column, President Trump refuses to concede, and not one member of Wyoming’s federal congressional delegation has even acknowledged Biden’s victory or his status as president-elect. Same goes for our governor. Just as amazingly, no one in Wyoming media seems to have even directly asked!

Our elected officials are public servants — they serve us, the public. We pay their salary. They have a duty to, at the very least, uphold the laws and norms of our country. Refusing to acknowledge the winner of a properly conducted election is, frankly, political cowardice and anti-democracy. Yes, those are strong words, but make no mistake, every single elected official who continues to remain silent while Trump tweets lies about fraud or a rigged election is complicit in the degradation of our democracy.

For those who don’t pay close attention, it is in no way normal for a candidate to turn to the courts to overturn presidential (or any) election results. Yes, this happened in 2000 when the Supreme Court inserted itself into the election process (a process which, by the way, is very clearly delegated to the states in the Constitution). Otherwise, it just doesn’t happen in modern post-war history.

To this, the president and his supporters still say, “Let the courts decide.”

So, with a barrage of lawsuits around the country, what have the courts ruled so far? As of Nov. 17, the Trump campaign and its allies have filed more than 30 lawsuits in six states; they’ve lost 28 and won one. And the lone success did not change a single vote. 

In fact, none of the lawsuits post-election have changed a vote. These lawsuits, however, have revealed another interesting phenomenon. See, when lawyers get into court, they can’t lie or make assertions that are not based on evidence and facts, or they may face sanctions, lose their licenses to practice or even face criminal penalties. So, what’s happened in the Trump election lawsuits? While the president repeatedly lies on Twitter, when questioned by judges, his own lawyers assert in court case after case that there was no organized or massive fraud. And they’re still losing the lawsuits and being admonished for lack of candor and evidence.

The rallying cry has become  “let the process play out.” It already has; the process was the election, the votes have been counted and simply put, Biden won more votes and Electoral College delegates than Trump. 

Others argue that the Democrats didn’t accept Trump’s victory in 2016. Please recall that Hillary Clinton congratulated Donald Trump within 24 hours of election day. Even Al Gore congratulated George W. Bush within 24 hours of that 2000 Supreme Court decision that effectively nullified voters in Florida. Both must have been deeply disappointed and deflated by their losses (believe me, I know what that feels like. I lost to Barbara Cubin by 1,000 votes here in 2006 and, yes, conceded even thought there were voting issues). Yet they (and I) did the right thing for the country, because they knew what public service means and how important orderly election transitions are to our democracy.

In all my time on the campaign trail across Wyoming, I’ve told everyone I meet that democracy is hard. Roughly half the time at the federal level, we are governed by people we don’t agree with and didn’t vote for. The answer is not to work to invalidate elections and nullify the will of the voters; it is to work harder to elect candidates in the future who share your beliefs and policy ideas.

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Let’s be clear: This election was not especially close in the scheme of U.S. presidential elections. In 2016, Trump White House counselor Kellyanne Conway tweeted, “306. :Landslide. Blowout. Historic”. Well, Biden got the exact same number in the Electoral College in 2020: 306. 

In 2016, Trump was put over the top by three traditionally blue states — Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. He won them by a combined 77, 744 votes. Joe Biden won those three states in 2020 by more than 241,000 votes, better than three times Trump’s 2016 margin. Biden also won Arizona and Georgia, traditionally red states.

I ran for U.S. Senate in 2018 on “Country Before Party.” Frankly, it is a disgrace that our elected officials are willing to put our democracy at risk by enabling and shielding the loser of a presidential election, whether due to fear of their political base and/or for short-term political gain. I have no problem with policy disagreements that we as Americans work to implement through our democratic process. We should all have a problem with not accepting the will of the voters and nullifying election results. Down that path lies darkness and the destruction of our 244-year-old experiment in self-governance.

It’s time for our Wyoming electeds to pick a side — democracy or party fealty and autocracy.

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  1. Having grown up in Douglas and somewhat familiar with Wyoming politics I find it interesting to hear the conversation back there in times like this. It is a perspective I don’t get here in Southern California. But Adam Schiff is my Congressman here and he won handily. I do not understand the value in degrading the process of democracy for personal gain. And find it heartening to hear your comments – and that of Rep. Liz Cheney.

  2. If I were as delusional as President Trump and our elected Republican officials about the massive fraud they are claiming in this election my kids would have me committed to a mental institution.

  3. This article in the WSJ may have come out after your column, but Cheney is at least wanting some sort of evidence:

    Some Republicans Call for Trump to Back Up Claims of Fraud
    Rep. Liz Cheney says any ‘genuine evidence’ that could change the election outcome needs to be disclosed immediately

    Rep. Liz Cheney, the top House GOP woman, said that if President Trump can’t show his fraud claims would tip the election in his favor, he should respect ‘the sanctity of our electoral process.’
    By Lindsay Wise
    Updated Nov. 20, 2020 7:36 pm ET

    Some prominent Republicans said Friday that President Trump needed to quickly substantiate his allegations of election fraud, while others raised alarms over his legal team’s strategy of pressuring GOP state officials to block Democratic President-elect Joe Biden’s wins in swing states.

    Republicans have largely held off on acknowledging Mr. Biden as the winner of the presidential race, saying they would wait for Mr. Trump to finish pursuing recounts and legal challenges. But after a string of unsubstantiated claims by Mr. Trump’s lawyers at a press conference at the Republican National Committee headquarters on Thursday, some GOP lawmakers said those allegations needed to be backed up by evidence in front of a judge for Mr. Trump’s challenge to be viable.

    Mr. Trump and his lawyers “have made claims of criminality and widespread fraud, which they allege could impact election results,” said Rep. Liz Cheney (R., Wyo.) in a statement. “If they have genuine evidence of this, they are obligated to present it immediately in court and to the American people.”

    Ms. Cheney, the top ranking Republican woman in the House, said that if Mr. Trump can’t stand up his fraud claims and show they would tip the election in his favor, he should “fulfill his oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States by respecting the sanctity of our electoral process.”

    Georgia Secretary of State Certifies Biden’s Victory
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    “We’re to the point, though, where this is time not for politicians or for press conferences,” said Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) on Fox News. “That was during the election. This is a time for evidence in court.”

    A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) declined to comment on Friday. The office of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) didn’t respond to a request for comment.

    Sen. Joni Ernst (R., Iowa) defended Mr. Trump’s right to pursue legal options but rejected speculation by Trump campaign lawyer Sidney Powell that both Republican and Democratic candidates may have “paid to have the system rigged” in their own elections.

    “That is an offensive comment for those of us that do stand up and represent our state in a dignified manner,” said Ms. Ernst, who was re-elected to a second term in the battleground state of Iowa on Nov. 3. “We believe in honesty…to insinuate that Republican and Democratic candidates paid to throw off this election I think is absolutely outrageous,” she said on Fox News Radio.

    Federal officials have judged the 2020 election the most secure in U.S. history, and no evidence of widespread fraud has been presented. The president’s legal challenges have so far been unsuccessful, and lawyers who specialize in election law see little chance of the result being changed.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin hasn’t congratulated President-elect Joe Biden, and state media appears largely to be echoing the Trump campaign’s unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud. Here’s what the U.S. elections and their aftermath look like on Russian television. Photo composite: VGTRK/Channel One Russia
    The Trump campaign has a single federal case outstanding in Pennsylvania, where a judge is expected to make a ruling before the state’s Monday deadline for certifying election results.

    Some of Mr. Trump’s most vocal critics, Sens. Ben Sasse (R., Neb.) and Mitt Romney (R., Utah), also condemned the comments by Mr. Trump and his lawyers.

    “Wild press conferences erode public trust,” Mr. Sasse said. “So no, obviously Rudy [Giuliani] and his buddies should not pressure electors to ignore their certification obligations under the statute. We are a nation of laws, not tweets.”

    Mr. Romney, the Republican Party’s 2012 presidential nominee, warned that Mr. Trump, “having failed to make even a plausible case of widespread fraud or conspiracy before any court of law,” had now resorted to pressuring state and local officials “to subvert the will of the people and overturn the election.”

    He added: “It is difficult to imagine a worse, more undemocratic action by a sitting American President.”

    Mr. Trump responded on Twitter, by dismissing Mr. Romney as a RINO, or Republican in name only.

    Sen. Josh Hawley (R., Mo.) declined to show any distance from Mr. Trump on Friday. He said he saw no problem with the president’s efforts to delay the certification of election results and courting of state lawmakers.

    “I don’t have any concerns,” Mr. Hawley told reporters on Capitol Hill on Friday. “I’m obviously not privy to the conversation. But I don’t really have concerns with him talking about the situation with elected officials.”

    Asked whether he thought it was possible for Mr. Trump to win, Mr. Hawley replied: “Anything’s possible.”
    Libertarian Rep. Justin Amash, who left the Republican Party after calling for Mr. Trump’s impeachment and is now retiring, said this is an “extremely concerning” moment for the country.

    Mr. Amash said the reluctance of some Republicans to acknowledge Mr. Biden as president-elect is a performance, while others really can’t believe Mr. Trump has lost.

    “In other words, they know the president has no chance, but they have to perform for voters that the president influences,” he said. “There are others who are true believers.”

    —Natalie Andrews contributed to this article.

    Write to Lindsay Wise at

  4. There is still time for all arguments to be heard. There are hundreds of affidavit’s of alleged fraud that need to be heard. The electors don’t meet for another 3 weeks so there is no rush. It’s crucial that all voters have confidence in the integrity of the election process. With all the mail in ballots the opportunity for voter fraud has never been greater, so care should be taken. In the state where my sister lives she received 2 ballots and her neighbor got more than that. So the process was chaotic and filled with problems. Don’t let the idea that your preferred candidate won, outweigh your commitment to a fair and legal process.

    1. anecdotal evidence doesn’t suffice in the court of law.

      there is no evidence of the fraud you suggest. there never has been evidence of the fraud you suggest. there never will be evidence of the fraud you suggest.

      you are being lied to by giuliani and company. please think rationally and don’t take anecdotal (fabricated) evidence as gospel.

      1. Unless your sister and/or her neighbor actually cast more than one ballot in the 2020 election, then that is not evidence that fraud took place.

    2. I understand that the mail voting has some problems because of imperfect mailing addresses or people being registered in more than one State, etc. However, if a person votes more than once or votes on someone else’s ballot that is a crime and people who do that put themselves out there for prosecution. I just don’t see many people taking a risk like that for the sake of one extra vote.

  5. i dont want Biden in. the democrats are stealing the election. i am behind president Trump all the way. Biden has never been anything but a liar and crook. there is evidence which is very true,

    1. there is only 1 side that is lying about the results of the election. please think rationally and quit swallowing whatever is put in front of you. gullibility is not what is needed now.

    2. I don’t understand how a 7 million vote difference and an electoral college win gives these people an “election is stolen” issue.
      Even the Casper Star Tribune morning’s headline “Biden Apparent Winner” How embarrassing for us.
      Gary Trauner, Wyoming is poorer for you not representing us in the Congress or Senate. Keep up your good work.

  6. Thank you Gary, I was disappointed that you didn’t win as well.
    I can’t believe the pathetic non-actions of Wyoming’s congressional members. Like Senator Barasso, who stands so close to McConnell that he can smell what the speaker spilled on his tie at lunch, but doesn’t want to give up his exalted position at his master’s elbow, so he can’t even say ‘Congratulations.’
    What is Cheney’s response? She’s been lauded as an upcoming powerhouse in the GOP. How about using some of that political status to represent the good people in Wyoming and speak the truth? Republicans, and Americans, will spend the next 4 years under the leadership of a Democratic president. TRUTH.
    When will Wyoming Senators and sole Representative put the people who pay their salary at the top of their “to-do” list instead of “cow”-towing to political operatives who come from other states? We didn’t elect them, and you didn’t either, so stop taking their side over the people of Wyoming.
    Cowboy Up, say “congrats” and pledge to do what’s right for Wyoming. Figure out how to work across the aisle; or, if you’re not man/woman enough, tuck your tail, give up the position and go back to your home state, before you decided to move here and run for office.

  7. Gary, you column is a reminder that sometimes we as citizens are called on to act in the interest “of the greater good.” Our elected officials especially need to recall this guiding principle. Thank you!

  8. To preserve our democracy all Republicans need to acknowledge Biden and try to stop Trump’s attacks on the validity of the election. Too many people believe his lies. It must stop.

  9. This was said very well thank you. The actions of our Republican Party, an a our national representatives, are embarrassing at best. I cannot believe this is our best! I never thought I would be ashamed to be a Wyoming republican.

  10. You sir are so wrong. I want my vote counted. There are thousands of signed affidavits by citizens under the penalty of perjury of many irregularities and voting fraud. Then there is a serious question about Dominion., originating from Chavez in Venezuela. They can enter a percentage that they want their candidate to win and the machine switches the votes. Most important, why are the votes going to Barcelona, Spain and then to Germany, foreign countries, open to their interference. No one can tell me that we need to certify the votes with such corruption and stealing MY vote! You sir, if you want the agenda for Biden, who by the way has something serious going on when he doesn’t know where he is and who is wife is, then please move to Cuba or Venezuela. I have a right to have honesty and truth from the election.

    1. There is no evidence of anything that you reference. Please quit listening to Giuliani. You can’t invent “facts” to fit the narrative you want others to believe.

      Educate yourself please.

    2. Seriously, stop drinking the Kool-Aid. There is not one whit of truth in any of the “irregularities” that you are citing. Chavez has been dead for 7 years, Dominion Systems is the dominant vendor of voting equipment in the US, in use in many, many red states where the votes are being challenged. What votes were sent to Spain or Germany? As for Biden, this “fact” that he doesn’t know where he is or who he’s married to is pure right-wing lying–if we are questioning mental acuity, perhaps we should be asking about “President Covfefe”, who is unable to walk down a gentle, dry ramp without a handler, and then tells us he sprinted down it…. Or routinely denies statements he made just hours or days earlier.. Joe Biden is President-Elect and will be President on January , at 12:01 PM, having earned it thru his honest campaign.

    1. Finally, someone said it, We’re dealing with stupidity. We have stupid political leaders in WY. Call a spade a spade.

      1. Double amen! And, it’s far past time for people in Wyoming to realize this is the 21st Century, not the 19th.