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That sound you hear is the last, best hope for the Supreme Court to rescue Donald Trump crashing into a brick wall as Pennsylvania elections officials announced that the total number of ballots received in the three days after the election is a whopping 10,000 votes. So even if Justice Alito swoops in like an avenging angel and tosses out those votes postmarked by Election Day but arriving after, it's not going to erase Joe Biden's 50,000-vote margin.

Because karma's a bitch, and so is math.


Before the election, the Trump campaign went all the way to the Supreme Court in an effort to suppress the vote by getting late-arriving ballots preemptively tossed out. Thanks to the widely publicized slowdown of the US mail, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and the North Carolina legislature had mandated that late-arriving ballots would be accepted for a few days after the election as long as they were postmarked by November 3. Despite the fact that several states have similar procedures on their books, the Trump campaign went apeshit, filing a raft of lawsuits accusing Democrats of trying to move the date of the election.

In the last week of October, with Election Day imminent, the Supreme Court refused to intervene and change counting procedures. But the conservative justices signaled they might be willing to revisit the issue after the election, ordering the late ballots in Pennsylvania to be segregated from the timely ones. This left the strong impression that they might pull Trump's ass out of the fire if the number of late ballots would make a difference to the outcome of the race, and indeed the campaign returned to court twice to ensure that the late ballots wouldn't get mixed into the pile.

The constant blarping about "COUNT EVERY LEGAL VOTE" was originally about those supposedly illegal late ballots — it only morphed into nonsensical allegations of vote fraud when it became clear that Biden was on track to take back the "Blue Wall" states in the Midwest, so overturning the will of the people in Pennsylvania alone wasn't going to cut it.

At this point, the Trump team isn't bothering to pretend there was vote fraud in North Carolina, since they pulled it out there and they no longer give a shit about late-arriving ballots. But they'd been banking on getting rid of Pennsylvania's late votes to take a bite out of Biden's lead there. And perhaps the Supreme Court will still intervene, spending down their dwindling reserve of credibility to cut into Biden's margin. But even if all of the rejected late votes were for Biden — and that seems highly unlikely — it wouldn't change the result; Biden would still take Pennsylvania's 20 electoral votes.

It's just math. And math doesn't care about your feelings.

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Liz Dye

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.

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