Election lawyers are generally not widely recognized by the public. That's not surprising: they tend to do their work in courtrooms and boardrooms, far from the public spotlight, so these attorneys rarely become household names.
With this in mind, the typical American voter probably has no idea who Ben Ginsberg is, though it's also probably fair to say Republican officials know him and his work extremely well.
Remember the Bush v. Gore case? Ginsberg was the Bush campaign's general counsel. Remember the Swiftboat vets who smeared John Kerry in 2004? Ginsberg helped lead their legal team, too. Remember the Franken-Coleman Senate contest in Minnesota that took months to resolve in 2009? Ginsberg was the Republican incumbent's lawyer. Remember Mitt Romney's 2012 campaign? Ginsberg was his lawyer, too.
I mention this pedigree to provide some context to the GOP attorney's latest efforts. Because when the nation's preeminent Republican election attorney publicly condemns his party's antics, it's best not to look past his concerns too quickly.
One of the first hints that Ginsberg was displeased with his party's anti-voting efforts came in early September, when he wrote a Washington Post op-ed, criticizing Donald Trump's unsubtle attempts to "undermine confidence in the credibility of election results," and explaining that recent GOP claims about voter fraud are baseless.
Three weeks later, Ginsberg wrote another Washington Post op-ed, arguing that Trump's refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power was problematic for everyone, including members of his own party.
Last week, Ginsberg co-authored another Washington Post op-ed, defending the U.S. electoral system from Trump's attacks, and arguing, "[T]he president's attempt to undermine the election is a self-serving assault on a fundamental American system. It should be condemned across party lines."
And for good measure, Ginsberg has yet another Washington Post op-ed in today's print edition, which is arguably the hardest hitting opinion piece to date.
President Trump has failed the test of leadership. His bid for reelection is foundering. And his only solution has been to launch an all-out, multimillion-dollar effort to disenfranchise voters — first by seeking to block state laws to ease voting during the pandemic, and now, in the final stages of the campaign, by challenging the ballots of individual voters unlikely to support him. This is as un-American as it gets.
The piece went on to argue that the incumbent president's re-election strategy is increasingly built on a foundation of "disenfranchising" just enough voters to win.
Ginsberg concludes, "My party is destroying itself on the Altar of Trump. Republican elected officials, party leaders and voters must recognize how harmful this is to the party's long-term prospects. My fellow Republicans, look what we've become. It is we who must fix this. Trump should not be reelected. Vote, but not for him."
Remember, this isn't just some random GOP attorney who's worked for a few candidates. We're talking about the nation's leading Republican election lawyer for decades, publicly warning his GOP brethren about the dangers of their misguided partnership with Donald Trump.
I've spent months marveling at the number of Republicans who've stepped up to denounce Trump, endorse Joe Biden, or both. Seeing Ben Ginsberg join the ranks is among the most surprising to date.