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Tue Jul 21, 2020, 10:13 PM

What Could Happen if Donald Trump Rejects Electoral Defeat?

On Sunday, in an interview with Chris Wallace of Fox News, Donald Trump refused to commit to recognizing the outcome of the 2020 election. “I’m not going to just say yes,” the President said. “And I didn’t last time, either.” (Back in October, 2016, Trump was proclaiming that the election he went on to win was “rigged” against him.) He wasn’t telling us anything new, and yet we still have not learned to think of ourselves as a country where the President can lose an election and refuse to leave office.

Lawrence Douglas, a legal scholar and a professor at Amherst College, gave himself the task of methodically thinking through the unthinkable. The result is a slim book, “Will He Go? Trump and the Looming Election Meltdown in 2020.” Douglas begins by taking the President at his word. “While his defeat is far from certain,” he writes, “what is not uncertain is how Donald Trump would react to electoral defeat, especially a narrow one. He will reject the result.”

Douglas argues that Trump’s evident intent to hold on to his office, regardless of the will of the voters, is not the best measure of the damage he has wrought or the power he has accumulated. He writes, “A more powerful authoritarian would never let himself get into this situation in the first place; he would have already so corrupted the process that his chance of losing would have been effectively eliminated.” By the standards of entrenched autocracies, Trump’s grip on power is as weak as his grip on reality. Still, the system of government that he has hijacked is not designed to protect itself against his kind of attack. “Our Constitution does not secure the peaceful transition of power, but rather presupposes it,” Douglas writes. Worse, the peculiar institution of the Electoral College, which separates the outcome of the election from the popular vote, practically invites abuse.

When electoral crises have arisen, past political leaders have stepped up, or stepped aside, to insure the peaceful transfer of power. Al Gore, to take a painful example, did not have to accept the Supreme Court’s order stopping a recount in Florida, in December, 2000, as the last word on that year’s election; Douglas details Constitutional avenues Gore could have pursued to claim victory. Though he had won the popular vote, Gore saw it as his duty to avoid escalating the electoral crisis. The Presidential elections of 1800 and 1876 ended in compromises, too, in the spirit of the Constitution, common cause, and good faith—all things alien to Donald Trump. It’s not the compromise that functions as precedent here but the conflict: election results have been unclear in the past, and they can be unclear again.

https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/what-could-happen-if-donald-trump-rejects-electoral-defeat

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Response to Lasher (Original post)

Tue Jul 21, 2020, 10:17 PM

1. Doesn't matter by how much he loses, no matter how unlikely it is he will succeed

that f**ker is going to try to stay...

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Response to Thomas Hurt (Reply #1)

Tue Jul 21, 2020, 11:31 PM

10. I think no matter how large Biden's victory is, Trump will sue to stop the electors meeting

Once they meet and vote, there's no turning back.

So he has to stop that from happening.
That would probably (like grrr Bush v. Gore) go right to SCOTUS.

We know the Fantastic Four will vote to deny. Roberts probably will too, mostly because he cherishes his "legacy."
Gorsuch -- he's defied Trump once. Maybe again?

The three trogs will doubtlessly support Trump.

I just hope that Roberts

Also that RBG lives to be 100.

I heard Elie Mystal today, and he said, we need to extend the court to 19 justices, because it's ridiculous to have such a tiny number that one person's cancer treatments can potentially mean a constitutional crisis. He said that just requires legislation, not constitutional amendment, and just a majority! And it's been done several times before, changing the number, so there's precedence.

Biden should be ruthless, and so should Schumer when he's majority leader. Force through statehood for PR and DC. Expand the supreme court.

Get started on an amendment to eliminate the electoral college. It might take decades, but we can get going on that.

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Response to dawg day (Reply #10)

Wed Jul 22, 2020, 12:41 AM

12. It should happen but it won't - democrats will be nice and take

“The high ground.” Grrrrr.

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Response to dawg day (Reply #10)

Wed Jul 22, 2020, 08:29 AM

16. One of my worries...

Is that the pandemic he is ignoring will force electors to vote virtually and he will challenge it as invalid - holding things up while it goes through the courts.

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Response to Lasher (Original post)

Tue Jul 21, 2020, 10:25 PM

2. My follow-up question: What if Trump rejects the Courts (all of them)

deciding he's no longer the President?

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Reply #2)

Tue Jul 21, 2020, 10:28 PM

3. Then we have the military option

You just know a lot of military personnel would love to escort his fat ass off the premises.

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Reply #2)

Tue Jul 21, 2020, 10:41 PM

5. He might have to be physically dragged out of the White House.

Who would do the dragging? Would anyone even do it? It's hard to read this article and not worry about the coming transition.

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Response to Lasher (Reply #5)

Tue Jul 21, 2020, 10:50 PM

6. Ah,

Wouldn't that be the Sergeant at Arms and staff?

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Response to Newest Reality (Reply #6)

Tue Jul 21, 2020, 10:58 PM

8. I would think so.

But this is no normal president. I have no doubt he will incite violence if he loses.

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Response to Newest Reality (Reply #6)

Tue Jul 21, 2020, 11:58 PM

11. Sergeant at Arms is a Congressional post--I don't think...

... he would have authority outside Congress. But I could be wrong; it's happened once before...

My guess would be either Secret Service (by virtue of being charged with protecting the (new) President) or US Marshals.

Anyway, if nobody else is going to drag him out, I will volunteer. But he IS leaving. The only question in my mind is, vertically, or horizontally?

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Response to lastlib (Reply #11)

Wed Jul 22, 2020, 08:32 AM

17. Horizontal...

Do straight jackets have handles so his big ol butt is easier to carry?

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Response to Blue_playwright (Reply #17)

Wed Jul 22, 2020, 09:55 AM

19. No, but we could put load-bearing straps on him.

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Response to no_hypocrisy (Reply #2)


Response to Lasher (Original post)

Tue Jul 21, 2020, 10:30 PM

4. Two important dates to remember: December 14 and January 6

IIRC, Dec. 14 is the date that each states’ electors must be appointed and cast their votes, and Jan. 6 is when the new congress counts and certifies the electoral votes.

It doesn’t matter what Trump says, it matters what he does...

I’m sure he will have lawyers challenge the results in any states with close margins, but most states don’t allow recounts unless the margin falls below 0.5%. That’s why Biden must win the swing states with a margin that can withstand any challenges. Trump will try to challenge mail in ballots as fraudulent, but I don’t think that will get far in court.

There has been some concern about states with Republican legislatures refusing to appoint electors, but in many states, the legislature has no power over the appointment of electors, it is the role of the Secretary of State to certify the popular vote and appoint electors as prescribed by law. In Michigan, for example, the SoS must appoint electors based on the outcome of the popular vote.

If Trump or any states’ GOP legislature succeeds in blocking the appointment of any electors, that just lowers the total needed to win the presidency. Some have worried that this strategy would throw the decision to the house, where each state gets 1 vote, but that only applies if neither candidate gets a majority of the appointed electors, which is not possible if electors are split between just 2 candidates- except for a tie (the times in the past that the house has had to decide elections has only occurred when 3-4 candidates earned electoral votes or there was a tie).

If things turn out as projected in current polls, Trump will have to brazenly attempt to overturn the will of the people in numerous states- a strategy not likely to succeed, IMO.

Once the EV’s are certified by congress, Trump can wreak havoc as a lame duck, but he is powerless to avoid the reality of his term ending on January 20, 2021.

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Response to Fiendish Thingy (Reply #4)

Tue Jul 21, 2020, 10:51 PM

7. Great explanation of the facts...thank you!

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Response to Thekaspervote (Reply #7)

Tue Jul 21, 2020, 10:59 PM

9. You're right, it's an excellent contribution.

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Response to Lasher (Original post)

Wed Jul 22, 2020, 01:03 AM

13. We need a Coup right now Would are the leaders to storm the White House

What the heck is wrong with Americans??? Haven't we learned about how Hitler came to power?
The solution is to make sure to vote??? Are you kidding me???

Maybe I missed a post or video about it, but Where are the Veterans for Peace members (who aren't protesting in Portland already) ?

The high ranking Veterans for Peace, former State Dept Heads, Generals, Intelligence Officers, Dept of Justice heads, etc.. should be forming a Coup. They should be headed to the White House, the Justice Dept, and CDC.
They should physically remove Trump and his administration and replace Trump with Rep Pelosi and former common sense officials for the other positions, and Dept Heads. And immediately have a group remove the top CDC person and replace them with former CDC...get rid of any residue of Trump.

I'm a peace activist so I don't want any military control but would love Vets for Peace to come in and clean house.

No, Voting isn't gonna save us in time, and it is a joke to think it will.

I wish ret. Lt General Russel Honore and ret. Col Ann Wright would stage a Coup tomorrow.

I'm tired and done with all the previous Dept Heads on CNN and MSNBC being interviewed and writing Opinion pieces.. we need action now.

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Response to annm4peace (Reply #13)

Wed Jul 22, 2020, 02:04 AM

14. So you're a peace activist advocating violent overthrow of the government?


Never mind the election, just stage a coup?

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Response to annm4peace (Reply #13)

Wed Jul 22, 2020, 09:28 AM

18. NO

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