Monday, June 15, 2020


We worry that President Trump won't leave office if he's defeated in November, but he's telling us he'll accept the outcome.
U.S. President Donald Trump said he will go on to other things if he loses the Nov. 3 election, after Democratic opponent Joe Biden said the Republican might cheat and refuse to leave the White House.

“Certainly if I don’t win, I don’t win. I mean, you know, go on and do other things,” Trump told Fox News Channel in a television interview broadcast on Friday.
A forthcoming book about Melania Trump says that her husband was prepared to flee the country if he lost in 2016, not dispute the election results.
The election night win came as a surprise even to Trump, according to many on his campaign, and little preparation had been done for what came next. Trump had even talked about going to one of his golf courses in Scotland immediately after the election so he didn’t have to watch Hillary Clinton bask in her success. One campaign aide recalled that candidate Trump had “told the pilot [of his private jet], ‘Fuel up the plane.’”
Can I imagine Trump disputing the results? Sure. Can I imagine him walking away in disgust and building a new life based on tweeting and golf (in other word, pretty much his current life, but without the nuclear launch codes)? Absolutely.

But the election results might still be disputed -- by rank-and-file voters, the right-wing media, and state and local GOP officials.

If a new Politico story is accurate, the latter group is living in a world of epistemic closure -- they don't believe the polls, they don't believe a Biden victory is possible, and, implicitly, they won't believe the result in November even if Joe Biden wins decisively. They might just be repeating the company line to a reporter, but it sounds to me as if they genuinely believe what they're saying.
“The more bad things happen in the country, it just solidifies support for Trump,” said Phillip Stephens, GOP chairman in Robeson County, N.C., one of several rural counties in that swing state that shifted from supporting Barack Obama in 2012 to Trump in 2016. “We’re calling him ‘Teflon Trump.’ Nothing’s going to stick, because if anything, it’s getting more exciting than it was in 2016.”

This year, Stephens said, “We’re thinking landslide.”

... from the Eastern seaboard to the West Coast and the battlegrounds in between, there is an overriding belief that, just as Trump defied political gravity four years ago, there’s no reason he won’t do it again.

... Lawrence Tabas, the chairman of the Pennsylvania Republican Party, went so far as to predict that Trump would not only carry his state, but beat Biden by more than 100,000 votes — more than twice the margin he mustered in 2016.

“Contrary to what may be portrayed in the media, there’s still a high level of support out there,” said Kyle Hupfer, chairman of the Indiana Republican Party. He described himself as “way more” optimistic than he was at this point in 2016.

... in the states, the Republican Party's rank-and-file are largely unconvinced that the president is precariously positioned in his reelection bid.

“The narrative from the Beltway is not accurate,” said Joe Bush, chairman of the Republican Party in Muskegon County, Mich., which Trump lost narrowly in 2016. “Here in the heartland, everybody is still very confident, more than ever.”

... At the center of the disconnect between Trump loyalists’ assessment of the state of the race and the one based on public opinion polls is a distrust of polling itself. Republicans see an industry that maliciously oversamples Democrats or under-samples the white, non-college educated voters who are most likely to support Trump. They say it is hard to know who likely voters are this far from the election. And like many Democrats, they suspect Trump supporters disproportionately hang up on pollsters, under-counting his level of support.

Ted Lovdahl, chairman of the Republican Party in Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District, said he has friends who will tell pollsters “just exactly the opposite of what they feel.”

When he asked one of them why, his friend told him, “I don’t like some of their questions. It’s none of their business what I do.”
Joe Biden won't really win by that 14-point margin seen in a recent CNN poll. He might not win at all. But there's a decent chance he could win by 5 to 7 points, with a decisive Electoral College margin. Will these local Republican leaders believe the results? Will GOP voters? Will Fox News and Republican elected officials give up and accept the results, or will they claim that five or six million votes were cast fraudulently?

And what if it's closer, as most of the presidential elections in the twenty-first century have been? I think Greg Palast can be overwrought at times, but he worries about this scenario, and it seems to me that it could happen:
Constitutional expert Thom Hartmann and I are concerned the GOP-controlled Legislatures could claim that mail-in ballots are fraudulent and thereby refuse to certify a Democratic win in states such as Wisconsin and Georgia. By refusing to send electors to the Electoral College and thereby denying any candidate 270 votes in the Electoral College, under Article XII of the Constitution, the election shifts to the House of Representatives whose members will cast one vote per state — Wyoming gets the same vote as California. Trump would then be “reelected” even if he loses both the popular vote and the Electoral College.
On the other hand, these folks didn't seriously dispute Barack Obama's two victories, or the results of the 2018 midterms, so they probably won't do anything other than grumble if Biden wins.

Yet they still might not believe the numbers are legitimate. Or maybe they'll believe that the vote totals are accurate, but only because George Soros engineered the second wave of the coronavirus in consultation with Bill Gates in order to destroy Donald Trump and enslave America.

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