Report Claimed Trump Campaign Is “Discussing Contingency Plans To Bypass Election Results” In Case Trump Loses And Does Not Concede

Well, this is frightening.

627 points

There’s a jaw-dropping, mind-numbing report from The Atlantic that shows the depths Donald Trump will go to hold onto power. And it’s quite believable since we’ve all seen how panicked he is less than two months before the presidential election in November while he’s flailing in the polls against Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

The report looks into possible scenarios if Trump loses the 2020 presidential election to Joe Biden, but doesn’t concede, and it notes that although we’re used to electors being selected based on the popular vote, “nothing in the Constitution says it has to be that way.” The Atlantic’s Barton Gellman  cited sources in the Republican Party at the state and national levels that said the Trump campaign is “discussing contingency plans to bypass election results and appoint loyal electors in battleground states where Republicans hold the legislative majority.”

According to the outlet, the Trump campaign would claim that this step was essential over claims of alleged voter fraud, even though experts have said that widespread voter fraud is extraordinarily rare — and this would be done ahead of the “safe harbor” deadline for appointing the 538 men and women who make up the Electoral College.

We are accustomed to choosing electors by popular vote, but nothing in the Constitution says it has to be that way. Article II provides that each state shall appoint electors “in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct.” Since the late 19th century, every state has ceded the decision to its voters. Even so, the Supreme Court affirmed in Bush v. Gore that a state “can take back the power to appoint electors.” How and when a state might do so has not been tested for well over a century.

“Trump would ask state legislators to set aside the popular vote and exercise their power to choose a slate of electors directly,” the outlet reports. “The longer Trump succeeds in keeping the vote count in doubt, the more pressure legislators will feel to act before the safe-harbor deadline expires.”

“There are results that come in Election Night,” a legal adviser to Trump’s national campaign told The Atlantic. “There’s an expectation in the country that there will be winners and losers called. If the Election Night results get changed because of the ballots counted after Election Day, you have the basic ingredients for a shitstorm.”

“Any scenario that you come up with will not be as weird as the reality of it,” the Trump legal adviser added.

And of course, Trump has already been trying to sow doubt on the results by interfering with mail-in voting even though that’s how the president casts his ballot. And he’s doing that amid the raging pandemic to keep Americans from voting. Biden’s campaign is leading Trump with donations, while Trump isn’t looking good with battleground states. This guy will do anything to stay in power, even if he has to steal the election. The president certainly doesn’t sound confident about winning the election.

And this happened:

You can read the full report here.

Featured image via Gage Skidmore/Flickr, under Creative Commons license 2.0

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