Contributor: Wy Spano
Many people ask: How can you be sure that Trump will try to declare himself elected, even if he’s behind?
The Atlantic had a brilliant take on this question: all we know about Donald Trump and his extreme narcissism tells us that one thing he will never do is admit he lost or that he didn’t do something perfectly.
Unfortunately for us, citizens in the country he’s now trying to rule, elections here are usually officially over only after one side concedes. Since Donald Trump simply can’t concede because he no kidding thinks he’s never wrong, someone else has to say, “The election is over. This side won. This side lost.” But there is no someone whose job it is to do that. If you follow the very murky directions in the constitution, you usually end up somewhere in a political place, like the U.S. House of Representatives, asking them to choose between options. With those directions from the Constitution, though, came a clear expectation that political actors would “do the right thing.” Concerning Trump, however, “doing the right thing” is an oxymoron. In his mind, the right thing is what he says and believes. Example: Trump lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes in 2016. He still says that’s not right, that undocumented immigrants and cheating Democrats, etc. etc. make up that 3 million. I used to think those statements were clumsy attempts at gilding a lily, but I’m now convinced that Trump actually believes it. He will actually believe he won this election no matter how many votes he loses by. And he has the office to continue to push his case. And he has, now, a highly politicized Supreme Court ready to bless whatever craziness he undertakes.
How long will the conflict period last? Till at least January 20, maybe even longer.
We’re not the only ones gearing up for this fight.
Nationally and here in Minnesota, a lot of people and groups are asking themselves this question: what should we do, as citizens, if the clear loser of our election tries to capture the office anyway? This is how what we used to call banana republics operated. The U.S. was always thought of as a place to find election observers who could go help countries with rigged election problems. Wonder if we can find someone to help us?
One thing may obviate this whole problem: a count so monumentally in Biden’s favor that everyone except Trump might be forced to believe it. Republicans might refuse to play along if they’re being asked to turn on their own constituents and take away their rights. Another thing that would make the conflict period go away: if it’s clear Trump legitimately won reelection. That’s what happened in 2016—never mind the role of the Russians—but most people became convinced he’d won the most votes in the states that gave him an electoral college majority. With him as president, however, he has many opportunities to mess with the results till they come out right.
*Restoring American Democracy