Following his defeat in the 2016 Iowa caucus, Donald Trump accused Ted Cruz of cheating and said the results should be nullified.
After winning the presidency that fall, Trump insisted, without evidence, that there was “serious voter fraud” in three states he lost to Hillary Clinton. Now, running behind Joe Biden in the polls, the president complains the outcome will be “rigged.”
After more than four years of nonstop voter fraud claims, insinuations that he might not accept the presidential election results and at least one float about delaying the November election, it’s no secret. Trump’s refusal to commit to a peaceful transition of power this week — and his choice not to walk back his remarks Thursday in the face of widespread unease — merely broadcasts his strategic intent in terms both parties can understand.
As a result, Republicans can no longer truthfully deny that Trump may be unwilling to leave office in the event he is defeated. And Democrats must now confront the possibility they may not have the power to stop him.
It’s an unprecedented backdrop for a modern presidential race, one that could stretch the electoral process to its limits, almost guaranteeing a chaotic, divisive finish to the campaign.
“We are superalarmed,” said Matt Bennett of the center-left group Third Way, which released a primer this week on how Trump is laying the groundwork to dispute the election results in the event of a defeat. “I now think it’s very, very likely that Joe Biden will win the election if the votes are counted, but it’s not clear that the votes will be counted.”
Recalling the 2000 election, in which the Supreme Court prohibited further recounts of the Florida vote, awarding the presidency to George W. Bush, Bennett said, “We’re a lot more organized than in 2000. A lot … But I don’t know if it’s enough.” [Continue reading…]