You thought the 2000 Al Gore tantrum was bad? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.
We have been hearing for quite literally years that President Trump will not accept the results of the 2020 election if he loses in November. But what happens if Joe Biden wins the popular vote but loses the Electoral College and refuses to concede? It’s a possibility, right?
Photos of a New York Times article warning about the likely delay in election result reporting were floating all over Twitter this morning. The section that was being shared wasn’t about the results, precisely, it was about a little “game” that was played by “bipartisan” political operatives to see what would happen in four scenarios. One of those was highlighted in the NYTimes article.
But conveniently, a group of former top government officials called the Transition Integrity Project actually gamed four possible scenarios, including one that doesn’t look that different from 2016: a big popular win for Mr. Biden, and a narrow electoral defeat, presumably reached after weeks of counting the votes in Pennsylvania. For their war game, they cast John Podesta, who was Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, in the role of Mr. Biden. They expected him, when the votes came in, to concede, just as Mrs. Clinton had.
But Mr. Podesta, playing Mr. Biden, shocked the organizers by saying he felt his party wouldn’t let him concede. Alleging voter suppression, he persuaded the governors of Wisconsin and Michigan to send pro-Biden electors to the Electoral College.
In that scenario, California, Oregon, and Washington then threatened to secede from the United States if Mr. Trump took office as planned. The House named Mr. Biden president; the Senate and White House stuck with Mr. Trump. At that point in the scenario, the nation stopped looking to the media for cues, and waited to see what the military would do.
Source: New York Times
Well, that seems rather interesting! It looks like the Dems tipped their hand there. They’d rather risk the entire union than embrace the peaceful transition of power that is a hallmark of American democracy.
Who precisely created this little “game” and why?
It apparently grew out of the widespread fear by leftists that the current allegedly authoritarian POTUS wouldn’t leave the White House willingly if he lost re-election. They’re very concerned that the man that has been resetting the norms in Washington by refusing to make unilateral decisions outside of his Constitutional authority, promoting federalism, and is allowing a crisis to “go to waste” by not setting up a new federal agency–that guy will not respect the results of the election. Meanwhile, Hillary still hasn’t accepted responsibility for her 2016 loss.
Never forget, though, that the Democrats moved from this…
Donald Trump refused to say that he’d respect the results of this election.
That’s a direct threat to our democracy.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) October 24, 2016
…to wanting to ditch the Electoral College and have Washington D.C. be granted statehood to game the system.
So, a bunch of “bipartisan” legal experts, academics, political operatives, former political and military officials met for their somehow nerdier than Dungeons & Dragons game (it even included a 10-sided die) to see what would happen in various contentious scenarios.
In general, Democrats role-played Democrats, and Republicans played Republicans. The four scenarios they played were:
- an unclear result on Election Day that looked increasingly like a Biden win as more ballots were counted
- a clear Biden win in the popular vote and the Electoral College
- an Electoral College win for Trump with Biden winning the popular vote by 5 percentage points
- a narrow Electoral College and popular vote victory for Biden
Scenario 3 was the one that was the most contentious and was highlighted in the New York Times article. Also, note that these all had Biden winning at some level. Can you imagine what would happen if Trump managed to win the Electoral College and the popular vote? Their heads would explode! (It’s unlikely since the votes have been close for decades, generally tipping to the Democrats.)
In June, the group met online, and well, none of the results looked very promising.
“All of our scenarios ended in both street-level violence and political impasse,” said Rosa Brooks, a Georgetown law professor and former Defense Department official who co-organized the group known as the Transition Integrity Project. She described what they found in bleak terms: “The law is essentially … it’s almost helpless against a president who’s willing to ignore it.”
Using a role-playing game that is a fixture of military and national security planning, the group envisioned a dark 11 weeks between Election Day and Inauguration Day, one in which Trump and his Republican allies used every apparatus of government — the Postal Service, state lawmakers, the Justice Department, federal agents, and the military — to hold onto power, and Democrats took to the courts and the streets to try to stop it…
…Brooks got the seed of the idea for the Transition Integrity Project after a dinner where a federal judge and a corporate lawyer each told her they were convinced the military or the Secret Service would have to escort Trump out of office if he lost the election and would not concede. Brooks wasn’t so sure. She and Gilman decided to turn the Washington parlor game into an actual exercise; they held an early meeting in Washington, with about 25 people, in December.
Chatting with a federal judge and a corporate lawyer, eh? Interesting…
But here’s the part that’s really interesting–the “bipartisan” group didn’t include anyone that supports the President–not even the Republicans.
They invited both Democrats and Republicans who they knew had concerns about Trump’s comments on the election; nearly 80 people in all were involved. The Republicans were described by participants as “never Trump” or “not Trump Republicans.”
So…this is “bipartisan” now?
Somehow this group of people managed to find a way to make President Trump look bad in each scenario.
Perhaps this is why Biden has hired an army of 600 lawyers ready to battle Trump in court “just in case the election” is close.
It is telling that Democrats, who fear that President Trump won’t concede if he loses, ended up with a scenario in which Biden refuses to concede and the union itself is threatened.
But it’s Republicans that are the divisive ones.
Podesta presupposing voter suppression in an election that hasn’t happened yet and arguing it in a make believe scenario gives the entire game away. It’s their fallback no matter what. https://t.co/QJNLD7cM0l
— Stephen L. Miller (@redsteeze) August 3, 2020
Right on, @redsteez!
It isn’t Trump and Republicans “breaking the norms” of American institutions–it’s the Democrats.
Brace yourselves, November is gonna be one bumpy ride!