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the presidency

To Stay in Power Will He Steal the Election?

On the eve of the Fourth of July under Mount Rushmore, President Trump vowed that the "American people… will not allow our country and all of its values, history, and culture to be taken from them...Not on my watch." It was anger against the

mindless who are tearing down statues, many having "no idea why they are doing this", but it was aimed at far more than them: there is "a new far-left fascism" as he sees it, a "left-wing cultural revolution…designed to overthrow the American Revolution."

Our companion article wonders if Trump will quit, but there was no sign of that in South Dakota. And how to reconcile the quitting hypothesis with his dropped hints that he will resist being removed from office if he loses the election. The left ignores that Trump is desperate to stay in office as his only protection against the civil and criminal cases being developed by the Southern District of New York, which he tried to quash by having Barr fire the U.S. attorney in charge and replace him with a political idolater.

Mr. Trump is already laying the groundwork for not calling the movers in January by saying the election will be "rigged". In repeated tweets he has settled on mail-in ballots for his principal claim of electoral cheating (see our "The Nightmare Scenario of the Coming Election"). If he loses, he will dispute the result with his vest-pocket Attorney General Bill Barr filing the complaints. They have a plan, an editor and former senator want to alert us to, and it — right-wing fascism — is what is designed to overthrow the American Revolution. We'll get to that in a moment.

We've lost count of the articles and op-eds that are alarmed at Trump's intentions to use any and all means to stay in office. Most recently, Ed Luce at The Financial Times reports on a series of four U.S. election games (analogous to war games) conducted by a non-partisan group called the Transition Integrity Project. In all four games, Biden wins the popular vote, and by twice Hillary Clinton's three million margin in 2016. But in three of the four exercises, Trump again wins the Electoral College. That would make three times in the last 21 years, an outcome that would make the Constitution a farce and the presidency a fraud. The damage in the public's belief that this is a democracy would be irreversible.

Solely in their fourth scenario does Biden win the Electoral College vote as well, but Trump contests the result and only agrees to leave office when Biden promises him a blanket pardon. Still, Trump would then have ten weeks after the election to wreak havoc.

stealing the election

Not even the fourth scenario would stop Trump from keeping office in a far more disturbing scheme that Timothy Wirth, a former senator from Colorado, and Tom Rogers, editor-at-large for Newsweek, warn us is now actually being plotted by Trump and Barr.

In our piece about the "Nightmare Scenario", Republicans are up in arms about mail-in ballots claiming they would lead to widespread fraud. (Voter fraud being almost non-existent, that claim is itself the greater fraud.) The real reason for Republicans' alarm is that mail-in ballots would make it easier for low income groups to vote, primarily Blacks and Latins who typically vote Democratic. In the coming election with many fewer polling stations owing to pandemic, those groups can't afford the cost of taking time from work to stand in long lines for hours. To be sure they don't vote at all, Republican strategy is to deny them the ability to mail it in. Trump himself blurted out that voting by mail “doesn’t work out well for Republicans”.

In April he claimed that “you get thousands and thousands of people sitting in somebody’s living room, signing ballots all over the place" when mail-in voting is allowed. Asked by reporters for evidence, he responded, "I think there's a lot of evidence, but we'll provide you with some, OK?". No evidence has been forthcoming.

Other tweets rail about "mail boxes will be robbed" and "professionals telling all of these people…how to vote" but Wirth and Rogers find this tweet different and significant:



We'll add that all caps seem meant to elevate this tweet above his others on the subject.

That's the crux of what Rogers and Wirth fear is coming at us, that Trump has hit upon foreign entities as the source of the fraudulent ballots he will claim have rigged the election against him. What the authors may have missed (their article makes no mention) is the chilling concordance found in a profile of Bill Barr in the New York Times Sunday magazine in early June. Interviewing Trump on the same day in April that Trump tweeted "doesn't work out well for Republicans", writer Mattathias Schwartz asked Barr what he thought of Trump's observation:

"Barr seized on the opportunity to float a new theory: that foreign governments might conspire to mail in fake ballots. 'I haven't looked into that', he cautioned, offering no evidence to substantiate that this was a real possibility. But he called it 'one of the issues I'm real worried about', and added: 'We've been talking about how, in terms of foreign influence, there are a number of foreign countries that could easily make counterfeit ballots, put names on them, send them in. And it'd be very hard to sort out what's happening'".

There was Barr saying the same as Trump, and saying it two months earlier.

Republicans have deployed numerous weapons to engineer the election in their favor — laws to make voting difficult for undesirables, purges of voter rolls, photo identification requirements, the campaign to defeat mail-in voting, with Mitch McConnell blocking funding to the states. But Wirth and Rogers lay out the following ominous plot, published in Newsweek titled : "How Trump Could Lose the Election — And Still Remain President", should those encumbrances fail.

The plot relies on the president's use of emergency powers. The authors say that the Brennan Center at New York University has compiled "an extensive list of presidential emergency powers that might be inappropriately invoked in a national security crisis" and that Barr, who thinks the president should have near absolute power, is simultaneously developing "a Justice Department opinion arguing that the president can exercise emergency powers in "certain national security situations".

Cue a national security emergency. Here's the sequence:

1. First, Biden wins in key swing states — Arizona, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania — "by decent but not overwhelming margins". Trump immediately declares that the Chinese have contaminated the election by printing and mailing in faked ballots, just as Barr foresaw. It's the Chinese, of course, because Trump is now branding Biden as "soft on China" so the Chinese will have done this fall what they can to hand the win to Joe.

2. Trump invokes a national security emergency using the powers that, by this time, Barr has released as officially available to him. The Justice Department undertakes to investigate irregularities in the states in question.

3. By design, the investigations have not been concluded by December 14th, the date by which all states must appoint electors to the College. Republicans control both upper and lower houses of the legislatures in all four states above. They refuse to certify the Electoral College roster until the investigation is completed.

4. The Democrats challenge. The issue goes to the Supreme Court, and we need to remember that this deadline is why the Court suspended the Florida recount in 2000, which probably would have come out in Al Gore's favor had it been allowed to complete, and handed the presidency to George W. Bush.

5. The Court rules 5-4 that the president's emergency powers are valid, that the national security investigations need to go on, but the Electoral College must vote without the four states.

6. With those states missing from the count, neither Trump nor Biden have sufficient votes to reach Electoral College majority.

7. That throws the decision to the House of Representatives which "shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President", as called for in the Constitution's 12th Amendment of 1804. The Democrats still control the House after the election, so Biden is voted the next president of the United States, yes? Well, no. It doesn’t work that way. The Amendment gives each state a single vote, making the smallest red states equal to the largest, throwing Democratic representation out the window.

8 . How a state votes is controlled by which party has the most representatives. 26 states have a majority Republican House delegation. 23 states have a majority Democratic delegation. Pennsylvania is evenly split. Trump is voted the victor, 26 to 23.

The authors say not much can be done to stop this swindle. Trump has in place Barr at Justice who was the first to set the stage for foreign ballot intervention. He has made John Ratcliffe head of the intelligence agencies, whose virtue is having no experience in intel but was a vocal supporter of Trump in the impeachment hearings. Trump is probably looking for the right Friday night to fire defense secretary Mark Esber for the sin of standing up for the military; his replacement will be another political acolyte anxious to keep that prestigious post by keeping Trump in the Oval Office. The continued silence of Republican senators is assured. The courts shy from ruling on elections; the Constitution grants that power to the states, and Trump and McConnell have stocked that pond with a record 200 conservative judges at the appellate level. And if any of these entities prove rowdy, Trump has the vast options of his emergency powers, most of them secret, outlined in our piece of a year-and-a-half ago in "Declaring an Emergency Gives the President Unchecked Power". That article concludes by calling those powers a separate, parallel government that is the true "deep state".

The only guardrail, says Sen. Tim Wirth, is a…

"vast citizen firewall which reaches out across the country to state, country, and local governments, attorneys general, secretaries of state, business groups that can't stand the prospect of the chaos that's coming from this disruption, from academic groups, from citizen grass roots groups, all understanding as much as possible that this is not only a possibility but a probability. Donald Trump is not going to go quietly into the night. He's not going to disappear and hang on himself the label that he hates more than anything else, 'loser'. He doesn't want to go down as the biggest loser in American political history. He's going to fight like crazy to stay in office and the best check against that is very broad citizen action".

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2 Comments for “To Stay in Power Will He Steal the Election?”

  1. Trump stole his election, with Russians helping him by stealing DNC email and flooding the internet and Facebook with fake ads and stories, all to create doubt about Hillary. Trump encouraged it openly (corrupt and traitorous) and benefited from millions of Americans seeing ginned up stories.

    Most inept, corrupt and mean spirited President in US history.

  2. Wes Evans

    The only Presidential election that was stolen was the 1960 election by Kennedy.

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