Donald Trump’s approval ratings are in the toilet.
Last year, Trump became the third president in history to be impeached.
He does not read intelligence briefings.
In just three and a half years, he has eroded decades of international diplomatic alliances.
“The unemployment rate for teens ages 16 to 19 peaked at 31% in April, more than double the national rate of 14.7%. College graduates who only months ago were on track to enter one of the best job markets in US history have instead landed in one of the worst. A slate of summer internships and jobs have been cancelled and they are worried about their parents struggling to pay bills.”
Just these examples alone are enough to see why it’s obvious Donald Trump will lose re-election to Joe Biden in the fall.
Trump even admitted to Sean Hannity Biden “is going to be president because some people don’t love me.”
Before we get cocky, though, let’s step in the way-back machine to that far-off time of 2016.
Many–maybe even most–thought it was preposterous for a political neophyte reality-TV pseudo-millionaire slumlord to defeat a former first lady, senator, and secretary of state.
Yet, despite Hillary Clinton winning the popular vote by the widest margin of any president in history, Donald Trump now occupies the Oval Office.
Assuming Trump’s political demise is a fait accompli is a mistake.
Donald Trump is going to try to hold onto the office by any means necessary.
And if there is anything we have come to understand about Trump, it’s that “any means necessary” means ANY MEANS.
Trump is aware the Justice Department policy of not indicting sitting presidents is shielding him from criminal prosecution.
Upon leaving office, he can be indicted.
In their Newsweek piece, “How Trump Could Lose the Election–and Still Remain President,” CNBC founder Tom Rogers and former Senator Tim Wirth (D-CO) explain:
“This is how it happens, Biden wins. I don’t just mean the popular vote, he wins the key swing states, he wins the electoral college. President Trump says there’s been Chinese interference in the election. He’s been talking about Biden’s soft on China—China wanted Biden to win so he says a national emergency; the Chinese have intervened in the election.”
This is particularly ironic considering Trump’s former National Security Adviser, John Bolton, documents in his new book that Trump, during trade negotiations with China, pushed Chinese President Xi Jinping to agree to purchase American agricultural products as a means to bolster popularity with U.S. farmers to help with 2020 re-election prospects.
Tom Rogers adds:
“Just ten days ago [June 23] he [Trump] tweeted, he actually tweeted, ‘rigged 2020 election,’ millions of mail-in ballots will be printed by foreign countries it will be the scandal of our times. so he’s laying the groundwork for this. So he does an investigation and [Attorney General Bill] Barr backs this up with all kinds of legal opinions about emergency powers that the president has.”
“Then what happens is it’s all geared towards December 14th. Why December 14th? Well, that’s the deadline when the electors of the states have to be chosen. Why is that key? Because that’s what the Supreme Court used in Bush v. Gore to cut off the Florida counting. They keep this national emergency investigation going through December 14th. Biden, of course, challenges this in the courts and says, ‘hey, we won these states, I want the electors that favored me named. The Supreme Court doesn’t throw the election to the Republicans as it did in 2000; instead it says, ‘look, there’s a deadline here.’ If they can’t be certified in these states because of this investigation going on, there’s a constitutional process for this.”
“If no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice.”
Republican are already running full-tilt voter suppression ahead of November.
All it takes is for only a couple of states–say, Texas and Florida–to cast some doubt over the election’s integrity for it to be tossed to the House of Representatives.
That may appear on the surface to be good news since Democrats hold the majority in the House.
But they won’t be the ones to certify the election.
Remember, the 12th amendment stipulates, “The votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote.”
With more Republican-controlled legislatures than Democratic, this means Trump can legitimately lose both the popular vote as he did four years ago and the electoral college, securing re-election.
There is already a precedent for this.
In the 1876 election that pitted Republican Rutherford B. Hayes against Democrat Samuel Tilden, Tilden clinched the popular vote but was one vote shy of the requisite electoral votes.
As Ohio Republican Congressman James Monroe (no relation to our fifth president) published in The Atlantic in October 1893, “The votes of Florida, Louisiana, Oregon, and South Carolina, with an aggregate of 22 electors” would decide the election.
That election happening in the midst of Reconstruction, federal soldiers occupied the three southern states.
Ku Klux Klan presence was also heavy in all four states.
Congressional Democrats claimed soldiers intimidated and suppressed the votes of Southern Democratic voters.
With the threat of re-igniting the Civil War that had only concluded 11 years before, Republicans and Democrats hammered out a backroom deal to hand the presidency to Hayes if he agreed to withdraw Union soldiers from the South.
He was made president, thus ending Reconstruction.
With the pandemic making in-person voting dangerous, could we reasonably argue Republicans are also weaponizing the virus to suppress voter turnout?
It’s a dark scenario, but maybe that’s why they’re so reluctant to provide the necessary relief we should have received by now.
Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich recently published a piece titled “Donald Trump’s re-election playbook: 25 ways he’ll lie, cheat and abuse his power.”
Some he’s already doing.
Consider also that at this time in 1988, former Massachusetts governor Michael Dukakis’ lead over George H.W. Bush was growing, casting doubt over Bush’s succeeding Ronald Reagan.
Bush went on to be POTUS 41.
If you are already registered, check your status to ensure you have not been thrown off the roles.
If you are uncomfortable with voting in person due to social distancing, request an absentee ballot (although several states and the U.S. Supreme Court are trying to make this more complicated). Contact your county Board of Elections for its procedures.
Add to everything the power of gerrymandering, social media lies, right-wing hate media, and foreign intervention–basically everything that propelled Trump into office in the first place–and we’ve got ourselves a messy fight.
This election needs to cast no doubt about Donald Trump’s legitimacy to remain in office.
He will not go quietly.
He will not go willingly.
He will not respect the centuries-old tradition of a peaceful transition of power.
This November must be a landslide referendum on how historically inept he has been.
Don’t take it for granted Joe Biden will win.
We need to make it happen.
Image credit: en.wikipedia.org