I woke up Wednesday morning to an email box full of fear, thanks to Barton Gellman's article at The Atlantic imagining all the ways the Mighty Donald Trump will not concede and will try to steal the election.
Let us not hedge about one thing. Donald Trump may win or lose, but he will never concede. Not under any circumstance. Not during the Interregnum and not afterward. If compelled in the end to vacate his office, Trump will insist from exile, as long as he draws breath, that the contest was rigged.
So the fck what? You know who else tried to claim the election was rigged, refused to concede and said he wasn't going to leave his perch? North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory.
Where is McCrory now? Not in the North Carolina's governor's mansion and not planning to run to take it back, either. No, he's doing some right-wing radio show in North Carolina.
So what if Trump won't concede? Who CARES what that petty chickenshit little despot does or says? Yet, MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace spent a solid 10 minutes clutching her worry beads over it, wasting our time.
In this paragraph, we have Gellman repeating what anonymous Republicans have told him. Gosh, what purpose could Republicans possibly have for telling him this? The subject is how states designate electors. Remember all the efforts on the Dem side to try and woo "faithless electors" who would not honor their state's vote totals? Yeah, me too. It did not go well, even in the Supreme Court.
Trump may test this. According to sources in the Republican Party at the state and national levels, the Trump campaign is discussing contingency plans to bypass election results and appoint loyal electors in battleground states where Republicans hold the legislative majority. With a justification based on claims of rampant fraud, Trump would ask state legislators to set aside the popular vote and exercise their power to choose a slate of electors directly. The longer Trump succeeds in keeping the vote count in doubt, the more pressure legislators will feel to act before the safe-harbor deadline expires.
Good luck with that, boys. I repeat: Republicans have a motive for putting this kind of rumor out -- it tells people their vote doesn't count.
This is hardly a power play. They are essentially powerless when the voters speak, while trying to disguise that fact by telling you that they have some secret hidden power. They don't.
Later in the article, Gellman writes:
But he’s not powerless to skew the proceedings—first on Election Day and then during the Interregnum. He could disrupt the vote count where it’s going badly, and if that does not work, try to bypass it altogether. On Election Day, Trump and his allies can begin by suppressing the Biden vote.
Here's the thing: Articles like this, fear mongering like this already suppresses the Biden vote. When you tell people that Trump and his games are more powerful than the people, you're telling them their vote doesn't matter. And if their vote doesn't matter, then why should they bother to vote at all? All the fear mongering about what Agent Orange and his gang of GOP thugs does is suppress the vote. It also creates an environment of fear, which is the soil upon which REPUBLICANS thrive.
I am not saying to ignore the experts. I am saying that the answer to the bullshit Trump spews is to ignore it and vote in numbers the likes of which no one has ever seen before. Even Gellman discounts the possibility of a landslide, despite the fact that all of the evidence points to huge turnout (see Virginia's early voting turnout, or the soaring requests for absentee ballots in a number of states, for example):
It is hard to imagine a Trump lead so immense on Election Night that it places him out of Biden’s reach. Unless the swing states manage to count most of their mail-in ballots that night, which will be all but impossible for some of them, the expectation of a blue shift will keep Biden fighting on. A really big Biden lead on Election Night, on the other hand, could leave Trump without plausible hope of catching up. If this happens, we may see it first in Florida. But this scenario is awfully optimistic for Biden, considering the GOP advantage among in-person voters, and in any case Trump will not concede defeat. This early in the Interregnum, he will have practical options to keep the contest alive.
It isn't optimistic at all to expect a landslide. In 2008, Florida was called when polls closed in the Central time zone and the election was called the minute California's polls closed. Poor Hawaii didn't even have time to close before it was called.
This election is a turnout election. There won't be any question about who the winner is on Election Night if everyone votes. Articles telling people it doesn't matter if they vote because Trump has some magical powers to contest things are suppressive, unhelpful and best limited to email lists of election lawyers who can actually do something about Republicans' weak efforts to grab power.