As I said yesterday, it is almost certain Trump will hold the lead based on votes counted at the end of the night on November 3. While it is possible that, were Trump to wait until the end of the vote count, Trump would still be in the lead, it seems less and less likely Trump will wait to see the outcome. There were suggestions yesterday Trump was preparing to instead launch legal challenges during the count to stop the vote count continuing, and this has now been confirmed by Trump.
(CNN)President Donald Trump is casting doubt on the integrity of vote counting and warning he will deploy squads of lawyers when polls close on Tuesday, as his latest attempts to tarnish the democratic process deepen a sense of national nervousness hours before Election Day.CNN
The rhetoric will and outrage will begin with Trump declaring that voting ended with Trump in front, and further counts are ‘fake counts’ to steal his victory.
- Trump Declares Victory?
- Vote count interrupted?
- The Trump Strategy: Delay the count.
- Violence and Intimidation.
- Legal Challenges.
- What Could Go Wrong for Trump
- The Divided Nation following the election.
Trump Declares Victory?
I believe that to declare victory, Trump needs to be ahead in the count on election night. How realistic is Trump being ahead?
If the previous election result of 306 (Trump) vs 232 is taken as a starting point, it is expected Biden will win Wisconsin and Michigan, bringing the numbers to 280( Trump) to 258. Biden would need one more state, and any of the following would be sufficient:
- North Carolina
There are other states, those states listed so far will be watched closely. All this is fine, but what about election night? While no states are seen by most polls as likely wins for Trump, on election night Trump could be ahead due to the larger number of postal votes for Biden delivering an election night swing to Trump in states that will have no count for postal votes on election night. Florida will have a result on election night that includes postal votes, and if Florida is seen as going to Biden, many analysists could declare Bind the likely winner. How credible would Trump be in declaring himself victor on the back of states with late postal vote counts if he loses Florida? This is yet to be seen.
Vote count interrupted?
In my previous post (Biden vs Trump), I predicted a result sufficiently close that there would be disputes. I now believe that it is possible there will never be an undisputed, universally accepted final vote count. The only event that can prevent legal challenges by Trump and some form of an uprising, is the very unlikely scenario that Joe Biden is ahead in the count at the end of election night, November 3.
Unlike previous disputes, such as the 2000 election where the counting of votes in Florida was controversial, the will be the first time to controversy will seek to interrupt the vote count.
The larger number of Democrats than Republicans voting by mail makes it extremely unlikely that Joe Biden will be ahead on the night of the election. This will give Trump his argument for claiming victory, launching a legal challenge, and at least a ‘dog whistle’ call to arms the more extremist members of his voter base. While it would be possible that at the end of counting votes Trump would win the election anyway, it seems almost certain he will not wait to find out.
Failing the very unlikely scenario democrats are ahead on election night, the real Trump campaign will begin in earnest.
The Trump Strategy: Delay.
It is not a matter of whether Trump wins or Loses the vote count. Do not expect Trump to wait to find out the final count. All Trump needs is to be ahead in the count at some point, in order to declare he is the winner and declare that any further vote counts represent fraud.
The deadline for states to submit election results is December 8. Trumps strategy will most likely be to prevent as many states as possible from being able to submit vote counts by this date. Everything from legal challenges through to civil disobedience, riots and actions of armed militia could play a role. Can these steps delay count for an entire month? (see ‘violence’ below)
The second part of the strategy relies upon Republicans retaining sufficient state majorities in congress for republicans to win a contested election vote. Republicans would win such a vote if help with the current congress, although it is possible this situation could change. Again, Trump cannot wait for to see if Congress changes, the strategy depends on delaying counts being validates from the soonest possible opportunity.
I will add to the list as the tally increases and as I find more over the next day or so.
- GOP Challenge to votes in Houston
- Trump Campaign Now Suing Three States
- Connecticut Supreme Court tosses GOP challenge
- Republicans challenge Pennsylvania Mail Ballot Deadline
- The supreme court angered Trump by rejecting the republicans challenge, but worrying did leave this open to review after the election, and Amy Coney Barret could add her vote in a review.
As you can see, all the suits I am aware of are challenges by the republicans seeking to have votes ruled as invalid in the election. None have been successful so far.
Violence and Intimidation.
When I have discussed my predictions with friends, the most common reaction is ‘how can Trump be allowed to do that?’. Reality is, Trump is most certainly legally allowed to mount legal challenges. But can he take steps outside the law? Trump wont, but his ‘fans’ may. Consider the following events so far:
- Trump Supporters harassing a campaign bus
- New York and New Jersey Traffic Disruption.
- kidnapping plots
In response to the campaign bus incident in El Paso, despite the event being under investigation, Trumps response was: “I love Texans”. An then :
“But it is something, did you see the way our people they … you know they were protecting his bus yesterday, because they’re nice,” he said.ABC Australia.
These comments were before the New York/New Jersey traffic disruptions, which may have been inspired by the event in Texas.
Now imagine what would happen if Trump was to suggest: “people should go to the their state vote tally center and tell them they should stop”. Is it possible someone armed would take up that suggestion?
Most troubling events and civil disobedience does not start with Trump. While Trump fails to criticize such events, he rarely initiates them. Extreme individuals or small groups start the events, then others copy. Trump fans the initial anger, and then ‘stands by’. This makes how far things go extremely difficult to predict.
It seems extremely likely that there will be intimidation on election day. How far of a stretch from the traffic disruptions in New York, New Jersey to a blockage of a road to a polling location that only allows Trump voters through?
What Could Go Wrong for Trump.
Firstly, none of Trumps actions will necessarily be sufficient to prevent Biden being declared the winner.
Secondly, even if Trump does succeed in blocking Biden from being awarded 270 electoral college votes, the makeup of Congress could change such that there is no longer a majority of states with majority of republicans.
Thirdly, not even all Republican congress representatives may support Trump.
Fourthly, even if appointed, the events of the election could cause sufficient uproar that Trump is then impeached.
Fifthly, the whole process of disrupting the vote may cause many Trump supporters to defect. Yes, Trump has white supremacists and QAnon followers amongst his supporters, and the people who drove those trucks in Texas. However, almost half of America supports Trump at this time, and very few Americans fall into any of those fringe groups.
There is probably even more things that could go wrong.
The Divided Nation following the election.
Democrats already found reason to reject the results of the election in 2016. Trump lost the popular vote. Russia interfered with the election. Neither claim is a basis for rejecting the election result or denying Trump the support due to a president. If democrats lose again, all the same reasons will likely be present, but with possible addition of new reasons, particularly if some votes which could have changed the outcome are excluded from being counted.
The actions of Trump following election night, is seen as sufficiently likely to generate protests that the FBI erected a ‘non-scalable’ fence around the white house.
That is all about protests against Trump. Evidence so far would suggest an even greater threat from Trump supporters should Biden win. Biden to does not really trigger ‘adulation behaviour’ that Trump taps into, which results in far more passionate responses from Trump fans.
Country wide, cities are boarding up shops to protect against damage from possible rioting. Many people have been stockpiling food.
All the precautions could be unnecessary and all could be calm, but the risk is real.
All it takes is Trump commencing his campaign to disrupt counting to ensure that, regardless of the final outcome, America is even more deeply divided that ever with a few short days from now.
It is almost certain Trump will declare he wins on election night. But perhaps Americas enemies such as Putin are the most certain winners as chaos ensues.