Experts are warning of a dark winter if the 2020 presidential election results are contested.
“On the second Friday in June, a group of political operatives, former government and military officials, and academics quietly convened online for what became a disturbing exercise in the fragility of American democracy,” the Boston Globe reported Saturday. “The group, which included Democrats and Republicans, gathered to game out possible results of the November election, grappling with questions that seem less far-fetched by the day: What if President Trump refuses to concede a loss, as he publicly hinted recently he might do? How far could he go to preserve his power? And what if Democrats refuse to give in?”
While former Vice President Joe Biden currently has large leads in public polling on the race, Trump has refused to say he will accept the results if he loses.
A Georgetown law professor and former Defense Department official who helped organize the Transition Integrity Project explained the situation to the newspaper.
“All of our scenarios ended in both street-level violence and political impasse,” Prof. Rosa Brooks explained. “The law is essentially … it’s almost helpless against a president who’s willing to ignore it.”
The scenarios are dark.
“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,” the Globe explained.
“If it sounds paranoid or outlandish — a war room of seasoned politicos and constitutional experts playing a Washington version of Dungeons and Dragons in which the future of the republic hangs in the balance — they get it,” the newspaper reported. “But, as they finalize a report on what they learned and begin briefing elected officials and others, they insist their warning is serious: A close election this fall is likely to be contested, and there are few guardrails to stop a constitutional crisis, particularly if Trump flexes the considerable tools at his disposal to give himself an advantage.”
Historian Nils Gilman explained the leverage Trump has in a contested election.
“He doesn’t have to win the election,” said Gilman. “He just has to create a plausible narrative that he didn’t lose.”
Read the full report.
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